Open Letter: Forsake Not the Assembling

by Chip Brogden

Re: Hebrews 10:25

Dear ?,

Thank you for your feedback. I can appreciate your viewpoint because for many years I shared it, as a pastor and teacher in Organized Religion. But I no longer have that viewpoint, and so I disagree with your conclusions and your advice. Here’s why.

As someone who values the written Word of God and teaches others to value it, I am particularly alert to any accusation that I am contradicting Scripture. However, in your case (and in the case of others with your mindset), I find that there is no contradiction of Scripture as you suggest, only a contradiction of your particular interpretation of Scripture. To suggest, as you do, that Hebrews 10:25 refers to attending church services on Sunday is quite a stretch of the imagination, since “church” as you attend it did not exist at the time the book of Hebrews was written. So I accept the Scripture, but I do not accept your interpretation. If I thought it meant what you think it means then I would be in church every time the doors were open. That was my manner of life for more than 25 years. But I was in error, and so are you. God showed me a “more excellent way”, and He can show you too, providing you allow Him to open the eyes of your heart (Eph. 1:17,18).

The crux of your error is based on several assumptions, among them, that the only way to assemble together with other believers is to go to church. This assumes only people who go to church are true believers; that there is no possibility of gathering together with followers of Jesus outside of a church service. That is incredibly naive and overlooks the fact that many do, in fact, gather together in the name of the Lord Jesus and enjoy Christian fellowship without being “attached to a local church body” – an interesting phrase you use that is not, in fact, mentioned in Scriptures, and certainly not in the manner in which you mean it.

Rather than rehash that whole discussion with you privately, I refer you back to the website, where the issue of the Ekklesia and the “church” has been discussed, re-discussed, and presented from a Biblical and Spirit-led viewpoint. Any of the writings in the “Ekklesia” section under the “Read” tab will be beneficial to you, but in particular “Gathering: But Not for the Better” delves into Hebrews 10:25 and a few others.

There are many Scriptural principles that support coming out of a corrupted system. God brought Abraham out of Chaldea, the Hebrews out of Egypt, the Jews out of Babylon, and the Christians out of Judaism. God Himself withdrew His presence from the Temple when Israel persisted in open rebellion against Him and declared it “Ichabod – the glory has departed.” “Come out of Babylon” is the present-day call of God to His people in the Book of Revelation. Since you are concerned about the Scriptures being contradicted, how do you justify your continued support of a system that in your own words is “grossly out of step with Christ and with Scripture”?

And as much as I value the Word of God, I believe God Himself is the “final authority” in deciding what Scripture actually means. God reserves the right to interpret His own Word and will not allow us to elevate the letter of the Word over the God of the Word, which is precisely why the Pharisees failed to recognize Jesus even though they continually searched the Scriptures. When God spoke to Peter and said, “Kill and eat,” Peter protested that this violated the the written Word of God; why would God command him to eat something that Scripture said is unclean? But God is right, and even when we cling to the Word of God and quote verses, we must still, in the end, submit to God Himself. There are many instances where following the letter of the Word puts us in disobedience to the Spirit of the Word, and God reserves the right to come in and correct us when we mishandle the Word – which I believe has happened with Hebrews 10:25 and with many others.

In addition, your suggestion to go back and submit to leadership in a carnal religious system is dangerous and unhealthy. That would be like telling a married woman to go back and submit to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse from her husband because the Bible says, “Wives, submit to your husbands.” Using Scripture to justify submission to spiritually abusive leadership encourages the abuser to continue abusing both you and others; is that really what you want to do? Why not just submit to the Lord Jesus and do what He says to do? Why not just submit to one another in love, as Scripture says? You decry the carnality of the church yet you continue to support that carnality with your presence, just as Lot came under the influence of Sodom and found it harder and harder to leave it or even understand why he should.

Lot was fortunate enough to have two angels take him by the hand and drag him out of Sodom, but God will not do that with you and me. He expects us to judge righteously and use spiritual discernment, balanced with Biblical wisdom and some good old- fashioned common sense. Should you spend some time perusing the site and actually reading and listening to the teachings without trying to bring “correction” I think you will find we have a very high regard for both the Scriptures and for what the Spirit is saying. If you are truly grieved by what “church” has come to represent then please ask God to show you what the proper response to it should be. Stop putting yourself and others into bondage through the ignorant application of Scripture that you received from a fleshly leadership that has a vested interest in having you support their system. It is your response to Hebrews 10:25 (not our response!) that determines whether or not your spiritual life will progress or deteriorate. The wisdom of Christ’s approach in our lives, versus your approach, is evidenced by the fruit He produces in us.

I am your brother,

Chip Brogden

About the Author

CHIP BROGDEN is a best-selling author, teacher, and former pastor. His writings and teachings reach more than 135 nations with a simple, consistent, Christ-centered message focusing on relationship, not religion. Learn more »


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