I’m working on a post about the necessity of mutuality – that is “mutual” edification, not just edification; “mutual” exhortation, not just exhortation. I’ll probably be ready to publish that post in another week or so. But, in the meantime, here’s a quote from my research on the theology of encouragement from the Book of Hebrews:
The reason the meetings of the assembly are not to be neglected is that they provide a communal setting where mutual encouragement and admonition may occurâ€¦ The entire community must assume responsibility to watch that no one grows weary or becomes apostate. This is possible only when Christians continue to exercise care for one another personally. (William L. Lane. Hebrews 9-13, in Word Biblical Commentary vol 47B. Dallas: Word Books, 1991, 290)
But, what if the “meeting of the assembly” is not a “communal setting where mutual encouragement and admonition may occur”? It seems that today it is very possible (perhaps probable?) that believers can continue to gather together without any expectations (from themselves or others) that they are all responsible to encourage one another.