Is poor attendance actually a sin?


Brother, I was edified by what I read in this article: Telling Members They are Sinning in Deliberately Missing Church.

Bob does a good job listing some of the excuses some brethren use to justify missing church assemblies. He shows that those who rely on these excuses reveal carnality and not spirituality.

However, as the writer of the article, Bob has the burden of proof for showing that missing out on a church assembly is a sin. Respectfully, he seems to gloss over Hebrews 10:25-27 without really digging into the context of the passage or its original application.

The Hebrews writer wasn't just telling people something they should avoid doing but prescribing something they should be doing: it is good and helpful to assemble with the saints in weekly church assemblies, in our homes in fellowship, etc. because we should seek times to influence, exhort, and encourage one another. Not wanting to be around other saints is surely a symptom of carnality but the root problem is not resolved by hearing a command to assemble.

A spiritual dedication to doing love and good works being stirred up is the solution the Hebrews writer prescribes (Hebrews 10:24). Spiritual people keep God's commands by faith. Without constant influence, exhortation, and encouragement from my fellow saints, I'm more likely to sin and sinning deliberately brings judgment (Hebrews 10:26). I should daily seek the faces of the saints for this encouragement. If I truly focus on this, missing church services shouldn't become a problem because I want to be around God's people as much as I can.

Again, I'm sympathetic to Bob's point -- the churches can and should certainly benefit from improving fellowship, especially when it comes to assembling for worship.


I'm inclined to agree. I've always seen attendance problems as symptoms of deeper problems. A lack of attendance or spotty attendance is typically the first sign that a member is moving back into the world. Thus, realizing that sin is involved somewhere in a Christian's life who is not attending faithfully, it behooves the church to do something to rescue that member from the world.

I know Bob's article does mention this lightly. You or I might have put more emphasis on the underlying sin if we wrote a similar article. However, I think the points Bob makes are still worth considering. After all, it is likely that the reason the Corinthian church tolerated the fornicator in their midst was a desire not to drive someone away (I Corinthians 5:1-2). Many churches see members slip into spotty attendance but do nothing to find out why they are losing a member to the world, and thus sin is left unrebuked often in fear of driving the person further away.