Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. People insist on going to church to express these feelings, beliefs, etc. Why are religious institutions necessary?

My personal experiences with Church is people putting on a show in a public place. People act all holy at church but when they are in public and not in church, they don't express their beliefs all the time. Matthew 10:33- But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven This applies to these people.

I believe that if you are a good person, if you believe in God, and you don't deny him, you will go to Heaven. So this brings me to my question, Why do we have organized places of worship to practice our beliefs? Can someone give me bible verses that say that these religious institutions are holy places, and this is where you should go to worship?

I am not trying to offend anyone, I am just trying to be informed. If you feel like I am offending you, please feel free to down vote me.

share|improve this question
    
I would encourage you to go to a different church. I would also encourage you to think about why you believe something. Believing something does not make it true. The Bible is clear that no one is good, so even if your belief were true, it wouldn't help anyone. We come to God as the prodigal son--completely unworthy, but welcome--not based on our "goodness", but based solely on the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for my sins. –  Narnian May 1 at 12:18
    
And that is another problem I am having. If I wanted to go to a church, what denomination should I be affiliated with? When I was a teenager I was exposed to Assembly of God, which was nice and it really spoke to me, but all I saw was fake people who went to church to say they went to church. They were not good people outside of church, and many people didn't see that. –  John Janssen May 1 at 12:22
    
There are fake Christians in every denomination, unfortunately. I would encourage you to find a church where the Bible is central and which is involved in missions to share the gospel with others. –  Narnian May 1 at 12:26
    
Any particular denomination you suggest? –  John Janssen May 1 at 12:27
    
Yes, but this is not a site for that, as there would be a great difference of opinion. There are great Baptist churches and really bad Baptist churches. Non-denominational churches are sometimes wonderful. E-Free's and Presbyterians can be great. It just depends. Sorry. –  Narnian May 1 at 12:30

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In church, God may use us to help other believers:

1 Cor. 12:7-9

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

In the church, we can be taught by gifted people whom God has chosen to impart the knowledge of His Word and will, and teach us how to minister to others:

Eph. 4:11-12

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherdsfn and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

A good pastor will help us see the wiles of the devil working in the world against us so we choose the holy way of faith in Jesus instead:

Eph. 4:14

so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

In the church, we learn to love even the sinner, including hypocrites, that we may all grow up; staying away from the church can fill you with yourself and your own agenda for living and not God's. God designed the church such as way that you have a part to play in it:

Eph. 4:16

from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

If you find reasons not to go to church and take part, then you have been deceived; you are not living to prepare for the judgment to come but for your own ideas:

Heb. 10:24-25

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

When the believers gathered together for the Word, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer, they were strengthened and grew:

Acts 2:42

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

share|improve this answer

This is a question which is going to have several different answers, according to different denominations. Bear with me while I go over the main ones.

According to Roman Catholic theology, the church (specifically the institution, which became the Catholic church) is the inheritor of the promises Jesus made to his disciples. Specifically the church is the guardian of the truth of the faith, and one of the main means through which the grace of Jesus is dispensed to his followers. In particular this is done through the Mass, which can only be carried out by priests of the Church. Thus to be detatched from the church is to be detached from one of the main ways that Jesus provided that his followers down the ages could receive grace, strength and spiritual blessing. This is not to say that a Christian cannot exist outside of the church, but to wilfully reject the church is to reject the provision that Jesus has made for your spiritual growth and sustainment - in effect to say to Jesus "Thanks for setting up this organization to give me what I need, but I'm going to do it on my own".

The Orthodox churches hold similar views, although there is somewhat less emphasis on the structure and heirarchy of the church.

In the Protestant churches, there is (mainly) no belief that the church (in the sense of an organization) is required or necessary for God to dispense grace, strength, understanding and wisdom. There is much more emphasis on the individual's relationship with God. However even in those churches meeting with other followers of Jesus is extremely desirable for mutual support, encouragement and teaching. Again, to attempt to live a solitary Christian life is to reject the provisions that God has made for your spiritual well-being. In Protestantism this provision does not (mainly) come through the organization of the church. Instead 'the church' is defined to be 'the body of true believers', which may or may not overlap with members of any specific organization. The Protestant belief here is based mainly on the example set by Jesus and his followers, who operated in community and met together regularly.

All of the above is stated in the full knowledge that any given organization of believers will be imperfect and flawed, but that working through these imperfections together is a means of growing the Christian living. There is an old saying that no church is perfect - and if you find a perfect church, don't join it - because you'll spoil it.

Nothing here is to say that a Christian who is prevented from meeting with other Christians, for example by isolation or imprisonment, is less of a Christian, but to cut yourself off from other believers voluntarily is to deny yourself many supports, which Jesus has provided for your benefit.

share|improve this answer

DJClayworth has laid out denominational interpretations, but there is a more fundamental, non-denominational reason: The disciples met together.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together ... — Jn 20:19 NIV

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. — Acts 2:46 NIV

Christians have been meeting together to worship since the earliest days, to provide mutual support and friendship — initially, and during the Persecutions, in very difficult times. But these present times are still difficult in their own way. Christians still need to be part of a body of believers.

share|improve this answer
    
I understand. So you are saying if we gather in a church, with a body of believers we will be less likely to lose faith or question the existence. I do appreciate the comment, I never looked at church in that aspect. I appreciate it. –  John Janssen May 1 at 12:19
    
@AndrewLeach If "church" practices were true to Scripture, shouldn't believers be meeting everyday? –  Gabriël Wolmarans May 1 at 14:22
    
@GabriëlWolmarans Some do. That is the ideal; it's not always possible. –  Andrew Leach May 1 at 14:54

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.