I have oft heard the statement, “I believe in God but I dislike ‘organized religion.'” That is what we used to call a cop out. What is an organization? It is “a group of people who work together for an explicit purpose, with organized rules and structure.” That means any group gathered together.
A group does not gather unless it has a purpose. The group itself is a structure, and whatever decision the group makes, is a rule. That could be something as simple as going out to dinner with friends or as complicated as a major international corporation.
Christianity was not intended to be for loners. The Scripture tells us that we should not forsake gathering together: “let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:22-25 NASB).
Loners cannot gather together with other believers and remain loners. We are admonished by the Holy Spirit through the verse above and through other passages not to be loners. We are to gather regularly with other Christians to encourage one another to do good works and acts of love. We are also to gather together help us to hold tightly to our hope in the promises of God. We are to gather together to help us grow in Christ, to study the Scriptures, to practice discipleship, and to spread the Good News that Christ died for our sins. There are many other reasons God wants us to gather together regularly.
We must come together regularly and edify one another. We must do so face to face for that is how can keep our unwavering faith, and provoke each other to love and good works. It is only by meeting regularly with other Christians that we keep the world at bay. Without regular meetings with committed Christians we will become more and more worldly. It’s as if we have some of the dirt (sin) from the world washed from us when we assemble together.
Shortly before the church began at Pentecost, the church was gathered in the upper room. There were about a hundred and twenty believers gathered there (Acts 1:15). We read that when Pentecost had arrived, all of them were gathered together in one place in a house. That was when the Holy Spirit came upon them and filled them with power. That was when the church began for Christ told them to gather and wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them before they began to preach the Gospel to the world (Acts 1:4; 1:8).
When Jesus began His ministry, He took with him twelve disciples to accompany him in His travels so they could learn from Him how to conduct their ministries. They were together as a group for three and one half years. Jesus was not a loner; neither were His twelve disciples, which became His Apostles or ambassadors to bring “The Way” or Christianity to the masses.
There are no loners in Christ; we are a community; a community in Christ. When we gather together in any setting, such as a home Bible study group, a recreational event, a funeral, a church dinner, in a Sunday School class, or in a Church Service in a church building, we are organized.
In order to obey God’s admonition that we should gather together regularly we must be organized. That organization may only consist of telling people we are going to have a bible study and setting up our living room to accommodate those who attend. Or, it may consist of having regular weekly church services in a church building. Wherever two or more are gathered in Jesus’ Name, He is with us, and that is organized. If we gathered for the purpose of serving Christ, we are organized.
When a person refuses to gather together with other Christians because he or she does not like “organized religion,” it is just an excuse not to attend church. It is nothing more than that. It is a straw man argument, which is used in an argument when opponents are not thinking critically. It is an emotional argument based on a non-existent premise.
The premise is not that “organized religion” is the problem; that is the straw man. The real premise is that the person making such a claim is in rebellion against God’s will. The contender of the argument is really opposed to going to church and has an agenda, usually hidden, that prevents him or her from attending Church. Perhaps the person is not saved by the blood of Christ; or perhaps the person has been emotionally hurt by a church member, etc. Whatever the reason, the excuse for not attending is, “I don’t like organized religion.”
The “organized religion” excuse is used to shield the person making the excuse from being scolded by another. This only works against humans. If you use that excuse God knows the truth; He knows your heart. He knows you are rebelling. You cannot bluff God.
Like I said earlier, the excuse, “I don’t agree with organized religion,” is a cop-out.
- v. To avoid or shirk, either by failing to perform, or by performing in a grossly insufficient, negligent, or superficial manner.
- n. A failure to fulfill a commitment or responsibility or to face a difficulty squarely.
n. An excuse for inaction or evasion
(Copyright 2017 Urban Dictionary)
If you are a Christian using the “organized religion” excuse, STOP MASKING EXCUSES and find a place to gather together regularly, and at least weekly, with other Christians.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? He is going to return to the world soon. Are you ready? When He does if you do not know Him as your Savior, you will join all those who do not know Him in “Outer Darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 22:13-14).
Mark Oaks, October 25, 2018