Does Jesus Build Cathedrals?
IT IS surprising how in the era of so-called enlightenment many Christians including those who are educated cannot explain simple Christian terms. One day, I spoke to some university students about the Lord Jesus in Kumasi. Two of them were members of an orthodox church while the other one worshipped with a charismatic church.
In the course of our conversation, I jokingly asked if they could explain the term “church” which is always on our lips. The students tried their best to answer the question, but none of them could give me the answer I expected. Their response was that, “we can't explain it because we have not been taught.” They seemed to understand the word “church” to mean just a building in which believers meet to worship God.
Actually, they had no idea that the word “church” refers to people called by God, an assembly of God's elect or a congregation of God. The students did not know that they themselves were part of the church of God. They did not know that their bodies were the temple of God and that God's Spirit dwels in them if truly they were born again and sealed with the Holy Spirit after hearing the gospel of salvation.
The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus is a builder. Yes, Jesus Christ has a building business in the world; He builds His church. It does not matter whether the world likes it or not. Christ Jesus remains resolute in building His church in the villages, towns and cities of the nations of the world. And He is unstoppable and unconquerable. Thus the Lord says: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I WILL BULD MY CHURCH, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16: 18).
Now, does this scriptural verse mean that our Lord moulds cement blocks and builds auditoriums or cathedrals? Certainly not! Does it then mean that monumental church buildings are irrelevant and not worth constructing? Certainly, a reprobate mind or an uninformed person will criticise the construction of church buildings but praise the construction of stadia.
You see, the Scripture we just read teaches that Jesus Christ builds up human beings who believe in Him to conform to His image as Adam and Eve were created before they fell. Man was created in glory, purity, holiness, righteousness, love with dominion over all other living creatures on the earth until sin corrupted him.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is, therefore, designed and presented to recreate and rebuild believers into the original sinless condition in which Adam and Eve were made. So, we must understand that as Christians we are being built into a spiritual house. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit if we are truly born again. This means that the Spirit of God lives right in our hearts. A person's heart is also called spirit. That is, your inner man, inward man or inward being.
When Jesus says that He will build His church, He means that He will create, form, shape or make His chosen people. The bodies of the saints are His temple. He dwells in them but not in the temples made with human hands. We must see ourselves as a spiritual house which the Lord promises to build for His dwelling. Read what the apostle Peter said: “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be holy priesthood…”
(1 Peter 2: 5).
This teaches us that believers in Christ are being perfected and developed into the image of Christ. The process of a Christian's spiritual development starts from the day he or she is born by the Spirit of God. He is mostly built up by being fed with the pure Word of God from his babyhood stage, childhood stage to the manhood (mature or spiritual) stage. This is God's plan for His children. This should be every genuine minister's and Christian's primary concern – growing up spiritually.
And we know that Christ Jesus builds His church through His servants in the world. It is for this purpose He gives “the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds (pastors) and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”
(Ephesians 4: 11). The Lord calls His servants, prepares and fills them with His Spirit as His co-workers to build up other believers.
However, for the ministers to build up, equip and train the disciples to conform to the image of their Creator, they need to be gathered in buildings made with human hands. In this regard, monumental church buildings are very important for the spiritual, cultural and social developments of believers as they meet to study the Word of God, fast, pray and perform other relevant services. And in everything, God deserves the best for His glory. It is for these purposes God gives His children power to become rich so they can gladly undertake His projects in the world.
One thing is clear that Christ Jesus is indestructible and His church can only be persecuted, but it cannot be overthrown. Many may criticise a decision to put up church buildings like the proposed national cathedral in Ghana out of ignorance or through demonic influences. And others may have a legitimate cause to complain, considering the perceived harsh economic conditions in the country. However, in the midst of all the criticisms the will of God must be done.
FROM James Quansah, Kumasi
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."
Reproduction is authorised provided the author's permission is granted.