If you entered the Rochester Cathedral in 2019 you would have been greeted by a nine-hole mini-golf course. Of course, the use of the 1000-year-old English church building as a play area was not without controversy—some called it sacrilege. A similar sentiment was expressed recently over the commercialisation of the Sumela Monastery in Turkey. This impressive stone structure was carved out of a rockface by monks in 386AD. Though disestablished in 1923, and now in ruins, it is being restored and promoted as a tourist destination. Greek Orthodox members are accusing promoters of turning a place of worship into a nightclub.
It is accepted by many that places of worship are considered “Holy Ground.” To one degree or another, they treat the ‘sanctuary’ as sacred and believe it to be an exclusive place of worship. Even some members of the Lord’s church consider the ‘Auditorium’ as religiously distinct from the ‘Fellowship Hall.’
Solomon’s Temple was a house for God’s name (1 Kings 5:5). It was Holy Ground and Israel’s place of worship. There the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the Holy of Holies and the priesthood carried out its sacred duties. However, the Temple, as prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24, was destroyed in AD70. By then the church, the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17), was established.
Our church buildings must never be treated as holy; they are mere ‘bricks and mortar’ – nothing more! The only things that God counts as holy in our ‘places of worship’ are the worshippers and their worship. Praise God!
Jesus informed the Woman at the Well of the new place of worship for God’s name:
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers” (John 4:23).