Churchgoing as Worship Is Idolatry

If you are going to church to worship God then you have made church into an idol of God.  This is spiritually no different than what the Israelites did when they worshiped the golden calf  “which had led them out of Egypt.”

Idolatry is substituting any physical form for God.  God Himself is spirit.  He is invisible.  He is omnipresent and omnipotent.  There is no physical form that could represent Him.  Ancient Israel had a tabernacle with an altar and utensils of worship.  These implements, however, were only temporary until He whom they foreshadowed was to come.  All scriptural types and shadows have their fulfillment in Jesus Christ.  And when the light of reality has come, the shadows are done away.

True worship is giving your thoughts to God.  It is thinking, speaking, and doing everything for His consumption.  If you go to a church to hear the word of God, then hear it and obey.  If you go to a church to join with others to help the poor, then help the poor.  But do not go to church to worship God because this limits Him as an idol would.  

The light of Jesus Christ has come.  Walk in Him, live in Him, bask in Him – always and everywhere! 

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ for those who want to hear about Him without having to join something.

6 Replies to “Churchgoing as Worship Is Idolatry”

  1. Interesting post, thanks for making me think about this topic! I am not sure I would fully agree with you. Worship, biblically speaking, is a life laid down. When one submits oneself to listen to God’s word read and taught, is that not an act of worship? If, upon hearing that word, one submits some aspect of their life to the Lordship of Christ, that is an act of worship. At least, if we use the biblical definition of what worship is.

    I would unquestionably agree that we can make attending a church service something it was not meant to be. We can (and do) equate that with giving God worship. My thought is that in any given church “service” there are people present who are truly responding to God in faith and those who are just there. It can be both.

    1. Worship, biblically speaking, is a life laid down.

      We are fully agreed on this.

      When one submits oneself to listen to God’s word read and taught, is that not an act of worship? If, upon hearing that word, one submits some aspect of their life to the Lordship of Christ, that is an act of worship.

      More precisely, I would say that worship is the action that flows from that decision rather than the actions that preceded it (Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 13:15-16).

      I would unquestionably agree that we can make attending a church service something it was not meant to be. We can (and do) equate that with giving God worship.

      Indeed this is our error, and this is my point. In the place of “the life laid down” we have substituted “the Sunday worship service.”

      My thought is that in any given church “service” there are people present who are truly responding to God in faith and those who are just there. It can be both.

      Of course, I agree that there are both sincere and insincere people present at any church worship service. My point is that neither group is serving the Lord in the way He has requested. In such situations He is being offered lip service, and what He wants is a “life laid down.”

      The only true worship leader is Jesus who, if we followed Him 24/7, would have us worshiping and serving all the days of our lives.

      1. Hi Mike,

        Perhaps we should call the coroprate gathering of the redeemed something other than a “worship service”? From the moment the church was birthed, the followers of Christ have met together regularly to be discipled, to encourage one another, and to share their lives with each other.

        It might be better to say that the worship “service” is what we do with our lives once we leave the corporate gathering.

        1. I could agree with that. However, there is a problem in that the corporate gathering keeps seeking to sustain itself. That is, it needs regular attendees, it needs tithes, it needs volunteers. Thus church in our day seeks devotion to itself and not to the Lord.

          You rightly point out that any such gathering today should first and foremost have as its purpose to make disciples. Yet today’s churches are the only schools I can think of from which graduation is neither sought nor encouraged. Therefore, people are “always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” If the goal of a preacher or teacher is to make disciples, then his happiest moment is when his listener says, “See ya later; I’m going to follow Jesus.” I don’t know any pastor who thinks they way. They can’t afford to! Their living depends on getting people to come back to them.

          There are many sincere, God-fearing people caught in the system of church (I’m speaking of both leaders and laity). They want to serve the Lord, but, for the most part, they can’t, because their time and money has to be devoted to supporting the church. This is the day of the Lord. Let’s truly live like it’s His day and not ours.

  2. You are right about the money issue. The American church needs so much money just to gather. We do need to gather together, but does it have to be on such a large scale that it requires large buildings and huge expenditures of money? They don’t need that in and other places like China.

    I personally know several pastors who have enthusiastically applauded when some of the strongest members of the congregation left. They often took 50-100 people with them to go plant other congregations. It always left a huge financial hole in the ministry. So there are pastors out there that who do think that way, but I think it is rare.

    1. There are indeed some pastors who think more selflessly than others. However, recognize that my criticism is not directed toward pastors but toward the system in which their ministries are bound – that is, church. Even in the case you mention, such pastors will need to focus on “filling that financial hole.” That is attention taken away from the Lord and His work. This system thus has a corrupting effect even on selfless pastors because it forces them to think about and work on the financial needs of their own congregations because that determines their own livelihoods (unless they are supported by donors from elsewhere – but even then an accounting will be required). I imagine the great possibilities of kingdom growth if such pastors were freed from having to serve church and could spend their time bearing witness to the Lord such that many more people could recognize that Jesus Christ is in every place at all times…to be worshiped with the way we live.

      “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Let us not have Him relegated to certain times and places. Let all the earth bow before Him!

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