The epithet “Lone Ranger Christian” is often tossed from the pulpit in an attempt to stigmatize any believer in Jesus who does not honor church. Church is a social phenomenon so it’s natural for such a point to be well received by this audience. They’re there – they want others there with them. Rare is the church that doesn’t want to grow. The more the merrier, and all that.
Consequently, the pastor’s argument against “Lone Ranger Christianity” is relatively weak and doesn’t consist of much more than the epithet. Oh, he’ll throw in some lines about how we all need each other, but neglect the fact that most people who don’t come to church have plenty of relationships and aren’t recluses. He’ll also throw in some Scripture, but not too much since the New Testament lacks any commandment regarding church attendance. The closest it comes is Hebrews 10:25 which no church today practices because they all assemble separately when the verse calls for assembling together. (For more, see my post on Hebrews 10:25.)
Aside from the weakness of the argument against “Lone Ranger Christianity” is the fact that this is exactly the kind of Christianity that was practiced by its Namesake and Founder. That is, you do not see Jesus submitting Himself and His plans to others. You do not see Him with a “home church” as base. He does not have a pastor or elders to whom He submits. (Well, He did eventually submit to elders but they had Him crucified – in part precisely because He had been a Lone Ranger and had not submitted His teaching to their authority.) Jesus’ ministry was primarily conducted from town to town and on the roads in between. Yes, He would go to a synagogue to teach and, yes, He would go to the temple and celebrate Israel’s feasts, but as for what we call church life today – He practiced none of it, taught none of it, and commanded none of it. Therefore, the Hero of our faith was…the original Lone Ranger Christian. How then do we follow in His steps without taking on His attitude?
Church is no longer of the Lord, and hasn’t been for a long time. Seek His kingdom and His righteousness instead. It is better to be alone and serving the Lord than together with others serving someone else.
See also: How to Be in the One True Church