Monday, September 3, 2007

Monday Moment: Church

Going to church doesn't
make you a Christian
any more than going to a garage
makes you an automobile.
-Billy Sunday



Where did we come down with the idea that going to church makes us Christians? Makes us "saved"? Makes us right before God? Where did that idea first take hold?

What I'm going to say today might shock you. Some of you may not pick up what I'm throwing down. But here it is, regardless, just like this: church won't save you. Going to church won't save you. Having your name on a church roll somewhere doesn't make you any more special to God. Go... don't go. Show up... or don't. Whatever. Church has no bearing on where you'll spend eternity.

I was reminded of this Saturday as I walked alongside a beautiful church in Jefferson, Texas. Boy, we spend a lot of money on our churches, don't we? Making them beautiful. Making them functional. Making them attractive or breathtaking or cool. And maybe we should. Maybe we should. But at the end of the day, a church is just a building. It's just a place.

Yep, we can spend a lot of effort thinking about church. Whether we go or don't go. We can spend a lot of time grumbling about church, too. A lot of emotion and judgment and controversy surrounds churches today. Do we go on Saturday or do we go on Sunday? Do we wear jeans or do we not wear jeans? Do we sing choruses or do we sing hymns? And how do we handle women? Different races? Homosexuals? Divorcees? We're passionate in our opinions and convictions about church and how it should be conducted, aren't we? And it's important. Absolutely, it's important. The church is the bride of Christ. The church has a specific and special part in God's kingdom. He's used her before and He will use her still. But is it everything? No way. It's just church. It can't save.

I go... to church, that is. Some weeks I can't wait to go and other weeks I can't wait to get back home. But I don't define my relationship with God... I don't hang my salvation... on my church attendance. On which church has my name on the roll. Church helps convict and teach and encourage me. It gives me an outlet to get plugged into something God is doing in my community. And while I'm thankful for the opportunities we have, as a democratic society, to worship in public, I don't expect a seat in heaven just because I've held a seat in church.

Here's the point: spend too much time thinking and worrying about church and whether/where/why you should/should not go and you'll miss the point completely. Church won't save you. Only Jesus will. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian. Believing and calling upon the only begotten Son of God - that makes you a Christian.

Church is good. Praise God for His church! But there's so much more to this Christian life than that. There's so, so, so much more to this than church.

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

Monday Moment is a little devotional to help kick start your week. See you again next Monday!

23 comments:

betty r said...

Amen sister.. church is a good place to meet with other believers and worship God together... I agree it will not get us into heaven though!
I sometimes wonder about building these large churches..maybe less could be spent on the bldgs and more on reaching out to the hurting and needy.
Thanks for the Monday Moment on church, Brin...thought provoking indeed!

Rox said...

Amen..........

Cynthia said...

Amen, sister, Amen.

April C. said...

Amen and amen!!

melissa @ the inspired room said...

You are so right, Brin. Thanks for being a light to your little corner of the world...

jimr75 said...

Great point. I was pondering the same thought yesterday as I sat in church, dead tired, wanting any excuse to leave. But I also realized that, as tired and distracted as I was, I needed the time of corporate worship, the interaction with other believers. I stuck it out (yeah, sitting there is so hard) and was blessed beyond what I could have hoped for.

Terri and Bob said...

Amen. This is what my dad believed all his life. He didn't go to church, however, thinking of all the hypocrites he saw there, a man who was a deacon cheating on his wife, a man who refused to pay his bills came to church regularly. My dad's church was the lake where he fished every Sunday for as long as he could. I think he may have understood much more than some of us the value of prayerful solitude alone with Jesus.

Kathleen Grace said...

A very astute observation Brin, and the whole idea of church is a very complicated one. To some the church is a building, but the Bible defines the church as a body of believers. There is so much more to the church than most people think and somehow we have come up with some very strange ideas of what church is and what it can do for us and who it is for. We need more of these kind of discussions and thoughtful, prayerful examinations of our beliefs and what the bible really says about these subjects. Thank you for your thoughts on this.

Brambleberry said...

This is a message that should be recited in every church. It's all about the reationship. It seems so easy to get caught up in the doing. The law. The facade.

It's all about the Grace. (Which is what makes it so amazing.)

Once Upon A Notion said...

Amen, Brinnn. Our family are church goers, and throught the years we have gone to small country church, a mega church, and are now at a Baptist church with about 300 people. I think that is is important to be in amongst other believers, as well as be there to pray with and for those in the community that are in need.

Thanks for stating the truth - your eternal home has nothing to do with the building in which you praise Him, or the meadow, the mountain, the garden, etc. Praise Hime, get to know Him, and let Him know you. Have an abundant realtionship with the One that knows you and loves you like no one else. That can happen anywhere!

Steph

Debbie said...

All I can say is AMEM!!!! I totally agree with you.

Marce said...

I´m definitely with you on this one. Growing up in a country where most people are only religious by name, I´ve witnesses the whole "I´m better than you because i go to church attitude". What this people don´t realize is that with that sort of attitude alone they are going against what their religion teaches them.

Darly Dolittle said...

Love your photos. I too gave up the city for small town America. I would never turn back. I love to blog about my little town. It's amazing how many wonderful things happen in a tiny town. Kudos to you kid!
Darly

Anonymous said...

Amen, and preach it sista! I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for the reminder :-) SALL

bellacolle said...

Amen! I grew up in big 'ole Southern churches... But what saved me is Jesus. Now, here in Wisconsin... my little bit of a church meets in a basement of a refurbished school....Some folks would look at us and say "That's not a church" Well, like you said, the church is 'Christ's Bride' A body of believers... And Christ in my opinion looks at the heart and not the building...Thanks for your reminder!

Nicole said...

I know you don't know me from Adam... lol
But I've been lurking on your blog for a few weeks now. I can't tell you what an encouragement you've been to me! Thank you!!!
It's so nice to glean from a fellow sister in Christ!
You're a light! Keep it up!

Brigitta said...

you totally voiced my feelings on this subject

Sue said...

Brin, it's confirmed, you are my soul sister!! I completely agree with you, and living in the bible belt, the pressure to attend is high. But I find myself closer to God in my gardens, my alone time with him is priceless! Thanks for sharing the light! Your a true treasure!

Sher's Creative Expressions said...

Brin, very, very well said. Blessings to you!!

grace said...

I agree. Though church attendance doesn't save us -- only Jesus Christ does that -- his last words on earth (very end of Matthew) were given to the church. In other words, he expects (and even commands) those who believe in him to be part of his church and faithful to it. It's one of the major things we do to obey Him and show we love Him for all He has done for us....

Lallee said...

Amen.

Daughter of the King said...

Wow..was this a great post..I love it...amen..amen

Deby

Kay said...

Adding one more "Amen" to the list.

God made Sunday for man, not man for Sundays.

Thanks once again for making us think.
K~