I put "a Church" in apostrophes, because the Christian is never without "the church" or better said ekkelsia. We are always members of the church that matters: the body of Jesus Christ. This is in reference to those without an 'official or unofficial" assembly of believers, be that an established home church outside of your own family, or church to attend such as a good IFB.
I believe our numbers are growing, there is a small remnant of Christians faithful to God, whether they are fortunate enough to be in a church that preaches the truth or whether they are having to worship at home. Online I meet other folks from a variety of states and areas who tell me how they wish they had a body of believers to assemble with, pray and worship God with, but have not been able to find a church that teaches the truth, or that is NOT part of the ecumenical world system.
Some elsewhere online have claimed I am against churches, I am not. When I was coming out of Calvary Chapel, some said that I wanted to be in a church of 2 or 3 people and used the numbers game against me, often that is one way, that some will indoctrinate you to be in a false church and sit there in a pew taking in false things. It is natural for human beings to want to be with the group but obedience to God is to come first. One thing I am noticing is having talked to many in the pews, there are some there, who know the church has "gone wrong" but who stay for other reasons.
A good church is a very worthwhile thing. There is joy in having a wonderful church family that can't be matched by much else. I believe if a Christian can find a good church to attend, they should assemble with fellow believers as much as what is possible.
But as we get into the great falling away warned of in scripture:
2 Thessalonians 2:3
Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Finding a church body that teaches the truth is going to get harder and harder. In fact web wide, I am encountering MANY Christians who tell me, we cannot find a decent church that teaches the truth.
Some of my efforts here to find a church, have been kind of funny when I think back on it, scouring through the phone book, through a variety of websites, looking up fundamentalist church organizations, doing searches on home church websites, and trying to find church listings, calling a home school organization to ask for information, and other ways and means of even trying to find an active home church. I looked into churches even into a 30-40 mile radius away. One contender came up, but I listened to online sermons and realized they were full blown into Dominionism not just dancing around it.
Around here and probably many other areas, there is a huge mix of Rick Warren directed and influenced churches, liturgicals, ecumenical, Calvary Chapel, church of God, SDA, you name it, it's here, but the number of fundamentalist churches in this particular area is very low. That said, that doesn't guarantee a church will be true, as many of the fundamentalist churches are being led astray too, as I talk about here.
The Bible verse says do not forsake assembling together, I do think it is important for the "lone Christian" to make sure they do assemble with other Christians for edification, bible reading and prayer. This is something you should maintain to the best of your ability if you are "outside" a regular church. I think as things develop this probably will be the place many faithful Christians will find themselves. For some people this may mean a home Bible reading and prayer sessions and still for others, having Bible study or over the phone time with a good Christian friends or establishing their own home church and worship time.
I recently visited another church, discussed here and realized I could not stay even for a Bible study. Ironically while there was some decent teachings at the studies, there were too many red flags. Even recently a second bulletin I saw contained the odd advice, "to focus on Jesus and not on offenses or problems in the church" which seems to be another false message, I've seen repeated on message boards usually by nominal evangelicals telling others warning of the truth, to seek to shame and silence them. Sadly many pastors probably are even influenced via their media outlets to tell their church members these very things.
Sometimes it can be very sad, to visit a new place that has some assets only to see that Rick Warren and the like have already gotten their claws in. I do not expect perfection of any human organization, but there are things that God has led me not to associate with and as people can tell one of the biggies for me, is not associating with any church that is part of the ecumenical or "world christian" movement. That wipes out at least 99% of the churches out there.
There was one time, I got the notion, maybe I could help influence things or meet a few like-minded people: join a Bible study even if I would not attend the services and help bring some truth, a couple times I did that, and I always ended up leaving by the second day, it just never worked well. With the recent place, I thought the people were very nice, there was heartache in having to depart from a place yet again, but the pastor, I had serious concerns about, and when I realized the messages being taught were so false coupled with the showing of the Passion movie and repeated Rick Warren writings and exhortations, I knew to stay even just to attend a Bible study even with no services would mean being unequally yoked. Even there, my ears could not stand the various versions of false watered down Bibles being read. [They allowed different versions, but no one had a KJV but me.]
One conversation I had was with one church member, where I gently broached some subjects, and well there was no meeting of the minds whatsoever. A Christian can tell. Perhaps some of you have been in that place. With one man, I asked "What do you think of those who say the churches are falling away?" and he responded, "They are troublemakers!".
To many out there, the church system is everything, and even bringing up mild questions is not an easy thing to do. I am sure some here can relate. David Cloud has some suggestions for those who ask "What If There is NO Sound Church?"
Some of his advice is good, and he means well, but I do think the advice to attend a church you do not agree with on everything, one needs to be very careful, I'm not so on spot with that one but I am sure he would agree. Since this was written some years ago , things have only gotten far worse in the churches. That said, you do not want to be in a church that has joined with the world system or has a false preacher.
One thing pray and ask God in terms of this decision. I believe God has His reasons for having me where I am at, in this point of life. The last years even without a church family, I have been shown and learned many things. When I was newly saved, God answered my prayer right away, in terms of showing me where he wanted me to be as a new Christian. I have considered that in general that Christians are being called out of most of the churches. As I have said elsewhere on this blog-- "Come out of her" doesn't just apply to the Roman Catholic church.
Jhn 4:20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
Jhn 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Jhn 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
Jhn 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
So if you are like me and not in an "official" church body, realize you are in the "church" that counts the Body of Jesus Christ, the real church is not a building or an human organization, read the scripture above too, we are to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, no matter what.
In other parts of the world people are leaving the churches too, I found this report from Africa interesting on that note.
Below is a report published in Uganda's Weekly, The Sunday Vision, documenting the current exodus of Christians out of organized Churches in Uganda. This phenomenon is no longer sanctioned to the Church in the West as documented by the Barna Research Group, now this phenomenon has hit Uganda; because of the current departure from New Testament Christianity by many Organized Churches, Christians are leaving too.