When church becomes more important than God? - 'Say Whaaa?' #1
This is the first post in a new and indefinite series called "Say Whaaa? (BTW it's important that you attempt to imitate the facial expression of our "skeptical baby" meme here, it makes this whole thing far more fun!)
I'm sure you've shared my experience; you see something posted on the internet, friends, and family 'like' and/or repost it, however, in your mind all you can do is think "Say whaaa?"
Well, in this series my goal is to post one such idea each week addressing the issue or issues present, both logically and carefully. Over time I pray it will begin a constructive dialogue both in the comments section below and 'in the wild' (your personal Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram feed, etc.)
So here's #1: When 'church' becomes more important than God...
It's very popular to hate on the church today. Even by those within its four walls. (And yes I know the church is not a building.) But that is, in fact, one of the many reasons this 'quote graphic' needs to be addressed.
There are a couple of logical fallacies present here. Can you spot them?
First, we have equivocation. This is where someone changes the definition of a word midway through an argument to suit their agenda. Todays conflated terms are sanctuary and church.
Q: What was the sanctuary of God in the OT?
A: It was a place of sacrifice and worship. It was a place where God appeared and His people assembled to hear His covenant word.
Q: What is the sanctuary in the NT?
A: God's people themselves. Temples not made by human hands. God's body. His church!
If the church is God's dwelling place, His people (aka His Body) it cannot become more important to us than God! You see what's happened here is a convenient swapping of terms. If the terms sanctuary and church were consistent in this graphic, then it should read, "When God's dwelling place, His people (aka His Body) become more important to us than Himself... a blessing turns into... a curse? Wait, what?
You see, that would be total nonsense!
What was likely intended by this graphic is that when programs and buildings become more important to us than God, those blessings can become a curse. But I would caution you (based on experience) that in today's hate-on-the-church culture what people are resisting is not buildings and or programs. On the contrary, they seem to build both bigger and bigger.
Instead what people rail against is Godly accountability, biblical leadership structures, the undeniable fact that we need each other, that we are not called to a Christianity that is "just between God and me" and lastly that great call to holiness.
Number two is the red herring swimming throughout this 'Biblword' post (oh the irony). A red herring is when someone intentionally tries to lead you away from the truth by way of distraction. This can be done through commission or omission. In this case, it's the omission of context!
There isn't a single verse in scripture (that's right not even the one quoted here) that supports the idea that God would profane His sanctuary because people made it too important.
Ezekiel 24:21 says, "Speak to the house of Israel, "Thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I am about to profane My sanctuary, the pride of your power, the desire of your eyes and the delight of your soul; and your sons and your daughters whom you have left behind will fall by the sword.'"
Israel's problem was her rebellious pride. Not that she took 'church' too seriously; not even that they build elaborate structures. And to be quite frank this is more akin to the pride of the modern anti-church person, anti-body of believers, anti-accountability person that runs the risk of God profaning their sanctuary.
Why? Let me answer with a question: If you profess to believe in God but reject what His word says about His people and their need for one another are you really following Him?
If you found this helpful or have thoughts you'd like to add, feel free to post in the comments section below. If you'd like to challenge an idea presented here, I'd love to hear from you. I simply ask that you be respectful.
Have a great day! Nathan Franckhauser