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,
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.