The Trinitarian Argument for going to Church (Post #2 on the Holy Spirit)


Every so often you come across a Christian who would rather stay home and “do church” on their own, or perhaps with his or her family than attending a Sunday morning service. Recently, Don Miller provoked a blog storm when he wrote a post along these lines, giving his reasons for choosing not to attend church.

You’ve heard the arguments: “I find it too hard to listen to a sermon”; “The music there doesn’t engage me”; “I don’t fit in with those people.” We tend to think practically, functionally, about why we should or should not attend church. But I think we need a good dose of reality, ontological reality – as Christians, who we are in our being ought to compel us to get to church.

John Zizioulas has argued that “[w]hat is most characteristic of God is his being in relation. As the Trinity, the three Persons of the Godhead interrelate with each other. There is an intra-trinitarian love relationship. With this same love, the Triune God relates to human beings and the world and embraces them in divine-human koinōnia [communion].”[1]

Since we are not only created in God’s image but also indwelt by the Holy Spirit, regular church fellowship is part of our very composition as believers. So Christian communion (koinōnia) is not some optional addition to your “personal walk with God”; it is central, ontologically central, to your identity as a spirit-indwelt Christian.

In other words, our individual communion with Jesus by the Holy Spirit necessitates communion with other believers in the common bond of that same Spirit. So it can be said with certainty that Christians need other Christians. It is an ontological fact of our ecclesial existence.

Now I know that some people work shift work and some people have sport commitments and the realities of life sometimes make getting to church difficult – but really – go to church. You need it. You were made for it as an image-bearer of the Triune God. (As you have opportunity) get a new job. Get a new sport! Get there!

[1] Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Pneumatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2002), 106.


One thought on “The Trinitarian Argument for going to Church (Post #2 on the Holy Spirit)

  1. The church where I currently attend has been working through some of the realities and complexities that arise because of our communal faith (which I guess is always true of every church). Most recently, it has been the ongoing generational tension that arises because of the worship music. Community is hard, but living out our relationship with God without community is impossible, and for two reasons. First, we need the support of our fellow believers. Second, because living out a relationship with God without one another is, as you noted, an ontological contradiction of what that relationship is.

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