We Gather TogetherOK, here’s what I see:
1) The average congregation spends a significant part of its budget on the things necessary to “do church,” to have an assembly on Sunday morning.
2) The average congregation defines itself by what happens on Sunday morning: “We average 250 in attendance”; “We are a contemporary church”; etc.
3) Most of the arguments that rage within our brotherhood concern what goes on during the Sunday assembly.
4) The average Christian believes that there is a special time called “the assembly” within our time together. This time has special rules, which do not apply to Bible class, for example.
5) The faithfulness of the average Christian is judged by their participation in this Sunday assembly.
6) The average Christian judges his own faithfulness by the same measure.
Problem is, I don’t see these things in the New Testament. I don’t see this special time, set off by an opening song and a closing prayer (or by an opening prayer, as was once explained to me; announcements, before the prayer, were not part). I even have trouble transforming Acts 20 and 1 Corinthians 16 into a prescription for worship every Sunday/only on Sunday/only in the assembly.
From what I see in the Bible, worship in the first 39 books of the Bible did not center around one day a week. If that was changed when Jesus came, why isn’t that stated somewhere? Why is so little said about the assembly in the New Testament, especially compared with the weight given to it today.
So what do I suggest? For now… more study. Let’s discuss this a bit this week and see where we get to.