In the first two posts in this series we have discussed the fact that there are just some things that Christians should stop saying. Why? They promote a misunderstanding about God, His presence, and His interaction with His people. There are just some things Christians should stop saying, and here is another one.
Today’s statement is calling a ‘church’ building the house of God.
If you have not read them you can do that first:
Why Is This So Bad?
By calling a building the house of God, we are making reference to Old Testament theology that God was contained within the temple, and therefore implying that He dwells there still today. You see in the OT God’s presence was contained in the Holy of Holies, and only the high priest could enter in to His presence.
By denigrating God’s presence to a building we are subconsciously saying that He lives there and nowhere else. We are saying, in more or less words, that to encounter God you have to enter said building.
When in fact this is not true.
This statement has its origins back to the time of Constantine. Christianity then began building “temples” similar to the pagan Gods, even though Christ removed the temple theology. You can read more about that HERE.
A New Testament Way Of Thinking
There are a few things we have to remember about the presence of God since the advent of Christ.
God’s presence is no longer contained within the temple.
When Christ died the veil that separated us from His presence was rent (torn) from top to bottom. The people were no longer segregated from the priesthood, and therefore no longer segregated from God’s presence.
You are now the house of God.
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? – 1 Corinthians 3:16
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? – 1 Corinthians 6:19
Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. – 2 Corinthians 6:16
You can read more about God dwelling within us throughout many of Paul’s epistles – Ephesians, Galatians, Colossians, Romans, etc.
All this to say, the structure that you walk into on a Saturday, Sunday, or Wednesday is simply that…a structure. While God’s presence is there, it is also everywhere. But His house, His dwelling place, His resting place is in you. We serve a living and active God who is not segregated from His people. Rather, he lives within us and among us.
So, let’s stop calling a building the house of God, it is merely a building where the church (the people) can gather to worship together. You are the church, a house made of living stones, a residence for the Living God.
There are statements believers should stop saying, and calling a building the house of God is one of them.