I’ve been noticing that some professing Christians don’t see a need to become a member of a local church. I will be blogging on this issue going forward. Part of this problem is defiance of authority, a.k.a. rebellion.
Believers who are not under spiritual authority are in rebellion (defiance of authority). Why? Because a member of the Body of Christ (a born-again Christian) cannot be apart from a local church-body and not under someone’s leadership, authority, and accountability and think they’re walking in obedience with God according to Scripture (Heb. 10:23-24; 13:17, 1Thess. 5:12, Titus chs. 1 & 2, 1Pet. 5:1-6, 2Thess. 3:1-15). If they think that this is ok, they’re lying to themselves and rebelling against Scripture. Their flesh is conning them into following its desires and not the Spirit’s.
What about Christians who can’t go to church?
If you cannot be submitted to a biblically-sound local church because of persecution or things beyond your control that hinder you, God understands. He’s allowed it. And the fact that there is a sincere desire/conviction to be submitted and connected shows that person is not acting in rebellion. But if a person is in a position to be submitted and connected to a biblically sound local church and its authority and willfully and continually chooses not to, they are acting in rebellion to God’s Word; and it really is to their loss—lack of growth, lack of accountability, lack of maturity, lack of humility, lack of the fruit of the Spirit, etc.
So does this mean a professing Christian is not actually saved if they do this?
No. You can be sincerely saved and still fall into temporary rebellion. But a true born again, regenerated believer will want to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:5-14), and will want to be connected and submitted to God’s local Body. However, there are those who have no conviction to do so, and that must be questioned because they may not be sincerely born-again or there could be some underlying issue or they are simply being willfully defiant.
How to get out of the mindset of not submitting or connecting to a local church-body?
First, recognize that God says in Scripture being connected and submitted to a local church-body and its leadership, authority, and accountability is necessary (scripture references above). Second, see the need for it (1Cor. 12:12-26). Our bodies work as a whole. If a part of our body is separated from the body, its chances for survival, growth, and functionality are slim to none. So it is with a member of the Body of Christ being separate from His local Body; it is to our own harm if we aren't. And third, understand that obedience to God precedes any and all personal preferences (Rom. 12:1-2). If you are in a position to be submitted and connected to a biblically-sound local church and its authority but aren’t, your only excuse is simple and plain rebellion (defiance of authority).
*Note: I am not talking about those who are looking for a local church home, but haven't found one yet. But I will say this blog would address the Christian who has been looking for a local church home for several months (or longer) and still hasn't committed themselves yet.