Can the virtual church replace the physical church?

A couple weeks ago I blogged about a study published by The Barna Group which found that while “more than seven out of ten Americans (72%) claim they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is important in their life today…” only 17% of adults said that “a person’s faith is meant to be developed mainly by involvement in a local church.”

That sparked some very strong opinions on both sides of the issue.  On one hand we received comments like this: “I have been a non-church going Christian for over a year, and I can assure you that when it is done in the will of God, it is anything but a problem.”  We also received comments from the opposing viewpoint: “I hear so many people defend not going to church. If you notice their defense is full of holes.”

Can the virtual church (online audio sermons, video services, Christian discussion groups, etc) replace the physical church?

Give us your opinion in this week’s poll and post your comments here.

In His Service,
Paul Steinbrueck
OurChurch.Com

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

65 Responses to “Can the virtual church replace the physical church?”

  1. Having a strong faith without a local church is almost unfathomable. Sure, you can learn much about your faith from online resources, but where does the accountability for one’s actions come in? Where does the personal interaction with the body of Christ come in to play?

  2. Before anyone can answer this question intelligently, the “Church” must first be fully defined. It wouldn’t hurt to read some articles such as Chip Brogden’s “Churchianity Today” in order to more fully explain the differences in the True Church and the religious system or the institutional church. When you are born again, you are born into the True Church, and only our Master determines this citizenship — not attendance at any meeting. As a matter of fact, on the seventh day, God RESTED. He didn’t jump up and go to a meeting.

  3. In reguards to your question, the first thought was, what if the internet went down? Then I desided to wait and went to my mail to clean it up. There is a site. save the internet.com . There is much going on in congress reguarding the net its freedom and just how it can be used. My question is, how long will the freedom of the net be available?

  4. While someday a virtual church may be all we have, I believe that given the choice, we should seek fellowship amoung brothers & sisters in the physical world. There are some who cannot get out easily & some who live in areas where there is little to be found in the way of a “true” christian church. There is a difference in putting yourself or your voice out there for the Lord. How can we truely witness to others, if we don’t put our faces & lives before them , as examples? Gathering together (physically) in fellowship & worship helps strengthen our relationship with God. Whether we gather together in church, our homes,or a park, we find faith, hope & comfort in unity.There is great fellowship, inspiration & knowledge to be found on line. But when we see God in the final judgement, we will have to come face to face with Him. No excuses!

  5. Church (eclesia) in the New Testament means called out ones. Church today means Denomination/building/Pastor/Leader. I grew up in “Church” learning the teachings and doctrines/ belief sysytems of the Church. I also gained much self-righteousness, because I was in the “Church”, and not in the “world”. Jesus said “Follow Me”. Our personal relationship is what is going to determine our walk with God. Nothing else. God arm is not shortened; He is well able to teach us from His Word what He wants us to learn. Because of the day and hour in which we now live, great change is taking place in all arenas globally. Few truly believe, and even fewer can truly imagine, that whatever group they are associated with could be in any kind of error. But to believe that your group/denomination/circle is the one with the truth…then everyone outside your group would be in error…if they think differently and don’t believe like you.

    During the Church age, from the establishment of the early Church to now, God has used the ministries of apostle, prophet, teacher, etc. to reach converts and share with them God’s message. Do we really believe that God is pleased with all the divisions and separations within those who call themselves the Church? That God ordained for us to be in competition for the souls of men? That Jesus would approve the massing of great wealth for a few using the name of God? Is it not man’s way of thinking…when we justify leaders living in million dollar homes, flying Lear Jets, while taking offerings from the very poor and needy Jesus commanded them to help? The Church world today is polluted inside and out. Humanism has crept in and corrupted the message of the gospel, distorting it beyond the recognition of the early apostles.

    How many leaders spend time considering Peter’s admonition in 1Pe 4:17,18 For the time [has arrived] for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will [be] the end of those who do not respect or believe or obey the good news (the Gospel) of God? And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the godless and wicked?

    Everywhere you look, people are seeking to emulate the early Church, employing methods, handing out titles, but where are the results? Where is the body of believers walking in the power and anointing of God? They are hard to find, sitting among the throngs sitting in the “I’m ok your ok” conferences. Who really believes that judgment is what is coming to the Church, before anything else? The early Church turned their world upside down…what does the world see in the Church today? Division, strife, competition, name calling, hypocrisy, great wealth. There are places where their is great persecution against christianity, and the Church there is real. They know the price to be paid, to love not your life, to walk in a relationship with God, to be led by the Holy Spirit, to love the brethren. I fear that we here in the west are going to be in for a very rude awakening. The job of the Church is not to make people comfortable where they are…in their sin. It is to bring them to repentance and into right standing with God. All the validating and being held accountable to others is not going to amount to any more than a pile of ashes, when the Lord comes to judge His Church. The Word tell us that we shall give an account for every word we speak. Jesus said, in Luk 12:4,5 I tell you, My friends, do not dread and be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom you should fear: fear Him Who, after killing, has power to hurl into hell (Gehenna); yes, I say to you, fear Him!

    Who do we fear today? God, or man? Who are trying to please in our efforts, God or man? Who will we be held accountable to, God or man? Somehow what man thinks starts to seem pretty small and insignificant in the light of comparison.

    Maybe we should seek God for the answers to all the questions, rather than consulting men? Maybe we should get into His Holy Word, and hear what the Spirit is saying.

  6. Most are fake Christians today (by design from the demons), and buildings are filled with deceivers.
    On the internet, sound doctrine can still be found, thanks to the Holy Spirit, even though we live in times that were foretold in scripture….”They will not stand sound doctrine…..just wanting their ears tickled”….hearing only what they want to hear and skipping “persecution for Christ’s sake”.
    They suffer persecution for sin’s sake instead.

    On the web, a HS indwelled “teacher” ["gift of teaching" means "a defender of the truth of sound doctrine"] has posted essays & sound doctrine….the way the Holy Spirit works now to finish building the “Body of Christ”, from the neck down…..Christ is the”head”
    …..a virtual assembly of real believers that are not living close together now, the way it was originally in the ‘Body Of Christ Church’ that the Apostle Paul started years after Acts 2.
    http://jimsorrell.proboards33.com
    http://s2.excoboard.com/exco/index.php?boardid=15311
    http://b4.boards2go.com/boards/board.cgi?user=ChurchCaptain
    http://www.bev.net/users/homepages/JamesSorrell
    CaptainChurch@gmail.com

  7. There is no such thing as a perfect local church because churches are made up of imperfect people. Rather than bashing churches for their imperfections, how about we acknowledge that all churches have flaws and move back to the question of whether its important for Christians to be a part of a local church, flaws and all, in this virtual age.

  8. The Internet has obviously openned horizons that were not available 2000 years ago, or even 100 years ago. I believe that it can be a useful tool, just as parachurch groups are. Continuing the same line of thought, parachurch groups cannot replace the local church; I think that the same idea applies to the e-church. While there may be times that this is all you may have access to, it should not become the primary choice.

  9. Althought the internet is a great way to connect with people. When you don’t have physical contact with other believers it weakens your faith. Christ came into the world a physical being. Every human being longs for physical interaction whether it be a handshake or a hug. The church is the body of Christ not just as an idea but also a physical representation of his love. Church should never be boiled down to 1′s and 0′!!!

  10. As an active member of both churches (?????) I can tell you that God can and does use both. However I don’t believe that the personal interaction of the local church, can be achieved by this virtual church.

    I know that todays corporate organizations are often a poor example of a true Ecclasia. But when the people of God (Christians gather) no matter what form it takes, if they gather because they are Christians, That is where God wants me to be. To join in, to give such as I have, and to recieve.

  11. Hebrews 10:22-25. let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another.

    God by His Holy Spirit is saying through the writer of the book of Hebrews for us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. This was said as a commandment. Our Father knows what happens when we get out of fellowship with other believers. I know of many cases where people let the cares of this world come first and then they quit coming to Christian services , and the next thing you know they just slid away from God. This is not God’s will for us. He wants better for His children. But in order for us to have better we have to follow His precepts, and one very important precept is not to forsake the assembling, or we might say the gathering of ourselves together. This is not just Sunday morning church service although this is certainly the beginning of fellowship, us coming together. I think I should make it clear that the church is not an organization or a building. The church is the body of Christ. Any time Christians gather we should have fellowship. Something happens when we fellowship. We share the very life of God. There is a sharing of God’s life when we come together. Fellowship is much more than coming together for a church service or function, although there is nothing wrong with that. True fellowship is God’s life flowing from one believer to another.

    Zoë, is the Greek word for the life of God, the life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself and has given to the incarnate Son to have within Himself. We are sharing Zoë. Sharing the very life of God with one another. Have you ever noticed that when you are gathered together you can feel that life, you get edified, and you have the opportunity to edify others. This is that intimate sharing of the very life of God. The Word of God tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, God has very good reasons for this.

    One dictionary definition says that the Greek Word for fellowship means to make alive, and to give life. We are to be givers and sharers of God’s life. We are to be sharers of the very life of God. We are suppose to share this life with others. How are we to do this?

    Firstly we can’t if we are not coming together, can we? As Hebrews says; And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another.

    God would not tells us to do this if it were not His will. We can’t stir up one another or exhort one another if we don’t come together can we? This is a vital part of fellowship, exhorting one another and stirring up one another. You might think why is this so important. Because if we don’t, we aren’t doing what God is telling us to do. If we aren’t doing what God is telling us to do, we aren’t going to fulfill His will. We will lose out on a blessing, and others will lose out as well because of our disobedience.

    Acts 2:46- 47. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people, and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

    We see that the disciples were in one accord in the temple or as we would say today; in church, also they were sharing meals together in their own houses. It says with a glad heart. The result of their fellowship together was the Lord added to the church daily. I do not think this was a coincidence. Having fellowship allowed God’s life to be shared, and gave the Holy Spirit an opportunity to move amongst the body, and the Lord added to the church daily.

    Col:3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

    Here is another instance where we see that we are to admonish and teach one another with the Word of God, along with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. We also see that the gifts of the Holy Spirit can come and should come into operation under these circumstances. We have to give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to move in and through us.
    If we don’t, He won’t. He will never come in uninvited, only with our permission.

    1Cor:14:26: 26. How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

    You will notice it says whenever we come together. Not if we come together. This is when we as believers come together, this is not talking about an evangelistic service, where you are there to share the Gospel to the lost, this is for believers only. The lost wouldn’t understand some the things that go on in this type of service. This is for the edification of the body of Christ.
    – New Jerusalem with Apocrypha
    Ephesians 4:16 by whom the whole Body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each individual part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up in love.

    We have a job to do within the body of Christ. We are suppose to build one another up first. How are we going to be effective in the kingdom of God if we are not first effective to one another. The answer to this is, we can’t. We are each a part of the body of Christ, and each part is necessary for the whole of the body to work together properly. You might think, what can I do. I’m not a preacher. The Word doesn’t say the preacher will build the body, it says every joint adding its own strength. In other words we each contribute to the building up of the body that we are a part of. We each have God given gifts and talents the Lord has given to us to be a blessing and to minister to the rest of the body of Christ. If one person doesn’t do his or her job, that means that someone else will have to do that job for them, or it won’t get done. You don’t have to be a Pastor or a teacher to edify the body. Get before the Lord and find your talents. Maybe it is in the choir, maybe you are good working with children, or maybe you are a great organizer. Whatever your part is, it is necessary for the body of Christ and for the whole body to function properly. So the body grows until it has built itself up in love. When we get to the point where we are all walking in the place God has given for us to walk in, then and only then will we see maturity within the whole body. The whole body grows together, and the whole body build itself up together in the love of God.

    It is not supposed to be the work of just some select few. We all have a vital part to play in this process. It is also vital that we admonish and teach one another with the Word of God. The importance of this can’t be minimized. If we aren’t doing our job, who will?

    1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

    Romans 12:5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

    The whole Body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each individual part to work according to its function. I can’t tell somebody else what their function is within the body of Christ, only that it is so important not only for you individually but for the body as a whole to work together in fulfilling the call of God individually and collectively. We are in the last days. Jesus is coming soon, and He has called us to do a job together. One person can’t do it alone. Our pastors can’t and are not supposed to do it alone. They are there for leadership and guidance, but we are suppose to do the work of the ministry.

    Ephesians 4:11-15 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ.

    We see here there are 5 main offices within the body of Christ that help equip the saints. But read on and you will see that the reason they are there is to equip the saints so that the saints can do the work of the ministry. The New Revised Standard with Apocrypha says it like this — Ephesians 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.

    The 5 fold ministry is there to equip you to do the work of ministry, and this ministry is the building up of the body of Christ. This is contrary to what many people believe. People say that is what I pay my pastor to do. NO it’s not. I said, NO IT IS NOT. We are in this together. We have to succeed together. Let’s reach for the high calling in God.

    Philippians 3: 14-16. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

  12. Matthew 18:20 (NIV)
    For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

    I am just not sure that me + my computer = 2 in God’s eyes.
    I hear it said all the time from other people that “I believe in God but he is everywhere and I can pray in my own house just as good as I could at church,” or one of the all time stand by’s “the church is full of hypocrites and I just don’t want to be apart of that.”
    I know that the devil himself believes in God but he doesn’t care worship in the church and if a few hypocrites or bad people keep you from fellowship and worship with other believers then your going to have a hard time going to work or school or the market or wherever else you want to go because there are certainly more of them in these places.
    And who knows who you are talking to on the other end of the computer and what there real motive is.
    The internet certainly has its uses and can be another wonderful tool used to spread the word and truth of our Lord but it should never take the place of the physical church.
    In my humble opinion, there is no way that a virtual church or group of any kind should keep a person from church. The physical church as we know it is made of us humans and we by nature are sinful thus.. there is no “perfect church” but it is the closest thing to the body of Christ we can find.
    The bottom line to me is just this… Jesus himself went to church and so did his disciples who were hand chosen by Jesus. If they went… so should I.

  13. Luke 4:16 says “When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyuhood home, he went – as usual – to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures.”

    WWJD

    The perfect Son of God, who is God himself, felt the need to go to church services every week, knowing he was walking into a room full of sinners – including the person who was preaching the message – WOW! If he needed it, (and we know he couldn’t get any closer to God than he already was) then I sure know I need it. Because I, in my imperfectness in this life on earth, don’t come anywhere close to being like him. (But I do know that one day I will walk along the shores of heaven holding his hand, where I WILL finally be like him.)

    Besides the fact that I love it (church) – I am surrounded by people who are in the same boat. We can relate to one another (obviously I don’t CLOSELY relate to every single person in my church) about what is going on in our lives, and give each other suggestions on how God may have helped us through similar situations. I don’t believe that going to church is the ONLY way to hear from God, I do read my bible, and attend a bible study, and visit with Christian friends, and listen to Christian music, and read Christian books, and look up Christian information on the internet – I try to hear from God in every way possible.

    But oh how I love my church, I wish we had church services every day. We are all (Christians) just sinners, trying to do the best we can and be a light to the dark world we are currently living in, while still sinning – and accepting each other just the way we are!

    In my personal opinion, if you don’t go to church regularly – and absolutely hate missing it when you can’t be there, you just haven’t found one you REALLY LOVE yet. Don’t give up – there is one out there made especially for you! And you! And you! And you!

  14. Something to ponder…..
    Church: ekklesia means: a called out assembly. Let’s define called; keleuo: ordered.
    The church is as Jesus said `My ordered out assembly’. Ordered out of what? The kingdom of darkness and translated into the kingdom of Light. It is the many membered body of Christ. Our culturalistic knoweldge of the gospel of the kingdom and the bible, has had us bound! I have a question…is God a Spirit? Is He Eternal? Can you place a limit upon Him? Most would answer,yes, yes and well, no, of course not! and yet that is exactly what we have done. Where two or more are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst. Is there time or distance in the Eternal realm? Some would chuckle at that question, but that is exactly what you have done. Limited Him to your time and your distance.
    So wherever two or more are gathered together, regardless of time or distance there AM I in the midst. Is the Spirit of God so small in our estimation that He is not able to teach us? Is He so weak that He is not able to cross the barriers of time and distance or sound? He is Eternal Light! ~Selah

    If I am praying for someone who needs delivered via telephone or internet and they are set free, has the kingdom of God been made manifest? If one I am praying for via same technology that needs healed and is healed, has the kingdom of God been made manifest? Has He made Himself known in our midst? If I am inspired by Holy Spirit to share something over the telephone(just using these as examples) or internet and someone on the other end is lifted up, built up, encouraged, comforted, has the kingdom of God been made manifest?
    We have had our whole focus wrong. The focus is Holy Spirit who is God, dwelling in us as individuals and as a whole. It is Christ in you the hope of glory. We are His temple, His abiding place. Not buildings. He manifests Himself BECAUSE we are their, BECAUSE we are the carriers of His glory( which is He Himself). Why would we limit Him to those things which are temporal? The temporal things are given to us by Him to establish His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. If they pass away, He is still Christ in you the hope of glory. He wasn’t limited before the technology and He isn’t limited too it. Whatever means He places in our hands, let it be used to build up His body and establish His kingdom, His will on earth as it is in heaven. But don’t stop their! Establish His kingdom in the marketplace, establish His kingdom in your neighborhood, establish His kingdom in your city, state, nation and beyond! Make known His deeds among the people. Heal the sick, cast out devils, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give to the widow and fatherless. Let His righteousness be established in the earth. Through you, the church, the body of Christ. BE the Church!
    His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways, higher than our ways…it’s time to get on our face and seek to know Him, intimately, the Greater One Who dwells within us!

  15. We are the blessed generation of the Last Days Church. Jesus told us all very plainly that where two or more are gathered in His name there he shall be also. The message of salvation is a simple message, nothing added and nothing taken away.
    No building or denomination required…

    Technology is not an evil thing, it is only since the mid 1800′s that mankind has entered into what is called the industrial era. In 1879, Thomas Edison was blessed with the discovery through his own perseverence in his faith in God after failing 10,000 times, that through this what many see as a simple discovery today as a light bulb, all other technology that has exceeded to the power of 10,000 to present day. The very light that you see in your computer screen is to God’s Glory. And it is this era and present age of mankind that God has ordained as the generation to see many wonderful things.

    So yes, I can spiritually see how the internet and virtural advancedment of todays church is for the Glory of Jesus Christ .. and the continued spread throughout all nations of the gospel of Christ. This very technology that we are
    all using now is a gift to us from God to send into places of this world that are hungry for Jesus Christ. So reach out as far as this wonderful tool of the computer can reach for the Glory of God…

    God Never Breaks a Promise…..We are all being used for a greater purpose than what we can ever realize through this Blessed Gift that God has ordained for this generation to have….and we are that generation.

  16. Kevin Skinner Jun 7, 2006 at 8:43 am

    many excuses are made about not being apart of a local church, but the teaching of the bible is clear that we should not forsake the assembling of our selves together.
    Teaching comes, should come from the local church fror the ministry gifts and their operations in and outside the church.
    Tru many have been run away from the church because of the abuse and the
    manipulation by some wolves in sheep clothing,masquerading as pastors scattering God’s people.
    But that is no excuse foe obeying the wor of God,we are responsible to be obeident and trust God to guide us by His Spirit to the church we need to attend to grow and be disciples or discipled.

  17. Everything must start & end with what The Bible says! IF, and that is a very
    word, to some, if you read the Bible, it very painly establishes the CHURCH
    as the place to go for instruction, growth spiritually, fellowship, worship
    corporately, doctrine & even correction.

    The BIBLE very plainly says that CHRIST is the head of the church , he’s coming back after his bride ..THE CHURCH!
    That’s what the BIBLE says! Many people have been saved outside the CHURCH, in all types of settings , but the BIBLE very plainly states the CHURCH
    is what JESUS chose as the place to be! Can going to CHURCH & just belonging
    to a CHURCH save you? CERTAINLY NOT! IS the CHURCH perfect…NO..NO..NO

    Read the BIBLE! If you are a LONE Ranger, if you have been hurt by someone
    in a CHURCH, do what the BIBLE says! FORGIVE them. It’s in the BIBLE! Don’t
    forsake the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some do, it’s in the BIBLE!

    The CHURCH is a body of believers who are on a spiriitual journey, not perfect,
    but we are credited with rightousness through JESUS’ blood. We’re “CHRISTIANS under Construction, we’re not complete, continually striving
    in the LORD. He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be!

    In all sincerity, it doesn’t matter what I believe if it doesn’t agree with what the BIBLE says! You can be very sincere, but sincerely wrong! And I have been there many times in my walk with GOD. So I have a choice, to repent, forgive,
    get up and go again, or I can become bitter , opinated, hard-headed, whatever
    you want to call it.

    I worship God many times during the week, I sing to him, I glorify him, all outside the church. But NOTHING takes the place of worship with my brothers & sisters in the LORD, as we come together in accord to glorify him, in the place he has ordered, the CHURCH” And fellowship as we worship, we pray together, we pray for one another, we cry together, we marry our kids together, we bury our loved ones together, we celebrate life together & one day soon we’re going sit around the banquet table in heaven, as CHRIST presents his BRIDE…
    THE CHURCH

    I invite you to take a fresh look at what the BIBLE says about the CHURCH!
    That is & must be the final authority!

  18. Should we go to church (not just on sunday’s but everytime the door opens)…yes!!! Why? There are soo many reasons. Many of the comments posted above not only quote scripted, but give the reasons!!

    The Technology in the church, the “e-church”, or however you want to call it should never replace going to church. It should only be there to enhance the church. For instance: Podcasts. I have a pda and have personally recorded prophesies given to me by prophets and prophetess so I could replay them anytime I wanted. Same for a service. 1 Timothy 4:15 says “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” Meditate simply means to think of what God’s saying or doing. Meditate on the scripture every day/hour/minute. What better way then to listen to yesterday’s sermon again. Or last weeks. Or last months. Or last years.

    You can never take something of God’s, replace it with something man-made, and expect to get anything good out of it for a long length of time.

    When in doubt, read the scripture, and pray that God will give you an answer.

  19. The Internet (a.k.a. World Wide Web) is NOT a virtual church, it’s simply a medium of communication–nothing more, nothing less. As such, it can be a vehicle for righteousness or unrighteousness, but like music, videos, and printed words is predominantly used to promote unrighteousness.

    Church (big “C”) is the universal body of true believers which spans both time and space (a relationship), while the church (little “c”) is a fellowship of some localized group of those believers. The picture of both Church and church in the Bible emphasizes personal interaction and accountability, mutual support (both material and Spiritual), and and underlying love and concern resulting from “fellowship” and personal “relationship.”

    While I’m all for every Christian utilizing every available tool to grow and learn and communicate their personal faith, if I’m unemployed, separated, battling addiction, or dying of cancer I won’t be looking for an email from some anonymous “virtual” church pastor to comfort me–I will expect (and will surely receive) hugs, kisses, financial help, prayers, and face-to-face counseling from my good friends in my local body. When I cry, they will cry. When I rejoice, they will rejoice. They know me. They’ve been with me through both the good and bad; none of you guys know me from Adam.

  20. Below is an excerpt from a warning posted on the following link:
    http://www.watchmanreport.com/

    We are the Church! Whether we assemble in a building or not. It is the duty of every believer to press into a personal relationship with God….to Know for ourselves what the Bible says, what the Gospel of Christ is. It does not matter who knows us, as long as God knows us. Consider the news flash below…its already happening, but its not on the news! Are you ready?

    A Pastor has come forward to blow the whistle on a nationwide FEMA program which is training Pastors and other religious representatives to become secret police enforcers who teach their congregations to “obey the government” in preparation for a declaration of martial law, property and firearm seizures, and forced relocation.

    [begin quote]quote removed due to excessive length[end quote]

    It causes one to wonder how much longer the internet will be open? How much of what we think is so good, is simply feeding our flesh, promoting spiritual complacency, and teaching outright deceptions?

    2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. We can read the Voice of the Martyrs, reports of persecution in other lands…but do we ever consider that it could happen here? to us? We all need to seek the face of God and prepare our hearts, that we may be righteous (in right standing with God). Our faith is going to be tested, may we pass the test.

  21. While I enjoy surfing internet sights and listening to online sermons they can never replace the local church. It is like saying my pastor is _________, I see him every week on TBN. Just as a TV preacher is no subitute for a local pastor who loves and cares for you, online fellowship will never be a sutiable subistute for a local church body with people who know and love you (and me in spite of who I am). I can’t imagine making it through week in and week out without my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am not saying that there are shut-ins and others who cannot get out and so they can still get teaching and virtual fellowship. But it would still be better if we got out and vistited that person who can’t get out and bring a personal touch of fellowship.

  22. Cathy, because of the length of the exerpt you included in your comment, I removed it. The best way to refer to another article online is to quote a short expert and then include a link to the rest of the article. Thanks for your comment.

  23. Attending a local Church where you are a member is very important each week.
    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 It is God Himself who is speaking to each one of us through His Word. In Hebrews 10:24-25 we read these words from the word of God,”And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: as ye see the day approaching.”
    #1. In Ephesians 5:22-28 we read these words from the word of God. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husband, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.”
    #2. This passage of Scripture says, that when Christ has finished with the Church it will be perfect! So don’t bad mouth the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ! You are the sinner while Christ is perfect!
    #3. I have been a Pastor since 1978 and what I have seen in people’s lives who won’t attend church: The are living a rebelious, sinful life by not obeying the scriptures of not forsaking the assembly of ourselfs together. Their lives is filled with rebellion, disrespect, and nonsupport of any local church, they refuse to attend church, support the church with their time, talents, and tithe. What you need to do if this, first you need to repent, get into a local church and use your time, talents, and tithe for the glory of God in the local church.
    #4. You could make the difference in the local church if you would use your God given talents, support the Pastor, and the local church, encourage those in the local church that are doing their best in serving the Lord Jesus Christ
    #5. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “the church that is built upon me can storm the gates of hell and they will crumble and fall before you, so let’s all get together for the glory of God and storm the gates of hell instead of declaring war on other believers.
    A man who Jesus died for Pastor Rudy Caldwell Countryview B. C. 1145 Amity Road GAlloway, Ohio 43119

  24. I don’t think anyone is saying forsake gathering. It is the definition of `church’ that brings the misunderstanding one another. We know of asurety, `church’ is not a building. If it were, why then the divided names and titles, denominations and non-denominations? So then, man, by his own doctrine, his own reading into the scriptures defined, interpreted what he thought the word to be saying. Then formed a doctrine of man based upon those scriptures.
    There is One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism( meaning immersion into His fullness), One God and Father of all, Who is ABOVE ALL, AND THROUGH ALL, AND IN YOU ALL. The greatest prayer ever prayed is, when Jesus praying to Father said, `That they all may be one; as You Father are in Me, and I in You, that they may also be ONE in US: THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE SENT ME.’
    We are united individually as one in Him and to be corporately..One Body.
    It is not about me and mine, our own function in the body, but about the totality of the whole in demonstration. There is but ONE HEAD of the body, Who is Christ Jesus. The problem is, there are pastors who want to be the HEAD( my late husband and I pastored, and been in `ministry’ for over 25 yrs.). They do not place their trust in Holy Spirit, Who abides within each believer, but in their own gifting. The gift then is placed above the Giver.
    Yuck! How we define being `in ministry’! The servant is not above His Master, that is every man, woman and child’s place within the body…servanthood.
    Ministering to Him, First and Foremost and from that place of intimacy, abiding in His Presence, in agape’ serving one another. There is no higher up, nor lesser than, but all are one in Him.
    My question would then be… are you BEING salt, are you BEING light in your neighborhood, city, state, nation and beyond. Or are you of a mindset, it’s about us?
    BEING the church, is demonstrating His Kingdom, His will, on earth as it is in heaven. Upon this Rock, I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Not upon, the us four and no more, or upon this building will I build. Upon the Rock, Christ Jesus,Who is King, upon the revealed kingdom of God. His Rule, His Reign, His Lordship in and over all.
    If we do not rightly discern His Body, which is `we’ His Temple, the word says, for this cause many among you are weak, sickly, and sleep.
    It’s time too Wake up and discern His Body.

  25. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses, Even excuses we made in the Bible for not following the Lord Jesus Christ Luke 14:18, 19, 20, Jesus responded to these excuses in Luke 14:27, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. In the 28 years I have been a Pastor I have heard every excuse under the sun why people don’t want to attend the Local Church. One man said, “I don’t have any Peanut Butter” The Pastor said, “Thats no excuse” The man said, “well I guess one excuse is good as any another.” If Jesus died for the Church, Romans 5:8, Born Again, Blood Washed, Blood Bought, Spirit Filled Child of God, then we ought to care enough to be a part of a local church. In Revelation Chapters 2-3 all 7 letters were to local churches, The church of Ephesus, The church of Smyrna, The church of Pergamos, the church of Thyatira, The church of Sardis, The church of Philadelphia, and the church of Laodicea. These 7 churches were all local churches. Christ didn’t instruct John to send these letters to any individual, but to local churches. The local church is the body of Christ, a body of called out born again believers who assemble themselves together Hebrews 10:25 for “And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangleists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” Ephesians 4:11-12. This is all done in the local church! as a body of believers. God knows the real reason you do not attend a local church and that you are not a member of a local church. He also know those who do attend a local church and why they are members of a local church, who gather for the Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship and traning they recieve in the local church. In Jeremiah 17:9-10 we read these words, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to the fruit of his doings. With God we can make no excuses, because He knows the real reason we do not attend the local church, we that are born again, blood washed, blood bought will all appear berfore the Judgment Seat of Christ to give an account of our lives Romans 14:10 2 Corinthians 5:10. Some of us will be rewarded and some of us will suffer loss 1 Corinthians 3:10-14. Those of you who do not attend and support a local church will suffer a great loss because of you unfaithfulness to Christ and the local church He died to save Roamns 5:8. In conclusion I ask you to search your heart and see if you excuse will hold up when you stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ, which will take place between the Rapture and the Revelation of Christ? Dr. Rudy Caldwell Pastor of Countryview Baptist Church 1145 Amity Road Galloway, Ohio 43119

  26. Sorry Dr. Rudy,
    But we need to make a distinction here in what you said. The churches spoken of in Rev. were the `whole’ church body in the area of Smyrna, the `whole’ church body of Pergamos, etc. In other words had the letter been written today it would say, to the church of Ohio, or possibly even more broadly, to the church of America..not to the local church Countryview Baptist Church on Amity Road. You have defined what is written by your own belief system and not what is truly written.

  27. Sorry Kathryn
    The letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2-3 were writen to the 7 Pastors of these 7 churches.”The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the seven angles [aggelos, messenger here which refers to the Pastors of the seven churches] of the seven churches: and the seven candelsticks which thou sawest are the seven churches” Revelation 1:20. You are just talking in circles and ignoring the words of the Lord Jesus Christ which He instructed John to write. These churches were seven local churches and these seven local churches had seven Pastors. So we will just let God’s Word speak for itself. If you want to take away from God’s Word the truth about these local churches and local Pastors then you will answer to God. “For I testify unto you every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book” Revelation 22:18. So just eat crow Kathryn, and let the Word of God say really what it means! “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels [Pastors] of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches”Revelation 1:20. Also Countryview Baptist Church is a local church located at 1145 Amity Road, Galloway, Ohio 43119. This is are adddress and if Christ had instructed John to send us a letter John would have sent the letter to me as the Pastor and to 1145 Amity Road Galloway, Ohio 43119. A man who Jesus Christ died for Dr. Rudy Caldwell Pastor of Countryview Baptist Church 1145 Amity Road Galloway, Ohio 43119. By the way Kathryn whats the address of your local church where you attend?

  28. I had to chuckle a bit Dr, Rudy,
    Seems we are not getting anywhere on this subject. But will say, we have defined the angel of the `whole’ body in these areas as pastors, when truly it means what it says..messenger. Sent one, which would be more appropriate to say, apostle. Sorry I got you all in a tizzy, really, that happens when our doctrine that we have held too for so long comes tumbling down. I am saying this with all sincerity, no malice or any offense. Like it or not..we are one. : )
    I don’t attend but have been part of Alabaster ministries, that use to be called Good Samaratin, that use to be called Grace Chapel. Gathering on friday nights and sunday mornings.

  29. Hello Kathryn
    I say this with love for the Lord Jesus Christ Christ and love for you, that you need to get active in a local church. You must make your life count for the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. You only have one life to live her on earth so don’t waste it by being an unactive member of the Body of Christ. We have to many unactive Church Members today thats why the local church is dwindling
    away today, this doesn’t bring glory to God, and the Bible eaches “Whatsoever things you do, do all for the glory of God. So Kathryn let me say to you as a God called Pastor of a local church, you need to be a part of a local assembly, and make your life count for His Glory. God Bless A man who Jesus Died for Dr. Rudy Caldwell

  30. Hi Dr. Rudy!
    Feel like I’m getting to know you. : ) I am active in His body, and I appreciate very much your care and concern. We can trust Holy Spirit to do that which only He can do….straighten us both out! lol But truly, love ya in Him.
    Blessings, Kathryn

  31. Hello Kathryn
    The Body of Christ is made up of local churches her on earth. The first church was assembled in the upper room awaiting the Baptism of he Holy Spirit Acts 1:8 Acts 1:13-14 says, “And when they were come in, they went up into the upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his breathren.” Notice that the early church was all assembled together and had their first business meeting in Acts 1:15-26. Then in Acts 2:1-4 The promise of the Father took place Luke 24:49 “And behold I send the promise of the Father upon you [Acts 1:8] but tarry ye in Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power on high.”
    #1. The early church was assembled together as the body of Christ at Jerusalem Acts 1:13-14. A visible, local, body of believers. Not and invisible body that you say you belong to. The Body of Christ is made up of local churches her on earth and the Virtual church can never take the place of the Physical, local church!!! All 120 were together Acts 1:15.
    #2. How can the Virtual church have a monthly business meeting like we do at Countryview Baptist Church and like the early church that was assembled together in Acts 1:13-26.
    #3 When was the last time you were in a local assembly of a body of born again believers?
    #4. When was the last time you were in a business meeting with a local body of born again believers?
    All local assemblies of all born again believers will be assembled together when the rapture takes place in one place, with Christ. I Corinthians 15:51-58 I Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 John 14:1-6 Hope to see you there. Dr. Rudy Caldwell Pastor of Countryview Baptist Church

  32. Religion of man will keep you bound to a structure. The kingdom of God that is within will take you to the world. i.e. neighborhood, city, state, nation and nations. Religion of America, mans Babylonian doctrine which builds around self, pride and arrogance has been destroying her. We have culturalized the gospel according to America! Not the gospel according to Christ, which is `this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness.’ and `go you therefore and make disciples’ and `go ye therefore and disciple all nations.’
    The Pharisees were riled at Jesus’ message of the gospel of the kingdom and His demonstration thereof, seeing they saw not, hearing they heard not.
    They held tightly to that which they THOUGHT they knew to be truth, to their utter destruction. Through out the scriptures He is found, but they held to the letter instead. As someone else brought out to me, can covenant Agar say to covenant Sarah, I am the free? Sarah, whom was barren, Agar whose chidren were many(the religious) of this day. But from Sarah’s womb did comeforth the Promise, that she that did not bear, sings. The Agar’s of today will always try and tantalize the Sarah’s. But unto the her( the church, the Israel of God, the Body of Christ) is given Truth and knowing the Truth, makes free.
    We must be seekers of Truth, which is He Himself, and be willing to lay down all our doctrine, all what we have thought to be light and was not and seek Him with our whole heart, First, Foremost above and beyond any and everything. When we do, He says, you will find Me. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him…not seeking doctrine, theology or eschatology…seek HIM and He will be found. Then will you know the Truth and the Truth will make free.

  33. Thank you, Kathryn, for your wonderful attitude and comments in this blog-you are free indeed, praise the LORD.

    We have written some similar comments at http://blog.ourchurch.com/2006/05/19/christian-communications-make-headlines/ trying to encourage folks to think of the word “church” in a different way, as we believe God has taught us to do. We invite you, and any other reader, to visit this OCC blog, also.

    God has given us much more on this topic, and we have written an essay at His web site, Harvest Ministry, called “Are You Going to Church?” at http://www.harvestministry.us/view/?pageID=236403

    May God give you the eyes to see Him and the ears to hear His call to intimacy through His Holy Spirit. May the blessings of God’s peace rest upon you as you ponder in your heart and mind what the Holy Spirit is saying to His Church today.

  34. Blessings Jerry and Lenore,
    I will check out your site. He is the glory, He is the Fullness. My prayer for you, Be filled, fully clothed in Fullness, spirit, soul, bodily, which is He Himself that the knowledge of His glory fill the earth as the waters cover the seas. We have His word, that indeed this will be so. Hab.2:14 Glory to God!

  35. Greetings in the name of Christ Jesus. I wish to provide a rebuttal.

    Hardcore churchgoer: “You should go to church . . . “

    Translation [including hidden semantics]:

    “You should go to my ‘church.’ I want to fellowship with you, but only under my terms.”

    How do different believers with different “church homes” engage in fellowship? “Church” attendance, in and of itself, is a dividing factor. Conversations between believers usually start with questions about each person’s denominational or sectarian affiliations, which usually induces social alienation. Different “churches” demand loyalty to their “church,” under many contexts, otherwise you are classified as “a permanent guest.” I could continue . . .

    However, edifying fellowship can occur anywhere, at any time, with any other believer. We should not restrict our fellowship by redefining our fellowship as scheduled institutional meetings (ref. 1 Corinthians 3:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:10-17).

    Hardcore churchgoer: “There is no perfect church.”

    So? Lacking the capacity for perfection does not excuse local “churches” from reasonable expectations. In most cases, this argument comes across as an attempt to blame the individual for any and all negative experiences at local “churches.”

    Hardcore churchgoer: “It appears as though your negative experiences cloud your judgment.”

    This is a “double-edged” argument. In many cases, one’s opinion about a situation depends on one’s perspective within the situation, as illustrated by this article. For instance, why would the “who’s who” of a “church” complain about cold and uppity church members?

    Hardcore churchgoer: “Hebrews 10:25 says, ‘Do not forsake assembly.’ This verse is a Scriptural command to attend church. “

    Hold on a second. How do you get “go to church” out of “do not forsake assembly”? In Hebrews 10:25, the Greek word for “assembly” is episunagoge (Strong’s #1997) (ref. Hebrews 10:25 [Greek]), which could refer to “gathering together” in any shape or size, as opposed to geographical or institutional gatherings proper (cross ref. Matthew 18:20).

    Now, how does one define “church,” as in the “local assembly”? This question represents the core issue. For instance:

    1) Where does the New Testament endorse the “clergy-laity” or “corporate” models of assembly, especially in light of 1 Peter 2:4-9, 1 Corinthians 14:26-33, Colossians 3:15-16, Romans 12:4-8, and 1 Corinthians 12:4-31?

    2) Where does the New Testament endorse any hierarchical “church structure,” such as the central authority of “pastor”? Is the lordship of elders not forbidden by Scripture (1 Peter 5:1-3, Matthew 20:25-28), since Christ Jesus is the head of every man (1 Corinthians 11:3)?

    Yet, many individuals, like “Dr. Rudy Caldwell Ph.D.,” are prideful because they possess positions of authority. I find such pride to be offensive.

    3) Why do mainstream churches treat church buildings as temples of God, or “God’s house”? God does not indwell man-made temples (Acts 17:24).

    As others have pointed out repeatedly: The phrase “go to church” is misleading, for all believers compose the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13, 27, Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 10:17), which is the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 1:18, 24, Ephesians 1:22-23). So, if I “go to church,” then do I “go to myself”? :)

    Just some food for thought, as inspired by 1 Thessalonians 5:21 . . .

  36. Rebuttial To LUCKYSTRIKE Since you are not man enough to sign your name!!!
    No doubt you are a LONE RANGER Religionist who revels in his pride about not
    attending a local church, no doubt you have no membership in any church, do not support any local church and rob God of His Tithes and Offerings, and refuse to fellowship with other Christians in a local church. My position as a Pastor of a local church was odained by Jesus Christ as Head of the church. Ephesians 4:11-16. Jesus Christ is the Head of the church. Paul warns us about men like you in Acts 20:28 “Take head therefore unto yourselves, [Pastors] and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Jesus Christ is the Head of Countryview Baptist Church 1145 Amith Road Galloway, Ohio 43119. The Holy Ghost has appointed and called me to be the overseerer of this body of belivers who Jesus Christ purchased with his own blood. This authoruty that God has given me is under his authority, and His Word is the final authority whether you like it or not!!! Thank God all believers are not like you!!! Who attend a local church every week, where the Word of God is taught and preached with power and authority, with the Holy Spirit bearing withness by blessing those who attend, are saved, baptised and added to the church of the Living God weekly. How many people have you lead to the Lord in your lifetime? or do you just use you time running down Pastors who stand upon God’s Word and teach it and preach like it is fount in God’s Holy Word. A word of advice to you LUCKYSTRIKE you need to start living the Word of God instead of wanting to argue about what it teaches the born again believer in his walk with the living God, The Lord Jesus Christ. One other thing before I close you will not have the last say concering me as a Pastor, Jesus Christ My Blessed Lord and Savior will have the last asay concerning me at the Judgment Seat of Christ Romans 14:10 2 Corinthians 5:10 . A man who Jesus Christ died for Dr Rudy Caldwell Ph.D. Pastor of a Great Local Church 1145 Amity Road Galloway, Ohio 43119 and yes Jesus Christ is the Head of this local body of born again, blood washed, Spirit filled, Children of God. Praise The Lord

  37. Greetings in the name of Christ Jesus, Mr. Caldwell.

    Your reply did not address my points. To the contrary, your reply offered nothing, except fallacious ad hominem ranting. In fact, your presumptuous reply validates my opposition to “church” attendance.

    The spiritual man judges all things (1 Corinthians 2:15), which requires the testing of all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21). This prerogative includes the righteous judgment of fellow believers (1 Corinthians 5:12). Hence, your conduct as an elder is not immune to all judgment except Christ Jesus’s personal judgment.

    All elders must be worthy of respect (1 Timothy 3:2, 8, 11 [Greek], Titus 2:2 [Greek]). Overseer elders, in particular, must not be quick-tempered or combative (Titus 1:7 [Greek]), caught up in pride (1 Timothy 3:6 [Greek]), or pursuers of lordship (1 Peter 5:3 [Greek]). To the contrary, overseer elders must possess self-control or temperateness (1 Timothy 3:2 [Greek], Titus 1:8 [Greek]), as an example to others (1 Peter 5:3). However, in contrast, you engage in ad hominem rants, boast about your “pastoral authority” over others, and frequent anti-intellectual rhetoric, such as traditionalist demagoguery. Hence, you are unworthy of respect as an elder, according to Biblical Scripture.

    Moreover, why are you repeatedly advertising your “church” during this theological debate? Are you present as a Biblical teacher or a denominational recruiter? It appears as though your advocacy represents a conflict of interest.

    With the above material having been said, I noticed that you implicitly view monetary tithing as a New Testament requirement. However, nowhere does New Testament Scripture require any monetary tithes.

    Now, please address my original points within my first post. Otherwise, please admit that you have no answer.

  38. Luckystrike The Bible Teaches tithing not only in the old testament but also in the New Testament as well. Here are the scriptures: By the way tithing is done in the Local visible church that Jesus Christ started in Matthew after his temption in Matthew 4:1-16 in verse 17 “From that time Jesus beging to preach, and and to say” Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethern, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of me.” Malachi 3:6-12 teaches tithing in the old testament and it also teaches tithing for new testament christians. “For I am the Lord, I change not: therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In thithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to recieve it. vs 11 gives us the rewards of tithing: #1. Meat in God’s House, no lack of means or money to carry out His work. #2. Opening of the windows of heaven to pour out a blessing so great that there will not be room enough to recieve it. #3. Rebuke the devourer so that he will not destroy the crops. #4. Recogination of God’s blessing by all men. When we don’t bring our tithes and offerings into the local church we are a member of #1. We rob God. #2 We rob our church. #3 We rob ourselves and miss out on the blessings the LORD promises in Malachi 3:11. Leviticus 27:30 says, The tithe if the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. The tithe has always been 10% of our income and always will be until the church is raptured into heaven. In Hebrews 7:1-2 “For this Melchisedec king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of peace.” Jesus said in Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weighter matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” The Apostle Paul taught tithing upon the first day of the week and it was to be brought to the local church. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches [not an individual] of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” I could give you many more verses that teach tithing in the Old and New Testamant, but I feel these are enough to teach tithing, in the local church. You won’t want to miss my next writing about “Why shoud I be a member of a local church, why should I support the chruch I am a member of with tithes and offering, and with the God given gifts we recieve when we are born again, which are given by The Holy Spirit in I Corinthains 12:1-31. LUCKYSTRIKE Everything I teach and have taught in my writings have been documented with scripture from God’s Word so people who know the truth about what I am teaching comes from God’s Word and God’s Word says, in Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; Your arugment about my teaching is with God and His Word. I do sign all of my writing with Dr. Rudy Caldwell Ph.D. Pastor of Countryview Baptist Church 1145 Amith Road Galloway, Ohio 43113 . I do this so people will know where I am coming from and know who I am. I don’t hid behind a name like you have, and writings that are full of holes that don’t hold water. By the way, I don’t need your respect because it is worthless. Only what God thinks about me has any worth now and all eternity. I am a Pastor and Teacher by the Lord Jesus Christ’s calling Ephesians 4:11. I don’t mention Denomination because those tags are going to fall off going up and burn off going down. Since you mentioned denomination I am a Southern Baptist and our church is in the Metro Columbus Baptist Association and the State Convention of Baptist in Ohio also the National Southern Baptist Convention. I stay with God’s Word and document every thing I write from God’s Word Book-Chapter and Verse. By the way why don’t you check out my web site about my conversion, calling, sealing, saving, and anointing of the Holy Spirit, and my love for Jesus Christ my Blessed Savior and Lord. Also LUCKYSTRIKE my love for all mankind which included you, Bye for now until the next time Dr. Rudy Caldwell: Pastor of Countryview Baptist Church Web Site http://www.ourchurch.com/member/c/CountryviewBC7

  39. Hello Kathryn
    Just wanted to say hello and hope you are doing just great. I would like to see you in church some Sunday morning with a lot of you friends, I really enjoyed our interactions on ourchurch.com. Please check out our church web
    site. Bye for now Pastor Rudy Caldwell
    Web Site address http://www.ourchurch.com/member/c/CountryviewBC7

  40. Hello Dr. Rudy and Lucky and all,

    I haven’t visited this blog for awhile, until today.

    One thing, if we have ears to hear..we are moving by Holy Spirit from a church age too kingdom age. In the kingdom of God, that is within and to be establsihed on earth as it is in heaven..hence, Jesus teaching the disciples to pray..Thy kingdom, come(means: Appear), Thy will be done, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
    I’m only going to share up too a point. In the kingdom of God, we are not required to pay 10% of tithe. We are required 100% of our all. In other words, we are not under a law instituted later, but under the law of Love. Which is: Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, mind and strength and Love your NEIGHBOR as yourself. All the law and the prophets are fulfilled in these two commandments. So all things, spirit, soul, body, finances, etc. belong to God..we are no longer our own, we have been bought with a price, the blood of Jesus, which speaks better things than that of Abel.
    We are now led of Holy Spirit, Who is God, dwelling in man and we have committed our ALL to Him. So when He says, give such and such, we hear and obey because we Love Him, Who first Loved us. It’s all His…the earth is the Lords and the Fullness thereof. It’s intimate RELATIONSHIP in Him, of Him, by Him, through Him, not religion. It’s righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. That’s the kingdom of God and we are too( as His body in the earth) to establish His kingdom on earth, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.

    I shared this with someone, think it appropriate here…..truly the Love of God, that has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Love forgives. Offenses will come but Love takes no account. Love blesses those that do so. Love crucifies the flesh. It’s painful for the flesh, but from the heart Love rises up, which is He Himself, and causes us to triumph, overcome. Each day, we choose to yield to Love. Some days, there is occassion or many occassion and some days turns into months and years,of opposition and great opposition. Our choosing to Love and bless and curse not( WHICH AFFECTS EVERYTHING IN LIFE, if we have ears to hear this) is what I believe with my whole heart, when all said and done, He will say..well done, my good and faithful servant.

    I’ll check out your site Dr. Rudy and if He made, makes a way for me, I would enjoy visiting you sometime. You know how I think now in this regard, having the mind of Christ… we are BEING the church aka.: ekklesia: called out ones. The Body of Christ ..His Love flowing from joint to joint, maturing the body in His Fullness…Love. Love is the completion, the wholeness. As a dear brother always says and as it is written…Pursue Love, it never fails.
    Blessings,

  41. Hello Kathryn
    You are still not documenting what you write from the Word of God. A good writer of the Glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ always documents what he or she writes so people know where they are coming from and also so we can check out what has been written, whether it is truth from God’s Word. I had to write many papers in College and all had to be documented so who was reading the paper could check out if the truth was from God’s Word. When we document our writings from God’s Word it gives our writings more credibility to the reader as truth from God’s Word. By the way we are still in the church age and will still be in the church age until the rapture. Revelation 4:1 says, “After this I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard as it were a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” The Church is now seen in heaven in Revelation chapter 4, represented by the four and twenty elders sitting clothed in white raiment; and had on their heads crowns of gold verse 4. And they are seen in heaven with Christ until The Battle of Armageddon Revelation 19:11-20:1-15 when the Revelation of Christ takes place and Christ and the Redeemed come back to earth and Christ sits up His 1000 years reigh Revelation 20:4. Bye for now have a great week, A man who Jesus Christ died for Dr. Rudy Caldwell Pastor 1145 Amith Road Galloway, Ohio 43119.

  42. Welcome back, Mr. Caldwell. Ironically, while you criticize Kathryn for making undocumented assertions, you make undocumented assertions as well (ref. Matthew 7:3-5), as demonstrated by the following rebuttal.

    Now, to support your institutional authority as “the pastor,” you cited Ephesians 4:11. But where does Ephesians 4:11 identify “the pastor” as “the central authority of the congregational hierarchy”?

    Ephesians 4:11 [NIV]
    It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,

    *Cross ref. Ephesians 4:11 [NASB] and Ephesians 4:11 [KJV].
    *Cross ref. Ephesians 4:11 [Greek].

    When reading this verse, many people claim that Ephesians 4:11 refers to a “Five Fold Ministry” of “[institutional] ‘church’ government.” However, Ephesians 4:11 refers to spiritually gifted functions (Ephesians 4:7-8, cross ref. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28-30, Romans 12:6-8), not offices proper (ref. 1 Peter 5:1-3, Matthew 20:25-28, cross ref. Ephesians 5:21).

    Now, within this verse, the Greek word for “pastor [Latin]” is poimen (Strong’s #4166), which means:

    “1. a herdsman, esp. a shepherd
    a. in the parable, he to whose care and control others have committed themselves, and whose precepts they follow” [Strong's Lexicon]

    “a shepherd (literally or figuratively):–shepherd, pastor” [Strong's Greek Dictionary]

    As demonstrated by the above material, poimen refers to “a herdsman” or “a shepherd.” A shepherd is an individual who tends [Hebrew] [Greek] sheep (Isaiah 40:11, Jeremiah 31:10, ref. Genesis 31:38-40), such as in leading the sheep to grazable pastures and drinkable water (ref. Genesis 29:1-9, Genesis 30:38, Exodus 2:16-19, Jeremiah 33:12, etc.), protecting the sheep from predators and/or thieves (ref. 1 Samuel 17:34-35, Isaiah 31:4, Luke 2:8, John 10:1-3, 11-13, etc.), and caring for the sheep’s wellbeing (ref. Isaiah 40:11, Genesis 33:13, Matthew 12:11, etc.). In exchange for this intensive daily care, shepherds harvested milk (Deuteronomy 32:14, 1 Corinthians 9:7, etc.), wool (Genesis 31:19, Genesis 38:12-13, Deuteronomy 18:4, 1 Samuel 25:2, 4, 7, Job 31:20, etc.), horns (Exodus 19:13, Joshua 6:4-6, 8, 13, 1 Chronicles 15:28, etc.), skins (Exodus 25:5, Exodus 26:14, Exodus 35:7, Hebrews 11:37, etc.), and meat (Exodus 12:4, 7, Numbers 9:11, 1 Samuel 14:34, 2 Samuel 17:29, Isaiah 22:13, etc.) from the sheep. As a result, the shepherd and the sheep developed a strong interrelationship, which usually resulted in the shepherd adopting certain sheep as beloved personal pets (ref. 2 Samuel 12:3). For further reading about this subject, see this article.

    When this analogy is applied to people, the gift of poimen refers to the gifted ability of daily supervisory caretaking, as in the metaphorical interpersonal equivalent of the above activities (ref. Ephesians 4:12-14, Acts 20:28-35, Titus 1:7-11, James 5:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, Hebrews 13:7, 17, etc., cross ref. Psalm 23:1-6, Revelation 7:17, Ezekiel 34). In essence, the gift of poimen represents “servant leadership,” where the mandate for this style of leadership relies solely on meeting others’ outstanding needs (ref. Matthew 9:36, Mark 6:34). In fact, this style of leadership offended the Egyptians (Genesis 46:34), who socioculturally emphasized different classes of lordship.

    This well-rounded definition of poimen is significantly different from the narrow, corporate conceptualization of poimen. Specifically, acting as a poimen does not simply mean “feeding the believing community with weekly sermons,” “administrating ceremonial services,” and/or “officially approving the bureaucratic actions of ‘church’ offices.” To the contrary, one should not equivocate this gifted function with . . .
    (1) the gifted preaching of a preacher (Romans 10:14 [Greek], 2 Peter 2:5 [Greek], see also Mark 1:7 [Greek], Mark 6:12 [Greek], Acts 8:5 [Greek], 1 Timothy 3:16 [Greek], etc.),
    (2) the gifted administration of an administrative leader (1 Corinthians 12:28 [Greek], Romans 12:8 [Greek]), or
    (3) the gifted teaching of a teacher (Romans 12:7 [Greek], Ephesians 4:11 [Greek]).

    Moreover, all overseer elders are shepherds functionally (1 Peter 5:1-2 [Greek], Acts 20:17, 28 [Greek]), including overseer elders who do not speak or instruct regularly (1 Timothy 5:17 [Greek]). However, only Christ Jesus bears the official office of “Shepherd” (John 10:11-12, 14, 16, Hebrews 13:20, 1 Peter 2:25, Psalm 23:1, etc., cross ref. 1 Peter 5:4).

    Hence, in light of the above, the hardcore churchgoers’ interpretation of Ephesians 4:11 relies on inserting semantical presuppositions into the text, while ignoring applicable Scriptural cross references. This illustrates the perils of interpreting Biblical Scripture through Creedalism or Traditionalism, as opposed to the sound hermeneutics of the Grammatical-Historical Interpretation.

    With the above having been said, let us consider the issue of tithing. As a result of Christ Jesus’s sacrificial death, we are dead to Mosaic Law in Christ Jesus (Romans 7:1-6, Romans 8:3-4, see also Colossians 2:13-14, 16-17, Romans 10:4, Ephesians 2:15, Romans 6:15). As a result, citing Old Testament Scriptures, such as Malachi 3:6-12, Leviticus 27:30, and Matthew 23:23, to justify New Testament Law-keeping is backwards theology.

    Now, let us consider your New Testament Scriptural prooftexting for compulsory New Testament tithing.
    (1) You cited 2 Corinthians 9:7. However, 2 Corinthians 9:7 [Greek] teaches non-compulsory giving. As a result, your own Scriptural reference refutes your own position.
    (2) You cited 1 Corinthians 16:1-4. However, nowhere does 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 state that monetary giving is compulsory.

    Moreover, you interpret the phrase “on the first day of every week” (1 Corinthians 16:2) as meaning “on every Sunday.” This is understandable, as almost all English translations of this verse use the same phraseology (cross ref. NIV, NASB, and KJV).

    However, the phrase “on the first day of every week” is an inaccurate translation. The Greek text of 1 Corinthians 16:2 says “in accordance with one Sabbath,” which is the last day of the Jewish week. Similar mistranslations are found in Matthew 28:1 (cross ref. Greek), Mark 16:2, 9 (cross ref. Greek), Luke 24:1 (cross ref. Greek), John 20:1, 19 (cross ref. Greek), and Acts 20:7 (cross ref. Greek).

    Now, please address my original points within my first post. Otherwise, please admit that you have no answer.

  43. LUCKYSRIKE
    You will never be able to recieve the Revelation of the Position of Pastor in the New Teatament Church. I will just be the Pastor of Countryview Baptist Church that the Lord Jesus Christ called me to be on 1-7-1990 and you be whatever you want to be, we’ll see in the end at the judgment seat of Christ who is right and who is wrong. Your heart is filled with hate for all Pastors and Local Churches which have existed since Jesus Christ started the first on in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago. Look at all of the Local Churches in the world today, you say we are all wrong and you are right, what a stupid view of the local church you have and all of the godly Pastors who Pastor them. You are operating with the natural mind which cannot recieve the things of God. Listen to what the Word of God says about you, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Corinthians 2:14. Also
    listen to what John says about you, “We are of God: he that knoweth God hearth us: he that is not of God hearth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” I John 4:6. LUCKYSTRIKE what you think about me is worthless, and also you judgment of me is worthless, you have rejected what I have written from God’s Word and made light of it so you will answer
    to the Lord for you error. Jesus Christ will judge me at the Judgment seat of Christ Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10. Your judgment won’t amount to a hill of beans in that day. My heart and conscious are very clear for what I have written about “Can the virtual church replace the physical church? I say
    no not ever, because the physical. local church, is the one Jesus Christ Founded Matthew 16:18. The local church is all there was for some 2000 years, you need to read the book of Acts and just count the local churches that are mentioned, then read the rest of the New Testament and count them also. Do you think that Jesus Chrsit has done away with the local church? No never He said in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock [His Divine Person] [ICor. 3:11 the only foundation] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not previal against it.” The local church is made up of born again, blood washed children of God, which make up the body of Christ world wide, try to tell all the Pastors of these churches that they are all wrong, ha ha ha they would just laugh at you and that is what I am doing now!!! A man who Jesus Christ died for and Pastor of a local church. Countryview Baptist Church 1145 Amity Road Galloway, Ohio 43119. LUCKYSTRIKE I will keep you in prayer that you will get rid of your stinking thinking concerning local churches and the Pastors of those local churches.
    Dr. Rudy Caldwell Ph.D. Countryview Baptist Church 1145 Amith Road Galloway, Ohio 43119 “Thankful Jesus loves me and died for my sins on the cross to save me, “a man who Jesus died for” Pastor Rudy Caldwell

  44. Mr. Caldwell, your “non-answer” replies continue to validate my points. You are unable to defend your viewpoint, so you resort to ad hominem ranting, among other anti-intellectual rhetorical methodology.

    Now, please address my original points within my first post. Otherwise, please admit that you have no answer.

  45. Luckystrike
    You are not a man of God or a Woman of God I am not going to play games with you on ourchurch.com. You are unteachable and all you want to do is argue the Word of God, until you start living it our interaction is over. All you
    have is religion and you are a religious person who is void of the Holy Spirit
    So go attack someone else who will put up with your crap, for myself I have
    had enough of it. Dr. Rudy Caldwell Ph.D. 1145 Amith Road Galloway, Ohio
    43119

  46. Ah! According to Mr. Caldwell, I am usaved because I do not submit to his viewpoint. How deliciously manipulative.

    Mr. Caldwell, I rest my case.

  47. THE TRUTH ABOUT TITHING
    TITHING WAS PRATICED 430 YEARS BEFORE THE LAW.
    In Genesis 14:20 we read, “And blessed be the the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thine hand. And he [Abram] gave him tithes of all.”
    This was the first example to paying tithes to God.
    In Genesis 28:20-22 we read, “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and rainment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; than shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surley give the tenth unto thee.”
    TITHING UNDER THE LAW OF MOSES.
    Commanded: Leviticus 27:30 says, “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.”
    Malachi 3:10 The Bible says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse.”
    It was for the Levites Numbers 18:21-24.
    To supply God’s house: Malachi 3:10
    To honor God: Proverbs 3:9-10 The Bible says, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”
    The tithe belongs to God and not the people: Lev. 27:30 and Malachi 3:8.
    When a man does’t tithe he robs God of what belongs to Him.
    TITHING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
    Christ taught tithing in the New Testament He says in Matthew 23:23
    “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
    In Luke 11:42 Christ says, “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not leave the other undone.”
    The Apostle Paul taught tithing in Romans 2:22 he condemned sacrilege, which is the robbing of temples and God. Malachi 3:8-10
    Tithing is proof of obedience and appreciation of God’s blessings. 2 Cor. 9:7 says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
    1 Timothy 6:17-18 says, charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.”
    Tithing came easy for me to do, when the Lord Jesus Christ saved me and came into my heart on 7-29-1973 which was on a Sunday, I went to church the next Sunday which was 8-5-1973 and began tithing on that Sunday and have been tithing and giving offerings to the Lord all those years. God has richly blessed me for being obediant to His Word in tithing. Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” God’s law is we must sow before we reap a harvest. A farmer must break up the fallow ground and sow his corn before he can expect a harvest. It is God who is the Lord of the harvest. Every church member who is a child of God is commanded to tithe on his increase that God blesses him with. God does not expect you to tithe is you are unsaved and lost, the first thing He wants you to do is to be willing to repent and believe on His Son the Lord Jesus Christ and then invite Jesus Christ into your heart to be your Lord and Savior. After you have been saved God wants you to find a Bible believing church and make a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and submit yourself for believers baptism and join that church and serve God in that church. Fellowship with the believers in that church, grow in the Lord in that church for the glory of God and let your light shine for Christ’s Glory. Why did I write this message on tithing, this message is for believers who are not a member of any church and who do no tithe and give offerings to the Lord. Jesus said in Matthew while being tempted of the devil to turn the stones into bread, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” The whole Bible is the Word of God so you cannot take out this part and that part to justify any reason why you do not tithe and bring an offering to the Lord in the church. If you are a child of God, and have no home church you need to find one and become a member of that church. The local church was the church that Jesus started in Jerusalem over 2000 years ago, and if you love Jesus with all of your heart then you ought to desire to be a member of the local church He started over 2000 years ago. TV , radio, tapes and books can never take the place of the fellowship that Christ wants you to have in the local church with other born again believers,
    what are you waiting for go to church Sunday, you’ll be glad you did.
    A man who Jesus Christ died for Dr. Rudy Caldwell Ph.D. 1145 Amity Road Galloway, Ohio 43119

  48. LUCKYSTRICKE
    You are unsaved because you do not submit to the Word of God as the final authority and I rest my case because of that Dr. Rudy Caldwell Pastor of Countryview Baptist Church 1145 Amith Road Galloway, Ohio 43119

  49. Mr. Caldwell, you are erecting a red herring. The issue is not about submitting to the Word of God, but submitting to your interpretation of the Word of God.

    For instance, you claim that Revelation 2-3 addresses “the seven pastors” of the seven churches. However, nowhere does the Book of Revelation define “the seven angels” as “the seven pastors.” To the contrary, your interpretation relies on inserting non-sequitur assumptions into the text.

    Now, are you capable of confessing your error? I will not move beyond this point until you answer my question

  50. LUCKEYSTRIKE
    The greek word for angel is messenger [angelos] and the messenger of every local church is the Pastor, you need to get saved, give your heart to
    the Lord Jesus Christ, then the Holy Spirit will reveal the truths that are found in the Word of God, My interpertations from the Word of God are truth whether you believe them of not, have you every taking any Bible courses or are you just interpting the Bible like you want it to mean what you want it to mean?
    There has never been any error in any of my writings, because what I have written has come from the Word of God! You truly are as sad case, and need to get saved and learn the Bible before you try to teach someone else the interpution of any part of the Bible. A man who Jesus Christ died for to save.
    Dr. Rudy Caldwell Ph.D Countryview Baptist Church 1145 Amity Road Galloway, Ohio 43119 By the way you will address me as Pastor Caldwell or Dr. Caldwell from now on, you have no respect for any one, get real man or woman or what ever you are, you operate in darkness hiding your name, are you afraid someone will recognize who you are and expose you for what you are?

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