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Friday, December 3, 2010

Simple Church Minute--church as a building or organization

11—church as a building or organization
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute
            Question:  I have mentioned on other blips that, in the New Testament, the word translated “church” is referring to a group of believers or all the believers in a city or town, and never to a building, a type of organization, or organizational franchisor.  How did we wind up with church buildings?
            Answer:  In Greek, before the Christians came along, the word meant “group” and did not have a religious connotation, which is important with all the variety of beliefs swirling around the Roman Empire.  The early church was officially illegal in the Empire, which Israel was part of at the time of Jesus’ death.  After Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, and over the next couple dozen decades or so, the church experienced on and off persecution.  The church could not have built buildings if they wanted to.  In John chapter 4 verse 23, Jesus specifically said a time was coming that God would no longer be worshipped on a mountain or in a temple.  In Mark chapter 13 verses 1 and 2, Jesus prophesied the destruction of the Jewish temple and connected to the raising up of the church, although the disciples did not understand it at that time.  Jesus taught the disciples, and they taught together, we are the body of Christ on earth today.  Archeology shows that, in the late 2nd century, there is a case of a believer taking a wall out of their house to make a larger meeting place, but it was still a home.  In 313 AD, when Christianity was legalized, the government forced buildings and many other accessories of other beliefs into a now organizational church.  There was and is no connection between buildings and the early church’s idea of no sacred objects, persons, and buildings, unlike any belief known to that time.  Currently in the U.S., it is estimated that 18% of money given to churches is used for building construction, maintenance, and debt service.
            You can email me at simplechurchminute@gmail.com.  For more info on organic church*, see http://www.simplechurch.com/ or locally at (local website).
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.”  While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better.  I comment on that in blip 94.

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