Is the Church REQUIRED to Meet on Sunday?

We have had quite the discussion going on related to a post I wrote last week about the purpose of a church service. I asked the question, "What is wrong with having a gathering every week where half the people who are in attendance don't yet understand salvation by grace?"

In response, Tom Becker said, "The meeting together is for the edification of believers. Sorry that's not what I say, it's what the Bible says. We are then to be prepared or taught to go out into the world and preach the gospel and make disciples."

Tom is likely referring to Hebrews 10:25 or Ephesians 4:15-16 where we learn of the importance of the church to gather, edify and exhort each other.

Gary Humble replied and added, "

I have to completely agree with Tom here. The church gathering or assembling of the saints as the Bible calls it is not meant to be primarily a tool for evangelism. While I have nothing against Granger or similar churches, I do think it's erroneous to treat our weekends as a time FOR the unbeliever. That idea is not supported by scripture, sorry. The Word does mention the unbeliever in the church. But nowhere does it define the church as a gathering FOR the unbeliever. In fact, scripture goes through great lengths to define it as just the opposite."

To continue this conversation, some of my thoughts...

  • I agree with both Tom and Gary that we are instructed to assemble the followers of Christ.
  • This time should include encouragement and exhortation.
  • But, does that mean that EVERY time the church gets together, it has to be for the purpose of the edification of the believers?
  • The church gathers hundreds of times every week, sometimes in large gatherings, and sometimes in much smaller groups. Sometimes it is to celebrate, other times it is to honor the passing of a loved one. Sometimes it is in a home setting, other times in a large assembly room. Sometimes it is to serve food to the hungry, other times it is to make organizational decisions.
  • So are we saying that every single time the church gets together it must be for the purposes stated above? Or could we agree that the church should be gathering for exhortation and edification--but there is nothing in the Bible to prohibit that they shouldn't get together for other purposes as well?
  • If that is true, than who is to say the exhortation/edification gathering MUST be on Sunday morning? Gary says it is "erroneous to treat our weekends as a time FOR the unbeliever." So when is it acceptable to have this gathering? Would it be okay to treat Monday nights as a time for the unbeliever? What about Thursdays at 2am? Why are the weekends sacred for the believer? I'm not a theologian, so I'd love someone to show me where believers are required to gather during the weekend.
  • At Granger, the gatherings of the church for the primary purpose of exhortation and edification happen during the week in many places in groups from 5 to 2,000. We use the weekend to gather a crowd to hear Biblical truth and take steps toward Jesus.
  • We seem to be given some instruction in I Corinthians 14 that there are times when unbelievers will be in your church service...and because of that you will need to modify what you do because of their presence. That is what we do every weekend. We say, "This isn't for me. This is for my neighbor or friend or co-worker who is not yet part of the church."

What am I missing?