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Out of the Question

07 June 2013


Why do so few C of E bishops speak about the Christian obligation to attend church, Sunday by Sunday. . . ? [Answers, 24 May]

The Revd Tim Coleman's reply week made some important points regarding any obligation there may or may not be on a Christian to attend church, not least the implied "obligation" on the priest to make his service the best possible, so that people will actually want to attend.

Nevetheless, might he not be going too far with his conviction that "the church gathering, at best, is merely a refuelling break in the service of the Kingdom", as though "thou shalt love thy neighbour" has now totally actually ousted "thou shalt love the Lord thy God"?

While agreeing that a loving atheist is far more attractive proposition than a hypocritical churchgoer, one might reasonably question the sincerity of someone who claimed to be a film fan, but who never went to the cinema, when there was one on his doorstep.

At a purely practical level, to be a Christian - a "member of the Body of Christ" - in this modern world surely requires the encouragement of contact with other parts of that Body which a weekly gathering provides; while, at a deeper level, I have never understood how someone can claim to be a follower of Jesus while, at the same time, saying in effect, "but to hell with His dying wish" ("Do this in remembrance of me").

I wonder whether the Church would ever have got off the ground if its first adherents had not regularly met together for the breaking of bread (Acts 2.46f).

(Canon) Andrew Warner,  Andover

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