I love to read Brian LePort who blogs at Near Emmaus because he has a heart for the Lord in his writings. However, today’s post provokes me to take exception because it extols church instead of Jesus. He writes:
For those who are worshiping with others this morning, and for those who are not because you are experimenting with a “private religion”, let me share this thought from Eugene Peterson (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction , 175):
Among other things, Peterson says this:
“Membership in the church is a basic spiritual fact for those who confess Christ as Lord.”
By this logic, the Lordship of Jesus is denied and the kingdom of God is obscured. Read the Sermon on the Mount and see that it is a call to personal morality, not churchgoing. If gathering with the washed was what Jesus wanted to see, He would have extolled rather than excoriated the Pharisees.
Peterson also says:
“We can no more be a Christian and have nothing to do with the church than we can be a person and not be in a family.”
We produce righteous fruit if we walk in the light of the Lord and consider every human being as part of the family. However, if we separate ourselves to church and think that God’s family is a subset of the human race called church then we deny the full efficacy of His sacrifice (1 John 2:1-2) and make the mistake of the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14.
Jesus Christ is Lord over heaven and earth. May we all repent – today and every day – from our sins, that the judgments for them may not overtake us. The Lord wants righteousness from us, not churchgoing. This means purifying our hearts and truly living for Him instead of ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
Related post: We’ve Substituted Churchgoing for Righteousness