[anzac] LIE # 2 - CHURCH BUILDINGS

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2004 22:11:39 -0500
CHURCH BUILDINGS are NOT in the Bible
-by Andrew Strom.

This is a simple statement of fact:  Church buildings are
not in the Bible. Period. They simply do not exist. They
are another invention of man. You can search the entire
New Testament from beginning to end and you will find
no mention of them at all.  It was only after two
centuries, when the church was slowly giving way to
apostacy and deception, that church buildings began to
appear. Even then, they were often just two houses
joined together. It was not until after 300AD, when the
church fell into gross Roman apostacy, that "cathedrals"
began to be built.

A lot of people think that us having church buildings
today "doesn't really matter". -They say buildings are
kind-of 'neutral'. -That they don't really affect us. They
are just a building, after all.

But I disagree strongly with this. I believe there is a
whole mindset and a whole pattern of "learnt behaviour"
that goes with church buildings. We find this difficult to
see, because we are so used to them. But I believe
that they are VERY harmful and affect us in all kinds
of ways that we are not even aware of.

Below are some brief quotes from scholars and historians
who have looked into this subject:

"'We have no temples or altars.'  This statement, referring
to Christians, comes from the pen of the apologist Minicus
Felix, c 200, and all evidence supports its accuracy.
Throughout at least the first two centuries there were no
church buildings as such" (-J.G. Davies).

"When the church was very young, it had no buildings.
Let us begin with that striking fact. That the church had
no buildings is the most noticeable of the points of
difference between the church of the early days and the
church of today. In the minds of most people today,
"church" means first a building, probably something else
second; but seldom does "the church" stand for anything
other than a building. Yet here is the fact with which we
start: the early church possessed no buildings and
carried on its work for a great many years without
erecting any." (-Ernest Loosley).

"The church’s greatest period of vitality and growth until
recent times was during the first two centuries A.D. In
other words, the church grew fastest when it did not
have the help or hindrance of church buildings."
(-Howard Snyder).

ANDREW STROM again:  Isn't this a remarkable thing?
Here we are in the 21st Century, still pouring so much
money and pain and sacrifice into our buildings - and
yet the whole concept is not even in the Bible!

So how did the early believers gather together then? Well,
there are two answers to this. A lot of people in the
"house church" movement will tell you that the early
Christians simply met in homes. They are right, but that
is only half the story. For in the early church in Jerusalem
they not only met in homes, but the apostles also held
massive OPEN-AIR meetings every day. -Huge outdoor
gatherings.

Where did they hold these great open-air meetings? -In
a place called "Solomon's Porch" - which was in the
most crowded and well-travelled part of Jerusalem. In
fact, it was right "in the face" of hundreds and thousands
of people passing by on foot. Solomon's Porch was in
the 'Courtyard of the Gentiles' which was a huge open
courtyard (the size of 5 football fields) attached to the
main Temple. In a lot of ways it served as the "town
square" of Jerusalem. Hundreds upon hundreds of
people passed through it every day. And there they
could see the apostles, teaching and healing the sick
right in front of the whole world. What a great place for
Revival meetings!! (-Actually, this is where Jesus
preached when he was in Jerusalem also).

That is why I talk so often about an "outdoor church"
and a "street revival". The fact of the matter is that
the original church WAS an 'outdoor church'. But you
would never know it looking at today's church, would
you? What we do today is hide ourselves away from
the world - behind 'four walls' (which usually cost a
fortune to build). How sad. And how unscriptural.

Jesus' ministry was mostly in the open air. John the
Baptist's ministry was very much in the open air.
The Book of Acts church in Jerusalem was mostly
in the open air. But we are the very opposite. And it
is costing us millions each year to erect more "walls".
No wonder we don't impact the world like we should!

Apart from the huge outdoor gatherings, the only other
place that the early believers seemed to meet was in
homes. There they would gather most days, sharing
their lives with one another. -Eating and taking
communion together, praying, operating spiritual gifts
and teaching new converts. -A whole lifestyle of love
and community. That is what the early church was
like. And no "church buildings" in sight.

Read this carefully (-Acts 2:42-46, NIV):
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and
to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Everyone was filled with awe and many wonders and
miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the
believers were together and had everything in common...
Every day they continued to meet together in the
temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate
together with glad and sincere hearts." (-See also
Acts 4:32-35, Acts 5:12-16, etc).

So now we can see why, all the way through the New
Testament, Paul speaks about the "church that meets
in so-and-so's house":- "To Archippus our fellow soldier
and to the church that meets in YOUR HOME" (Phile v 2);
"Aquila and Priscilla great you warmly in the Lord, and
so does the church that meets at THEIR HOUSE"
(1 Cor 16:19). See also Rom 16:5, Col 4:15, etc.

When you really look into it, you discover that the New
Testament Church was simply one huge network of
house churches - all united "as one". These were not
independent fellowships or denominations. They were
"one church" - one body - under the leadership of the
apostles. No divisions or separations at all. How very
different from today.

The Damage Being Done

So what harm is it doing - for our church life to be so
focused around church buildings today? -I believe it is
doing enormous harm. You cannot stray so far from the
New Testament pattern without it doing tremendous
damage. But we in the church have been living with
church buildings for so many centuries now that we
hardly even notice.

As Beckham wrote concerning the Roman influence
on today's church:  "Using a combination of the Roman
governmental and feudal systems, Emporer Constantine
developed a church structure that has lasted for seventeen
centuries.... People go to a building (cathedral) on a
special day of the week (Sunday) and someone (a priest,
or today, a pastor) does something to them (teaching,
preaching, absolution or healing) or for them (a ritual or
entertainment) for a price (offerings)."

-This is the way the church has operated right through
the Dark Ages and up to now. All of the above comes
from Romanism, not from true Christianity. It cannot be
found in the New Testament at all. But today we accept
it as "normal". And it is robbing us blind. How deceived we are.

Here are the specific ways that I believe 'church buildings'
damage and ruin Christianity:
(1)  Church buildings lock us "inside" - away from the
world that we are called to reach. This one aspect alone
is good enough reason to abandon them.
(2) They waste colossal sums of money - literally billions
of dollars just in the USA alone. This often puts real
"money pressure" on preachers and congregations alike.
And it tends to make modern Christianity revolve around
"money, money, money".
(3) Church buildings completely scramble our concept
of what the "church" is. Many of us start to think of it as
a BUILDING - instead of actual PEOPLE. We start to
talk about "going to church" instead of realizing that
"We ARE the church". This often leads to Christians
leading two separate lives - their 'church' life and their
"rest of the week" life. What a disaster! It also leads to
all kinds of foolishness - such as referring to our building
as 'The House of God' and treating it as 'holy', etc. No
end of confusion and deception revolve around all of this.

(4) The building is really the center of an entire mindset
of "Religion" and error - dating from the Roman takeover
of the church 1700 years ago. It is the CENTERPIECE of
the deception.
(5) The very concept of separated, walled-off congregations -
each in its own little 'box' - lends itself to denominations
and divisions and sects. Separate church buildings are
a very big factor in DIVIDING the Body of Christ today.
If we can get out of the buildings, there will be far more unity.

(6) Just think of all the committees and boards and
fund-raising and loans and accountants that we could
get rid of - just by getting RID OF OUR BUILDINGS!
This is the 'red tape' and the subtle "money" pressure
that ties the church up with the affairs of this world
rather than the true work of the kingdom. How clever
the devil is.
(7) Instead of "going into all the world making disciples",
what often ends up happening today is "going into all
the world and erecting monoliths wherever we go."  The
energy and time and money wasted on these things is
staggering.
(8) Above all else, the best argument against church
buildings is this: They are NOT IN THE BIBLE.

At this point a lot of people ask questions like, "But
what happens when the weather is bad?" or "What do
we do during winter?"  The answer is pretty simple:  We
hire a warehouse or a disused carpark or something for
4 months and go out again when the weather improves.
We also have our HOMES to gather in, all year round.

Remember, the early church was very PRACTICAL about
such things. If you need to hire some place temporarily
then DO IT. But please do not get stuck in a church
building!

I believe we are about to see a powerful move of God
and a great 'SHAKING' in the church - that will bring
her into the kind of glorious, united, OUTDOOR
Christianity that we have been talking about here.
Personally, I can't wait!

God bless you all.

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom.
____________________
SOURCES:
-Ernest Loosley, "When The Church Was Young".
-J.G. Davies, "Secular Use of Church Buildings".
-Howard Snyder, "The Problem of Wineskins"
-Beckham, "Second Reformation".
- www.churchinfocus.org .
-Darryl M. Erkel, "Church Buildings or House-Churches?"
- www.housechurch.org , "Miscellaneous House Church Quotes".
-M. Brown, "Revolution in the Church".
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