The second image is from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.
My question today is; “do either of these images represent your biblical vision of what the church is?” It certainly did for me for most of my life. Then, I began to really study my Bible.
My wife, the Tigress, and I attended an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) awards banquet last night. The event was held on a sprawling, expansive network of buildings. The facility included schools, meeting rooms, gymnasiums, ballrooms, offices, and conference centers. This was a one church organization folks, spread out on at least one square mile of property, or more! The actual church was immense, certainly able to be described as a mega-church. Right next door, on a separate piece of gorgeous property a famous (un-named) professional athlete has built a sports facility so the young folks could be trained to pursue the given sport with all the help one would need. Yes, the famous athlete is a member of the church.
Being a devout capitalist myself, I have absolutely no problem with all the money associated with this organization and their facility – as long as the money is used for good purposes. And I have no doubt whatsoever that many, many saints attend this church.
But I have to ask, “is this what the biblical text means when it speaks of the ‘church’ ?“
I would have to say, no – not at all. We’ve mentioned before that Bible translations contain word errors. These errors have crept in through the influence of Kings, Popes, translators, and well-meaning clergy. If memory serves the last one discussed was the use of the Latin word “crux”, for cross. The original Greek word used was, “stauros”, meaning stake. This one crept in with William Tyndale, a trained catholic. With the veneration of the cross image that is given nowadays and the fact of it's pagan origin, you can appreciate my concern.
The old English word, "cirice" (the house of a god) was one such word used by the King James translators. We get our word, “church” from this word and it strictly implies a place of worship. The original intent was far removed from this idea. The word, “congregation” is very old and only has one meaning. It means, “an assembly of believers”; a collection of people devoted to worship. “Congregation” is the word that should be used in all Bible translations where the word “church” is used.
So, as you may have suspected already, a church is simply where two or more worshippers are gathered.
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.
Whether you have a meeting at home, at work, in your car, or on the street; and you are having a devotional activity to God – then you are in church. Let no man tell you differently!
Now, there’s nothing wrong if you wish to attend one of these mega-churches. Just be sure they’re doing God’s work, not man’s. And ask this question - are they promoting Jesus or man?