There are a lot of myths that have arisen concerning the assembly. These have neutralized the effectiveness of the assembly, focusing on human objectives rather than Divine ones. A review of these will be helpful. The purpose of this review is not to deprecate the subjects discussed, or to reduce their role in the perfecting of the saints. They must not, however, be allowed to become the focus of the assembly--the overriding reason for the saints coming together.

Myth #1 - Evangelistic thrust

Many assemblies focus on reaching the lost during their gatherings. Their Lord's day meetings are evangelistic rallys. This is a noble desire, but has no support in Scripture. While this is a very cherished tradition, there are some things that it has overlooked. First, the conversion of souls is not the primary purpose of God; it is the initial means to the realization of that purpose. God's objective is to walk with and in men (2 Cor. 6:16-17). He calls us "into the fellowship of His dear Son" (1 Cor. 1:9). Conversion is the vestibule to that experience, not the heart of it.

If people do not advance in the faith, they will draw back to perdition. That is the express teaching of Scripture. "Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame" (Heb. 6:1-6). "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul" (Heb. 10:38-39).

The clear teaching of the Word of God is that we are in a spiritual environment that forbids neutrality or lack of progress. It is not possible to "lay hold of eternal life" in a state of uninvolvement. Those that are not progressing are digressing, and there are no exceptions--none at all! Further, the individual that is actually drawing back is not in the good pleasure of God. It is not possible for such a person to be saved. That would postulate God saving people in whom He found no pleasure. This is an absurdity and a flagrant denial of the very principle of salvation.

The assembly bears directly upon these things. This is a time when the body comes together to derive the spiritual strength and nourishment required to successfully complete the race that is set before them. By express revelation, everything in the assembly is to contribute to the building up of the saints: "Let all things be done unto edifying" (1 Cor. 14:26). This eliminates showcase religion, and also that which focuses on the evangelization of the lost. The assembly must focus on the strengthening of those in quest of heaven. This will allow for an appeal to sinners within a proper framework. Evangelization serves no propose at all if those that respond do not end in heaven. Glorification is the predetermined outcome of justification (Rom. 8:29-30). The assembly is one of the appointed means to the realization of that purpose.

From time to time, I will hear zealous preachers upbraid the church for not considering the lost more. "With people going to hell out there," they reason, "we cannot be all caught up with the purity of the church," etc. Statements like this reveal a very infantile view of the kingdom of God. The entire emphasis of Apostolic doctrine is the church. All of the epistles are written to the church. All of the gifts have been given to the church. This is the appointed vehicle for doing all of the work under the administration of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the lost are won, this is where they come--to the church. This is where their souls will be nourished, if, indeed, they are at all. A church in sound spiritual health is the ONLY way the world will ever be effectively reached for Christ.