Thursday, September 24, 2009


The current buzz around Diagonal is “What’s going to happen to the church building? Should we renovate the old or build new?”

While I haven’t lived in these parts for long, little time is required to realize that God is mightily working in small town Diagonal. If the followers of Jesus in our community would listen carefully, I believe we would learn that He has brought us to this cross-road through which He desires to manifest the presence of Jesus.

I’m referring not only to those who assemble at Diagonal Community Church, but to every Christian residing in our community. I believe that God has set this challenge before us: “Build My Church!” However, let’s not assume that we know what this means. Determining whether or not to renovate the old or build new may not be the real challenge.

“Lord…. help us to not make decisions based upon the ways of this world, emotions, assumptions, available resources, nor traditions of man; rather fill us with a desire to seek Your Word and make decisions which will manifest Christ to this world.”

While there is certainly ample scriptural evidence that Jesus’ followers are exhorted to meet together; if we look carefully, we will find no exhortations to build special structures in which to do so. In fact, just as Jesus did away with sacrifices and priests, He countered the Jewish and pagan practice of erecting sacred places for worship.

According to what Jesus spoke to the woman at the well,
the time is now
when true worshipers are
not to seek a place at which to worship God,
but rather will worship in spirit and truth
[John 4:17-24].

Other than appointed times of prayer and community business meetings in the Jewish temple, the early Christians met in their homes. This was one of many practices which set them apart from other religions.

As His followers, we have no need for a place of worship.
Corporately, we are His temple

[1 Cor 3:16-17; 1 Co 6:16].

The Greek word for “church” is ekklesia which refers to all local believers who are recognizable as a close-knit community:

• continuing faithfully in the apostles teachings.
• living in community:
o encouraging one another toward love and good deeds.
o partnering in daily activities.
o eating and praying together.
o sharing possession.
o selling possessions and giving to each other as needed.
o praising God and enjoying favor with everyone.
• increasing in numbers.
• being one in heart and mind. [Hebrews 10:24-26; Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35]

“That the Christians in the apostolic age erected special houses of worship is out of the question… As the Savior of the world was born in a stable, and ascended to heaven from a mountain, so his apostles and their successors down to the third century, preached in the streets, the markets, on mountains, … and in the homes of their converts. But how many thousands of costly churches … are constantly being built in all parts of the world to the honor of the crucified Redeemer, who in the days of his humiliation had no place of his own to rest his head!”
– Philip Schaff, nineteenth-century American church historian and theologian

How exciting to imagine that we could be a community of believers who choose to reject the traditions of man and follow the way of Jesus, living as His Holy Temple rather than seeking to continue in the way of Judaism and paganism, building places of worship.


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