Pagan Christianity; Church Buildings

More craziness from "Pagan Christianity"-- this time about church buildings:

  • Many contemporary Christians have a love affair with brick and mortar.
  • Nowhere in the New Testament do we find the word "church", "temple" or "house of God" used to refer to a building. To a first century Christian, calling an ekklesia (church) a building would have been like calling your wife a condominium or your mother a skyscraper.
  • The story of the church building is the sad saga of Christianity borrowing from heathen culture and radically transforming the face of our faith. [and for the bad- the author suggests]
  • The old Mosaic economy of sacred priests, sacred buildings, sacred rituals, and sacred objects has been forever destroyed by the cross of Jesus Christ.
  • The message of the steeple is one that contradicts the message of the New Testament. Christians do not have to reach into the heavens to find God. He is here! With the coming of Immanuel, God is with us.
  • The pulpit elevates the clergy to a position of of prominence. True to its meaning, it puts the preacher center stage- separating and placing him high above God's people.
  • The pew is perhaps the greatest inhibitor of face to face fellowship. It is a symbol of lethargy and passivity in the contemporary church and has made corporate worship a spectator sport.
  • Social locations can teach a good and godly people very bad lessons and choke their lives together.
  • The disjunction between worship and everyday life characterizes Western Christianity. Worship is seen as something detached from the whole fabric of life and packaged for group consumption.
  • The church edifice demands a vast infusion of money. In the United States alone, real estate owned by institutional churches today is worth over $230 billion.
Finally, let me end with this direct quote from page 42-43:
There does not exist a shred of biblical support for the church building. Yet scores of Christians pay good money each year to sanctify their brick and stone. By doing so, they have supported an artificial setting where they are lulled into passivity and prevented from being natural or intimate with other believers.
We have become victims of our past. We have been fathered by Constantine who gave us the prestigious status of owning a building. We have been blinded by the Romans and Greeks who forced upon us their hierarchically structured basilicas. We have been taken by the Goths who imposed upon us their Platonic architecture. We have been hijacked by the Egyptians and Babylonians who gave us our sacred steeples. And we have been swindled by the Athenians who imposed on us their Doric columns.
Somehow we have been taught to feel holier when we are in "the house of God" and have inherited a pathological dependency upon and edifice to carry out our worship to God. At bottom, the church building has taught us badly about what church is and what it does. The building is an architectural denial of the priesthood of all believers. It is a contradiction of the very nature of the ekklesia---which is a counter cultural community. The church building impedes our understanding and experience that the church is Christ's functioning body that lives and breaths under His direct headship.
It is high time we Christians wake up to the fact that we are being neither biblical nor spiritual by supporting church buildings. And we are doing great damage to the message of the New Testament by calling man--made buildings "churches." If every Christian on the planet would never call a building a church again, this along would create a revolution in our faith.
Note: This is a lot of stuff to just "single out". If you are bothered by, disagree with or interested in what you read-- BUY THE BOOK! In all fairness to the author, he does a fantastic job of providing extensive footnotes with Biblical and historical support for what he says. Before you conclude that he is crazy (or me, for that matter)-- read the book. I guarantee that you do not know more than the author on this topic!