Do you believe that God expects us to congregate in a building and donate money to an organization to be saved or does God take in all his children for having faith in him?
Going to church and giving money are independent of salvation. You cannot buy your salvation, neither is it a reward for church attendance. Clearly, a total non-believer could… do both of those things. However, that is not to suggest that church attendance and tithing have no place;they are just a separate issue to salvation. Another Answer Here is a little story to illustrate the point: A young man asked a wise old man sat in front of his fire the same question: The old man looked into the burning coals for a few minutes, then without a word he lifted the tongs and took a bright red piece of coal out and placed it on the hearth. Within a few seconds the redness dulled and shortly afterwards the coal became no more than a dull grey cinder. He then picked up the coal again and placed it back into the fire. Within seconds the coal started to glow just as it had before. "I think you have answered my question" said the young man. The truth is you can worship God anywhere. You do not have to go to church. However, it is much more difficult to do so alone unless you are someone special. Being with other Christians in worship means that you can have corporate prayer, you can make music together, you can share God's peace - in fact, worship of God becomes so much more meaningful. Add to this the support and friendship that you receive and can give to other Christians, and to those non-Christians around you, and you can see that even in the earliest days of the Christian Church new Christians chose to meet (in each others homes, in public buildings, and even in hidden tunnels underground at the time Christians were persecuted) as groups rather than remain as individuals. Just as individual coals will soon fade, Christians alone will soon allow the pressures of everyday life to clutter their spiritual life, and that will suffer. Put Christians together, however, and, like coals, they will burn with a fire of the Holy Spirit that cannot be quenched. Paul in his Biblical letters, and Luke in the Book of Acts makes it quite clear that membership of a church is vital. One aspect of church life is in helping those in need - loving your neighbour in a practical way rather than in empty words. This can really only be achieved by a corporate mission - where many hands make light work. It is fair to add that over the years the Church in general has been involved in most (if not all in some way) of the social reforms and mission throughout the last several hundred years. The church (ie its members) has been central in the abolition of slavery, reforms in work standards, health care, education of the poor, speaking out for equality, race equality and in many other areas. Christian organisations such as Tear Fund, Cafod, USPG, Salvation Army and so on still continue to work for the poor and opressed throughout the world. They cannot do this without funds - and most are supported, as in my own church, by local churches all over the world making donations from their own income. Thus, being a Christian alone, as well as being ineffective spiritually, it could also be seen by the cynic as rather self-centred. There are problems, of course, with regard to some church denomintiions amassing great wealth (as an example - the Vatican museums) but the church role here is seen more as a custodian of art rather than amassing weath for its own sake. No one shows concern for the great museums in the world being custodians of priceless works yet fingers are pointed at the Vatican constantly when such custodianship is considered. This must be balanced, however, with the money needed to run such an organisation - and to do the huge amount of mission work helping the poor and opressed in South America, Africa and Asia - much of which is done without fuss, without advertising it, and out of love for Christ - just as Christ commanded us to do. As for the money side, obviously individual organised churches need to pay their way, and, for this they need funds. Churches receive no other funds (no state handouts etc) apart from that given freely by its members and those who give to the church. However, all churches should themselves give to the poor by at least tithing their income (giving a tenth) as instructed in the Bible. In addition all individual people should also give to the poor or to charities (that could include the church if you wished) and should strive to give a percentage ( a tenth?) of their disposable income in the same way. This is the Biblical way, and is also the fairest method, as those who are rich can afford to give more. Those who are poor give the same percentage, although it may just be a few pennies. Remember Jesus' treatment of the poor widow who put just two copper coins in the collection at the synagogue. Jesus said that although she put only two copper coins in, whilst all the others put in silver and gold, she put in the most - as those coins were all that she had. As for salvation, this is totally independent of the above. Salvation comes from accepting Jesus into your life so that, through his death and resurrection, you can have a close relationship with God. Not many things are free these days, but God gives us salvation freely - all you have to do is ask forgiveness, turn away from sin, and ask him to come in your life. But in freely accepting this salvation, the vast majority of Christians feel that they are called to follow Christ and be more like him. And this involves being involved with other Christians in worship and in doing what they can, financially annd practically, to help those who are less fortunate than themselves. (MORE)