"God doesn’t reside in a physical house of worship. He resides in your heart. Enough said."
While what this sister said is true, I feel that it is not enough said.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT)
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
1 Corinthians 14:26 (NLT)
Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done mus strengthen all of you.
Yes, there is no longer a need for a physical temple, like the one built by King Solomon, for God to reside in because God resides in our hearts and we are now temples of God BUT Hebrews 10:25 encourages us to meet together to encourage and strengthen one another, hence we need a physical location for that purpose.
Wherever the people of God meet together, there is the church - be it a rented shophouse, someone's home, a church building or even a grand cathedral. Then why does NCC need to spend a budgeted $500 million to build a meeting place? I have dealt with that issue from a practical and logistical point of view in an earlier post. However, it is interesting to note that the bible also recorded a case of someone facing the same problem as NCC - the necessity to build a bigger meeting place for a growing congregation:
2 Kings 6:1-2 (NLT)One day the group of prophets came to Elisha and told him, “As you can see, this place where we meet with you is too small. Let’s go down to the Jordan River, where there are plenty of logs. There we can build a new place for us to meet.”
“All right,” he told them, “go ahead.”
While some Christians agree that NCC needs a bigger meeting place, they think that $500 million is too much money to be spent on a church building, they think it is extravagant. I must stress again that NCC is NOT building a church building but a commercial complex with a retail and entertainment zone owned by its joint venture partner, CapitaLand and a civic and cultural zone (which includes a 5,000-seater auditorium which NCC will use for its Sunday services) owned by Rock Productions, NCC's commercial arm.
However, even IF the $500 million is used to build a church building, is it really wrong from a biblical point of view? King David wanted to build a house for God but God told him that his son, Solomon will be the one building it instead of him (1 Chronicles 17:11-12). Even though King David was not allowed to build the temple, he was the one who set aside all the construction materials necessary for building it, and look at what he set aside:
1 Chronicles 22:14-16 (NLT)
“I have worked hard to provide materials for building the Temple of the Lord—nearly 4,000 tons of gold, 40,000 tons of silver, and so much iron and bronze that it cannot be weighed. I have also gathered timber and stone for the walls, though you may need to add more. You have a large number of skilled stonemasons and carpenters and craftsmen of every kind. You have expert goldsmiths and silversmiths and workers of bronze and iron. Now begin the work, and may the Lord be with you!”
Do you know what is the price of gold today? It's about USD900 an ounce. 1 kilo is approximately 32 ounces, 1 ton = 1,000 kilos, so 4,000 tons = 4,000 x 1,000 x 32 = 128 million ounces, therefore 4,000 tons of gold is now worth about USD115,200,000,000 (how much is that? the number's mind boggling but I think it is definitely more than S$500 million).
$500 million does not seem so extravagant after all when compared to the house that King David wanted to build for God. Take note that God did not refuse to accept the house; He just did not allow David to build it because he has shed blood. God did not tell David, "No, you must not do this. It is too extravagant."
When you see the grand cathedrals like St Paul's Cathedral in London (pic left), do you admire its beauty or do you say "It's too extravagant! This should not have been built in the first place!"