Posted in christian life, theology

Popular Christian Blogger says you don’t have to “do” church

By Elizabeth Prata

Kendra Fletcher is a popular podcaster, blogger, and book author. She writes at her own space but also directs you her archive of articles she’s written for at KeyLife Ministry, where the motto is “God is Not Mad At You.”

Kendra’s latest blog essay is titled,

What To Do When You Just Can’t Do Church Anymore

You read that correctly.

Mrs Fletcher’s very first point begins thus:

YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO CHURCH ANYMORE.
For some of us, church attendance was a non-negotiable weekly imperative with many assumptions attached to it. Our attendance and involvement has been linked to our faithfulness, our commitment, and our spiritual depth. Church attendance should be none of those things. It’s entirely okay to step out.

For all of us, church attendance IS a non-negotiable. Mainly for the reasons of: the Body (Romans 12:5), gratitude (Colossians 3:16), and command (Hebrews 10:25).

It is entirely not OK to step out.

Mrs Fletcher’s second point is that it is OK to step out if you were doing it for the wrong reasons. Take time to reassess, navel gaze, grab some me-time, she says. Not in those exact words, but close.

If you find that your church has become an idol, or ritual, or that you have become spiritually neglectful toward others within that body, or whatever wrong motivation you’d had- the solution is not to step out. You repent and confess. You lay your sin down in front of the throne, asking for forgiveness, and lay your sin down in front of the pastor and church people, and ask for forgiveness. Then pick yourself up and go next Sunday, pleading with the Spirit to help you grow in this area.

In the essay there is a lot of me-me-me. She writes-

Answering a concerned or critical question about why you aren’t involved/serving/plugged in/part of a community group can be answered with a simple, gracious, “I’m working through some stuff and just need some time, thanks.” Then walk out the back door.

What about relying on the Holy Spirit to help you through ‘your stuff’? What about dumping the prevalent attitude that I can work through my own stuff, Jesus need not apply, thanks. What about realizing that ‘your stuff’ is the Body’s stuff and that you’re not supposed to carry it alone? (Galatians 6:2). What about setting aside ‘your stuff’, die to self, and help someone else who is going through stuff?

Sadly, Mrs Fletcher equates church attendance with ‘doing’. It’s not. It’s called obedience.  Mrs Fletcher does as so many bloggers, writers, and teachers these days do- equates obedience with ‘legalism.’

Ladies, following the commands of scripture is not legalism, try as many female bloggers tell you that it is. It’s called obedience. Developing Godly habits and adhering to them is not legalism, hard as many woman essayists explain to you that it is. It’s called Discipline. Legalism defined by Theopedia is,

a term referring to an improper fixation on law or codes of conduct for a person to merit or obtain salvation, blessing from God, or fellowship with God, with an attendant misunderstanding of the grace of God. Simply put, legalism is belief that obedience to the law or a set of rules is the pre-eminent principle of redemption and/or favor with God.

Arthur Pink put it simply, legalism is the notion  ‘that sinners become saints by obeying the Law.’

We know that grace first abounded in God’s sovereign choice to regenerate us as a person from dead in sins to alive in Him.

POST salvation, our gratitude becomes so great and our worship so deep, we want to obey the Word that comes from a wellspring inside us that flows from our regenerated heart up to heaven, into the throne room, passing the cross with a wide-eyed gaze of wonder and relief.

Here is TableTalk’s most recent essay that happens to be on the topic of Joining and Being a Member of a Church. Their biblical take on it is that church membership and regular attendance is non-negotiable.

There’s not a hint of individualism or independence anywhere in those images. Nowhere does Scripture describe, much less prescribe, the Christian life as something that can be lived alone. In Christ, each Christian is related to every other Christian, and together we are the family of God (Rom. 8:14–16; Eph. 2:19–22). Deep commitment to and active participation in the church are nonnegotiable.

There are legitimate reasons for leaving a church, and the TableTalk essay covers those and gives practical ideas for maintaining one’s obedience to the Word as you transition.

Ladies, don’t let popular bloggers deceive you into thinking church attendance is a negotiable. You really can’t hit the pause button for temporal, selfish reasons and then pick it back up when you’re good and ready.

To say that it’s OK not to “do church”? That is a repellent phrase. It’s undignified given the majesty of the Triune God whom we worship the wondrous Person we praise, Him who saved us from a craven life of rebellion and an eternity from the tortures of hell.

The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. One way we do that is go to church, faithfully, regularly. Not ‘doing church’ but loving the God who gave us His body, of which we are a part.

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7 thoughts on “Popular Christian Blogger says you don’t have to “do” church

  1. Hi Elizabeth! I follow you on Twitter and I appreciate all your articles and almost always agree. However, I have to disagree with this article. I believe the church is the Body not a place or event or time. I am already a member from the blood of Christ, not from a paper I sign. Only God makes us members. There is a verse telling us not to neglect to meet (Hebrews 10:25), that doesn’t mean I go to a building at a prescribed time necessarily. I don’t personally believe spending one to two hours on a Sunday fulfills our command to be actively participating in the Body. I don’t agree with the article you are critiquing at all but I also don’t need to feel pressure that we need to “go” to church when we are the church.

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    1. Dear Jennifer,

      Thank you for your kindness in disagreeing with me. I really appreciate that. A respectful tone while disagreeing is hard to come by these days! 🙂

      You mentioned the Body. I agree with you that we are part of the Body of Christ, living stones representing the Church.

      However, we are part of a BODY. We aren’t amputated parts but we are associated spiritually and nearly physically (in a mystical sense) with the body of Jesus. We cannot amputate ourselves. We cannot be, like, a toe hanging out alone in our house and not connected to the rest of the Body.

      The church in Acts met “constantly.” We gather to praise Jesus for His absorption of all God’s wrath, for imputing His righteousness to us, and for edification of the members. We are also gifted by the Spirit with gifts. Possessing a spiritual gift but refusing to use it for the betterment of others is selfish in the extreme.

      I guess I’d have to ask, why WOULDN’T you want to go to the place where such refreshing teaching and love would be, in deference to the sovereignty of the God of the Universe, who loves you, provides for you and will complete you in glory? Why? You don’t want to give God at least one day out of yoru week after all He has done for you?

      I agree, the church is “not a building,” but it helps that we DO have buildings in which to gather and praise Him corporately. The woman in Lydia’s group didn’t even have a building. They met by the river (Acts 16:13). People met in the Temple, in Solomon’s Portico, in homes, and Paul and Silas even had church in jail. (Acts 16:16-17). No, the church is not a building, it’s people. And- the people GATHER to praise and sing and learn and exhort and fellowship. It’s not optional. Church membership and attendance is not a preference and it doesn’t really matter what you personally think… sadly. Not going is rebellion. 😦

      I’ll ask you to please read this, scroll to the part where it begins “One fruitful way to see how the New Testament makes that point is to consider the major metaphors it uses for our union with Christ.”

      Thanks Jennifer, best to you 🙂

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  2. Thanks Elizabeth for taking the time to respond. My husband and I do actually make time in various ways to be in fellowship with other Christians. We believe it is obedience to God when we follow Scripture that tells us to not neglect to meet and to encourage one another and sing songs together and build up the Body through using our God given gifts. I just don’t believe that is accomplished by “going to an event on Sunday”. Small groups are a much better place to encourage each other and use our gifts. How can I use my gift sitting in a row listening to one teacher each week? How can I connect with other Christians in the five to ten minutes before the service begins or the quick time just after? Where are all the men who are gifted with teaching if there is usually only one to two teachers? How are they using their gift of teaching?
    My husband and I have been praying and developing a ministry for a few years now which includes many nights each week. One night for prayer, one night for meeting as a group to worship and share, one night for potluck, evangelism, new believer teachings and men preaching from the Word.
    But the bottom line is you agreed that church is people so wherever we are, we are the church. We don’t need to go somewhere. We obey the whole Bible everyday which the “so-called church” is now calling legalism. This is why we don’t attend traditional church. And along with this antinomianism and the idea that we choose God not He chooses us, the services are social events geared towards eliciting feelings versus living for God in the home and on the streets everyday. There’s no more evangelism coming out of these events and instead, are told to follow the hierarchical business system of a senior pastor and a few elders instead of the Bible. Membership is through the blood of Christ not through paperwork.
    I appreciate you and am honored to have you as a sister in the Lord.
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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    1. Thank you Jennifer. I’m sorry you believe that praise, song, worship, and prayer during the weekly main corporate church service is “an event” and “so-called church”. It is not.

      Beliefs such as yours display rebellion- to whom do you submit as per Hebrews 13:17? Who presides over you in the Lord and give you instruction as per 1 Thessalonians 5:12? Consistent church service delinquency is a heart problem.

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  3. We moved to the southeast four years ago and it has been a very difficult experience for our family when it comes to connecting with a church. Although there are hundreds of churches there are only a few (literally) within an hour drive that are actually bible believing and teaching. The church culture in the south is not at all the friendly, welcoming place we had hoped for, but I digress. We spent the first three years church shopping and being utterly disappointed by bad theology and total lack of welcoming. Finally, we found a church that is rock solid in the bible, but the people are seriously so closed off and we just cannot understand it, but right now the teaching is more important than the people. We drive one hour each way with four kids in tow. I will admit it has been so discouraging because no matter how much we put ourselves out there we are unable to make any relationships. Everything is very surface. But we are pushing through because we know that it is better to go than not. He is working in our hearts in a mighty way because we have chosen to persevere. Also, we have four children who are watching and learning everything from mom and dad. We must set a godly example that weekly church attendance is not negotiable!

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    1. Hi Lisa,

      I’m so sorry that you have found closed cliques and inhospitable fellow members…that is truly sad. In previous churches I’ve found that to a degree, also. Good ofr you for your obedience in pexevering!! I’m happy for you about that. I pray Lord soon come every day. One day it will be true.

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  4. Amen and thank you for this! I’ve been very alarmed with Mrs. Fletcher’s teachings and her views of legalism. It appears that accepting sin, living a worldly life, as long as you wear the name Jesus, is okay. I’ve seen her criticize a godly church (one of which we have firsthand knowledge), Andy Fletcher being one of the founding elders, founded on certain principles, that she now accuses of being a “cult” or legalistic. I’ve watched the Fletcher children choose to embrace ungodly views and attitudes and it leads me to believe that the Fletchers have walked away from a Biblical church because they were not getting the results that they expected and it was easier to embrace an anything goes attitude in Christianity. But sadly, she has many followers, either out of ignorance or because they are fleeing a truly legalistic background.

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