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Attending church without fear of your life or property is one of the greatest freedoms this free country affords us. Freedom of worship, the ability to honor God and apply his will in our lives, work, and culture, is a First Amendment guarantee, a continuing gift of our armed forces, and our great blessing.

According to Scripture, the Church is the Body of Christ, the “Church universal,” the gathering of all the Saints who name the name of Christ as Savior and Lord. The Church is a worldwide, trans-cultural, trans-racial/ethnic, even trans-historical phenomenon initiated by God in the Book of Acts. The local church is, according to Scripture, a gathering of believers, including the Lord who meets in the midst of them, that come together in a neighboring geographic community. The local church is a subset of the Church universal.

The local church is that place where believers may join hands in fellowship, worship together, pray together, evangelize the lost, celebrate weddings and new births, encourage the living, and honor Saints at their heavenly home going. The local church is where we are held accountable, encouraged, and edified. The local church is a platform from which we can launch a Christian influence upon local culture. It becomes our church home and church family.

Scripture says not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We can worship alone, but we must regularly worship together—because God designed us to need and enjoy the experience.

Church signs—marquees—were once a fairly trustworthy source of information about what happens inside the building (which can be any kind of structure…the church is the fellowship of believers, not the edifice). Unfortunately this is not so anymore. Now, whatever the denomination, you need to attend, to see what the pastor believes and preaches, and to evaluate whether the church really is a Bible-believing and teaching church. That’s the kind of church we all need to find and with which we need to identify.

At Cornerstone University we ask our personnel to be “faithfully involved in an evangelical and biblical church.” We believe in church membership, but we wrote this personnel policy statement emphasizing faithful involvement because that seems to be an even higher standard of commitment than simply attending or joining.

Attending church is a privilege. Praise God for his wisdom in ordaining the church and commanding us to participate.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.

At the Michigan funeral of a slain Army Corporal, members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas came to the military funeral to conduct a protest. They claim that American soldiers are being killed as a direct result of God’s judgment upon the United States for tolerating homosexuality.

The protesters stood outside the Grand Ledge Baptist Church holding signs denouncing homosexuality, including one that read “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” Apparently the group has protested at three other military funerals in Michigan in the past week.

Several veterans responded to the soldier’s family’s request to protect them from the protesters. Many of the veterans carried American flags and turned their backs to the protesters, creating a parallel line through which family and friends could enter the church.

While I do not condone homosexuality, I cannot endorse this kind of in-your-face action to protest American culture’s acceptance of this lifestyle. I imagine these protesters claim to be Christians, which makes their behavior even more embarrassing. What purpose does their affront to this soldier’s family really serve? Do they expect people to listen to their point of view when they take such offensive actions? And how do they know that God is judging America by allowing its soldiers to die, much less this particular soldier?

I don’t like terms like “gay bashing” or “homophobic,” but if any bigoted behavior qualifies, this seems to be it. These people are not “speaking the truth in love.” They are simply acting hatefully.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.