We need a theology that integrates body building and church buildings.

Ron sider (“Cautions Against Ecclesiastical Elegance,” pages 14–19) and Thomas Howard (“Expensive Churches: Extravagance for God’s Sake?” pages 18–23) address head-on the disturbing question of what kind of church building is both honoring to God and appropriate for our day. Neither writer gives a categorical answer about what is right for all churches for all times.

How can North American churches get their priorities right as they build their places of worship? Every church contemplating building construction should enlarge its perspective to encompass the whole church of God and all its needs. The amount of money a church gives to missions and relief programs often reflects that church’s vision for the work of Christ worldwide. But the quality of their place of worship can also reflect how much they love God (see Haggai 1:4).

To gain worldwide perspective, Christians and churches have a responsibility to keep informed about events in all parts of the world, not just in North America. Missions and relief organizations and the news media can supply information about the physical and spiritual needs in various countries. The act of praying regularly for the needs and political problems of other countries, as well as for the Christians and missionaries there, will help broaden our understanding and rouse our compassion for the world. If our idea of God is great enough, our passion to worship him absorbing enough, our awareness of the needs of the world vivid enough, and our love for our fellow human beings deep enough, we are then adequately prepared to seek our answer to the more mundane question of building construction.

Without suggesting that the Bible ...

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