You’ve probably noticed that I hear a lot of things that make me think. I particularly question things I was taught when I was growing up. My parents were great parents, and they raised us in a Christian home, but they weren’t perfect and neither was the church we attended. I was taught some ideas as though they were gospel truth, and after thinking through those ideas, I have determined some of them to be unbiblical. they are based more on common sense than Biblical truth. One of those ideas I was taught came with this statement: “When you come to church you need to leave everything outside the door and come worship Him.” This is totally unbiblical and a complete anathema to the Biblical idea of church.
The church, as constituted and initiated in the book of Acts was a collection of believers, imperfect sinners seeking God together. The early church was messy. They had all kinds of problems. Paul wrote most of his letters to address the problems inside the church.
Why have we sanctioned the false facade that so many put on before they go into church? It comes from the individualism that arose centuries ago during the enlightenment. I’m no philosopher, but the basic idea of individualism is that I can handle my business and it’s none of your business. When we hear “leave everything outside the door and come worship Christ,” or we laugh at jokes about how our mothers used to yell at us all the way up to the church door and then turn on the smile once we got out of the car, we are giving tacit approval to the idea that we need to act put together when we walk into church. Christ wants us to come to church just as we are. Christ wants us to fellowship with others, warts and all. I have a gentleman in my church who understands this. When I ask him how he’s doing, he’s going to tell me exactly how he’s doing, good or bad. I love him for it. That’s what I want to see. I don’t mean for everyone to come in and start dumping all their problems on each other, but genuineness should characterize our fellowship.
We should be able to bring our trials, our joys, our heartaches, and our victories to church. It is everyone’s business. That’s the only way we can grow together as the body of Christ. I’d guess that if you took a look at dying churches, you’d find, in most cases, disingenuous fellowship.
We had this discussion in Sunday School the other day, and we came around to this idea. We should never leave who we are or what we’re going through outside the door of the church. We should bring our entire being to worship Christ, but we should leave our distractions at the door. there are things that Satan will throw in our way to distract us, and those are what we should leave at the door. In fairness to our Sunday School teacher, we came around to realizing that he meant exactly that. He’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever run across, but the statement struck a nerve and we needed to flesh it out.
What about you guys? Am I right or wrong on this one? Are there other statements you hear in church that make you cringe? Have you ever heard this statement?