[The following is excerpted from the book, Gather: Getting to the Heart of Going to Church, Copyright © 2021 by M. Hopson Boutot. Click here to download the entire book for free.]
Mere church attendance can be highly dangerous. C.S. Lewis sheds light on this in his imaginative work, The Screwtape Letters. Uncle Screwtape, a seasoned demon, writes to his nephew Wormwood about the art of temptation. He writes: "Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that 'suits' him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches." (1) The Enemy is perfectly content for us to attend church, providing we don't commit anywhere.
What would Screwtape think of your church attendance? Is it fueled by a deep and abiding commitment to a specific local church, or is it a sporadic, diverse sampling of churches—something that looks more like dating around than covenantal marriage? If you want to frustrate the principalities and powers, stop merely attending church. Connect. Commit. Covenant. And not merely to the idea of "church," but to a specific Bible-preaching, Christ-exalting local church. After all, when Jesus pursued His bride He wasn't haphazardly searching for options. He committed Himself to the pursuit of the Church, even to the point of a bloody death on a rough-hewn beam of recycled wood. Choosing rightly about gathering means choosing to commit where you gather.
1. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1944), 81.