From Taken 4 Granted by David Grant,
"When Constantine came along at the beginning of the fourth century, he legalized Christianity and paid to have basilicas built. There was a sense of awe and wonder connected to these buildings especially because they were often built over or next to sacred sites, cemeteries, where Christian martyrs had been buried.
Hushed reverence was always associated with the entering of these edifices and even purification rituals were incorporated to ensure that those entering would give due respect to the fallen martyrs that the building had been constructed over.
And thus was born the idea of a sacred place that literally changed the definition of church from Jesus' original usage, which simply meant, "gathered ones", to the now almost universally accepted definition, "a Christian sacred building."
Today, people have forgotten the historical roots of church buildings but have managed to hold onto a false dichotomy between sacred and secular. They often live and speak differently when they are at a church building from their day to day activities. Onlookers often associate Christians by those who go to a sacred place. Sadly, this pagan assumption is endorsed and even considered mandatory by uninformed Christians as well.
But Jesus gave us a different command as to how we are to distinguish ourselves as Christians. I find it rather ironic that even his words "new commandment" are still, 2,000 years later, "new" for many Christians who go to church." Read the entire post on Taken 4 Granted
John 13:34 (NIV) "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
This doesn't make church buildings a good or bad thing, but it places them in context. Understanding how we got here is often a good thing for making wise decisions and prioritising well.
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