Grace Fellowship of Des Moines Worship Team
Grace Fellowship (Des Moines, IA) worship team

I have been often asked if a person can be a Christian if they don’t go to church.  The answer is an unequivocal yes.  Our salvation in Christ is not determined by local church attendance.  They are asking the wrong question however.  The proper question is “can I be a mature Christian without being part of a local church?” The answer to that question is no.  We are designed to live in community for our own edification, for corporate worship,  to exercise our spiritual gifts in service, and to make disciples among those we meet.  We need each other in order to spur one an other to love and good deeds.  The Christian life is not meant to be lived alone.

This is Shane Vander Hart of Caffeinated Thoughts Radio with your Caffeinated Thought of the Day.

Remember you can listen to Caffeinated Thoughts Radio on air at 8:00a and 6:00p on Saturdays on The Truth Network 99.3 FM if you live in the Des Moines/Ames Metro area.  You can also listen online live here.  Also we are on iTunes!

2 comments
  1. Should it even be an unequivocal yes to the first question? If you mean to ask whether a person’s justification before God depends upon visible church membership, then certainly we must decry such a thing. However, I think we should confess that outside of the visible church there is no ordinary possibility of salvation (Westminster Confession 25.2). The church is where the Gospel is preached and where the sacraments are administered as visible signs and seals of that Gospel. The church is the bride of Christ. Jesus doesn’t take kindly to people who reject his bride.

    I’d go further than asking “can I be a mature Christian without being part of a local church?” I would ask whether I can have any meaningful claim to Christian faith at all without being part of a local church, barring extraordinary and exceptional circumstances. I want to echo all of the good thoughts above about the importance of being part of the visible church, but push a little further: No one should rest easy in the thought that they’re just immature if they reject Christ’s bride. Scripture seems to suggest that they may have no part in him at all.

    “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” (1 John 5:1)
    “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” (1 John 4:21)
    “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matt. 12:50)

    “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
    “…let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

    1. I’m comfortable with my position. While I certainly value and encourage local church membership, it is not to be tied with salvation. My ecclesiology would be more in line with a Baptist perspective than Reformed.

      Now we can certainly examine fruit, and I agree with you that someone who professes Christ, but rejects His bride is a cause for concern and could indicate a lack of genuine relationship with Christ.

      There are plenty of reasons why some Christians don’t attend church or struggle with church attendance (none of which I have time to get into with a 60 second spot.).

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