DEAR REV. GRAHAM: Our church has started a big building campaign, but I’m not sure I’m in favor of it. After all, the early Christians didn’t have fancy buildings. They just met in their houses, from what I’ve heard. Am I wrong to feel this way?
DEAR R.N.: The first Christians met wherever they could - sometimes in buildings that were available to them, but often (as you say) in homes. Only later were special church buildings constructed, usually after the threat of persecution had passed.
This doesn’t mean it’s wrong to construct special buildings for the use of God’s people - not at all. Nowhere in the Bible is this forbidden; in fact, centuries before Jesus lived, God commanded a magnificent Temple to be built in Jerusalem, and He ordered it rebuilt after Israel’s enemies destroyed it. Countless cities and towns had synagogue buildings in Jesus’ time, not only in the Holy Land but also in other parts of the Roman Empire. Some later became Christian churches.
Pray for your church and its leadership; they bear heavy responsibilities, particularly as they try to prepare for the future. Learn also what is being planned as part of this campaign, and if you have questions, seek answers for them. Even if you’re still unsure about the project, do your best to be supportive. Remember Moses’ warning to those who were constantly complaining: “You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord” (Exodus 16:8).
Remember too that a church’s building is only a tool - an instrument in God’s hands to welcome people and draw them to Christ, and also to help them grow in their relationship to Him. Is this what you desire for your church - and for your life? Make Christ the center of your life, and pray that this may happen to every person whose life is touched by your church’s ministry. Write to Billy Graham in care of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C. 28201 or visit the website at billygraham.org
HomeStyle, Pages 36 on 04/05/2014
Print Headline: ON CHRISTIANITY