Going to Church and Justin Bieber
I have an eclectic taste in music for someone my age. I like folk music, some country music, a little classical music, some easy listening music, some pop music, no hard rock music and no rap music. I like some Billie Holiday (1915-1959) and some Katy Perry (b. 1984). Diane teases me about having David Soul and Backstreet Boys on my music playlist. I have never, however, gotten into Justin Bieber which is too bad. His views reflect those of many Christians today.
In the Oct/Nov 2015 issue of Complex Justin Bieber is the cover story in an article entitled, “The Deep End.” The “Biebs” has transitioned from a 13-year-old pop star to a 21-year-old bad boy of music. His life is a contradiction. He has become well-known for getting caught driving drunk, attending strip joints and moving in with girlfriends — but he also professes Jesus as Savior:
He [Jesus] created a pretty awesome template of how to love people and how to be gracious and kind. If you believe it, he died for our sins. Sometimes when I don’t feel like doing something, but I know it’s right, I remember, I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross and dying so that we don’t have to feel what we should have to feel. What Jesus did when he came to the cross was basically say, “You don’t have to feel any of that stuff.” We could take out all of our insecurities, we could take away all of the hurt, all the pain, all the fear, all the trauma. That doesn’t need to be there. So all this healing that you’re trying to do, it’s unnecessary. We have the greatest healer of all and his name is Jesus Christ. And he really heals.
Troubling, however, is when he goes on to say, “…you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. If you go to Taco Bell, that doesn’t make you a taco.” Ok, so the Biebs is not too adept at making analogies but on this point that he is painfully like many Christians who try to justify deeds that do not mesh with confession.
There are 5 reasons you go to church, each tied to a directive from Scripture:
1. To be with God (Matthew 18:20)
2. To praise God (Psalm 150:1-6)
3. To be nurtured by God’s Word (Colossians 3:16 & Hebrews 5:11-6:3)
4. To talk to God (1 Timothy 2:8)
5. To encourage God’s people (Hebrews 10:24-25)
The Biebs is right – you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. The challenge, however, is justifying with Scripture why a Christian would not go to church. While walking into a Taco Bell does not make you a taco lover (a more correct analogy), a taco lover very much would go to a Taco Bell to be fed. While going to church does not make you a Christian, a Christian will very much go to church to be with God, to praise God, to learn from God, to talk to God and to encourage God’s people.
We should draw our values and attitudes not from a pop star or even from a pastor. Rather, look to God’s Word and there we find the answers and, rest assured, Christians do go to church because there are few good reasons not to in light of God’s directives.