Can You Love Jesus but Not Love His Church?

Good Question.

If you asked most Christians if they loved The Church they would probably answer in the affirmative. But many would have some mental qualifications.

I love The Church but not all of the people in it.

I love The Church, just not MY church.

I love The Church, it’s Christians I can’t stand.

I love the Church but I don’t need it.

According to a Barna survey, 10% of self-identifying evangelical Christians don’t attend church anywhere. They say that they love Jesus, they just don’t love His church. And the percentage is growing – slowly, but growing.

There are inconsistencies here. As Mark Galli, the Editor in Chief of Christianity Today pointed out in a recent article, can people really say that they love Jesus if they “refuse to participate in the community he promises to be present in?” Seems rather inconsistent.

The problem goes even deeper. Can people say that they love Jesus if they consciously choose not to do what He said to do? Hebrews 10:24-25 can’t be any clearer about our responsibility in regard to church attendance. Neither can John 14:15 be any clearer about the standard we are to use to judge our love for Jesus.

You can’t say that you love Jesus if you don’t do what Jesus said to do and you’re not doing what Jesus said to do if you don’t attend church. Pretty simple really.

The real issue here is not attending church verses not attending church. The real issue is an issue of the heart. Will we or won’t we bend our hearts to His will?

There are numerous reasons for the Christian to attend church. Among the most obvious are, Obedience, Worship, Fellowship, Instruction, Ministry, Exercising your Spiritual Gift, and Encouragement. Things that you can’t accomplish or experience on the same level as a Long Ranger Christian.

But the most important reason to attend church is because you love Jesus. Christians who say that they love Jesus but don’t love His church are demonstrating theological inconsistency at the highest level.

You can’t separate Jesus and His Church. To love one is to love the other. To be faithful to one is to be faithful to the other.

It’s no stretch to say, You love Jesus best when you love His church.

Stay in the Word
Pastor Steve

3 thoughts on “Can You Love Jesus but Not Love His Church?

  1. You have valid points but I am a follower of Jesus Christ who has left the local church I use to attend. I left because of doctrinal differences. I don’t feel further away from Jesus nor have I started to waver. It’s all about your relationship with him. The local church isn’t the same as God’s church. Anyone can attend a local church but only believers of Jesus’ redeeming work are in his church. I take offense to individuals who say I don’t love Jesus just because I don’t attend church. I actually have a deep zeal now because I am searching the scriptures and the holy Spirit for his teaching rather than just my former pastor. I hope my tid bit helps prove everyone who doesn’t associate with the local church isn’t falling from grace.

    • Pastor Steve says:

      Hi Travis, thanks for your thoughts. Sorry you had to leave your church. I would encourage you to find another church that teaches the Word of God. The basic problem with not attending a local church is that you prove you love Jesus by doing what He said (John 14:15). One of the things the Bible teaches is that Christians should not ignore the local church (Hebrews 10:25). While it is true that all believers belong to what is often called the Universal Church, the overwhelming emphasis of the NT is on the local assembly of believers. That is where Christians worship, give their gifts, practice church discipline, receive and give encouragement, exercise their spiritual gifts and more. As I study the NT I don’t see any teaching that supports Christians ignoring the local church – in fact I find just the opposite. God bless my friend.

      • I understand your view point but the church can be within your home just like in the book of Philemon. My family associate church through our home. Gifts are not only for the church building but for he believers, worshipping isn’t just for the building but always at any location. Be blessed as well.

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