Note: This article was originally posted December 16, 2005.
A man skips church because he and his co-workers receive free tickets to an NFL game. A Sunday school teacher runs in a marathon rather than teaching his class. Both of these are real situations. Both men graduated from fundamental colleges. Are they right or wrong? Certain segments of Fundamentalism criticize other segments for not being “big on the local church.” Although much of this criticism is due to petty differences over the doctrine of the universal church, some of this criticism is well-deserved. Sometimes those who lift up Christ and the fundamentals are guilty of slighting the local church.
The word church literally means “called-out assembly.” “Called-out” teaches separation from the world and its sinful system. Second Corinthians 6:17-18 says,
Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
The church gives believers an opportunity to physically practice this principle on the Lord’s Day and at other times during the week. “Called out” also signifies being drafted into the work of the Great Commission. Jesus says in John 20:21, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” He prophesies in Acts 1:8: