Many people still go to church on Sundays because they think they need to fellowship with other Christians. Even knowing that most of the people in the church aren’t genuine believers doesn’t stop them from thinking they have to fellowship with them.
But do we, as born-again believers, really need to fellowship with unbelievers?
Or put another way, HOW can we fellowship with unbelievers?
I would rather sit alone than be with people who pretend to believe. I have sat alone for nearly 20 years. Every now and then I venture into a church building, hoping to hear the Word preached live, but I always end up leaving after only a few minutes, more bitter than ever at what has become of mainstream Christianity.
The life of a born-again believer is a solitary one. I am never alone (God and Jesus are always with me), but human companionship is not part of the job description. I interact with people of necessity (you live in the world, you have to interact with people), but it’s always at arm’s length, and I trust no-one. Unbelievers are easy tools of the devil and can turn on you in an instant.
Jesus trusted no-one – not even his disciples – and for good reason: He knew their thoughts. I don’t always know the thoughts of those around me, but I can read their faces and hear their voice intonation and note their body language, and that gives me reasonably accurate insight into what they’re thinking. I can hear what they’re saying and then read between the lines. Most people rarely say what they’re thinking, which is to everyone’s benefit. Imagine the insanity of everyday conversation if unbelievers actually said aloud everything the devil put into their mind.
Jesus directed us to go out into the world and preach the Good News. He didn’t say to preach it to the world. The world, by definition, doesn’t want to hear the Word. The world, by definition, has rejected the Word. Jesus wants us to seek out those who are hungry and thirsty for the Word, not to force-feed those who are not. Make yourself available, and those who are hungry and thirsty will come to you, even if only by cover of night.
I have not made a secret of my loathing for mainstream Christianity. I’ve written about it here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here, etc. I hated mainstream Christianity when I was an atheist, and I still hate it as a born-again believer. If it doesn’t have the whiff of pretense, it has the full-blown stench of hypocrisy. Jesus also loathed those who said they believed and yet showed by their actions that they didn’t. To be accused by Jesus of being a hypocrite is about as bad an insult as you can get.
True believers are few and far between these days. We mostly find each other via the internet. God always makes a way for his children to fellowship, though maybe not always in person. For the personal touch, we have God and Jesus with us 24/7.
There’s no need to settle for unbelievers. There’s no need to fellowship with hypocrites.
We have God and Jesus, and we have each other, even though we’ve never met in person and perhaps don’t even know that the other exists. A genuine born-again believer has a true friend in every genuine born-again believer, so that’s quite a few friends, even in this wicked age. Paul called it a cloud of witnesses: I’m out here praying for you and you’re out there praying for me, and our touchstone is God’s Holy Spirit. I can’t see you, but I can feel your prayers; I don’t know you, but I know you’re there. This is a comfort to me. Knowing that out there somewhere are others who believe as I believe is a comfort to me. This is part of my faith, and I know it’s as real as these words that I’m typing and you’re reading.
God may not bring believers together in person, but he lets them know that others like them exist, that they’re not entirely bereft of human companionship, that they needn’t settle for hypocrites.
We don’t need to go into a church building because we live in our church 24/7.
We don’t need to seek out unbelievers who say they believe because we have each other in our cloud of witnesses.
And we have God and Jesus, who are always with us through God’s Spirit.
Surely that’s enough.