Today many newly constructed houses of worship are reaching skyward, and many pastors and church officers are realizing the rewards as well as the trials of building programs. That these programs will exert a great influence on American church life goes without saying. The momentum a church generates by successfully completing a new edifice often can be felt for several years, and many pastors look forward to leading a congregation in building new or enlarged facilities.
It is natural for both pastor and people to want a breather after the strain of a building program, and to take their ease in Zion, as it were, by rejoicing and luxuriating in their achievements. Religion, however, is far more than physical facilities. The main task of the Christian church is not to erect impressive structures that bear glorious but mute testimony to the call of Christ to service and sacrifice. Unless a congregation’s qualities and attributes are of more than material significance, its new building will become but an empty shell that once housed a living organism of spiritual strength.
That religion is more than a building is apparent if we realize that without a congregation’s loyalty to God, a church building is but a mockery and a sham. The Old Testament records the story of the Tower of Babel, a structure that was intended to draw men heavenward to God, but which was, in fact, a useless idol. We read, too, of another building that was fashioned according to the commandment and will of God. On its day of dedication by King Solomon, God said concerning the Temple on Mount Zion, “… I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there forever.… And if thou wilt walk before me … in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, ...1
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