Typically, I try to write about the church from a positive perspective. Instead of writing about what’s wrong with the modern church, I usually write describing the positive characteristics and activities of the church as we see it in Scripture. Now, many of my readers automatically recognized the negative side of what I write. However, I still try to write from the positive perspective. I write about what the church should be, not what it shouldn’t be.
In this series, though, I want to write about modern, traditional church. Now, right away, there are problems with the design of this series. You see, no church will exactly look like or do the things that I write about. But, I hope that each reader will consider their own church and their own practices in order to determine if some of these aspects of the “general” modern, traditional church may apply. I think that we can all find “dangerous” practices of each of our churches.
What do I mean by “dangerous”? Primarily, I mean those practices that teach things that are contrary to our reality and identity in Christ. I’m talking about practices that are certainly used by God, but are not necessarily the best that God has provided for his children.
For this first installment, think about the day – Sunday. In many cases, “church” is defined by the day. The same group of people can do the same things on Monday, but it’s not considered “church” because it didn’t happen on Sunday.
While we do have an instance (yes, just one) in Scripture of the church meeting on Sunday (Acts 20:7), we have more examples of the church gathering together every day (Acts 2:46, Acts 9, and perhaps Hebrews 3:13). The church is not defined by the day on which it meets.
But, when we focus on a particular day, we teach people something “dangerous.” We teach them that they are the church because of the day, not because of their identity in Christ. (Of course, this is usually combined with – and can’t be separated from – a particular location and doing specific things, but we’ll look at those later.)
Obviously, there’s no problem with believers meeting together on Sunday. We see church in Troas meeting on Sunday while Paul is with them, and the churches in Jerusalem and Ephesus met together on Sunday (since they met together daily).
However, there is a difference between meeting together on Sunday and somehow holding Sunday as a special day to meet together. Instead, we should encourage believers to meet together whenever they can – on Sunday and on any other day.
It can be dangerous to hold Sunday as a special day (or even the only day) for the church to meet together. By doing so, we are teaching people that their identity as the church is tied to a day instead of to their relationship with Christ and their mutual relationships with one another.