October 24, 2017

Is the Church Building Sacred?

By P. J. Casebolt

The word "sacred" is not in the Bible. It may mean different things to different people. We should "speak as the oracles of God" whenever possible (1 Pet. 4: 11). For instance, we must allow the Bible to define baptism (Rom. 6:4), for it is a Bible term with a Bible definition. But, since the term "sacred" is not to be found in the Bible, we must look elsewhere for its definition.

The dictionary definition is as follows: sacred--"Dedicated; set apart in honor of, or as dear to, one, as a god; hence, devoted exclusively to a certain person or end. Holy; hallowed by association with the divine or consecrated; hence, entitled to reverence and respect; as, a sacred memory. Of or pertaining to religion, its doctrines, rites, history,

etc.; religious; as sacred vestments. Inviolable or inviolate; not to be profaned. Accursed; baleful." (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Co., Copyright 1960.)

We have heard others say "The church building isn't sacred" and have repeated the phrase without ever bothering to see what it means. Would you not say that the church building is sacred in the sense that it is "dedicated," "entitled to reverence and respect," and pertains to the practice of "religion"?

No, the building isn't the church (1 Cor. 12:27), neither should we worship the building or "the gold of the temple" (Mt. 23:16, 17), but we aren't talking about these generally accepted truths--we are talking about our usage of the term "sacred." If we are going to invent our own definitions and ignore accepted sources of authority, or use a term, which has several meanings, the least we can do is learn to say what we mean.

Truth Magazine VII: 9, pp. 24b
June 1963

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