Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Corporate Church Doesn't Own You, Christ Does

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?...” 1 Corinthians 6:15a

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

The corporate church does not own you and does not need to be the source for what you believe, or have the right to tell you what to believe, nor does it hold claim on whether or not you get to heaven.

All of us who believe in the Triune God and have faith in His Word—the Bible—are adopted into God’s Kingdom and belong to Him, not the corporate church.

Above and beyond all the various stances and legalisms on corporate church attendance resides the God that each of us, alone, is accountable to.

Some say that the corporate church is the only way to be accountable to God; some say it is only part of the way to be accountable to God; and others, like myself, believe that ultimate accountability lies between the individual and God, not corporate church (Romans 14:4-12, 22).

Therefore, corporate church attendance, when embodied as only a tiny fraction of what makes up the total Christian life, can be discerned with sober judgment. 

So if a corporate church is telling you or any of its members something that the Holy Spirit warns may not be Biblically legitimate, the church attendee has the freedom to question, and ultimately to stop attending, that corporate church. And all Christians are free, at all times, to attend more than just one corporate church if we so choose. Membership is optional, as we are already members of the Body of Christ at salvation.

Our allegiance is to Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit and God our Father, not a pastor, fellow church member or “authoritative” Christian author that a corporate church co-opts as their “resident” adjunct professor.

The Bible makes it clear that we, individually and collectively, are the Church—the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:15a; 1 Corinthians 12)—through salvation and adoption into God’s Kingdom (not by being added to a corporate church’s membership roll).

Do not let a corporate church or denomination stymie, suffocate, or lead astray your Christian sanctification and maturity. As the Body of Christ we are free to gather with any and all Christians, anytime, any place, and are not limited to—and ought not be imprisoned by—any one corporate church alone. God never intended such boundaries (1 Corinthians 1; Acts 7:48), primarily because of the inherent dangers of the flock being misled, or corporate church attendance evolving into a rote duty or spiritual work.

As Paul so eloquently says in Galatians 5:1: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

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