Go To "Church"? Huh?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by CubeX, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. CubeX

    CubeX
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    How many people have heard any of the following -
    "I'm going to be late for church in this traffic!"
    "That church is SO beautiful!"
    "Isn't it nice to be in the house of the Lord today?"
    "Where are you going to eat after church?"

    Now... has anyone ever stopped to ask why these statements don't make sense? (I won't touch on the last one, you can think on it yourselves.)

    WE (Christ-followers) are the temple of God! And this is NOT individualistic. Corporately, we are the temple of God. We are the Body of Christ. We are a family under one Head - that is Jesus Christ.

    Here are some passages that refer to God's people- US! and NOT to a building: 1 Cor. 3:16; Gal. 6:10; Eph. 2:20-22; Heb. 3:5; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 2:5; 4:17.

    Arthur Wallis once said beautifully - "In the Old Testament, God has a sanctuary for His people; in the New, God has His people for a sanctuary."

    In fact, for the first 3 centuries, Christians did not have any special buildings. In fact the first building that can be identified as a Christian meeting place was found in an archeological excavation in Syria- the house of Dura-Europos. It was destroyed in AD 256. But it wasn't a "church building" - it was actually a remodeled house that was made to fit a larger number of believers in one place. They tore down the walls to 2 bedrooms to make one big living room.

    Imagine if we would all stop calling buildings "churches" and started exclusively calling God's people gathered in a given location "churches"... we could start something magnificiant right there...

    Isn't it also something that the church of Jerusalem had thousands of people who met together in different houses, perhaps even at different times of the week, and yet stilled called themselves "the church of Jerusalem." I won't elaborate here. This part is just food for thought.

    What is the church then?
    - Christ on earth - His Body for the world to see!
    - Christ's Bride - called to be pure!
    - The temple of God - all members functioning together in an ekklesia

    What is the church not?
    - A man-made building
    - A service that occurs every week at given times
    - An individual believer

    [Ekklesia is the Greek word that is translated as "church" - some of the early translators refused to translate the word as "church" because it was a bit obscure. Instead, they translated it - "congregation".]

    Hope this was a bit enlightening! Any comments? Suggestions? Objections? :)
    - Dave
     
    #1 CubeX, Apr 22, 2008
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2008
  2. David Lamb

    David Lamb
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    I agree that "church" in the bible never refers to a physical building. I try to ensure that I always say "church building" or "chapel" when I mean the building where a church meets. Nor incidentally does it refer to a career as a Christian minister - it's not used quite so much these days, but here, some people still talk about "going into the church" to mean "becoming a Christian pastor."
     
  3. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    I think most Christians know that WE are the church, but the statements you made are just easier to say than:

    "I'm going to be late for church services in this traffic!"

    "That church building is SO beautiful!"

    "Isn't it nice to be able to worship the Lord in one place, with one accord, today?"

    "Where are you going to eat after church services are over?"
     
  4. David Lamb

    David Lamb
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    How about:

    1. "I'm going to be late in this traffic!" (Who would you be talking to in the car who would not already know that you were going to a church service?)

    2. "What a beautiful building!" (If we are talking about architectural beauty, it doesn't really matter whether it is a church building or a private house).

    3. "Isn't it nice to be able to worship God together today?"

    4. "Where are you having lunch today?"

    Maybe most Christians know that we are the church, but using the word "church" to refer to the building or the services could cause misunderstanding to the non-Christian or the newly-converted Christian.
     
    #4 David Lamb, Apr 23, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2008
  5. Crabtownboy

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    Let's face it, the word "church" in English has several accepted meanings ... so blame it on a weakness within the language. It is a shame that the word is so commonly accepted as meaning the building and that we do not have a completely different word to denote the believing body from the physical building.
     
  6. ReformedBaptist

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    Agreed. This really shouldn't be a big deal for folks. If someone does have some confusion as to what is and is not the Church, then that brother/sister can be taught. As a new Christian I did make a point about this but after awhile realized that its just how language is used.

    If a brother or sister uses the word church to refer to the building but we know that brother/sister understands that the Church is the bride of Christ, then leave them alone.
     
  7. CubeX

    CubeX
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    Well most people I know have no problem calling a building a church. The things about it though, is that it takes away meaning from what the Bible calls church.

    Most Christians see themselves as individuals who have the option of going to meetings on Sunday and/or a middle of the week service. They see themselves as meeting "in the house of God".

    Why do most Christians call a church building a "house of God"?
    God does not dwell in a building! His Spirit does not sit on the mercy seat of the tabernacle anymore! The church was born when the Spirit of God came upon those waiting in Jerusalem at Pentecost. And now we are God's temple - corporately. The Christian life was never meant to be lived individualisticly.

    Some of you may think I'm pushing the issue a bit, but the truth is that calling a building a church has led to the redefinition of church. People may understand that the church is not a building and that it is the Bride of Christ - however, our language does not reflect our understanding of this. The way we grammatically word things means a lot. Otherwise, we'd all sound like yoda when we talked! :laugh: (I hope you get that)

    To say it is still okay to call a building a church (even if you "know" that it isn't), underlines the fact that we don't actively practice our own knowledge and thus, dumbs down the significance of the Bride of Christ.

    Thanks all,
    - Dave
     
  8. ReformedBaptist

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    ...for you. That's the point. If someone asks me if I am going to church tonight, next week, whatever...I just answer the question. I know what they mean.
     
  9. Salty

    Salty
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    If someone uses the term "church" incorrectly " (from our point of view); its a great way to open a dialog for witnessing:thumbs: :saint: :praying:

    Salty


    PS, its the same thing with "Love" : many meanings
     
  10. tinytim

    tinytim
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    So, then where is our father's house?

    Jesus was of the house of David...

    I have often wondered when Jesus said "In my father's house are many..."
    Could he have been talking about his Heavenly kingdom....

    Afterall, he went to prepare a place for us... and that was acheived on Calvary...
    HE IS NOT HAMMERING AWAY ON A MANSION FOR US NOW!!!!!!!!!... as one of those old timey Gospel songs said...
    He is on the right hand of God advocating for us...
    He is not a construction worker in Heaven.


    For we are part of God's church..
    We are also part of God's house....

    Just throwing out another idea that has been twisted from what Jesus originally meant.
     
  11. JerryL

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    I always get a silent chuckle when I hear someone say " You are in the Lord's house," when referring to the building.
     
  12. CubeX

    CubeX
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    I posted this same message on my blog and I got this wonderful reply to it so I thought I'd share it with everyone else:
    - D. J. W.

    -Dave
     

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