The body is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given one Spirit to drink. 1 Cor 12:12-13
Is the local church really that necessary for the Christian life? Aren’t there better, more relevant ways to thrive spiritually as a Christian? It is my experience that an increasing number of believers are asking these sorts of questions.
Sadly, some doubt the importance of the church because they have been burned by unfaithful church leadership or wounded by a nasty church split. Others are tired of the hype and superficiality of consumeristic megachurches. Still others, due to a deficiency of biblical knowledge, downplay or even reject the organization, authority, and ordinances of the church.
George Barna’s research reveals contemporary attitudes on the matter. He writes that many evangelicals “are less interested in attending church than in being the church.” He goes on to explain that a large “segment of Americans . . . are currently leaving churches precisely because they want more of God in their life but cannot get what they need from a local church.”
This would all sound supremely spiritual if it weren’t so profoundly unbiblical. The church as organism and the church as organization must be distinguished but never separated. God ordained the visible church as an organization for the gathering, protecting, and perfecting of the church as an organism––the members of the body of Christ (Rom. 12:3–8; 1 Cor. 12:12–31). …