“Lone Ranger Christians?” Part 2
By Pastor Ron Buxton
In my previous article I stepped on some toes of self-identified Christians who never go to church. That’s been an unfortunate trend among the younger generations, but it all started incrementally decades ago. I call it the “Lone Ranger” phenomenon. And my intention today is to begin challenging the reasoning behind that trend.
You see, Christianity is totally dependent upon God’s revelation recorded in the Bible. And that revelation primarily deals with loving relationships–beginning with God towards us. The Bible tells us that “God is love”, but love cannot occur in a vacuum (or isolation). Mysteriously, that also explains the Holy Trinity (but that’s a whole other article for maybe another time). Nonetheless, there’s no doubt that God made us to live amid a community of those also redeemed by Him.
Now, many Bible analogies describe the Church, but I’ll limit myself to just one today: the unique relationship beginning with Adam and Eve. We’d call it God’s design for marriage. However, it’s meant to teach us something even greater than what two people can enjoy. Allow me to borrow the words of Pastor Tony Evans here. He said: “I hear people say, ‘I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian’, and they are absolutely right. Salvation is through faith alone. You also don’t have to go home to be married. But stay away long enough, and your relationship will be affected.” Folks, that’s the central problem with skipping church, and still claiming to be a faithful Christian!
You see, fellow believers need to be together. Proximity is required. Let me explain further. I vividly remember meeting my future wife Velia. And, unfortunately for me, 2500 miles quickly separated us from any kind of relationship. So, what did I do? I joyfully relocated to El Paso Texas to marry her. Why? Long-distance phone calls were not enough. And such is the requirement of a growing love. You don’t settle for less.
You might say, “What does that have to do with going to church?” Everything. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians called the assembled church “the Bride of Christ”. The Apostle John in his writing known as Revelation also used that word picture. You see, in the unseen realm, there’s so much more happening than just a bunch of folks getting together on Sunday morning. Collectively, we become something supernatural. We become the “Bride of Christ” awaiting the final consummation with our Redeemer Groom (Jesus Christ). I know. If you’ve never read the Bible that all seems very weird. But it’s true.
Lord willing, in future articles I want to delve into the unequaled benefits that a church attendance was meant to be. And, also, I’ll try to answer the concerns about hypocrisy and abuses that have kept some people away. Those are very real problems that require very real answers. However, a 500-word limit is challenging! Please keep reading…