Question:

Hello,

I am a minister and teacher of Christ Jesus. A Christian brother brought to my attention your teaching about attending church and Bible study, so I could comment on it. It is on your page titled “Are you telling me I won’t make it to heaven because I have to work?” I also reviewed your “How to Become a Christian” page to get a better idea of your views and your teaching.

Do not take offense to things I say, as they are meant to bring you into further truth and have you realize that you have unhealthy focuses in your views and doctrine. You have some good teaching, but from what I read, I see you have excessively religious, sin, and obedience centered views that are not godly doctrines. For example, your views on what the church is and should be are overly restrictive and religious.

And in answering the person about attending church and study, you guilt and intimidate him and people into attending services and study. You also inappropriately link scripture to support the “command.” Attending church or any ministry meeting is not a mandatory or absolute command from God. Matthew 7:24-27 does not go with Hebrews 10:25 as a command of God. Matthew 7:24-27 goes with general sin and the foundation of belief in Christ (our belonging to Christ), which Jesus spoke of in the verses before. You put that together with Hebrews 10:25, but Hebrews 10:25 is not an absolute command from God to assemble. If you read what Paul is saying in context, it is only an urging. The verse goes with the previous one, so if read properly, Paul says, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling…” There is no wording of a commandment or order from Paul. He is simply suggesting how we should act, so his statement about assembling should not be taken as an absolute command.

How you were taught to teach may have affected your viewpoints, but you need to move further into being an approved workman for the Lord (II Timothy 2:15) and understand scripture in its correct context better.

You should never frighten people to attend church, study, or meetings, especially with the last statement you made in answering the person, “But do keep in mind that we answer to God for the choices we make, not men.” That is nothing short of coercion through intimidation and threat for something that isn’t even a sin. Your choice of words lends toward guilting people, such as “demonstrating their lack of commitment by their lack of attendance.” How much one attends church or ministry does not equate to showing God their commitment to Him and righteousness. Your ways of wording and thinking are not in alignment with the Spirit, Who gives us peace, understanding, and wisdom, not lending to judging others excessively or using coercion.

You have forgotten our freedom in Christ and that we are no longer slaves to law (II Corinthians 3:17; Romans 8:15; Galatians 5:1). You should not be suggesting that attending church or other meetings is mandatory or giving inappropriate pressure to enforce it. The same goes for tithes and offerings if you are teaching that since the person said he was a faithful giver. Do not put the Lord’s People under bondage with regulations that are from man or dark spiritual forces.

May you have the discernment to know what is truly right and required, through Christ Jesus. Amen.

I urge you to contact that person again and change the page or remove it to correct what you stated.

Feel free to contact me on any spiritual matters and further discussion. Peace and wisdom be on you in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Answer:

Out of curiosity, I checked into the writer since he provided a link. I didn't include it above since I avoid promoting false religions. The writer started his own religion based on his claim that he is divinely inspired.

The three passages cited toward the end were dealing with the Law of Moses.

"Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit" (II Corinthians 3:12-18).

The "liberty" that Paul is discussing is the liberty to see God's teachings clearly and directly without a "veil" of stubbornness getting in the way. The Israelites living under the Law of Moses did not really comprehend what God was teaching them because of their own stubbornness. "The LORD spoke further to me, saying, 'I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a stubborn people'" (Deuteronomy 9:13). Paul is not stating that we are free to do as we please.

"So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh -- for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him" (Romans 8:12-17).

The "slavery" under consideration is slavery to sin (the "flesh"). Paul is returning to his earlier point that when we become Christians, we are freed from sin. "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin" (Romans 6:4-7). This was something the Old Law could not offer. "For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter" (Romans 7:5-6). However, being released from the Old Law, which could not remove sin, does not imply we are now under no law at all. "Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God" (Romans 7:4).

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:1-4).

Circumcision was a term of the Law of Moses. Paul is scolding the Galatians for wanting to subjugate themselves to portions of the Old Law. But he does not mean we are no longer under any law. A bit later he tells the Galatians, "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). As Paul told the Corinthians, "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law" (I Corinthians 9:19-21).

"This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles" (II Peter 3:1-2).

The authority of the Bible rests upon the fact that its teachings come from God. "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17). All Scripture includes Hebrews 10:25.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:23-27).

There are two things we are told we should do:

  1. Hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering and
  2. Consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.

The reason we hold without wavering is that God is faithful about keeping His promises. Paul then tells us how we can accomplish these two things: by not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. It is in the gathering of Christians that we gain encouragement and instruction. How essential is this? Hebrews 10:26 begins with "for." This is a conclusion derived from the prior points. Without holding on and without the stimulation of fellow Christians we may end up willfully sinning and ultimately end up in hell. Contrary to what was asserted, Paul believes that attending the gatherings of the saints to be critical to the well-being of every Christian.

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