Where does the Bible teach that not belonging to a congregation is a sin?



I came across your question/answer page online.

My question is, where does the Word of God teach that not belonging to a congregation is an unforgivable sin and one will go to hell for not belonging to a congregation?

I've heard Church of Christ preachers speak as though one will go to hell if they not belonging to a congregation. Although they don't say this directly, the implication is there.

I live in an area where all the churches teach false doctrine. I've contacted for discussion and/or visited numerous churches in my area and they are either cults (Catholic, Mormon, etc), or they teach "once saved, always saved" (eternal security) resulting in church members being worldly, partaking in sinful activity (living after the flesh) while believing they are still right with the Lord.

I was a long time member of a particular congregation but they have two lady pastors (along with a male pastor) and after considering the Lord’s instructions concerning qualifications for ministry, the Lord led me to not attend there anymore – not to mention they started teaching "once saved, always saved," which is false doctrine.

So, I don't have a proper church organization to join up with considering instructions in scripture to not associate with those that do not hold to sound doctrine as laid out in God's written Word.

I've seen nothing in scripture that specifically states that if one does not belonging to a congregation of Christian believers it will cause that person to not be saved.

So, why do so many Church of Christ preachers speak as though one will go to hell if they not belonging to a congregation?



There are several things that need to be cleared up. The churches of Christ are not a denomination. There is no central headquarters on earth telling the various preachers and congregations what they must believe and teach. If you find a common teaching among the various congregations, then you must realize that it is because these Christians found that teaching in the Scriptures.

While you state that you have heard preachers teach that it is a sin if you are not a member of a church, you then stated that it is not directly stated but implied. In other words, you took it to mean this, but you didn't actually hear anyone teach it. And I'm quite positive that you didn't hear anyone call a lack of membership in a church an unforgivable sin. The only sins that are not forgiven are those a person refuses to repent of. See Are You Unforgivable?

The proper question is, does God require Christians to be a part of a local church. See Christians Without Churches?

You speak as if you attended a church of Christ with "lady pastors." Such is not practiced among the churches of Christ because elders (another name for pastors) are to be "husbands of one wife" (I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:5-6).

Instead of complaining that preachers are pointing out how God organized the church, if you are having problems locating a congregation in your area, you can just ask if one is near where you live.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email