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Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

Churches are where the lost and found go to get direction.
Churches are where the lost and found go to get direction.
Photo: Julia Tidd

“Going to church doesn't make you a christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”

I’ve noticed this statement next to several of my friends’ names in Facebook. This is, by the way, a true statement. I wouldn’t say that is an unfortunate fact since churches attempt to draw in the lost and show them the way. And, of course, there are churches of many faiths, not just the Christian faith. However, this statement specifically mentions Christians.

Churches are a place of worship. They are a place where people of the same kind of faith can go to be reminded of why they live the way they do and what they are living for. Churches are places people can go in order to find people with the same or similar convictions. They are a place you can be open about your faith without feeling you will offend someone. And they are a place you go to find the way.

There is a story that goes around. True or not, it hits a chord with people who can identify. This particular story tells about how an older man at the end of his life recounted why he hadn’t gone to church or come to know God. His reasoning was that he had gone to church once; as a child in his worn and ragged clothes. He was from a poor family but he wanted to find out about God. Once in the church he was told that he could not come back unless he was dressed properly. He never went back.

This story leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many Christians. Part of that is because we are sick that one of God’s creatures was turned away when he could have been saved. Another part is that we know this actually happens even in this day and age.

Churches bring in many different kinds of people. Some are posturing or misinterpreting what Christianity is about which is what this story hints at and what this statement circulating around Facebook brings to light. This could be an issue of missing the mark on what Christianity is really about or it could be something closer to what the Bible talks about: false prophets or teachers. (Matthew 7:15- 23; 24:11: 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 1 John 4; 2 Peter 2)

Either way, if you come up against something like this, step back and ask a few questions. Does the Bible support what this “Christian” is saying? If not, rather than getting defensive, ask them to show you where the Bible makes such a statement and then point them in the correct direction to the true answer. It is completely possible they have not been taught correctly and you can use that as a way to fulfill one of God’s directives; to guide the lost back to the flock. The second question to ask is: why did you just get defensive over that? Is this a part of your life you feel needs to be examined? Guilt and hurt are two feelings that sometimes cause a defensive reaction.

Just something to think about.

*If you are looking for a church that has a casual dress code, there are many in the Fort Worth area that fit that bill. McKinney Memorial Bible Church is one of them. They are located off Hulen Street at 4805 Arborlawn Dr., Fort Worth, 76109. Services are at 9:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.


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