I love reading posts that I’d wish that I’d written. Arthur at “the voice of one crying out in suburbia” has written one of those called “Incomplete Christians“. Arthur was listening to a famous speaker, author, etc. talk about the “local church”. Arthur agreed with this man’s focus on a local gathering of believers and replied like this:
The local church assembly is vital and eminently Biblical. Those who feel they can just stay home by themselves and be just fine are ignorant of their own need for community and the Bibleâ€™s teaching on the fellowship of the saints. So much of the New Testament is written in the context of the local assembly that it is hard to imagine a scenario where Christians gathering together frequently and purposefully is absent.
But, Arthur also started thinking practically about what this man was saying. Why? Because this man normally speaks to an auditorium filled with thousands of people. Is this the kind of local, intimate fellowship that we see in Scripture? Arthur continues:
My concern is that we have so imprinted on our minds what “church” looks like that we can read things like Acts 2:42 and talk about intimate, one-another fellowship and think that we see that in an auditorium of thousands of people… When we look into the New Testament and see where the local assembly is spoken of, what we see is fellowship, intimacy, familial relationships. While folks in huge assemblies… are getting great teaching, teaching I would love to hear every week, are they getting fellowship as well?… Great teaching yes, great fellowship no. At least not the kind of fellowship we see in the local assembly in the New Testament.
I agree with Arthur about the absence of fellowship. Of course, fellowship can be absent from a small group of believers as well, but at least fellowship is possible among a small group. In reality, when we meet with the church, we’re usually together with a bunch of strangers. It is impossible share intimate fellowship with strangers.
I would simply add this question: Is teaching (week in and week out) without an intimate relationship between the teacher and others really “great teaching” from a biblical perspective?
(By the way, if you want to know which “great teacher” Arthur was listening to and talking about, then read his post. I decided to keep the names out of my post in order to keep the post general.)