What Does the Bible Say About..? Logo

What Does the Bible Say About...Church Attendance and Confession?

What does the bible say of going to church? Do you have to attend church to be saved?

What does the bible say about confessing your sins? Do you have to confess to a priest or can you speak to God yourself.


I gave a partial answer to your question about “going to church” at What Does the Bible Say About..Going To Church. That answer did not address the question of whether attendance was mandatory for salvation.

The only scripture that really deals with that question is Hebrews 10:24-25. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” This passage says that we must assemble together in order to encourage one another. It also says we should not “forsake” the assembling of ourselves together. Forsaking the assembly would be to stop gathering with Christians altogether. So it does appear that God considers the assembly important.

However, just going to church will not save anyone. Salvation is not a matter of doing things in order to earn your salvation. It is a free gift of God to those who accept it through believing in God, turning away from a life devoted to sin, and immersion in water. On the other hand, not going to church will make salvation harder because one doesn’t get the encouragement they need. Additionally, not wanting to assemble with the church indicates a lack of love for people or for God, and that will make salvation harder.

There is only one scripture that talks about confessing sins to other people, and that says to do it to one another and not a particular individual. “Confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) No one man in the church has a scriptural right to set himself up as the person to confess sins to. You may admit your faults to anyone and ask them for prayers to help you overcome your faults. Further, nobody has a scriptural right or authority to request or require you to perform any act as a result of such a confession.

The purpose of confessing sins to one another is not for salvation or forgiveness but for prayer. Only God can forgive sins. The only one to whom we must confess our sins is God. What James is talking about is going to anyone in the church with whom you feel comfortable and asking them to pray with you. This gets back to the point about wanting to going to church because you love these people. We all have special friends, even in the family of the church. We can go to them for encouragement. It need not be a priest (scripturally, all Christians are priests—1 Peter 2:5-10) or a preacher. It can be any Christian, or you can talk directly to God without another’s help.