Am I going to hell if I don't go to church?
A lot of people think not going to church is grounds for a life sentence to hell. What do you think?
Others can relate to being too busy, not finding the time, or simply being too tired or lazy to go to church.
These two groups pf people share one thing in common, not going to church.
Does this mean that they are bad Christians who will go to hell for not attending church?
American pastor, Dr Timothy Keller, doesn't say so. However, he has stressed the importance of a church.
According to the Redeemer Presbyterian Church senior pastor, a church or a 'community', as he puts it, is needed in order to become a better Christian.
Speaking at The Parenting Teens Summit, Keller said that the church is important to Christianity, adding that "there is no lone ranger Christianity."
Citing John 17, the pastor said, "Jesus Christ left a Church behind. He left behind a community."
Keller went on to say, "I wouldn't be a Christian if I hadn't seen a communal embodiment of the truth that I was reading about. It just wouldn't have been enough for me. Besides we're social beings anyway. The only way you'll ever be massively redone is through being part of a Christian community."
His sentiments were echoed by Pastor Bob Russell, the co-author of 'When God Builds A Church.'
Russell said, “The Bible refers to the Church as the Body of Christ. How can you love Christ and yet hate his Body? … To say, ‘I don’t need the church,’ is to completely miss the purpose of the church. You need the fellowship of other believers to grow and to be held accountable, and other Christians need you."
The pastor also cited 1 Cor. 12:21 saying, "Paul said, ‘The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”’ (1 Cor. 12:21). The Lord hasn’t given you the option to say, ‘I believe in Jesus, but I don’t want anything to do with the church.’ When you attach yourself to the head, that makes you a part of the body. The body may have scars, blemishes, inadequacies, and maybe even paralysis. But you can’t have a life apart from the body.”
Hebrews 10: 24-25 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
Based on this, it is safe to say that the Bible does encourage going to church.
I don't think going to attending church is guaranteed to send anyone to hell. However, it is definitely preferable to attend church as it motivates us, feeds our souls and gives us the opportunity to mix with like-minded people.
Besides, being a Christian is not a solo thing as it means being a part of God’s family.
In extreme cases, Church-less people are advised to get together with other Christians to fellowship, read the bible and pray. This should be on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis has said that there is 'no point' going to church if you don't really believe in it.
In his words, “If I say I am Catholic and go to mass, but then don’t speak with my parents, help my grandparents or the poor, go and see those who are sick, this does not prove my faith, there’s no point.
Christian faith is expressed with three things: words, the heart, and the hands. Those who do this are nothing but Christian parrots – words, words, words."
According to Independent, he made these statements while addressing young residents of Guidonia, a village near Rome.
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