Does the Bible Require Christians to Attend Church? | By: Kevin DeYoung and Jason Helopoulos

John Stott was not known for overstatement. In fact, the well-respected British pastor and author was famous for finding middle-of-the-road solutions and advocating the third way between two extremes. This is why Stott’s strong statement about the centrality of the church is striking. Toward the end of his life, Stott wrote, “I trust that none of my readers is that grotesque anomaly, an unchurched Christian. The New Testament knows nothing of such a person. For the church lies at the very centre of the eternal purpose of God.”1 God does not save people from sin without also saving them into the body of Christ.

In calling unchurched Christians a “grotesque anomaly,” Stott is simply joining his voice with the consistent teaching of the church throughout its history. From Cyprian’s famous words that “outside the Church there is no salvation” to D. L. Moody’s declaration that “church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man,” few Christians have questioned the importance of belonging to a local church. Christians belong in the church like a fish belongs in the water: it’s where they are meant to live life.


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