In the seventeenth chapter of Matthew the Apostles Peter, James and John were with Christ when he suddenly was transfigured (glowing or glorified) and was seen talking with Moses and Elijah. Instead of trying to hear what was being said between Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter decided that building a shrine to commemorate the event would be a better idea. A voice came from above that changed Peters mind and is still changing minds to this day. The voice said “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Mt 17:5
Here was a microcosmic but very typical example of mans penchant for religion and God’s answer to it. Peter wanted a shrine, a building or edifice to mark the spot where something happened. God wanted them to hear and see Jesus. To understand this is to see what separates real Christianity from religion.
Ecclesia is the Greek word used in the New Testament to describe the church. It has nothing to do with a religious system or a building. It refers to a called out body of believers made up of individuals. The church is a group of believers with or without a cathedral or building. The idea of going to church has long supplanted this definition. But such a connotation of the word cannot change the definition. The believers themselves are the church.
Christ was very careful not to instruct his disciples to build churches, shrines or …