Monthly Archives: January 2015

It is a sin to not gather on the Lord’s Day, part 2

God has ordained that all Christians gather on Sundays for worship. That is my contention in these posts. This is the direction that the Church of the Lord Jesus should keep moving towards.

Some historical reasons:

  • Patrick Schreiner recently wrote on the practices of the early church here. He cites several examples in the first couple centuries of acknowledgments of Lord’s Day worship gatherings.
  • Both the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith take Sabbatarian views of the Lord’s Day. STILL, both traditions understand Sunday, the Lord’s Day, as the Christian day of worship.
  • Look around the world right now: are not 90% or more of Christian churches that you know of gathering for worship on the Lord’s Day? Are not 90% or more of the churches you have been a part of in your life gathering for worship on the Lord’s Day? And yes, the global church right now is a part of church history, like it or not.
  • Acts 20.7- “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered to break bread…” Yes, the book of Acts is church history, like it or not. But you might say, “No, that’s not prescriptive, that’s descriptive!” Yes, that is why I say it is church history. But, it is inspired church history, like it or not.

If the overwhelming majority of our brothers and sisters who have gone before us and who surround us (and who no doubt will come after us)– if they all gather for worship on Sundays– and you choose purposely to not gather for worship on the Lord’s Day, what does that say about how you view your connection to the Body of Christ?

“Heaven is for Real” is not for real

Finally, truth is getting out. I had not known much about “The Boy who Came back from Heaven,” by Kevin Malarkey. It is probably the lesser known of the three “heaven” books in the last few years (the others being “90 Minutes in Heaven” and “Heaven is for Real”). But hopefully this stirs the hearts of these other writers for the good. Read about the boy who says he didn’t go back to heaven after all here or here.

Pray for Kevin Malarkey (the father of the supposed boy who went to heaven; Kevin apparently is intent on making money off of this false testimony), Don Piper, and Todd Burpo to repent of their false teachings. Perhaps they think they are being truthful (at least Piper and Burpo). Then they just need to have their eyes opened by the Holy Spirit. Either way, repentance must happen. And maybe, just maybe, more people will actually come to see that Jesus is for real.

It is a sin to not gather on the Lord’s Day, part 1

I have some historical reasons, some biblical reasons, and some theological reasons. But let me first start with what I mean by “it is a sin”: First, I am not a Sabbatarian, meaning I do not believe the Sabbath Law from the Old Covenant carries over into the New Covenant. If I were, then I would simply say the Fourth Commandment is where God commands us to gather on one day out of the week for worship, and that we can infer from the early church and from the resurrection that the Sabbath has moved from Saturday to Sunday. But as I said, I am not a Sabbatarian.

I am, however, what I would consider Covenantal, in that I do believe God put an eternal Law on every human heart, from Adam until now (in other words, God made a Law-Covenant with Adam and all his progeny at creation). Because of this, every human being knows that one of the laws God wrote on our hearts is that we must worship God (Romans 1.18-25). Anyone who does not gather for worship knows they are breaking God’s Law before you even tell them explicitly. I think that issue right there should persuade the majority of people who break this command. Most people who do not gather on Sundays are not gathering because they simply do not want to worship God.

But how do I gather that it is a sin to not worship specifically on the Lord’s Day (Sunday, the first day of the week), since I am not a Sabbatarian? All I can say is that I infer this from  Scripture. We can infer/understand/conclude from Scripture that the Lord wants His people to gather on the Lord’s Day to worship. If we know the Lord wants something, and we do not do it, then, yes, it is sin. If we know the good we ought to do, and do not do it, then, yes, it is sin.

We do not need an explicit command from Scripture to tell us what to do on every important issue, do we? The bible does not explicitly command fasting, nor how many times a year we must observe the Lord’s Supper, nor does it explicitly prohibit french kissing someone who is not your spouse. Yet, I think we can infer what the Lord wants from us on those issues. On top of that, I will argue that “infer” is a weak word for the Lord’s Day gathering “command.” There is a lot more than meets the eye in Scripture on this issue.

I am probably setting myself up for failure by promising so much, but by God’s grace, if I am even able to make you appreciate the weight of this issue a little more, I will be happy. My goal is really to get you to say, “why on earth would I not gather to worship on the Lord’s Day?”

Things Christians should not say

Everyone who says these means well, but as usual, good motives are not all that matters. Here are some things I have heard over the years, and have said proudly myself before, but I think dishonor God:

  1. “It takes more faith to believe in anything else.”- usually this is to persuade someone that Christianity is true. The truth that is being communicated is that it does make more logical sense to follow Jesus than to do anything else. HOWEVER, to say that the alternative is “faith” in something or someone else is not true to the way the Bible uses the word. Hebrews 11 says it is impossible to please God without faith. Faith is clearly a virtue in the Bible. This statement can pit faith and logic against each other, and can wrongly lead people to think that what we do when we put our faith in Christ is put our blindfolds on despite the facts. Perhaps it takes more blind faith to believe anything else? Or perhaps we should just preach the gospel and call people to repentance and FAITH.
  2. “This is not my word; Jesus said it.”- usually this is to apologize for some hard doctrine like hell or the exclusivity of Jesus. HOWEVER, let us not apologize for God. Ever. This almost makes it sound like you do not like what God has said. We need to pray to love everything the Bible teaches- predestination, God’s hatred for evildoers, Jesus is the only way, the glory of God’s design for marriage between one man and one woman, everything. May the Lord help us to say, “yes, this might be hard for you to initially accept, but if you trust in Christ, you will see the glory and beauty of this doctrine.”
  3. “Even if it wasn’t true, I would still be a Christian.”- I used to think being a Christian is so joyful, that even if Jesus was not real I would still see the benefit of being  a Christian. HOWEVER, it is only joyful because Jesus is real. Paul says we are to be pitied more than all people if Jesus did not rise from the dead. If anyone would choose to be a Christian even if they knew the resurrection was not real, they are either radically inconsistent in their logic, or they do not really know Jesus at all. Without beholding the risen Lord, you are just a part of some cult or religious clique or social club.

Other things you may have heard?