The BBC has an article today, asking the question: Calling yourself a Christian, but if you cut out the middle man [church] isn’t it cheating?
As every Christian knows, going to church does not make you a Christian, but fellowship with believers is an important part of Christian life.
The article contains the usual statistics on church attendance, namely ‘many people still believe in God, but hardly any bother to go to church’ and so on. But then it asks the question: ‘Is an expression of faith with no commitment to going to church just religion for the “me” generation?’
I think this is a valid question, as anecdotal evidence suggests that more and more people are separating their faith from the church for different reasons. Or are attending church as users, rather than participators?
But perhaps it just boils down to what must be done for Salvation? David Gushee wrote on this subject in Christianity Today magazine, when he questioned whether too much emphasis was put on the sinner’s prayer to the detriment of what Christ had said in relation to the Kingdom of God.
Mediocrity and hypocrisy characterize the lives of many avowed Christians, at least in part because of our default answer to the salvation question. Anyone can, and most [western Christians] do, “believe” in Jesus rather than some alternative saviour. Anyone can, and many [western Christians] sometimes do, say a prayer asking Jesus to save them. But not many embark on a life fully devoted to the love of God, the love of neighbour, the moral practice of God’s will, and radical, costly discipleship.
A pretty challenging thought.