“One reads the scenes in heaven and it’s never, never about being an isolationist! Those scenes around the throne are always with the masses of people redeemed by the blood of Christ, who share the joys of His presence together forever (e.g. Rev 5:11–14; 7:9–17).”
(Phil Newton – Founders Ministries) I’ve heard it many times. “Well, you don’t have to attend church to be a Christian.” “Attending church doesn’t make you a Christian!” “I don’t need the church; I worship God in my own way.
In each case, someone attempts to provide a barrier to further conversation about the gospel and its effects upon the whole of a person’s life. In the discomforting moment of confrontation (gently or firmly) concerning sin, Christ’s death and resurrection, the call to repentance and faith, and the ongoing call of Christian discipleship, that person wants to push away and still feel satisfied about his position with God.
So, can he/she still be a Christian without going to church? If one means, does church attendance save anyone, we have to agree that it does not. Jesus Christ saves. Certainly, a lack of church attendance likely inhibits one coming to faith in Christ by not being under the proclamation of the gospel. But the question is really not about whether attending church saves anyone—that’s only a ruse to steer the conversation away from the pointed realities of the gospel. Instead, what happens once a person is united to Jesus Christ through faith in Him? Can that person, despite his/her profession of Christ, maintain a go-it-alone approach to Christianity and be legitimate as a true believer?