I got involved in the comments thread.
Update (December 14, 2013): Here’s my last comment on this post:
This will be my last comment on this post, so I want to summarize.
As preparation, I have re-read Kevin’s post and listened to the first ten minutes of Joel Beeke’s message (in which he gives the thesis and outline of his message). [For those who haven’t been following the whole comment thread, the link to this 65-minute sermon can be found in one of the comments above.] Certainly, Kevin and Joel are on the same page – Kevin giving the “what you should do” and Joel providing the “why you should do it.” The problem is that the church they are preaching is not the church they are practicing.
Kevin’s church is in East Lansing, Michigan. So I googled “churches in East Lansing, Michigan.” Sure enough, there was University Reformed Church. But there also was St. John’s Church, the People’s Church, Edgewood United Church (they must mean micro-united, because on a macro basis that name in the midst of such a list is an oxymoron), River Terrace Church, University Lutheran Church, Eastminster Presbyterian Church. Even if this list of East Lansing churches is not exhaustive, it is enough to exhaust the person who in good faith wants to take the exhortation of Hebrews 10:25 to “assemble together” seriously.
Most, but certainly not all, of those who have commented in this thread can be divided into two categories: those whose church experiences have been on the whole edifying, and, on the other hand, those whose church experiences have been on the whole disappointing. My point is that whether your church experiences have been positive or negative should have nothing to do with the issue at hand. What matters is keeping the commandments of God. And the question at hand is, “Is it a commandment of God to attend church?”
Though Kevin thinks that “being the church rather than going to the church” is mere rhetoric, it is actually the critical point that he is missing. The church that Jesus died for is the church that is…at all times and in all places, not the church that attends meetings. The church that Jesus died for is the church that is united in one Lord, not the one that meets in at least six different places in East Lansing. Even if Michigan State offered the use of the Breslin Center to all the city’s Christians, would Kevin want his congregation to be combined with the other congregations? Would he want to be a co-pastor with the Catholic priest? How about the with the Presbyterian pastor? In short, would any of those churches be willing to give up its distinctives in order to demonstrate John 17 unity for the sake of the Lord who died for them?
I am calling you back to our first love, Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the one who gave His life for you. Love Him as He asks, and you will be the church which He cherishes.