2010 Trending: Unchurched Christians?

***poll at the end of article***

I found the results of this Barna survey very, very interesting. As if we don’t have enough cojoining labels already, here’s another one to deal with. From Ministry Today:

Nearly two-thirds of all unchurched adults—people who have not attended a church activity in the last six months—identified themselves as “Christians,” according to a recent study by the Barna Group.

The survey revealed that 28 percent of the population—some 65 million adults—have not participated in any church activities or services in the past six months. As many churches try to attract this group to worship on Sunday, the study showed that the makeup of unchurched Americans may be surprising.

For example, 18 percent of unchurched Americans say they are born again, that they have “made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today” and that they will go to heaven only because they have accepted Him as their Savior. Two-thirds (68 percent) say God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe. However, slightly more than one-third (35 percent) agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all its principles, and only 15 percent say their religious faith is very important in their life.

Demographically, among the unchurched, women outnumber men, baby boomers and older generations outnumber younger generations, and conservatives outnumber liberals.

Why does such a large group of people who believe in God avoid church? The Barna Group claims that a previous study may shed some light on the question. The study showed that 37 percent of non-churchgoing Americans avoid churches because of negative past experiences in churches or with church people.

The first question I have is can a person be an “unchurched” Christian? Its not clear who defined unchurched as “no church attendance in a continuous six month period”. But maybe redefinition is part of the problem. I’d always thought unchurched meant a person didnt “grow up” in the church and/or were never confessing believers in Christ. This six month deal is a bit shallow if you ask me, but nevertheless it is the basis of the survey’s results.

We had an eye opening discussion that touched on this last year if you want to refresh, but let’s nail it down. You can hit on all or some of the questions if you like.  (1)Is church attendance mandatory for the maintenance of one’s salvation? (2) Is church attendance a prerequisite for salvation? (3) Do you think most church pastors are teaching mandatory church attendance because it is biblical or because they need the revenue of church attendees or both? (4) Is church attendance (to a designated building) the same as “assembling” indentified in Hebrews 10:25?

Other Barna survey stories at GCM Watch:
54% of “Christian” blacks in Barna survey believed Jesus sinned

Christian pollster Barna surveys gay christians

What comes closest to describing you and church attendance?
  • no I dont attend, but I am saved
  • no I dont attend and I dont feel Im saved
  • yes I attend regularly and it helps me to live saved
  • yes, I attend regularly but it has nothing to do with my salvation

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49 thoughts on “2010 Trending: Unchurched Christians?

  1. 18 percent of unchurched Americans say they are born again, that they have “made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today” and that they will go to heaven only because they have accepted Him as their Savior.

    Self deception, belief isn’t enough if it was the demons would be going to Heaven.

    (1)Is church attendance mandatory for the maintenance of one’s salvation?
    What is the model of all Churches? The First Church in Acts, lets look at what they did.

    Acts 2:42
    They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

    (2) Is church attendance a prerequisite for salvation?

    Fellow shipping with the brethren is. Church by Biblical definition is not a building anyway, it is when two or three are gathered.
    Matthew 18:20
    “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

    This is why you don’t hang out with unbelievers.

    1 Corinthians 15:33
    Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”

    (3) Do you think most church pastors are teaching mandatory church attendance because it is biblical or because they need the revenue of church attendees or both?

    Both but leaning towards money.

    (4) Is church attendance (to a designated building) the same as “assembling” indentified in Hebrews 10:25?

    If God calls you to worship in the basement of your house or living room then go do so, but if He said to buy a building, well you know what to do.

  2. Pastor Foster, I kinda think you need to break that poll into 2 questions: Are you a regular attendee? then, do you feel you are just as saved…? Unchurched to me has the same meaning for me, someone who didn’t grow up in church all day. Under this new definition, you can be unchurched in a 6 month coma
    I agree with Robert’s responses, especially on number 3, I am seeing both sides. Just Thursday, called a lady at another church, asked would she participate in an event. Someone warned me that their pastor was funny about them doing stuff, but I didn’t fully understand what was meant. Well, she’d, love to, but I have to ask her pastor. She is 40 something wife, mother and professional, and I’m not asking her to go on the mission field and miss all but one Sunday a month, I need an hour of her time to eat a couple of pieces of cake and judge which is the best, at a jurisdictional event her church is suppose to attend anyway. I said good grief.
    But just last nite I hear a new pastor (not a young man though) say (paraphrase) “I’m not scared of my folks leaving and going elsewhere, and when I go somewhere I try to take them with me. Cause I need them around the saints, to learn and know whats available to them in the church.” I said TY Jesus!

  3. The poll has been revised to include a broader perspective on church attendance and salvation. If you previously voted, I apologize and ask you to please revote.

  4. “Is church attendance mandatory for the maintenance of one’s salvation?”

    If church attendance is strictly defined by attending a building, then no. If church attendance is defined by fellow-shipping with other believers, I would go out on a limb and still say no. If you adhere to the latter definition, maintaining fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ isn’t what maintains you; it is God, Who is able to keep you from falling. But even in saying that, I’m a staunch believer in Christians fully participating in the work of the Body [of Christ].
    Frankly, when Christians are out of fellowship with other Christians, they’re cheating the Body of Christ by not utilizing their gifts and talents – gifts and talents that the Lord has purposely placed within them for the specific use of building up and edifying the body. Every believer is unique. Every single one. When we’re out of fellowship, we rob other Christians of a blessing that could be derived from our gifts.
    I feel strongly about this, and that’s why I’m convicted even as I write these things, for I’ve been out of fellowship for awhile. The primary reason has been an elevated caution of churches and what they teach; however, in the meantime, I could still be somewhere when sound doctrine is taught, even if it’s not to be my permanent church home.

    So no, church attendance is not mandatory for the maintenance of your salvation, but it’s highly beneficial and most likely a necessity (which is different than being mandatory).

  5. This is a sad commentary due to the fact that folks that don’t attend are being swayed or so they say by others! When in fact they should be looking towards Jesus Hbr 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith…… That is a poor excuse for not acknowledging the one who gave you life by saying that you are tripped up by imperfect people. That excuse flies now but will not hold water later on!

    Makes you wonder if they were really surveying Christians or alleged Christians? Because real Christians don’t give up the fight until they are called home. We lose battles but the war is already won. To those that are practicing procrastination, don’t, the costs are to high for that. To those that would say that God understands, yes He does, He understands that you neglect to give an effort in having a high regard for His word

    Off of my soapbox!

  6. Vaughn, please clarify if your statement is one that supports people being part of the institutionalized church? If so, your statement screams great contempt for those that have had their faith and trust horrifically damaged (and walked away) for the sake of promoting man’s tradition disguised as true corporate worship of Christ. What is happening in this apostate religious church system today hardly qualifies as just “being tripped up by imperfect people,” and if you believe otherwise, then woe be unto you!

  7. I hope that this clears up things! I support the institutionalized system that we have due to the fact that I believe that it’s all we have for now.

    I also go along with the church being for the perfect(ing) again ing (that’s process baby) of the saints.

    It’s what we have now although we at times run with great error we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Contempt? No, that’s not God’s way. Just a poke or prod to let folks know that excuses don’t fly. I believe wholeheartedly in the assembling of ourselves, while knowing that we draw strength from one another, you know iron sharpening iron.

    But for those that would hold contempt for God’s people by saying that there are too many hypocrites in the church. What’s worse a hypocrite or a quitter? At least a hypocrite has a chance at getting it right!

    If you need further clarity get back with me!!

  8. No need to, Vaughn. Seeing your responses only confirm that my leaving the institutionalized church (along with the bile) was the correct thing to do.

  9. I just want to know your expectations because being lumped as bile has me baffled when I’m only stating that our focus is to be towards God, while our love is manifested towards His people.

    1Jo 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

  10. Vaughn, I’m only going to go over this one time with you (and for anyone else that advocates for the institutionalized church). Take time to read the respsonses from the GCM blog entry regarding Tonex’s recent appearance at COGIC facility in NYC. (While you’re at it, take time to review the entry http://www.gcmwatch.com/4843/wanted-a-radical-return-to-holiness that gives very succint detail of the serious character flaws of too many of today’s assemblies.) There is an exhaustive explination (though not all inclusive) I have given for my permanently separating from the system as a whole.

    Hopefully, you will see that my leaving (and perhaps many others) was necessary to ensure the healing and preservation of our souls, to have a much better opportunity to learn the Word of God absent theatrics, and to enhance our coming in contact with TRUE BELIEVERS, and not for the laziness you insinuate. My hatred is for the institution, not the people in it.

  11. Vaughn, I believe in Heb 10:25, but as I said before the emphasis there is clearly on what not where. In fact it doesnt even mention a where. I believe that’s because where is irrelevant to the goal. Assembling with other believers and growing in spiritual maturity is what the goal is.
    If you are saying that salvation is in the church building, then you are wrong per the scriptures. The church of Christ is pure and uncorrupted and it is not defined by buildings and walls, pews and pulpits, it is a living organism.

    I think a person can hate the sin embedded in the system and refrain from being a part of it. And that shouldnt be interpreted as hating people. Come on now lets rightly divide.

    I do agree there are some people who do not go to church because of the hypocrite excuse and thats not a viable reason. You say at least a hypocrite has a chance. Not really. The hypocrite can only exist in the context of what is true. And the current downturn spiritual condition of the church will only produce greater number of hypocrites, not less. Thus, their “chances” (to repent?) will greatly diminish.

    I think the meat of what we are talking about here is not “excuses” but real, observable and systemic failures of the contemporary church (universal) to adhere to the Word of the Lord.

  12. Reading articles like this only encourages my advocating for small gatherings in the homes of believers, as opposed to a large corporate-type entity, where there’s a myraid of politics, played-out theatrics, and money-hungry, money-grabbing sharks salivitating for bait. Gathering in the homes of believers is biblical, not to mention an effective method of purification. Because for what reason would someone who has absolutley no desire to know the truth become a part of something of which its sole purpose is to know the Word of God, grow in maturity and be discipled?

    So in a way I agree with N-Catina regarding the “system” (because in many respects it has become one), yet at the same time I strongly encourage every Christian to fellowship with other believers in the Church. We don’t have to sacrifice sound doctrine in order to do it, but we search for a place that proclaims the unadulterated Word of God and encourages healthy relationships within the Body of Christ. It is indeed challenging to find in this corrupt age, but it’s possible. And when you find it, praise God.

  13. Angela, thank you for seeing this with clear eyes. In my specific situation, I do fellowship with like-minded believers though not in a “house setting” that gatheres at a recurring hour at the present time. There are a few, mature believers that I am close to that are in various stages of their walk in Christ and understanding in the Word. The common denominator just happens to be that we all have encountered the serious flaws described and have endeavored to leave the institutionalized church behind.

  14. Where do Christians meet is where I’m struggling with in this article. The system of big I’s and little you’s isn’t ordained of the Lord, and that seems to be where we are all to often. You all don’t know how many times I’ve left the brick & mortar building wounded by church folks (called out on’s) but had to get over and on with things.

    What we work with and what we have, so far as the gathering is what I make reference to. So if I don’t quite understand then so be it. I do know that the Church is a body of believers and not a building, and I thought that I made reference to that? I’m not here to bash folks by being dogmatic while leaving folks by the side of the road wounded, God knows!

    But what is ordained so far as scripture goes, publisher of this article, GCM, that’s you?

    “I think a person can hate the sin embedded in the system and refrain from being a part of it. And that shouldnt be interpreted as hating people. Come on now lets rightly divide.”

    I’m trying all to hard to rightly divide now, knowing that the early Church met in a multitude of places, I’m just not for not meeting at all, so clarify, ball is in your court!

    p.s.

    I think some good things have been said. Where?? Not who!

  15. From 1974 until 1991 I devoted my life to “church”. I submitted myself to the Pastor, to the congregation, to tithing and most importantly to Jesus Christ. During that time I endured 3 church splits in 3 different churches. Each time issues of power, greed and sexual misconduct on the part of different pastors and leaders led to the demise of each church. In the midst of it all I maintained my relationship with Jesus. I never viewed Him as the problem or that He let me down.

    I became keenly aware that just because someone looks or acts spiritual and knows their Bible does not mean they are not subject to temptations and vulnerable to sin. The last split just about did me in. It was a huge mega church in the Seattle area and I lost many good friends. After the dust had settled tho, I realized that we were all in a very sick environment. The Pastor that worked overtime to control every aspect of our lives could not keep his zipper zipped. Add to that legalism and absolute abuse and I one day thanked the Lord for closing this door.

    I made many attempts to find a church, but at the end of the day I could not stand sitting in a pew going through the motions anymore. I was burnt out. I could not care less if I ever stepped inside of a church again for the rest of my life. It made my skin crawl. So with that said, I know there are those that put great importance in sitting in a pew on a weekly basis participating in a solid good church and that is fine. I however, will continue my quest to find Jesus Christ with what few remaining friends I have left and the Internet. If someone does not agree with that then so be it.

  16. Friends,

    As some of you have already said, I too do not believe that its mandatory. But I do beleive as the Lord said himself, “where two or more are gathered together (in heart) in my name, there were I be.” If you love the brethren you will want to be where the brethren are, does that mean we want get on each others nerves at times, of course we will, we’ll we hurt one another w/our foolishness at times, of course we will. There are some churches that are small and have just as chaos going on in them, then those that are mega, now I’m not advocating mega vs small, but it is our hearts that need to be right w/God the size and number shouldn’t matter, but because of the heart of man, we’ve made it so.

    Oh how we need one another, which is so beautifully illustrated by the Apostle Paul, when speaking about the body of Christ in 1st Corinthians. I kind of look at it like this at times, the same way I have to put up w/the foolishness and sometimes immaturity of other brethren, I want to be just as alert, that at times they to have to put up w/mine. No church home crosses every “T” and dots every “I” because when individually do not, and I’m not speaking of sitting in a church where you know sound doctrine is not being taught, for if theres no sound doctrine being taught, well all types of other things are most obviously being allowed, but unfortunately some of us stay there because we have a position/title or the sin I’m advocating is allowed or an celebrity preacher attends.

    Some have been attending church for some 20-30yrs and yes went up for an altar call for joining the church, but haven’t been asked whether there saved, now your looking for numbers. And then you have some of us who every time the church door swings open were there, we participate in every function, we pay our tithes, but sadly theres no change, and more sader because alot of those things are done required change is overlooked and or pacified. But inspite of ourselves the Lord says he’s coming for a church without spot or wrinkle. Thought provoking post pastor.

  17. People of God: When the roll is called up yonder, I do not think that Jesus will be asking about our pew attendance sheet but rather our heart and our motives for being in that pew. A pew
    does not save nor does church attendance save.
    If you have a godly church home that follows the Word of God and
    are growing in the faith, you are blessed. Stay put and be a blessing to the fellows members of that local assembly.
    If you are not in a regular fellowship that meets in a building but rather you meet with other believers in other diver locations and at various times and engage in the acts of fellowship and
    mutual edification and communion and baptism and follow the Word of God, you are of the Body of Christ.
    One needs not a licensed/ordained pastor or an organ or a choir or a Sunday School to qualify as a “church.” One needs no building
    or a parking lot or stain glass windows or hymn books. One needs
    no offering plates, baptismal pool or printed bulletins.
    One needs only a handful of people following the dictates of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. All the other mentioned items
    are accessories that are not vital to one’s salvation or growth.
    A handful of Bible carrying people could meet under a tall oak tree every other week led by no one but by everyone and the Spirit of God could “fall” and the assembled people of God would be blessed and edified and do works of ministries.
    No chairs required. No solos required. No throbbing bass player.
    Just people and the Word of God and a heart to worship and seek the Lord. I can not distill it any further!
    Now…go and do likewise!
    God is seeking those to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Why
    gum up His perfect plan with human gibberish and theatrics?

  18. Vaughn said:

    Makes you wonder if they were really surveying Christians or alleged Christians? Because real Christians don’t give up the fight until they are called home. We lose battles but the war is already won. To those that are practicing procrastination, don’t, the costs are to high for that. To those that would say that God understands, yes He does, He understands that you neglect to give an effort in having a high regard for His word

    This….is a true statement.

    The First Church of Acts did not just seperate and go off on their own, what makes you think you can?

    You are not ok if you think God is pleased with you just watching Pastor Hagee and Joyce Meyers on TV and nothing else. It is not wrong to watch them if you can’t make it to worship the Lord with a local body of believers because of illness, or whatever. Just because you don’t want to is not good enough in God’s eyes.

    If your not connected to a body of believers where you can worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth, get on your knees and ask your Father in Heaven to direct you to them, but first have clean hands and a pure heart. ;^)

  19. @ vaughn,

    the problem with your reasoning on the situation is that you view church as a mere building. WE the body of CHRIST are the church, we are the temple that GOD dwells in! not these man made buildings, so NO these buildings are not all that the body has, we have CHRIST who is the head, and we have each other.

    also the way that the institutional buildings are ran are NOT in line with scripture as a true fellowship of believers should operate. some people feel that most people leave the buildings because they got hurt or something, i left because i got into the word and GOD began to reveal the truth to me, i think a lot of people use the building to make their concious seem alright. its nothing wrong with believers assembling together but if you not gon do it the way the word instructs, then you are WRONG!!.

    hebrews 10:25 is a wonderful line of scripture, it instructs us to not forsake assembling and fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters in CHRIST. it does NOT latch us to a building neither does it condemn us for not going to one. it simply says not to forsake assembling. i dont know about a lot of you, but i fellowship with my brothers and sisters via phone conference, internet,in person,text message, however!.

    in short people jus need to read and UNDERSTAND the word. and stop letting people keep them as slaves to tradition and religion for we have liberty in CHRIST!.

    colossians 2:8; see to it that NO one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human TRADITION, according to the elemental spirits of the WORLD, and not according to CHRIST.

  20. We know Church is not a building but it is the believers. I dont believe that church attendance is manditory as far as being saved but it seems to be a foundational part of being a believer.

    Fellowship with other believers is not a just a good idea, it is critical to the growth of the Church.

    Eph 4:16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

    God is trying to get us to be united, to act as one, we are one Body as Toney referenced.

    Psalmm 133
    A Song of Ascents, of David.

    1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
    For brothers to dwell together in unity!
    2It is like the precious oil upon the head,
    Coming down upon the beard,
    Even Aaron’s beard,
    Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
    3It is like the dew of Hermon
    Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
    For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forever.

    John 17
    20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me

    I dont see how we can become one and have unity by ourselves. Yes there willbe hurts (I too went through a rough time with Church folk) but we must endeavor to keep the unity of the saints.

    Ephesians 4:2Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

    Now if there is false teaching which is not corrected when confronted I say leave, however its going to take some hard work staying United.

    Again, lets try our best to find likeminded believers.

    My two pence!

    Blessings!!!

  21. mr.Royal

    What you really need to do is back up and quote me as to saying what you are inferring. That might be why someone else got upset with me yesterday. Where oh where did I refer to the church as being the brick & mortar building?

    Quote me bruh

  22. vaughn said,

    I also go along with the church being for the perfect(ing) again ing (that’s process baby) of the saints.

    It’s what we have now although we at times run with great error we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    my whole thing is the way it is used. when people refer to the traditional religous MESS that is the institutional system as CHURCH which is nowhere related to that i gather that they dont understand what the true church is and what its not. if i have wrongfully accused you of that misconception my brother i sincerly apologize, but i will also ask that you have enough respect for the body of CHRIST(the true church)not to associate it with the institutional buildings. they are nothing alike. and the institutional system is not all that we have, that is what the devil has indoctrinated and decieved many people to believe and they have been blinded from the truth of the word of GOD. the true church does NOT operate like that foolishness so when you refer to that as church i gather you dont know what the church is. i hope i made my stance on that clear

  23. vaughn said,

    I also go along with the church being for the perfect(ing) again ing (that’s process baby) of the saints.

    It’s what we have now although we at times run with great error we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    ok bro,its this simple, when you make statements refering to the institution system of mammon as the CHURCH(THE BODY OF CHRIST) then i gather that you dont know what the church is and what it isnt. in your statement listed above you are correct that the church is for the perfecting of the saints! but you are referring to the buildings not to the body of CHRIST. and of course there is gonna be error in most of these buildings because they dont preach the GOSPEL! there is no great error in the church because the church follows the word of GOD and we correct and reprove each other whenever ther is a issue. if i have wrongfully gathered that you have this misconception then i sincerely apologize bro, but prayerfully you understand my position. and i know some people say “well ive always refered to the buildings as church” that still doesnt does it?

  24. oops! still doesnt make it right does it? my point is just know the difference and refer to it that way

  25. I’ve heard people debate about this issue (not referring to those on this board), but is there really a need for that?
    We know that the Body of Christ is, by definition, the Church. The institutionalized church, or whatever term you want to use, is not necessarily the Church, because we know that the true Church is made up of only those who are redeemed. No one needs to tell any of us that there’s a bunch of unsaved folk sitting on the pews – and dancing in the aisles. For this reason why should believers who don’t want to be part of the institutionalized church (yet they’re maintaining fellowship with others in the faith) be frowned upon?
    However, I think that the majority of believers are part of the institutionalized church; to that end I believe it’s profitable for all Christians to either be a part of, or be connected with this entity for the sake of fellowship with others who are like-minded in Christ – believers who choose to remain a part of that structured system. Because there are more of us in the structured church than outside of it, there’s a greater benefit for all.

    Yet still I’m in agreement with those who said that to fellowship with others in the faith with nothing more than the Word of God and the Spirit of the Lord in the midst is all you need. I just think it’s more beneficial to be be connected with more brothers and sisters (the church building) than with less, if the relationships are of quality & everyone is striving towards the same goal: to know God and His Word.

  26. @mr.Royal

    That is why we converse in order to get a proper understanding of the topic at hand. The topic is about the un-churched christians in that Barna survey, and that seems somewhat of an oxy-moron by sound thereof. I’m quite aware of who and what the church is, a living body of believers upon the earth, right?

    There are those that claim Christ, but will have nothing to do with his people, be it local assembly house setting or meeting in a semi formal place where we can discuss the word or concerns for the body.

    There are those that need a break because they have been wounded, for time to recover their balance from being blindsided, but what of those that take to doing it on their own without the benefit of anyone or place? because we are to come together!

    This has been taxing, and thank God for those of you that were active in putting out the fires that you saw!

  27. @ angela,

    you still miss the point tho, why should one stay in a fellowship that is not rooted in the word? what benefit would it be to either party if the system that they are “worshiping” in is not even pleasing to GOD? please dont take this as an argument because it is not, most times people just will cause something an argunment because someone is passionate about something.any building that governs itself by the institutional system of mammon is NOT pleasing to GOD because it is not governed by his word, so with that being said, why would a true believer sit in that for the sake of “fellowship”. the scripture tells us to fellowship with the brethren. CHRIST makes it very clear who the brethren are in matt12:48-50

    48But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”

    49And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!

    50″For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

    dont get me wrong i am NOT against fellowship in a building, but i am against the system that these buildings are governed by. if you cannot see the error and why this is one of the biggest deceptions that the devil has come up with then you lack discernment. i am more than sure that somewhere there are members of the body who assemble in buildings who resemble the church of acts, but i guarantee they are like a needle in a haystack. thats why a poll like this is actually quite pointless without first realizing why so many of GODS chosen are coming out of these buildings.and even the question of why there are so many “unchurched christians” is quite dumb because it is basing info off of the institutional buildings

  28. Mr. Royal, I’m not missing the point, nor is it discernment that I lack. Perhaps what I’m lacking is a grasp of what you’re trying to get across to me.

    Let me make this as clear as possible: I don’t support nor encourage any system that’s contrary to the ways of God. What I’ve stressed in my previous messages is that I believe that it is beneficial for believers to fellowship with other believers for the sake of edification of the Body of Christ, whether it’s outside of the “institutionalized church” or within it. As I mentioned in my last post, many genuine believers choose to stay in the “institutionalized church” for whatever reason(s), and in order to be a blessing to them and them to us, I think it’s profitable – spiritually – for both sides to be in fellowship with one another. And again, as I stated in my previous post, we don’t sacrifice sound doctrine in order to do this; there are congregations within the “institutionalized church” that do teach, preach and live the pure Word of God, and it’s from these local assemblies that I believe believers from outside of the institutionalized church can partake of, one way or another.

    This is what I’m saying, and I don’t retract from it. I know of and understand the apostasy that’s occurring nowadays – how can I not? However, that does not mean that I need to reject the fellowship nor interaction with believers who are still within the “system”.

    And like you, I have no desire to engage in a debate or argument about this. I only want you to understand what it is that I’m actually saying. And after this I hope I don’t have to clarify myself anymore.

  29. Sorry if this has been a chore to anyone. Basically I tried to keep the discussion tight by posing questions. That helps us not to get into a lot of unnecessary hypotheticals and such.

    If you need to get your bearings, just refer back to the story and the questions.

  30. n addition, there may be several individuals who come to these boards and read these messages, some of them babes in Christ, and yet they’re part of the “institutionalized church”. And they may very well be part of an assembly of which the pastor loves God, loves the Word and His people ,and the people are growing in the faith. For these readers to read your comment which says that many of God’s chosen ones are coming out of these buildings, and that finding an assembly that resembles the Church of Acts (definition, please?) is like finding a needle in a haystack may give them reason to doubt where they are, without cause. Write your words in caution and don’t be so quick to group together the congregations across the the land – many of which I’m convinced are truly longing for God. You don’t hear about these dear congregations because of the depravity and negativity that spills out of many churches that we hear and read about. But they’re out there, loving God, preaching the Word and allowing their lives to be a testimony to unbelievers. I’ve been to some of these churches and I’ve been around these kind of people, and it’s overwhelming to see that God has many people yearning to know Him, hungering for His Word and just being obedient to Him. And these people are in the “institutionalized church”.
    So again, I’m all for fellowship outside of it, there’s no need for a building because the Church is not a building, and I’m aware of the apostasy. Even so, we have brothers and sisters in Christ who are within it, and we need to feed these relationships.
    Stop painting with a brush and start using fine pencil; it’s more accurate.

    There’s really nothing else to say about it. Enlighting article, GCMwatch.

  31. @angela,

    i def got you sis, and just to clarify i wasnt directing the statement about discernment to you, so i apologize if it came off that way! you be blessed sis, continue to stand firm in the faith!

  32. Mr. Royal, it’s alright. I just want to make sure that when we post comments, misunderstandings aren’t the rule, because it’s easy to do.

    We’re good.

  33. Dear Friends,

    Its a beautiful thing, when brothers and sisters have a disagreement/misunderstanding, rise above it, not make room for the enemy and do as the scripture says, “And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God for Christ sake, forgiven you.” Bless and love you all for displaying the “fruit of the Spirit.”

  34. “As many churches try to attract this group to worship on Sunday,”

    I wonder what that means? Tricks, gimmicks and false promises just to get these bodies in a seat on Sunday? And then again maybe some serious outreach is going on but the outreach shouldnt be to get people to come to church but to come to Jesus. And you dont need to go to church to get saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost, right?

  35. Self-seclusion from Christian community, I suspect, is usually a flight from accountability to others. This can be spiritualized of
    course–with a fond looking back to the holy hermits of old–but it is really motivated by selfish desire. Hebrews 10:25 exhorts fellowship for the purpose of stimulating one another to “love and good deeds.” Assemblers can be touched by exhortation, hermits usually cannot.

  36. GCM, from what I can gather, Joseph takes issue with people that leave the institutionalized church and uses more guilt-riding verbage to that extent. More than enough has been said about this, and clearly, it appears Joseph has not taken any time to carefully read through any information to come forward with anything more than this nonsense.

  37. If that is what he thinks, he has a poor understanding of the body of Christ, fellowship, assembly, salvation, Heb 10:25, people and all other associated areas.

    Moving on…

  38. Quite frankly Joseph, I have been stimulated enough by my fellow Christians. I am no better no worse than they are, but usually the most dysfunctional of Christians become mouthpieces for the Lord. At least that has been my experience. I refuse to have these egomaniacs dictate their warped view of Jesus on me. I endured too many years under that nonsense.

    I have no problem with going to church, but nearly a quarter century of people posturing and claiming their spiritual territory at other’s expense is too much for me to stomach anymore.

  39. Church attendance should be our joy and the felowship something to look forward to however the church, especially The Ministry has in the main has become corrupted by

    Greed
    Power
    Ungodly Ambition
    Culture
    Tradition

    And as a consequence our churches are overrun by false doctrine being advocated by the hirelings and wolves.

    An example of the corruption is The Leadership paradim as taught by John Maxwell. We now have a leadership centric church where the leaders want all of the benefits, hog the limelight but don’t want to get down to the true business of service to the people, so that the people are able to stand on their own 2 feet to run the race.

    Instead of having ministers who watch, encourage and watch instead we have media personalities, dogmatic feminists, players, business leaders and ambitious politicians using the church as a forum for their own egos. Hence sin sits in the pulpit, crossing its leg and no one dare say anything.

    With all of that in mind, who wants to be connected to church and when I say church, I mean the modern method of brethren having fellowship to hear The Word, pray, have communion

    Hence house group and resident fellowships seem to be a solution for the many ills of a sick church

  40. The book of Hebrews is specifically written to Jewish Christians who were being persecuted to the point of going back under the law and leaving their Christian faith. Hebrews 6:4-6 makes this clear to me.

    For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

    The context of forsaking the assembling is that they were going back to the law. It has nothing to do with what this survey is dealing with. The point of the book is to continue in Christ and not return to the law because there is nothing left for them to return to. That covenant ended when Christ fulfilled the law.

    The subject here is a survey where Christians that in some cases identified themselves that those that loved the Lord and deemed Him important in their lives. This is possible and probably for those that know the word and refuse to sit and listen to leaders that are not teaching it or are not showing great character in the pulpits. Ephesians says that the ministry gifts in chapter 4 are to help perfect the saints. HOWEVER 1 John states that we have the Holy Spirit as our teacher. The five fold should be pointing us to the TEACHER, the Holy Spirit. In that process they should be walking in the qualifications that leaders are supposed to have.

    There are too many verses in the word that describe the type of leader to be allowed to influence us. This means we judge (YES I SAID JUDGE) what we are hearing and seeing according to scripture. Why have the verses in the Bible stating the qualifications of leaders if we are not to apply them to who we listen to? Anyone that says we should sit under leadership just to be assembled does not know their Bible or the Teacher. Either that or they do not understand just how unbiblical many churches are in their setup or who they allow as leaders in the congregations. There is nowhere in the Bible that tells us that we be a part of any out of order Christian assembly so ‘we will not forsake the assembling’. That is pure nonsense Biblically speaking.

  41. Sister Pamela I must say you must be a student of the word because everything you said is definately on point. This is the only scripture that the promoters of the BUILDING have used for years to entrap people into following their doctrine.

    24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
    25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
    26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
    27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
    28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
    29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

    Acts 17:24-29 (KJV)

    19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
    20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
    21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
    22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
    Eph 2:19-22 (KJV)

  42. If people really want to put a measure on their christianity, then measure your christianity by what Jesus says and not your attendance or non attedance to the building. Going to the building every sunday or saturday does not make a person no more a christian than not going. This following scripture is the true measure for children of God; (JESUS SAYS)

    43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.
    44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
    45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
    46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.
    47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.
    48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

    Matt 5:43-48 (NLT)

    How many of us are really following this teaching so that we can be perfect as our father in heaven is perfect. Im not talking about webster’s dictionary perfection im talking about biblical perfection which means(complete in mental and moral character; a full age man or in simpler terms mature). If we could not reach this type of perfection he wouldn’t have told us to!!!!

    THESE ARE THE TRUE CHRISTIANS

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