Last Sunday, I was reading the newspaper, Nation on Sunday, when an article titled “I don’t want to go to church” by Christian Psychiatrix caught my attention. The author of the article argued that people should go to church and not worship in their homes because “homes of men are unfit for worship.” He contended:
“The home is unworthy because every minute of every hour in every day the home is unholy or unclean for one reason or another. Let me illustrate. The parents of the home might have spent the morning today making love and the material their body fluid touches is made unclean and it in turn makes what it touches unclean until the whole house is unclean from flesh to cloth to utensil (Leviticus 15). It will be afternoon before the house is declared clean by Levitical Law and that is if they take a bath and pray for a cleansing of the home, if they don’t then the home in unclean till the next day.
“Or it could be that the maid starts her monthly period the next day. A woman during her monthly flow is unclean by Levitical Law, that is why men are not supposed to have sexual relations with women during this time (Leviticus 18:19). In her function as maid she will touch 90% of the house making everything she touches unclean before God’s eyes” (Public Pulpit of Nation on Sunday, Sunday, August 12, 2012, Religious Perspective page 7)
All I can say in regard to this statement is that:
There is a need for every believer or Christian to fellowship with fellow Christians in a church. God’s Word requires of us to do so in Hebrews 10:24, 25. From the birth of the New Testament church, believers have always assembled together to among other things hear the teaching of God’s word, break bread (Holy Communion), and pray (Acts 2:42). The importance of the church can also be seen in the whole of the New Testament in which two-thirds of the epistles (letters) were addressed to churches where believers met.
We should also not forget that the church is also responsible for administration of Sacraments namely baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion). These cannot be administered outside the church but only within the church by ordained men called by God to lead his flock. Sacraments are very important in every Christian’s life as they are means or channels established by God in which He uses to give grace to his children.
Furthermore, general overview of the Bible also shows us that meeting in a church helps Christians to be accountable. On our own, we can easily fall into various temptations and sins without someone warning or helping us; however, in church, fellow Christians help us remain faithful to Scripture and God uses the church to discipline and restore a believer when he, temporarily, stumbles into sin.
In a church, we also encourage one another through sharing of God’s Word and testifying to the good work that the Lord is doing in our lives. In the same set-up we are also able to carry each other’s burdens as commanded in Galatians 6:1-3. These things cannot happen if we are on our own.
However, we should also bear in mind that the Bible encourages us to have time when we can personally fellowship with God in prayer (Matthew 6:6) and meditation on his word ( Psalm 1:1, 2). This too is important.
Therefore, church should not replace personal time of fellowship with God just as time of personal devotion should not substitute God’s requirement of believers to assemble in a church. All these two activities are required of every Christian by Scripture.
Now, in response to Christians Psychiatrix argument that worshipping God at home is defiled by a married couple having sex in the home or a maid experiencing her monthly period, I would like to point out that in the Old Testament, there are three types of laws namely ceremonial, civil and moral law. The laws that my friend cited in his article fall in the ceremonial law category.
Ceremonial laws related to Israel’s ceremonial purity, diet and sacrifice. They pointed forward to Jesus Christ hence were fulfilled and no longer necessary after Jesus’ death and resurrection. These laws, symbolically, showed how man falls short of God’s holiness. But when Christ came, he fulfilled the requirement of God’s holiness so that everyone who believes in Christ is regarded as holy because of the righteousness of Christ (Hebrews 10:1-14).
It should further be known that God ordained sex to be enjoyed in the confinements of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:3; Hebrews 13:4) and there is nothing unclean when a married couple has sex. A woman also remains clean and holy in Christ and before God the Father even if she having her monthly period because Christ fulfilled the ceremonial law on behalf of all believers.