[forthright] Going Back to Church

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 18:15:59 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Final Phase

Going Back to Church
by J. Randal Matheny

Several times over the past few months I've heard
someone talk about "going back to church." Or
actually do it. Many would be quick, as I often
am, to point out that there is a more basic duty
than that: returning to God. That picking up a
ritual practice is no sign that one is right with
God, something the Old Testament prophets
proclaimed repeatedly and fiercely.

And we are right in making that distinction.

But I wonder if, in my theological finery, I'm not
missing a basic truth in plain dress.

You can't return to God (or turn to him) without
"going back to church."

Sunday morning communion with God (when the saints
are meeting together) in the bass boat or on the
beach is self-deceipt. In other words, you can't
be right with God and stay away from his people.

When I say his people, I'm not saying any
religious group or denomination that happens to
call themselves a church. I mean the true church
of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament
pattern.

But the point is, the Lord adds us to the body of
Christ the same time that salvation occurs, as per
Acts 2:47: "... the Lord added to their number day
by day those who were being saved."

So maybe I shouldn't quibble when somebody says
they want to "go back to church."

Maybe I should just offer to pick them up Sunday
morning.

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