Sunday, April 27, 2014
Photo by Liz Burnell.
When I was little, my parents taught me a poem with their hands that went like this:
Here is the church,
Here is the steeple,
Open the doors,
See all the people.
Little did I know when I was little! Now that I am 67, I am convinced by the Word Writ that the church is not a building: it’s the believers who assemble, it’s the congregation; it’s the people!
Paul’s letters are written to the churches [of Corinth; of Galatia; in Ephesus; in Philippi; in Colosse; of the Thessalonians] to the ekklesia which according to Vine’s Dictionary is translated to mean “congregation.” And Peter wrote to the elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ… who are begotten to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 2-3).
So the above is not a picture of a church; it is a picture of a church building. The Quakers call it The Meeting House, and they enter there for Meeting with God. I agree with their terminology, though not with denomination. I agree with Martin Luther, who reportedly said, “Leave my name alone, and do not call yourselves Lutherans, but Christians. Who is Luther? My doctrine is not mine. I have not been crucified by anyone. Paul would not that anyone should call himself of Paul or of Peter, but of Christ. How then does it befit me, a miserable bag of dust and ashes, to give my name to the children of Christ? Leave, my dear friends, these party names and distinctions. Away with them all, and let us call ourselves only Christians after Him from Whom our salvation comes" (From Royal Insignia, 1997 Edition, Complied by Edwin and Lillian Harvey, Chapter 11 entitled God’s Exchequer to the Lowly, Page 28, Para 4). So The Church of the New Covenant is not the building with the steeple; it’s those who gather in His name -- any time, any place. Therefore, an image of the church He birthed would look more like this:
For where two or more are gathered together in My name, I AM there
in the midst of them.
I know this may sound weird; I offer it only to encourage others to search the Word Writ for themselves. I only discovered this because of Twelve-Step Meetings, which "ruined" me for anything less. My studying this out in His Word has revealed to me that what we are calling "church" isn't. Check it out!