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If everyone studied Church History and learned where our practices came from perhaps there would be more laying aside of traditions and more following our Lord. Until the church cuildings came into being the getting together of the Christians was interaction for the purpose of encouraging and edifying one another.
The concept of the church building was unknown to the infant body. There is no indication that God's early family owned any property. They had no need of a place to get together because their relationship with other Christians was family-style, mainly in their homes. They looked on each other as simply spiritual brothers and sisters.
"While God waits for His church to be built of love, men bring stones." Tagore. With the bringing in of the church buildings the purpose of Christians changed. Constantine who still had a pagan heart, after he embraced Christianity, he set out to have nineteen church buildings dedicate to the Christian religion. This he did in 327 AD. His belief was that Christianity should stand as tall as the Pagan religions of the empire. The buildings he had built for Christians were built in the traditions of the pagan temples. Constantine named the buildings after saints from the first century such as St. Peter's and St. Paul's, just as the Pagan temples were named after their gods. This is where the tradition came from that we have today as we name church buildings. Naming buildings divide people. Paul taught against that when he told the Christians not to consider themselves of Paul....etc.
As digression happens slowly, the importance of the church buildings grew. Later these buildings were considered "holy" and were usually referred to as the "House of God." People generally won't admit that but actions show their thinking. Even today we talk about the church building being bought with "God's money." The teaching here is that when "God's money" is used the building is sacred and only certain events can take place there. What we must realize is that God owns everything and simply putting money in the plate on "The Lord's Day" does not automatically become His.
Rom. 12:2 says we are to be transformed from worldly thinking by renewing our minds. Instead of "keeping ourselves unspotted by the world," we have copied the world's practices as they relate to the church buildings and what goes on in them. The church buildings, many times, have taken the place in our hearts that should belong to our Lord.
-- Nelta Brock (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 01, 2004