Come Let Us Reason Together
Subtitle: Why Do We Go to Church?
I live in the Bible Belt, in the greatest Christian nation that has ever graced this world. God has blessed America beyond belief, because America was founded by Christians for Christians. Our people have traditionally been active church attendees, but in recent decades we have seen a decline in church attendance among our population. Does it really matter whether we attend church and does it matter which church we attend? Well, my answer is that it depends upon the reason you have for attending church.
People select a particular church for various reasons, such as: the desire to find a potential mate; the need for a support group when sick or dying; for social interactions and to make friends; for entertainment; to earn “Atta boy” points with God that could positively affect one’s eternal reward; to learn biblical knowledge; and to praise and worship God. Do any of these reasons for attending church represent the primary reason that you desire to attend church?
I admit that I enjoy fellowship, friendship, and social interaction among fellow church goers. When I was younger and unmarried I also enjoyed the prospect of meeting a pretty face and a charming smile at a church sponsored event. I also feel better when I can attend a praise-and-worship session at the beginning of the week. So, why is it so hard to find a church that truly meets our needs and wants? There are so many professing Christians that move from one church to another and never seem to find a home. Many of these unsettled Christians become frustrated and stop attending church altogether.
The cause of some of this discontent, in my opinion, is that many of our religious institutions have lost sight of the true reason for their existence. Many churches have worship services that offer no real opportunity for personal worship of God. Many churches are simply not comfortable places for anyone who feels the need to publicly praise God. Some churches have programs called Sunday School that have none of the characteristics of a school program. They require no study, make no homework assignments, and offer no real teaching except for shallow Bible trivia with no significant doctrine or other content. Some churches have Prayer Meetings where little to no time is spent in prayer. Many churches claim to be teaching members to be leaders, but they offer very few occasions for an individual to grow and develop through public speaking and witnessing opportunities. Then, there is my personal favorite reason for frustration among potential church attendees - namely the lackadaisical attitude toward the Word of God that is demonstrated whenever the pastor conveys the impression that it doesn’t matter which Bible version you use.
The predominant method used by the larger churches to attract crowds seems to be to use newer Bible versions and lots of entertainment to generate enthusiasm. The more entertainment provided the larger the crowd attracted, but once the show has ended, the crowds go away. Even the pastors of the larger churches are expected to be entertainers first and instructors in righteousness last. Everything served is easy to swallow and easy to digest. No one has to study or prepare. No one has to worry about which Bible version is the most accurate printing of the Word of God.
So, there is the problem with church attendance today. If you want to praise and worship God freely and personally, then you won’t go to a church that restricts that activity. Merely listening to a preacher deliver a soliloquy does not satisfy our need to praise and worship God. If you want to study and learn the Word of God, then you won’t care to go to a church that never offers a chance to really engage in serious study and learning. Shallow preaching and teaching will get old and monotonous very quickly. If you want to grow and develop in your public speaking and witnessing, you will not be content to serve under a pastor who never yields the floor or offers any coaching. Then, lastly, how could we seriously expect anyone to come to a Bible service where the Bible is not revered and honored as the word-for-word, authentic, accurate version of the actual words of God. If any version will do, then no version is sacred any more; and there is no longer any reason to fear what the words may convey.
Our pastors and congregations need to return to the basics. Our worship services must offer true worship opportunities for each individual in attendance. Our school programs should offer serious Bible research and study, not merely material whose intellectual content is thin, trite, bland, and generally unsatisfying. The pastor and church leadership should be engaged in actively promoting and training men and women for public ministerial opportunities. The pastor and church leadership must be educated and conversant in the issues related to Bible textual criticism, sources of corruption, and the history of the preservation and corruption of the Bible texts in both old and modern languages.
In my personal opinion, if a pastor, preacher, teacher, or any church leader is not a well-read, knowledgeable authority on the subject of Bible textual criticism, then he is not qualified to teach others about which Bible version is best to use. In fact, a pastor who does not understand the issues related to Bible textual criticism is actually a danger to his congregation, because he may cause them to accept additions and deletions to the Holy Bible – something that is cursed of God as seen in Revelation chapter 22:18-19, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
Unsaved persons do not generally attend church services, but if they come they should expect to meet God. Christians do not go to church to meet God, instead they have God already within them. Christians do, however, have a need to praise and worship God publicly with other Christians; and they want to study, to learn, to grow and develop, and to pray for others and be prayed for themselves. All of this is critically dependant upon a proper reverence for the Holy Bible, the God-breathed, word-for-word accurate translation of the most accurate Greek Textus Receptus New Testament and the Hebrew Masoretic Old testament texts, namely the King James Version of the Bible. All versions of the Bible are not the same, and they certainly can not all be equal. You must draw the line somewhere when determining which version is best. If you cannot draw that line clearly, then you cannot convince anyone that the Bible is actually a supernatural book; therefore, no one will feel it necessary to attend your church services or to heed your spiritual guidance. The foundation and only real reason to attend church is to study and learn the words of God, and to praise and worship Him for His revelations of Himself through His Word. Without a pure, awesome reverence for the Holy Word of God, there is no true value in going to church.
P. O. Box 752
Buchanan, Georgia 30113