taking the words of Jesus seriously

Throughout the history of Christianity believers in Christ have found ways to rationalize the dangerous behavior of attending church. They point to verses such as Col. 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything, Jesus’s direct quotes (Matt. 16:18), and the entire books of Acts and Ephesians as reasons to attend church.

Satan has used such verses to confuse immature believers into a false sense of security—deceiving them into committing sinful actions. Biblically, there is irrefutable evidence that warns against attending church.

People often say that church is a harmless tradition, where people gather to sing songs of worship, fellowship, and eat a meal together. But let’s look at the facts.

Exodus 20:13 clearly states that we shouldn’t murder, and yet throughout the last thousands of years, churches have been responsible for the persecution and deaths of millions of people. Remember the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition?

Christians routinely deny that modern church communities will fall into the same pitfalls of the past, even audaciously claiming that today’s churches include coffeehouses, free childcare, youth groups, food shelves, volunteer activities, and ministries that help the poor and downtrodden—but don’t believe such lies!

Surely, history has proven over and over again that churches are responsible for murder, torture, and death—should we really invite the risk that it might happen again? No, we should faithfully follow God’s commands and abandon churches completely.

Related: I Tithe…but should it go to my local Church?

The Bible clearly teaches that we should protect our children (Matt. 18:6), and yet over the last few decades—and even this year—churches have been guilty of widespread sexual abuse—molestation, rape, and abuse.

Surely this type of behavior makes Christians—and God—look bad. Wise Christians, especially leaders, should do the right thing and avoid putting themselves in a position for this to ever happen—by never going to church. Additionally, they should instruct their families and relatives to do likewise and simply circumvent the depravity that is known as The Christian Church.

Most importantly, as Christians, we should abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22).

Yet despite vast biblical evidence, and appearing evil in some form or another on an almost daily basis, people continue to attend churches. They lie to themselves—and others—by saying “it’s supportive” and “encouraging” and “holy” and “commanded by God.”

Have they not read where scripture warns against Christians about stealing (Exodus 20:15; sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18), lying (Prov. 12:22), laziness (Prov. 19:15), hypocrisy (Matt. 23:28), gluttony (Prov. 23:2), and loving your enemies (Luke 6:27). Churches are routinely guilty of sinfully disobeying these Godly instructions, and yet believers continue to attend them!

I recently had a friend who felt “called into ministry” (often just another excuse used to do churchy stuff). Sure enough, after a few years he started to get burned out, and someone on the church staff had an affair with someone else, and my friend started feeling cynical about God and religion. Fortunately, I convinced him to quit church and never go back.

Disturbingly, more and more people, especially younger Christians, believe that attending church is an acceptable Christian practice—and even willingly participate in it with their friends! Alarmingly, they don’t consider church sinful, and believe its OK not only to attend on Sunday mornings—but also on Wednesday nights and during mid-week services!

Yet time and time again, without fail, churches destroy families, ruin marriages, turn people away from God, hurt others, and even physically assault and abuse people!

The Bible clearly teaches that we shouldn’t cause our brothers and sisters to stumble (Romans 14:21), but many Christians do the opposite and actually encourage others to attend church! They even go so far as to invite their coworkers, classmates, and friends to church activities!

When will we learn!? Even medical professionals understand the devastating effects of church, and doctors often consider pastors and church leaders as high-risk health hazards—highly susceptible to addiction, mental instability, stress, anxiety, and other destructive behaviors.

Obviously, some will see my anti-church view as being extreme and legalistic, but I’ve seen way too many lives destroyed by churches to worry about what the secular world thinks of me. I’m only concerned about glorifying God, and I know that even one single visit to a church can ruin lives forever.

It can start out so innocently: A person greets you at the door. Parishioners seem friendly and shake your hand. The music is cheerful and upbeat. The pastor gives you hope and encouragement. You’re given a welcome gift for being a first-time visitor. You stay for the potluck lunch. Then the next thing you know you’re going to church ALL THE TIME! Before you know it, your life—and the lives around you—are ruined!

So before assuming that attending the Easter service is an innocent way to spend quality time with your family and worship God, think again! If we’ve learned anything from churches, it’s that without fail—throughout history—they’ve caused infinite amounts of pain and destruction. Don’t be the next victim—avoid churches at all costs.

Disclaimer: In case you didn’t realize it, the above rant is satirical.

But what if we treated our faith according to the same spiritual standards we apply to secular culture?

Yes, sometimes we should avoid things because they’re bad and ugly and can ruin people’s lives. But the danger is to use the worst-case scenario and proclaim it as the average norm—even when it’s not.

A “Biblical case for sin” can be made against anything. It’s easy to assume the worst and generalize evil into one sweeping condemnation.

Also by Stephen: The 6 Worst Things About American Christianity

Christians are often guilty of taking a hyperbolic, overprotective, and legalistic approach to spirituality that preaches radical mass conformity—often based on fear, control, and escapism.

In the past, Christians have demanded boycotts against material things such as movies, music, books, clothes, and alcohol, but have also escalated their wrath to include art, traditions, personal beliefs, actions, doctrines, organizations, and people.

But imagine if Christians applied the same level of scrutiny inwardly—towards themselves.

Throughout our spiritual journeys we’ll be faced with repetitive calls to avoid this, boycott that, and by all means completely reject such-and-such. Some people will need this type of kick in the pants to get their lives back in order. But when it comes to moral, theological, and behavioral policing, there’s rarely a one-size-fits-all model that’s applicable to everyone.

Therefore, we need to be wary of rushing into judgment and start practicing the discipline of careful reflection, counsel, prayer, dialogue, forgiveness, grace, and love.

About The Author


Stephen Mattson is the author of "The Great Reckoning: Surviving a Christianity That Looks Nothing Like Christ." Follow him on Twitter (@StephenMattson_)

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