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Of late I have chosen to believe in The Lord, but still I have not joined any church. I am curious about whether is it necessary to join a church? What reasons are there to meet with Christians? Indeed, from time to time I voluntarily help people and lift the depressed whenever I have the opportunity to.

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closed as off-topic by DJClayworth, Flimzy, David Stratton Jul 31 at 11:10

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possible duplicate of Do I have to attend church every Sunday? –  curiousdannii Jul 31 at 4:29
    
As your question is written, it is soliciting opinions, which makes it off-topic here. If you were to adjust it slightly, to ask, say, for the Biblical reasons to attend church, it would be a much better fit here. –  Flimzy Jul 31 at 10:41

3 Answers 3

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Christianity is about having a relationship with God.

The most important aspect of Christianity is knowing God. (John 17:3) This is the goal, for our broken relationship with God to be restored through Jesus. This doesn't require the church. It certainly is possible to be a Christian without being a part of a Christian community or church. We were created to live in community (Genesis 2:18), so to live as God intends, we ought to seek out Christian companionship. Being a part of a Christian community is the only way that Christianity is presented in the New Testament. One way of doing this is by being a "member" of a local church. "Membership" means different things to different groups, but being part of a community of believers, when possible, is the goal.

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Consider what Christ said to John the Baptist when we went to the river Jordan to be baptised:

14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. (Matt 3:14-15 KJV)

Christ went to John the baptist to be baptized, not because he needed to be cleansed of his sins, Christ had no sins, but because it was necessary, "to fulfill all righteousness."

If it was necessary for Christ to be baptized, then it is also necessary for us. Ordinances such as baptism are performed by the power of the holy priesthood, which is why Christ went to John the Baptist. John was a Levite, a descendant of Aaron, he held the Aaronic Priesthood and the authority to baptize unto the remission of sins. Baptism is the first of several ordinances that must be performed in order to return to our Father in Heaven, and these ordinances and priesthood power only exist in God's Church.

If you are unsure of which church to join, look to the scriptures for guidance:

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

Your question is very similar to the account of the prophet Joseph Smith. He was 14 when he decided he wanted to join a church, but did not know which to choose from. He was impressed by the scripture above to petition the Lord about which church to join. His account of what happened can be found here.

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If it is necessary for baptisms to occur in a church then why did lots of baptisms in the book of Acts occur with strangers in places without churches? –  curiousdannii Jul 31 at 5:57
    
You're thinking of a "church" as a physical building. I was referring to the church as an organization. Christ's apostles baptized in his name and by so doing those that were baptized were added to the church. example - Acts 2:41 –  ShemSeger Jul 31 at 6:06
    
No, I meant 'church' as community. Many of the people baptised in Acts were not already part of a Christian community, nor does it say they immediately joined one, such as the Ethiopian eunuch. We should assume they joined or started a church, but the sacrament clearly didn't need to be done within an organisational structure. Or are you talking about the global church? If so then this is irrelevant to the question. –  curiousdannii Jul 31 at 6:12
    
...Christ established the first Christian community, so it's should go without saying that the people in Acts were not already a part of one. Are you referring to a congregation as a church? –  ShemSeger Jul 31 at 6:19
    
Yes I've being using the word church to mean a local congregation because that's what the question was asking about. And personally I'd normally explicitly say 'global church' if that's what I meant. –  curiousdannii Jul 31 at 6:21

Catholic Perspective

To understand the Church, the New People of God, one needs to understand the Old, God's People Israel.

God therefore constitutes a people and makes a covenant with them.

The belief in the Holy Catholic Church is an article of the Creed [/Faith].

What follows are the pertinent Q & A from the Penny Catechism, 83 thru 88

83. What is the ninth article of the Creed?
The ninth article of the Creed is, 'the Holy Catholic Church; the Communion of Saints'.

84. What is the Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church is the union of all the faithful under one Head.

85. Who is the Head of the Catholic Church?
The Head of the Catholic Church is Jesus Christ.

86. Has the Church a visible Head on earth?
The Church has a visible Head on earth - the Bishop of Rome, who is the Vicar of Christ.

87. Why is the Bishop of Rome the Head of the Church?
The Bishop of Rome is the Head of the Church because he is the successor of St. Peter, whom Christ appointed to be the Head of the Church.

88. How do you know that Christ appointed St. Peter to be the Head of the Church?
I know that Christ appointed St. Peter to be the Head of the Church because Christ said to him; 'Thou art Peter,and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven'. Mt 16:18-19 (RSVCE)


Approaching it from belonging to a People, God's own household, there is then an understanding of the significance of these words in the Old:

Cut-off from the[/your] people.

Gathered to his people.


In the Old: to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise. [cf. Is 43:20-21 (RSVCE)].

In the New: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people [Gk a people for his possession], that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy. [cf. 1 Pt 2:9-10 (RSVCE)].


From a catholic perspective, the belief in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and belonging to it is required for salvation, and therefore it is not possible to believe in the LORD without joining the Church he established.


Please see also: Has the Church stated any advantages or reasoning or prompting to re-formulating positively the Catholic Church's salvation doctrine?.

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