By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew
PLANO, Texas – Bob Hostetler has a message for Christians – quit going to church.
He also tells us to quit saying prayers, quit reading your Bible, quit volunteering, quit enjoying fellowship, and so on.
Hostetler, co-founder of Cobblestone Community Church in Oxford, Ohio, uses the Bible to explain why Christians should improve in these areas in his latest release, “Quit Going To Church.” (ISBN 978-0-915547-70-8, $14.99, 224 pages, Leafwood Publishers)
While all these requests sound a bit far-fetched, think again. This thought-provoking and “pull-of-the-gloves” book is based on the premise that much of how we think and act, a great percentage of what we do today as church-going people, bears a slight resemblance to the way of Jesus and “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3 NIV).
The title of the book and its subsequent chapters issue an eyebrow-raising challenge, showing how many of us have misunderstood and distorted the good news of Jesus and replaced Christianity with something else.
For instance, in the chapter “Quit Going To Church,” he points out that Christians should “stop going to church and start being a church” that resembles the one in Acts 2. What should a church look like? Hostetler said it should be holy (“spirituality” and “being the church”), catholic (“universal” and “all of us together”), and apostolic (“based on the teachings of the apostles” and “provide gift-based leadership”). Furthermore, Hostetler tells readers to shy from the long-held notion by some that going to church makes you a Christian. This portion of Hostetler’s book takes me to James 2:14-26, when James talks about faith and deeds. What are you doing to fulfill Christ’s kingdom Monday through Saturday?
Hostetler contends Christians should quit tithing because the practice is misrepresented in today’s church. Everything we have belongs to God. Therefore, if you truly understand the New Testament church, 10 percent or any portion that man constitutes as tithing is incorrect. Jesus wants His people to surrender all to Him. Not 10 percent, but 100 percent. Everything! (Luke 14: 25-34).
As I read more, I stumbled into another nugget that made me nod my head in agreement. Hostetler tells believers to quit helping the poor and unite with them. The author boldly says, “When Jesus said, ‘You will always have poor among you (John 12:8 NIV), he meant, ‘among you.’ Not ‘on your drive to the office’ … Not ‘in shelters,’ … or in neighborhoods far from your community. He meant among you.”
Sadly, some have swayed from the Christ’s roadmap for His church. Hostetler is attempting to convey in “Quit Going to Church” that traditions and customs were not a part of first century Christianity and it should not have a place in the 21st century church. This straightforward title has nothing to do with “denomination” or who is right or wrong. But, if you believe in Him with all your heart, you would adhere to Christ’s vision for His church.