Several times over the past few months I’ve heard someone talk about “going back to church.” Or actually do it. Many would be quick, as I often am, to point out that there is a more basic duty than that: returning to God. That picking up a ritual practice is no sign that one is right with God, something the Old Testament prophets proclaimed repeatedly and fiercely.
And we are right in making that distinction.
But I wonder if, in my theological finery, I’m not missing a basic truth in plain dress.
You can’t return to God (or turn to him) without “going back to church.”
Sunday morning communion with God (when the saints are meeting together) in the bass boat or on the beach is self-deceit. In other words, you can’t be right with God and stay away from his people.
When I say his people, I’m not saying any religious group or denomination that happens to call themselves a church. I mean the true church of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament pattern.
But the point is, the Lord adds us to the body of Christ the same time that salvation occurs, as per Acts 2:47: “… the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
So maybe I shouldn’t quibble when somebody says they want to “go back to church.”
Maybe I should just offer to pick them up Sunday morning.
You can’t please God without being a part of Christ’s church.