The other day I was having a conversation with my brother about church. He owns a grocery store and asked me a question. Do (you) Christians HAVE to go to church? (My brother is not a believer). He asks this because as a boss and employer he has the right to schedule people shifts for a Sunday. One of his employees asked for Sunday off and said "I HAVE to go to church Sunday, I cannot work". For so long religion (mostly Christianity) has controlled a lot of government related things including store hours. In recent years, Christiaity has had less and less to do with it. And in this bloggers opinion, rightfully so. As solid a beliver as I think I might be, I am also a big beliver in equal rights. My bro then followed with "If Christians can be fired over refusing to work Sunday, then why can't a Muslim take their turban or burka off when being inspected at the border?" Wow. that's tough and it's odd to see that Islam have such a stranglehold on the world? Must be threats of exteremists. It's also tragic that all Muslims are pegged as dangerous, when in reality the extermists are misinterpreting their relgions' scripture. The few Muslims that I know personally are very gentle and dare I say Christ like. The Lords Day Act, which controlled store hours until the 90's was the excuse I have heard many use. Jesus Christ died for such things. We do not need to be bound to the law, Jesus did not change the law he fulfilled it.
On the surface, it looks petty and I told my bro that no, we dont have do, we chose to go to a building to worship God, sing praise songs and hear a preacher teach us about God so our faith becomes more solid and we grow in it. This particular person is either really chained to the law, an avid Christian or wanting their rights.
Now this is quite a hard question to ask, and even harder to answer. But the short answer is no. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say "Go to church or temple, etc". However, being part of a body of believers is helpful in the edification of the believer. The bible does teach the importance of fellowship with other believers. But, you can perhaps do such a thing outside of church. Why not the apartment? Home? College dorm? I am not saying don't go to church, it is rather important. But rather try and expand your horizons. EBC has weekly PJ's and Praise nights where we sing and hear a message from a student
Yes, going to church is important and I believe Christians should, but if a job gets in the way of the weekly feed of the word, do not fret. We live in a technological age filled with youtube, iTunes and Podcasts that give us preachers, teachers and alike. We need a job to live, but more importantly we also need to grow in our faith.
I encourage you to share your thoughts. Do YOU think it's vital for Christians to go to church every Sunday? And what of jobs that demand Sunday shifts. Would you take them? Would you risk losing money and even worse your way of living (home/apartment/water/electricity). ? Such things would totally teach us more faith in God.
But please, share your thoughts and lets debate.
I leave you with this verse about fellowship: "That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself."