We hear it all the time these days from professing Christians, “You don’t need to go to church to love God” but this attitude does not come from the Scripture or from the teachings of the first apostles. It must be understood that church is not just a place, though it is a necessary place of meeting for worship, it is a people. Throughout salvation history, God has separated his people. He distinguishes them by His laws and his customs. In Christ, God’s people came to include the gentiles and all people’s of the world who held to faith.
What is the faith? We note that in the Apostle’s Creed, the first formal confession of Christianity outside of Scriptures- yet drawn from Scripture, that it states “I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church” Church is an integral part of Christian faith! One does not claim that the King exists without a Kingdom and that the Head exists without the body. In Christ the body of humanity was joined to it’s head, the Kingdom was brought to earth!
Now, Paul calls the church the body of Christ. It figures you must be in the church (the people of God) in order to be the body of Christ. What does the church (the people of God) do?
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. – Acts 2:42
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. – Acts 20:7
Also the Apostle Paul says says:
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.”- 2 Thessalonians 3:6
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:25
Sure, go ahead and don’t go to church if that is your choice, but do not dare say you are following Scripture by doing this or even following the apostles. And what did Jesus say about the apostles who were his first representatives of the church?
“Whoever rejects you rejects me” – Luke 10:16