Saturday, October 22, 2016

Trueblood: new temple, old idol

Saturday, October 22, 2016
    [Paul to the Athenians:] “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
    —Acts 17:24-25 (ESV)
    In some communities there remains, as a vestige of a false conception of the church building, a resistance to the sale and purchase of books on a table... anywhere on the premises. When this position is expressed, it must be attacked directly and unapologetically, because it represents a genuine evil, ... the idolatry of bricks and mortar, a heresy specifically undermined by the Apostle Paul in Athens when he said, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man” (Acts 17:24). The notion that it is perfectly all right to sell a New Testament in the department store on Monday, but that it is wrong to sell it in the meetinghouse on Sunday, represents a confusion so great that it is truly appalling.
    As Christians, we believe in the Real Presence, but it is a severe denial of the divine power to claim that this Presence is limited geographically. If, in a building dedicated to worship, a seeker buys a book on Sunday morning and his life is deepened in consequence, the only important thing to say is that the Gospel has thereby been preached, and this is one of the major tasks of the Church.
    ... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Incendiary Fellowship, New York: Harper, 1967, p. 64-65 (see the book)
    See also Acts 17:24-25; 1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chr. 2:6; 6:18; John 4:22-23; Acts 7:48-50
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, send Your Spirit to remind me of Your Presence in all things.
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