Our society has a big problem. Few people have ever asked the question: What is church? Are we missusing the word church?
We think we know what church is so we don’t ask. “Here’s the church and here’s the steeple. Open it up and here are the people.” Everybody knows church is a religious building dedicated to God, a religious organization or denomination, and a meeting people attend on Sunday mornings and very rarely any more on Sunday night or Wednesday night. The only problem is: That answer is wrong according to the Bible.
The word translated into the English word “church” used in the Greek New Testament (the original one) means “the called out ones”. The New Testament view is that church is a group of people in a loving relationship with one another and with God. It is not a building because church buildings weren’t invented until many years after the New Testament.
Church means family of believers. Asking someone “Where do you go to church?” is like asking “Where do you go to family?” Neither question makes any sense. You cannot go to family because family is relationships — and so is church!
Church is not a religious meeting we attend. Church is our spiritual family. We can’t turn it on and off. Church is 24/7. I am in church right now as I write this in my home. Church has no physical location. It is anywhere the family of God is. So you can’t separate church and state. If a genuine Christian is in a government position — there is the church. The only way to get rid of church is to get rid of the Christian.
That is what the Roman Empire in the first three centuries and the Chinese Communists in the Twentieth Century attempted. It didn’t work. (In China the house church / organic church movement now numbers between 80 and 100 million even though there were less than 1 million Christians in China when the Communists came to power in 1948.)
So what has hog tied Christianity in America? Kicking the Bible out of public schools? Pushing religion out of government? No. I believe it has been holding on to mistaken definitions of the word church.