By Nathan Bryant
This seems to be an ongoing question that people continue to find excuses around, but let's take an honest look at the what the Bible, and the Message say (since we claim those are our Foundation).
#1 It was Jesus' custom to go to church
"And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read." ~ St. Luke 4:16
#2 It was Paul's manner to go to church
"Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures."
#3 It was Brother Branham's custom to go to church
… it's my custom to go to church somewhere on Sunday, if I possibly can.
If you don't have a church, you must; see, you'll die, spiritually, you'll just dwindle away.
Then how can you say you can stay home and be just as good a Christian as you would be at church? You can't do it.
Don't stay home. If God is in your heart, you can't hardly wait for them doors to open out yonder, to get in here to fellowship with your brothers. If you don't, don't feel that way, then I tell you, it's time you got to praying.
And this little deer will get out to itself, away from the herd. That's the one the wolf works on. And to you, old man or woman, when you separate yourself from believers… People say, "I can stay at home, be just as good a Christian as I can at church." You can't. The Bible said, "Not forsake our assemble ourselves together, and that much more as we see the time coming." If you're a Christian, you long to go where other Christians are, and fellowship with other Christians. So you cannot stay away from church and live the same life. You can't do it, because it's like, "I'm hungry, but I'll never go to a table. I just… I'll never eat. I just–I ain't going to do it." See? You've got to go and feed on the Word of God, and fellowship one with another. We need one amother–another more now than we ever did need each other, is now. When you get yourself singled out from the rest of them making yourself just a little different, you don't want to associate with them because they believe this, and don't want to associate with that, you're getting on dangerous ground, right then, keeping away from church. Find the one of your choice, and remain there, and be a Christian brother to all of them. That's the way to be a real Christian. Then we've got fellowship, protection; people love you and pray for you.
And you go to church; don't set at home, go fishing, and hunting, and things like that on Sunday. You say, "Well, I'm not a legalist." Well, you'd better be in that manner for a while, dishonoring the resurrection of Christ. You go to church somewhere. If I–if I went… If I couldn't get… If I went to a certain church that I know there's only one thing them people ever said that I believed–they said they believe Jesus was the Son of God. They said it (I doubt it), but I'd go hear them say that. Maybe you say… That's this church, maybe the next church would be something like the Baptists. They say, "Yeah, I believe you have to have an experience." I–I'll go with them that. Then I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God; I believe you have to have an experience. All right. Then maybe there's the Assemblies of God. Now, they believe… See, I–now I can eat about three or four slices of bread with them (See?), 'cause they can believe…
And now, remember, go to church somewhere, some place. If… I could call a certain denominational church, but I wouldn't do it, because this church, only thing I know that they teach that I believe is, they say they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Well, I do that. All their other teaching is… They believe in–in remissions of sins is by water. Now, it isn't the oneness; they do the same thing, but I'm not talking about them. They believe that–that regeneration by water, and so forth. And I don't believe that. And they, oh, they believe if anything's got Divine healing in it is of the devil. And they believe in all… They're the only–they're the only thing that there is, and the only thing you have to do is just put your name on that book. And if you ain't got it there, you're lost. Now, I don't believe that. But if there was no other church to go to (I wouldn't go there critical.), I'd go there with the intention of my presence, and me setting by somebody, that the Christ that was in my heart might influence somebody there. Go among them, but don't be partakers of their unbelief.
They did ask Brother Branham in Questions and Answers (64-0830M) if tape services sufficient IF there was "no preacher" where they lived". He said, "That'd be fine", but we must keep in mind that is the exact same sermon as the quote prior to this paragraph, and that the condition was if there was 'no preacher" where they lived. Multiplied hundreds of Message believers who claim that they "just say what he said" completely ignore, and refuse to believe and accept quote after quote, and Scripture after Scripture admonishing them to go to church, and assemble themselves with other believers. They do not have solid quotes or Scriptures to support this line of thinking, but simply state "that's just what we believe" regardless of the fact that it is anti-Word.
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 29:18a: "Where there is no vision the people perish".
It is hard for me understand a vision of the future for the spiritual well-being of the large number of families who sit isolated in their homes listening to tapes, or streaming their favorite preachers with no worship service, no pastor, and no fellowship with the rest of the Bride. I cannot believe this was the desire of our prophet-messenger, or the perfect will of our Lord Jesus Christ by anything that either of them left for us in the Word.
Brother Nathan Bryant resides in Indiana with his wife Sister Rebekah and their three beautiful children. He is the Pastor of Church of the Open door in New Albany, Indiana. You can visit him at: nathanbryantministries.com or twomessageministers.com