There are a lot of religious people in the world who consider themselves to be something akin to Lone Ranger Christians. By that I mean they believe they can avoid the church all together and still be pleasing to God. To those with that mentality I would ask if they could provide one single example of a person in the Bible (who was a Christian living under the days of the New Covenant) that intentionally avoided gathering with, participating with and identifying with the church who was still pleasing to God in his or her actions.
I completely understand that various personalities and opinions create conflict within the church (think Paul and Barnabas and Mark), but when such happens the church herself is not meant to be the one who bears the brunt of the faults of others. In other words, when two (or more) brothers and sisters in Christ get into a personal spat they should not take it out on the church by withdrawing his or her support on multiple levels. Humility, support, seeking the interest of others and the squashing of one’s ego go a long way in these situations (Philippians 2:1-4; Romans 12:15-18). I also know that more often than not it’s the other person’s fault, but regardless of that matter if one withdraws their own fellowship from the church it’s now their own fault. Even when this is the case the church is encouraged to remember this one who has been overtaken in a fault lest the mentality spreads (Galatians 6:1-4).
The simple fact of the matter is that church membership is not an option to the one who seeks to please God. The blood of Jesus was spilt to purchase the church (Acts 20:28), and Jesus is the Savior of His body which is His church (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23), and when one reads the scriptures they will see people who sought to be (or who were at least encouraged to be) active members of God’s church by being an active member of the collective body and her activities (1 Corinthians 12:18-20; Hebrews 10:24-25).
One can find many options in life, but church membership is not one of them if one considers his or her salvation to be important.
“…And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47)