American Council of Christian Churches
75th Annual Convention, October 18-20, 2016
Faith Baptist Church, Kittery, Maine
Resolution on the Assembly of Believers
After Christ’s ascension, His followers began assembling themselves together in their respective localities to worship their Lord and Savior on the first day of the week, the day of His resurrection. At these Lord’s Day assemblies, believers heard the Word read and preached, sang praises and offered prayers unto God, observed the Lord’s Supper and baptism, contributed gifts unto the Lord’s work, and fellowshipped with one another (Acts 2:42-47, 20:7, I Cor. 16:2, Eph. 5:19, and Col. 3:16).
The writer of Hebrews soon noticed that some were developing a habit of neglecting their local churches, and therefore charged all to “not forsak[e] the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but [to] exhort . . . one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:25). Whether the “day” referred to was one of affliction or of Christ’s return, the author understood that believers must be prepared by participating diligently in corporate worship.
Persecution of the Church persists and the day of Christ’s return is closer, but sadly, professed Christians today are forsaking the assembly of believers at an alarming rate. What the text described as “the manner of some” is now the habit of many.
Some have abandoned churches altogether, while others have neglected a number of services for sporting events, family gatherings, or unnecessary work. Some have even tried to replace corporate worship with podcasts, radio broadcasts, televised/webcast services, or personal Bible readings. While these things can be excellent spiritual supplements, they cannot replace the gathering of believers on Sunday.
Unfortunately, many churches have also succumbed to pressure from society and have cancelled services for secular holidays and sporting events.[i] At times, such cancellations are called “Family Sundays,” but this label fails to honor the Scripture’s designation of Sunday as “The Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10).
Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches at its 75th annual convention, October 18-20, 2016, at Faith Baptist Church of Kittery, ME, resolves to exhort all believers to join a sound, local church and to be faithful to it as much as is physically possible. Likewise, we resolve to encourage churches to cease canceling services to accommodate the spirit of the age. David said: “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD’” (Ps. 122:1). We urge professed Christians to examine themselves to see whether such a joy for God’s house characterizes their lives, and if not, to repent.