No, not really.....but that's the implication in a misguided blog article I read yesterday.
After listening to Washer's sermon on "Godly Fellowship" the blogger decided he had found justification for his own abandonment of the local church. (I have not listened to the sermon but think I know Washer well enough to state that he does not advocate or endorse such a shallow view of the local assembly.)
We do indeed have a warped view of "fellowship." My Baptist brethren in particular are noted for thinking that fellowship is just a 3-syllable word meaning "food." And, there is plain old human fellowship: guys playing golf, fishing, a little backyard bbq, etc. None of those are "fellowship" in the Biblical sense.
Biblical fellowship is two-fold: an individual believer's fellowship with his Savior; and the individual believer's fellowship with his brothers and sisters in Christ, the Church. Both forms of Biblical fellowship, always involves the Word of God and worship of God.
For a believer to go off in the direction of the age-old "religious man's" cliche "I can worship God just as well from my fishing boat on Sunday (or the duck blind, whatever...)" and "the church is full of hypocrites" is very sad.
This blogger writes, in so many words, that men have this "tradition" that Christians should attend church else they be considered lost or back sliders or out of fellowship.
If you are deliberately not going to church, you are out of fellowship, backslidden or lost. You are disobedient to the Word of God. You are being hardened to the deceitfulness of sin. You are beginning to believe the lies your flesh is telling you.
The command to forsake not the assembling together of the saints is not a "tradition" as you so flippantly dismiss it. It is God's Word:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
A child of God, a regenerate person, will desire the company of his fellows; he will be drawn to the corporate worship of the Savior by the indwelling Spirit. A person who does not have this inclination, does not love the Church, should examine the basis for his "faith."
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
Yes, there are tares among the wheat. Yes, there are hypocrites in the local churches. We leave this church and that church because they have been taken over by Warren-ites or Osteen-ites, or whatever, but that is not an excuse to abandon forever the gathering of saints. It's foolish to think one will ever find a "perfect" local church. To live in disobedience to God and try to establish some alternative "fellowship" is to fall victim to the lies of world, flesh and devil.
The local assembly is more than a place of fellowship among believers. Maybe too much emphasis is placed on that, especially the non-Biblical forms of fellowship. The Church in Jerusalem, Acts 2, met every day. Read the text and see what they did. It was a time of prayer and worship. It was a time of exhortation and encouragement and edification of the believers. God is blessed by His children's participation in such activities:
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. "They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.
(Written March 2, 2009)