Timothy D. Padgett on If the Church Isn’t a Building, Then Does It Matter If We Can’t Meet Face-to-Face?

From the Colson Center Audience:

Our church is not closed. The building is closed. The church is not a building.

The Colson Center Replies:

On the one hand, you’re absolutely right. The church isn’t a building and so it can’t be “closed” any more than a family isn’t a family just because it’s not in its house. On the other hand, I don’t think that’s quite the point.

There are those within the broader family tree of Christianity who are more keen than others on the specific location of worship. For many among the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Anglican traditions, the idea of sacred space is profound. However, for others, such as broadly evangelical denominations or my own Reformed line, this concept has less priority.

That being said, even for those who seek sacred ground, that’s not really been the point of contention in recent discussions. The primary complaint by Christians has not been the place of gathering but the mere fact of it. That is, they’re not annoyed that they can’t meet in their ordinary location; they’re bothered that they can’t meet in any location.

While some Christians have overreacted to legitimate state or municipal regulations, this isn’t just a matter of evangelical-enclave paranoia. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, the way that various government entities have treated, not just Christians, but all religious bodies, reveals that they do not properly understand the role of religion in society. Second, the way that many Christians are indifferent to the lack of meeting together displays a troubling gnostic flavor to our contemporary faith.

At BreakPoint, we’ve had a series of articles and podcasts chronicling the dangers of this first problem, with none less than Princeton’s Robert P. George taking center-stage in highlighting these concerns. The basic point is that both Christians and political leaders have an inadequate view of faith.

When liquor stores and marijuana outlets are deemed essential, but churches cannot meet as a body even when they take proper precautions, then we have a problem. That problem is that religion has been demoted from the very first right protected under the US Constitution down to the point that it’s the practical equivalent of sporting events or a comic book convention.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Timothy D. Padgett