How do you answer this question?
A friend of mine, Kelly Bean, is in the critical last mile of having her book published.
She wasn’t sure if her publisher was going to like her idea for a title. I can understand why. It’s a Christian publisher offering a book for Christians.
Her title idea? “How to Be a Christian without Going to Church: The Unofficial Guide to Alternative Forms of Christian Community.”
I know Kelly, and I know that she loves the church.1 She understands what the church is theologically. I’m looking forward to her book because I’m certain that it’s going to be a thoughtful, challenging and helpful. (Follow Kelly if you can, and watch for anything she writes. It’s worth your time.)
Turns out the publisher loved the title, partly because it’s provocative. It gets at that question: “Can you really be a Christian without going to church?”
Immediately you might be saying, “Of course you can! That’s silly. Your faith is between you and God.” Or perhaps you feel differently and have good Biblical reasons for that. I’m not going to answer that question today, though I have a strong and and opinionated view on the subject. Instead, I’m intrigued how this question points to a deeper issue.