I received the following comments from a reader of this blog:
Brittany: Nathan, I am concerned that you are online writing in depth about scripture, yet you are not a part of a bible teaching church? where are your elders, your men around you to sharpen and rebuke you? It is easy to find people to agree with you on the internet, it is entirely different to “do life” with other families that are a part of the church to help keep ourselves in check. It is one thing to do a scholarly study of the word, yet you do not serve in Christs church? The church is the bride of Christ, and we all have a place in it.
My comments, both given above and in the “About” section of my website, have to do with the affiliation of my website and of the studies posted on the website. I did not intend my comments to say anything about whether or not I attend a church or fellowship with other believers. My point was only that this website is not affiliated with any group or organization, even one that I myself might be affiliated with. The articles posted on this website are my own, and are the results of my own, personal studies in the Word of God. They are, indeed, not passed by anyone else for approval but myself before they are posted. Thus, they are my own responsibility and, as I said, the result of my own studies and my own conclusions entirely.
Having just met you on the internet, I am disinclined to provide you with the names and addresses of the men around me who are available to sharpen and rebuke me. You seem to be under the impression that only a church is qualified to provide such men, what you call a “bible teaching church.” Yet I have found that it is Jesus Christ, not a church, Who is capable of producing men of God capable of rebuking and sharpening others.
My observation of the families that one meets with in a church is that they are as likely to take one off the track as they are to keep one in check. I have known plenty of families in church, even a “bible teaching church,” who will watch movies and television programs I would not watch, who will raise their children in ways I would not raise them, who will express worldly opinions that I would not express, and so forth. Any attempts on my part to keep such people in check are usually not met with much gratitude. Also, it has not been my observation that most people in church “do life” together at all, unless they happen to be a part of the same family. One might find a church a good place to meet people who might keep one in check, and one might even find some people to “do life” with in a church, but one had better be far more discriminating than just figuring that walking in the door of a church that claims to teach the Bible will immediately put one in contact with people who can keep one on track.
It is neither scholarly studies of the Word nor serving in “Christs church” that makes one into the kind of person God wishes us to be. Rather, it is getting to know the God of the Bible and putting into practice the things He teaches us there.
I notice how vague you are about just what church you are talking about when you mention “Christs church” and “a bible teaching church.” There are multiple churches and denominations who would claim both to teach the Bible and to belong to Jesus Christ. If all these are indeed something Christ built, then He did not seem very capable of making up His mind as to what proper doctrine or even practice really is, since they often disagree about very critical things when it comes to both teaching and practice. This theoretical church that you postulate that will keep one on track, check and balance one in the Word, and give one a place in Christ’s work is of questionable existence. The reality you are missing is that it is the Word of God that is meant to keep us on track, to check and balance us in the truth, and to equip us to work for Christ. Churches are only valuable when they are (or are not) on board with what Christ really teaches in His Word. Yet you would urge me to temper my studies in the Word with the church, rather than tempering my opinion of any church with the Word!
You also show your lack of knowledge of the Bible in your claims about the bride of Christ. Are you aware that the term “bride of Christ” never appears in Scripture? As such, any claims made about it are false. It would appear that the “bible teaching church” you attend has failed to check you in this regard.
I would strongly urge you to place far less confidence in your church and far more confidence in the Word of God than you have been placing.