The world watched in shock as one of the most famous churches in Europe, the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burned on live TV. Fueled by the massive 900-year-old wooden beams that sustained its heavy lead ceiling, the fire destroyed a significant part of the cathedral before Paris firefighters could put it out. The French government with aid from benefactors is making plan to restore the great cathedral to its former glory. It will be a massive undertaking.
The Church is a Body, not Buildings
I had the privilege of visiting the Notre Dame years ago. The sheer size of the nave is awe inspiring and I can’t forget the beauty of the sunlight shining through the stained-glass windows in the afternoon. On another occasion, I found myself in a small room in someone’s home with a dozen brothers and sisters in Christ. Our meeting was secret, because in that particular nation, it is against the law to be a Christian. Those believers could lose their lives if their neighbors or local police found out they are Christ followers. People, organizations, and even governments all over the world are committed to the task of burning down the Church of Jesus Christ.
Three Reasons why the Church will Never be Burned Down
Notre Dame is not just a monument, but an active Roman Catholic parish. Just like the fire that destroyed the Notre Dame didn’t destroy the church body that meets there, the fires of opposition and persecution have never been able to burn down the Church invisible, no matter how hard they tried. Here are three reasons why:
Because Jesus said so. I guess that should be enough for us. Remember Christ’s words to the disciples:
… on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
His promise was clear. Two thousand years later, here we are, standing, as strong as ever, still proclaiming His name, worldwide, and growing.
Because the Church isn’t the place where it meets. When the Cultural Revolution took over China, most church buildings were destroyed. The Church went underground and less than 100 years later, there are twenty times more Christians in China than before. The Chinese government continues to burn down houses of worship, and yet, the Church continues to grow.
Because History demonstrates it. So many have tried to destroy the Christian faith. The Jews first, then the Romans, Barbarians, later the Vikings. When the institutional Church lost its way in the Middle Ages, God sent the reformers. Later came 100-year prayer meetings, missionary movements, Great Awakenings, revivals, and other Holy Spirit movements. Even today, in places where establishing churches is illegal, explosive house church planting movements are spreading like wildfire. I don’t know about you, but I consider it the highest honor and joy to be part of this movement of God that cannot be burned down.
The current consensus in the world is that Christianity is dying in Europe. Churches are closing down; Atheism is on the rise, and people are fearful of the expansion of Islam in the Old Continent. However, the truth behind this grim picture is that God is still in control. The world’s most famous church can burn down, but God will not allow His Bride to be burned.