WWJD; it's been awhile since I've seen much of that one ( thank the Creator ); I'm speaking of the phrase 'What Would Jesus Do' popularized by well-meaning but ignorant Christians about a decade or so ago. Of late though, we have been witnesses to a growing trend of those who are more seriously asking the question & actually DOING what Jesus did! So what WOULD Jesus do, or more to the point, what DID Jesus do?!
In this day & age, how much importance is put on 'going to church' every Sunday ( or as often as humanly possible )? Traditionally speaking, if one doesn't make every effort to be in 'the Lord's House' every time a meeting is called, he or she just might not be a very good Christian! However, we should ask ourselves, 'is THIS what Jesus would do?'; maybe if the historical Jesus was here in our day & age, He would attend these services, but maybe not as much or in the way we would imagine! We DO know, from Scripture, what He DID do however; He healed the sick, lifted the lame & associated with the outcasts, the undesirables!
True followers of Jesus the Christ do not 'go to church', they ARE the Church! I know, I know, it has become most well-accepted to use this kind of terminology in describing how the Church meets for public, corporate worship ( at least here in America; the corporate worship of Chinese Christians probably isn't very public ), but maybe that's part of the problem with Christianity Today; most Christians have become so used to 'going to church' that in the hustle & bustle of everyday life ( between meetings ) they have forgotten they ARE the Church! For most intents & purposes, we as Christians ( I'm not speaking only of Bible-believing, Sunday-go-to-meeting types ) ARE Jesus, to a weary & wanting world!
Much emphasis ( maybe too much ) is put on following the Creeds ( to the letter ) & ascribing to the Great Confessions, like the Westminster Confession of Faith, the London Baptist Confession & so on & so forth! 'Are you a Calvinist or an Arminian; do you believe that faith is the work of God or the work of man?' Questions like this have been cannon ( or should that be 'canon' ) fodder for centuries of debates & even battles to the death. 'Is this what Jesus would do?' It is most definitely NOT what He DID! Oh sure, He often told the Pharisees & other religious leaders of His day where they could go & where they could stick it ( 'where the Sun don't shine' ), but when opportunity presented itself, He never told the repentant sinner that he or she must follow a certain Creed or Confession; rather, He told them what they should DO; for instance, telling the rich young ruler, 'Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me' ( Luke 18:22 ).
How many times have you heard the phrase, 'we'll pray for you' ( in its several iterations ) in response to a plea for help! 'The Lord will provide if you just have faith' might be just another way of saying, 'I'm not going to lift a finger to help you, but I'll remember you in my prayers'! However, the apostle James said, 'faith without works is dead'; not wanting to get our hands dirty is NOT following in the footsteps of Jesus, Jesus dealt, not with those who were good Christians & faithfully attended religious services every Sunday ( or Saturday, as the case may be-we KNOW how He treated THEM ), but Jesus dealt with the dregs of society, even giving place to a murderer when death was on the line!
If one does not religiously attend worship services every week, one is usually looked at askance, but especially if one does not ascribe to this or that Creed or Confession, one just might not be a Christian! However, as we have seen, this is NOT how Jesus operated! As Christians, we should put more emphasis on how we act toward the dregs of society ( our neighbors ) than on what Creed or Confession ( if any in particular ) we follow!
The importance of belief is without doubt & beyond question! However, more important even than that is what we DO with that belief! We may follow one Creed or another, or ascribe to a certain Confession, even be a good Bible-believing, Sunday-go-to-meeting kind of Christian, but if we do not practice the Way of Jesus & DO what He DID, then it is all worth nothing & less than useless, even harmful! Those who practice such a life-style, though they may not attend religious services weekly ( or at all ) or ascribe to any certain Creed or Confession, may find themselves the victims of ostracization & they will most definitely find themselves on the outside looking in, but is it better to be a Christian ( in today's sense ) or a Follower of Jesus the Christ, one who DOES what He DID?!
Charles Haddon Shank