Extract from chapter 7 of my book “Christianity in Simple English”
I hear so many people these days who say “I love God, but I hate the church.” Personally I find it ridiculous, but it does happen … a lot! Many Christians I know personally do not even go to church. When I ask them why not, they give me the above answer.
Here’s the problem I have with this. Jesus calls the Church His bride. He loves the Church so much that He laid down His life for her. How can anyone who professes to love the Lord, hate the thing that He loves? Now I am not naïve and I know many Christians have been hurt by church. But the Church is not a building or an institution; it is a bunch of people who claim to love the Lord. The thing about the Church is it is filled with people who are just like you and me; imperfect! So people hurt people and the Church should not be blamed. The fact that it is the people in the church who hurt others is one of the things God hates. In Proverbs 6, we read that when anyone who sows division amongst the brothers it is an abomination to God.
Now first of all we need to understand that church is referred to in a broad sense and then in a more defined sense. The global Church of Jesus Christ is all the believers in the world, no matter which city or country we are in. We all belong to the Church. Then we have the “local church” which is the church in your neighbourhood, where you go to attend church services. People refer to the local church by name so for example it may be the Camps Bay Baptist Church. That church is one of the churches in Camps Bay, but all the churches in the world together make up the Church.
So let’s get off the point about church being perfect or imperfect. My discussion is around the need to go to church. Do we actually need to go to church? After all we can sit at home with our TV or laptop computer and we can listen to sermons given by prominent preachers around the world, in real time or in podcast. Who needs to go to church? Well the Bible says you need to go, just as much as I need to go. Let’s look at why that is….