Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Church Anywhere, Anytime

There is a discussion/argument that some Christians have about what constitutes a church gathering. You've heard the question before: "If two Christians meet in a coffee shop, is that church?" The focus of the question is "what counts."

The problem with the above discussion is that it suggests that whether or not something is church depends on what we do. In other words, the specific activities determine if a church gathering is actually a church gathering. This is, in a word, preposterous. In scripture, the only determining factor for whether or not a gathering is a church gathering is who is there.

If those in Christ get together, it is a church meeting. This may look like a whole lot of different things, but in the end when Christians meet, it is a church meeting.

The church meets anywhere, anytime.

This is becoming more of a reality for me everyday. Since I work so much now, and in a secular environment, I cherish any conversation I can have with a fellow Christian. I wish they were more frequent. When we do get to talk, it's a meeting.

This issue comes back to the importance of accurate (re: biblical) definitions. The bible always describes the church as God's people, not as any sort of activity - even a meeting.

God has, in his grace, shown us why he wants us to gather (mutual edification leading to Christian maturity). He has also given us examples of things we can bring to gatherings that honor him (prayers, songs, testimonies, teachings, etc.). Although these things are important, they do not determine if a meeting is, in fact, a church meeting.

Ultimately it is God who determines if a church gathering occurs. He is the one who sovereignly saves; therefore, he determines who his children are. Whenever his children get together - anywhere, anytime - it is a church gathering.

In a way, this whole conversation is redundant. Asking if Christians getting together is really a church gathering is sort of like asking whether or not an apple is an apple. If Christians get together it is by default and definition a church gathering.

We can and should meet anywhere and anytime. God is pleased when we do. The actions don't determine whether or not it's church, God does.

4 comments:

abnormalreaction said...

I do not even think the Church meets.

I think the Church just IS!

Eric said...

Swanny,

The church certainly is, but do you really think it doesn't meet or is that just hyperbole?

Paul does write in I Cor. 14:26, "Whenever you come together..."

abnormalreaction said...

hyperbole...

It just does not need to be an "official" meeting.

Eric said...

Swanny,

True dat!