The Classic Church Building: A Non-Biblical Wineskin (Part 1)
The Community of the Lord was built for speed. It began in the upper room of a house. The early Church had no time to even consider the things we in the present deem wholly indispensible. They were out to save the world. The Community was expanding by leaps and bounds. Growth was rapid from the very beginning and never slowed for three centuries. It began on its very first day in Jerusalem with a harvest of three thousand souls.
Imagine that. Many churches of today work for long decades to accumulate a few hundred loyal members. Many are presently trying to keep what they have and are failing miserably.
It was twenty years ago when I began receiving from the Lord the notes and revelations that would eventually become my first book. But I knew by the 1970’s, within a very short time of studying the New Testament by Holy Spirit inspiration that modern Christianity did not match up at all with the prototype. And I wondered why.
I quickly got the big idea. I eventually spent thirty years in institutional churches, including my youth, gaining much experience of all that is good about church buildings and that which is not so good. There is no question that the latter outweighs the former.
First of all, church buildings are simply not Biblical. The Lord never built a building nor did He ever instruct His men to do so. He was never on board with the rich, connected Sadducees who controlled the Jerusalem Temple. Though He often preached in synagogues when welcome, He spent the majority of His ministry time out in the open, in the woods, along the Sea, and on the beaten paths. He was always moving. Always. The Lord Jesus was mobile. The tabernacle in the wilderness was mobile. It was a tent. It was set up, used, taken down, loaded up, transported to a new site, and set up again.
The Lord taught His men to be mobile. He taught them to give up all their possessions, in part so that they would have nothing tying them down when it came time to move on. The apostle Paul was also constantly on the move. There were occasions when he stayed local to teach and establish a work and then he was off yet again. The traveling man was so mobile that the Lord blessed him with a perfect location to end his life on earth—on the side of a road outside Rome.
The Lord had no place to lay His head. He occasionally stayed with others but He mostly slept under the stars. He was on a mission. He had work to do. He could not afford to be slowed down.
It is as obvious as it can be that the early believers followed His example. They were as mobile as He was, and a perfect representation in spiritual terms of the tabernacle of Moses, which was a type of mobile ministry centered on human beings.
Conversely, our ministries are most often centered on church buildings. We are often bound by church buildings. We can’t get them out of our heads. We cannot imagine life without them (“How can I go to church if there’s not a church?”). For the most part, Christians feel absolutely naked without the comfort, security, and anchor of a building.
Yet, the majority of Christians throughout history never had buildings. The majority of real Christians on the planet today do not have buildings. But they have the Lord. They are dedicated. They are productive. And they are fast. They can break camp quickly and move to new locations, so to speak. Some of the travel real Christians do is in the Spirit. It is not always geographic. We live, we learn, we gain revelation and greater knowledge, we mature, and then we have to leave old forms, understandings, and perspectives and create new ones based on such. Core Biblical truths are thus granted greater freedom and opportunity to produce much fruit. Isn’t this our goal?
Static forms always slow. They restrict. We end up trying to force our ministries within such structures. But are we really having an impact on society? How can we when we force others to come to us instead of us going to them?
Here’s the real beauty of the Lord Jesus and his manner of ministry: He needs nothing material on a permanent basis. Because He is God, He can create anything He needs whenever He needs it, so why must He accumulate a bunch of stuff to schlep around? All it does it slow Him down and restrict ministry efforts. The bulk of His work is in the spiritual realm. If He wants or needs stuff He acquires it. But when it is has served its purpose He gives it away or sells it, and usually gives the money to the needy. Then He starts again. He will not be bound by anything. He is as free as free can be. He builds nothing that grows sluggish as long as He is in charge. [Part 1 of 2]
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
Posted on July 8, 2011, in Real Christianity and tagged Book of Acts, Christianity, Church, Church Buildings, Community of Called-Out Ones, Home Groups, House Church, Lord Jesus, New Wine into Old Wineskins, Real Christianity. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.
God doesn’t dwell in a house made by hands.I believe this with all my heart. I thought of the mobile Hebrew children, as they pressed onward in their journey to the land that was promised by the Lord God, and the altars of unhewn stone the Lord God commanded them to build without laying a man made tool upon them.
“Then Joshua built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, in Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the sons of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of uncut stones on which no man had wielded an iron tool; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. He wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written, in the presence of the sons of Israel.” [Joshua 8:30-32]
So glad you pointed that out. I go into great detail on this in my book, especially with regard to Solomon’s temple. The Lord made it very clear from the very beginning that when it comes to anything made for Him with spiritual purposes, such as sacrificial altars, His people must never alter the stones in any way or would be guilty of profaning it.
Consider the later massive stone cathedrals or why freemasonry started out as a mason’s guild with secret mathematical formulas for cutting rock and building the opposite of actual sacred structures according to God, which involved using no tools or cutting whatsoever.
When Christianity entered the “church”-building business about 300 years after the Lord’s resurrection and Pentecost, a drastic change took place and religious pride and control went through the roof, pardon the pun.
The real Church (ecclesia: Community) is composed of Living Stones: PEOPLE.
Thanks Scarlett. Blessings to you.
Fabulous comment. And….your great blog post deserves a re-blog. Christians need to be reminded of these important truths until “they get it” and then perhaps the scriptures will begin to take preeminence over the centuries of man made doctrines and traditions that have held the Lord Jesus people in bondage.
Yep. Thank you very mucho, Scarlett. Preach on. God is good.
Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. [2 Corinthians 3:12-18]
Reblogged this on Spiritual Abuse Sanctuary.
Pingback: The Classic Church Building: A Non-Biblical Wineskin (Part 1) | The Road