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Does the Christian bible dictate a church?

paul wheaton
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Another thread popped this question into my head.
Is there anything in the bible that says you are supposed to go to church every Sunday?


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Phil Chuang
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Look at it this way:
Is there anything special about support groups that makes them meet at the same time, same place, same day of the week?
Every Sunday was just an arbitrary thing that probably just sort of happened along the centuries
Heck, Seventh-Day Adventists meet on Saturdays. I believe the Jewish sabbath is also Saturday.
Joel McNary
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There is nothing in the Bible dictating how Christians are supposed to worship. In fact, the moral of the Parable of the Good Samaratian is that how you worship does not make you a good/bad person. Jesus also rejects the notion of "you are not permitted to work on the Sabbath," because the "you are not supposed to work on the Sabbath-keep it holy" was suppoesed to be agift, not a curse ("you shouldn't have to work on the Sabbath if you store up and prepare for it during the rest of the week...")
The fact that Christian observer the Sabbath on Sunday is a result of the Easter story. Jesus dies and was buried on Friday (the first day; remember, ancient Romans did not have the concept of zero), and the second day (Saturday) was the Sabbath. The thrid day, of course, was the Resurrection. Since Christianity was centered around the Resurrection, that makes it the focal point. If you celebrate Easter on the first day of the week, (and you are supposed to honor the Sabbath), then other regular church services should be every Sunday.
Of course, as Phil pointed out, it probably took a long time to reach that conclusion. Early Christian sects would have quite varying meeting times (especially during the various times that the religion was outlawed!). It didn't matter when people got together ("Whenever two or more are gathered in my name...."), but just the fact that they did.
Of course, it was possible to go from you Christian service and pop across the street and also attend the Mithras service and then pay homage to the emperor, but that's where all the early heretical sects come in to play


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stara szkapa
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Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
Is there anything in the bible that says you are supposed to go to church every Sunday?

No, but my mother does.
John Smith
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JM: Jesus also rejects the notion of "you are not permitted to work on the Sabbath," because the "you are not supposed to work on the Sabbath-keep it holy" was suppoesed to be agift, not a curse ("you shouldn't have to work on the Sabbath if you store up and prepare for it during the rest of the week...")
Well, Exodus 35:2 does sound like a curse: "Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death."
Michael Ernest
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I'm quite sure God meant "death" in the good sense.
[ October 14, 2003: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]

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Anonymous
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
I'm quite sure God meant "death" in the good sense.

I beg your pardon, can you elaborate : "death" in the good sense
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Joel McNary:
Of course, it was possible to go from you Christian service and pop across the street and also attend the Mithras service and then pay homage to the emperor, but that's where all the early heretical sects come in to play

Remember that at the time Christianity was the heretical sect and all the others were not...
Christians in Roman days brought persecution upon themselves by not recognising the divinity of the Emperor of Rome and thus questioning the very core of the Roman state and religion.
In fact, Christians were the only religion (next to the Jews from which they derive, and the Jews at least paid lip-service to Rome) at the time which refused to accept the existence of other religions (at the time there were dozens, all living together more or less in harmony, except Christians who didn't accept the existence of any of them).
Has Christians not refused to accept the divine powers of the Emperor (mind that later they DID do so for other rulers) they'd not have been persecuted by the Romans (the Romans forced noone to change their religion as long as he accepted the Roman religion).


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Timothy Chen Allen
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Originally posted by Joel McNary:
...attend the Mithras service...

Wait, I thought Mithras was a light armor made my elves in Middle Earth that could deflect any blow...


Timothy Chen Allen
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Angela Poynton
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
JM: Jesus also rejects the notion of "you are not permitted to work on the Sabbath," because the "you are not supposed to work on the Sabbath-keep it holy" was suppoesed to be agift, not a curse ("you shouldn't have to work on the Sabbath if you store up and prepare for it during the rest of the week...")
Well, Exodus 35:2 does sound like a curse: "Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death."

Yet another example of why I don't subscribe to any religion!
Full of man-made hypocrosies!
I believe in a God but I can't reconcile myself with any organised religion so I worship my God in my own way. For me that means be thankful for what my God has given me and take nothing for granted. I talk to my God, and I believe I am listened to, not always agreed with though I don't need to be in a special place to talk, or on a special day, I just do it where and when the need arises.


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Timothy Chen Allen
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Have fun burning for all of eternity, heathen!
Michael Ernest
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Oooh, me too, me too, I wanna burn with Angela.
Jim Yingst
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[ME]: I'm quite sure God meant "death" in the good sense.
[RKS]: I beg your pardon, can you elaborate : "death" in the good sense

Sometimes I think I use too many smilies in my posts. But evidently, they're still often needed to alert readers when a statement is a joke and not intended to be taken too seriously.


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Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by Angela Poynton:

Yet another example of why I don't subscribe to any religion!
Full of man-made hypocrosies!
I believe in a God but I can't reconcile myself with any organised religion so I worship my God in my own way. For me that means be thankful for what my God has given me and take nothing for granted. I talk to my God, and I believe I am listened to, not always agreed with though I don't need to be in a special place to talk, or on a special day, I just do it where and when the need arises.

The only problem with that is the Bible tells us that we are supposed to gather together and worship and praise together. Not always just by ourselves. Although, God wants His personal time with as too.


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Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by <R K Singh>:

I beg your pardon, can you elaborate : "death" in the good sense

I'm not sure it is a "good" death. However, a lot of times when the Bible tells us that people shall be "put to death" I don't think it literally means they should be killed by another man. God considers Hell to be death and Heaven to be life. So to be "put to death" just means you will go to hell.
FYI - This is my interpretation from study and prayer. I am by no means an expert.
Jim Yingst
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[GB]: The only problem with that is the Bible tells us...
That's only a problem if you accept the bible. Paul indicated an interest in what the bible says when he started this thread. However nothing in Angela's response indicated any particular biblical basis for her beliefs; I wouldn't make any assumptions about that.
Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[GB]: The only problem with that is the Bible tells us...
That's only a problem if you accept the bible. Paul indicated an interest in what the bible says when he started this thread. However nothing in Angela's response indicated any particular biblical basis for her beliefs; I wouldn't make any assumptions about that.

That is correct. My mistake.
Thomas Paul
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As to Paul's original question, Christianity is a social religion. It is not meant to be, although it sometimes is, practiced by hermits. The Bible says that whenever two or more are gathered in Jesus' name that Jesus will be there. Christian prayer gatherings were common in the early Church. The Acts of the Apostles talks about the problem of Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians not being able to break bread together because the Gentile Christians did not follow kosher rules. The first Church council in Jerusalem was formed specifically to solve this problem so the two groups could pray together.


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Donald R. Cossitt
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Is there anything in the bible that says you are supposed to go to church every Sunday?

"Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together..." Hebrews 10:25
(See Colosians 2:16,17)
However, Acts 2:42-47 strongly suggests something a bit more informal and spontaneous than the current "traditions of men" being observed and practiced dogmatically by Christendom. Although if one is to be proficient at any discipline it would behoove that individual to accompany himself/herself with those of like interests regularly. I have heard it said, and believe it true, that the difference between where one is today and where one will be five years from now is the books one reads and the people one hangs with. "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" Proverbs 27:17 That afterall, is why we have JavaRanch as well...it does not require that I be involved every day or hour or ...
More to the point of the question, the Bible does say this:
Romans 10
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (and there is much, much more. Many volumes have been written on the subject as I am sure many more are forthcoming)
These days a preacher is likely to be found in a Church; you will likely find him to be subject to all human frailties as well.
Do not misunderstand. I am not a Christian appologist and a very poor example of a Christian; just trying to answer the question as I know it. I would however, close by saying "if you know and don't do; then you don't know."
[ October 15, 2003: Message edited by: Donald R. Cossitt ]

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R K Singh
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[ME]: I'm quite sure God meant "death" in the good sense.
[RKS]: I beg your pardon, can you elaborate : "death" in the good sense





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Joe King
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OK, but who wrote the bible? Did it come floating out of the sky to a chorus of angels? Nope, it was written by people, and as we all know people make mistakes, assumptions, guesses and are very biased. There's no point in taking it as a divine set of accurate instructions anymore than there is any sense following any of the other similar books and writings. If I was to write a book saying that I'd had a dream instructing me to tell everyone that eating fish is a sin, then the men in white coats would be paying me a visit. Some of what is written in books like the bible is no less rediculous - just because it was written a long time ago does not make it any more valid. Just do what you think is best. Simple
Jeroen Wenting
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in fact, the complete mess of translation errors in the book today make it a lot less valid than it would have ever been in the past.
The original was written in a collection of different languages by several people.
Some of those languages have now been (partially) lost (not to mention the original documents have been lost) so there is no way to know what was originally written down.
All current versions (with their many sometimes contradictory differences) are interpretations of 3rd line translations or worse, which themselves most likely contain errors in translation.
Angela Poynton
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Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:

The only problem with that is the Bible tells us that we are supposed to gather together and worship and praise together. Not always just by ourselves. Although, God wants His personal time with as too.

The Bible was written by man and too much has been lost in bad translation.
Now I had a Catholic education for 12 years and was raised in a Catholic family so a lot of my beliefs are based around those doctrines I just don't follow the ones that tell me how to worship. Worshipping in a holy place such as a Church makes sense, I even go to Mass occasioanlly myself but I just don't see where it says it MUST be done every Sunday.
The Bible also says that God made man in his image.
Therefore I believe when I speak to another human being I am speaking to God, so I try to treat my fellow human being with respect.
I'm not knocking anyone's beliefs, I respect everyone's right to worship their own deity in their own way (or not to worship any deity) because I believe a persons faith is intrigal to who they are. It's not about what is the right or wrong religion, it's about what is right for an individual, what makes them comfortable with their own existance.
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
in fact, the complete mess of translation errors in the book today make it a lot less valid than it would have ever been in the past.
The original was written in a collection of different languages by several people.
Some of those languages have now been (partially) lost (not to mention the original documents have been lost) so there is no way to know what was originally written down.
All current versions (with their many sometimes contradictory differences) are interpretations of 3rd line translations or worse, which themselves most likely contain errors in translation.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. We have found very ancient copies of the Bible that show that it has been faithfully transcribed for thousands of years. None of the languages the Bible was written in (Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic) are lost to us. Current versions of the Bible have been translated from material very close to the original sources. In some cases we don't have the original source but we have documents (such as letters) that show that the versions we have are accurate versions of the gospels from the 1st century.
As to Joe King's comments, since Christians believe that the Bible was divinely inspired I am not sure what point he is trying to make.
John Dale
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Where does it say anything is special about Sunday. Do you mean Saturday?
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
As to Joe King's comments, ....I am not sure what point he is trying to make.

Originally posted by Joe King:
Just do what you think is best. Simple


I am not speaking on behalf of Joe King but just trying to tell what point he is trying to make.
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by John Dale:
Where does it say anything is special about Sunday. Do you mean Saturday?

Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday. I would imagine that to Christians that would make the day rather important since it is the basis for their religion.
Gregg Bolinger
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After the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by Bedouin shepherds, a 1000 year gap was filled between the last known translation and 1947. After translating the Dead Sea Scrolls, it was found that a very small percentage (2% or something of that nature) of the current translation was incorrect. And it was all punctuation, spelling, and basically grammatical errors.
Jim Yingst
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Re: Saturday vs. Sunday:
A good list of specific biblical references can be found at:
What does the Bible say about the Sabbath and Sunday?
Additional interesting discussion at:
Sabbath - Wikipedia
Who moved the Sabbath to Sunday?
Why do most Christians worship on Sunday when the Old Testament set Saturday as the worship day?
[ October 16, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Phil Chuang
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Let's get to the real question:

Does it matter?
Not really.
Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by Phil Chuang:
Let's get to the real question:

Does it matter?
Not really.

Well, it must matter to Paul, or he would not have asked. So I guess that isn't the real question.
Joel McNary
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Normally, I let discussions like this slide, since I rarely have anything meaningful to contribute (usually other people make my points for me, an dI don't like jumping in and repeating...), but I think that I can try to clear things up here.
Yes, Christians believe the Bible to be divinely inspired. But just how divinely inspired depends on the branch of Christianity. American Fundamentalists in particular are much more into the black-and-white of the Bible than other denominations. But it is important to keep in mind that the Bible was written and redacted by people. And people, no matter how hard they try to be unbiased, do have agenda.
If you accept the historical figure Jesus of Nazareth (regardless of his divine status), then it behoves you to get an image of the man. He was a man who revolutionized a religion. Much like Martin Luther, he rebelled against the excesses and structure that marked Judaisim at the time. And, much like Yogi Berra and Sam Goldwyn, he has many things attributed to him he he probably did not actually say. Remember, the four gospels were not written at the time Jesus walked the Earth -- Mark is considered to be the earliest, and that wasn't written until the 60s (note the lask of an apostrophe before that ). John wasn't written until about 110 CE. And the Bible as a wholse wan't put ogether until the Council of Nicea in 325 CE. (I have to check my dates on that one, but I think it's right...)
So, one of the things used to figure out the authenticity of a statement attributed to Jesus is to look at how much it goes counter to the established religion of the time. The Parable of the Good Samaratain is considered to be at least largely authentic, as is "Render unto caesar that which is caesar's...", but "I am the vine, you are the branches; cut off from me, you can do nothing," is a good use of imagry, but is not likely to be authentic.
In addition, the religion that is known as Christianity is largely the religion of Paul. Even though Peter was the rock upon which the church was to be built, Paul became the rest of the Church. He spread the religion to the Gentiles, and in doing so had to make some allowances to them so that they would convert.
Among other problems that he had was the fact that the Romans did not have a set concept of a "week." The Jewish week was well-regulated (as the Commandment "Remember the Sabbath..." would have it do), but the Roman "week" was not regulated in any way except for the markets. The Romans considered their week to have nine days, although there were only eight days in actuality. The first day and the ninth day were the same: market day. After marketday you had days named after the sun, the moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn (the known Solar Syatem), and then market day again. Since the merchants moved from town to town, so did the temporal location of Marketday. Jupiter's Day was not fixed spatially or temporally; you had to cross-reference the two to figure out what day it was. And if you were a merchant travelling with the market, every day was Market-Day to you!
Now imagine this Paul guy coming in and telling you that you had to go to Church every seventh-day. This doesn't fit in nicely with your view of the "week," so you can safely ignore this lunatic.
So, no, the Christian Bible does not specify a day of the week to worship. It would have been counter-productive if it had. And you can resonably say that Jesus himself would have said that any day was a fine one to worship on.
Gregg Bolinger
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Joel, the best post regardint this subject. In my opinion, Paul's question has been answered. Very nice.
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Joel McNary:
So, one of the things used to figure out the authenticity of a statement attributed to Jesus is to look at how much it goes counter to the established religion of the time. The Parable of the Good Samaratain is considered to be at least largely authentic, as is "Render unto caesar that which is caesar's...", but "I am the vine, you are the branches; cut off from me, you can do nothing," is a good use of imagry, but is not likely to be authentic.
Actually scholars fight about this quite a bit. What we find is that scholars tend to create a Jesus that reflects their values. That is why we had the "revolutionary Jesus" in the 60's. They end up rejecting statements that go against their own interpretation of what Jesus should have said. But I would imagine that Jesus was a complicated man and that in three years of preaching he probably said a lot of things that scholars might not find to their taste.
Joel McNary
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Actually scholars fight about this quite a bit. What we find is that scholars tend to create a Jesus that reflects their values. That is why we had the "revolutionary Jesus" in the 60's. They end up rejecting statements that go against their own interpretation of what Jesus should have said. But I would imagine that Jesus was a complicated man and that in three years of preaching he probably said a lot of things that scholars might not find to their taste.

True, but that's why I said that I said that its just one of the things used to determine the authenticity of a post. I have to push my own agenda, you know
Jim Yingst
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Authenticity of a what?
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34


Authenticity of a what?

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Jim Yingst
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Of course there's this member...
Joe Pluta
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I pray all the time, and God ALWAYS answers my prayers.
Sometimes the answer is "No."
Joe
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:
After the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by Bedouin shepherds, a 1000 year gap was filled between the last known translation and 1947. After translating the Dead Sea Scrolls, it was found that a very small percentage (2% or something of that nature) of the current translation was incorrect. And it was all punctuation, spelling, and basically grammatical errors.

Which is extremely dangerous.
If 2 words apart from a single letter are identical yet have diametrically opposed meaning (as happens a lot in ancient languages) you can get very nasty mistakes indeed.
Same with punctuation.
These differences are a major source of fighting between different religious groups, fighting that has caused many people to be burned at the stake or otherwise killed or maimed as heretics over the centuries.
 
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subject: Does the Christian bible dictate a church?