CAN I BELIEVE IN GOD WITHOUT A CHURCH?
People who have something with God but nothing with the church, I regularly come across them. They usually mean the institution or the building, but rarely the believers. When we start a conversation, it turns out that old always very much underlie their aversion to everything that has to do with ‘church’.
I can’t even blame them. Over the centuries, quite a few mistakes have been made by the church, not only as an institution, but also by individual believers who represent the church and God. Unfortunately, that led to people who were once good at the pews being dropped out.
On the other hand, it prevents seekers and doubters from entering a church building. Yes, there is quite a lot of criticism of the church and that unfortunately has the effect that here and there distrust regarding ecclesiastical authority has arisen.
CAN A PERSON GENUINELY BELIEVE IN GOD WITHOUT A CHURCH?
Yes of course you can! Believing in itself has nothing to do with the church (building, institution), believing is a matter between you and God.
There are countries in the world where it is not allowed to believe in the God of the Bible . If someone does, the death penalty can follow. In that case we speak of secret believers , often no one in their environment knows about it. Church buildings are certainly not there, so even though such a believer would like to come together with others … the possibilities are not present or very limited.
Sometimes two or three believers come together secretly, for example in a basement or back room or sometimes even underground. The Bible also calls these meetings ‘church’, because the church is not a real estate but the gathering of believing people, wherever that takes place and whatever the activities may be.
The church is not a real estate but the gathering of believing people.
Being a church means eating together, doing things, talking and listening and of course reading the Bible and praying. Believing in God without a church, without other believers around you, you might be able to keep going, but it is not the intention. Believers need each other.
WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHURCH?
Fortunately it is possible in most countries to come together on a larger scale, with several believers. And in that sense, church buildings are fantastic.
You can pray, be quiet, listen, learn and meet other believers. It could be that you come in a little sip and that someone else is wearing you. I myself have experienced that I had a pressing question and that the answer was given in a sermon. Wonderfully enlightening when that happens!
Being a church means eating together, doing things, talking and listening and of course reading the Bible and praying.
At home I sometimes play nice and loud music in which God is praised, but with a group of believers coming together to sing … that is just a bit different. And then it doesn’t matter if you sing songs with guitar playing in a circle, listen to organ playing in the pew or enjoy a big worship band on stage.
Believers can do without that building, but not without the other people!