Apologist: Church was meant to be costly, not convenient

Wednesday, January 27, 2021
 | 
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

online study or worshipChurch in the age of COVID continues to be an online experience for many, if not most Americans. Conventional wisdom says it is unlikely that church attendance will ever return to the way it was before the pandemic.

Churches suffering under the onerous restrictions from state and local governments had a choice in 2020: violate the law, go online, or shut the doors. Most chose the high-tech route – a move that's led to some unexpected positive outcomes. Long Hollow Baptist Church, for example, has had more than 280 people from around the country come to its Hendersonville, Tennessee, campus to be baptized.

But Dr. Alex McFarland, a North Carolina-based Christian apologist, says along with the victories there are some concerns. For example, he notes that the 280 people who were baptized aren't moving to Tennessee to plug into Long Hollow Baptist; so most of them will likely continue to watch online – possibly even after COVID restrictions are lifted.

McFarland acknowledges that while viewing a church service from home may be convenient, it's not scriptural.

McFarland

"I really do think Hebrews 10:25 is clear, which says 'Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, and so much the more as you see the day approaching' – the day being the return of Christ," he shares.

And while McFarland understands that's not a popular opinion, he also is of the opinion that church should cost something: sacrifice.

"Church shouldn't necessarily be convenient," he argues. "The dress codes, the service times, the styles of music, bringing food and beverage into the sanctuary – there was a push to bend over backwards to make church user-friendly, seeker-friendly, convenient.

"[But] we are disciples of Christ. It was not painless or convenient to be nailed to a cross and have the appropriate measure of God's wrath that our sins warranted poured onto Christ."

A nationwide survey released in October revealed that eight months after government restrictions began targeting churches, only about one in ten Protestant pastors in the U.S. reported that their church attendance was close to a pre-pandemic level.

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