Is there New Testament support for the sacredness of places, times, objects?


I am in a Bible study with some protestant friends and the subject of the sacredness of places/times/objects came up as part of a book we’re currently reading.

The book and my friends assert the following argument to which I am unsure how to respond:

Jesus said: “`But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.’ (John 4:21-23)”

“Shortly after, Paul took up the cry of liberty and declared all meats clean, every day holy (Rom 14:2-6), all places sacred and every act acceptable to God. The sacredness of times and places, a half-light necessary to the education of the race, passed away before the full sun of spiritual worship.”

Is there any New Testament scriptural support in defense of the Catholic ideas that some items (such as churches, Holy Days, sacred vessels, sacramentals, etc) are holy (or set apart for a holy purpose)?

With Thanks In Christ,

The above quotations can be found in A. W. Tozer’s book “The Pursuit of God”, located at the following URL about 3/4 the way down the page:

Here is one example: handkerchiefs used by Paul were taken to those who were sick, and they received healing.

Thus, relics have a scriptural basis. :thumbsup:

I found people in Acts:

Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.

The Church did not own much in the way of property or material possessions for those to be sacred.

The context of Paul’s remarks is not a cry of liberty. More like, “You kids quit arguing, or I’ll stop the car!” If anything, it demands that people be allowed, in Christian freedom, to add more holy stuff and devout customs than was required by the basic precepts.

And indeed, everywhere we find archaeological evidence of the early Christians, and all throughout early Christian literature, we find them insisting that places and things have been made sacred, claimed for God, and that all of Creation is good. Just as Christian people were supposed to become holier and clearer images of God, so it was fitting to put the marks and images of Christ and His saints everywhere as Creation was redeemed by Christ as well.

We find Christians flocking to the holy tombs of the martyrs, and keeping alive the memory of the exact place on Calvary where Jesus died despite all the stuff that happened to Jerusalem and to Christians living near. We find Christians even being caught and killed, a fair number, because they insisted on going to the tombs of the martyrs to pray.

We likewise find St Lawrence and others, working hard to keep the treasures of the young Church out of the hands of the pagans. Nor was he the only one martyred down the years by the Romans, trying to keep the sacred vessels and scriptures safe from profanation and theft. And the Roman government knew they would; it was something they used to catch Christians also.

One of the big quarrels of the young Church was that, after a persecution would cease, people who did agree to make sacrifices or similar offenses would want to come back. There were special harsh penances for people who had betrayed the location of sacred vessels or scriptures.

So yeah, if people want to totally ignore what early Christians actually did, and misread Paul’s intentions as well, they can do that. Yeppers. But that would mean assuming that a big chunk of early Christian martyrs and teachers were idiots, willing to die for worthless trash and nondescript dirt.

Amazing how people are always ready to assume their ancestors in the faith were idiots, instead of begging people so close to Christ to teach us to be more like them.

I think that they obviously thought that the temple was a Sacred precinct.What happened inside was sacred. Again the sanctity of time is obvious in the Sabbath. Since early Christians participated in Temple worship it would be reasonable to assume that the idea of sacred objects, times and places would have been carried into the NT.

If one’s going to be limited to the New Testament, the only element I’d feel completely solid addressing is the “time” one with respect to Sunday being the important day for Christians and their worship.

The rest came later in the Christian tradition, you could argue either way if you’re considering only what’s written in the New Testament and not the whole body of Christian Tradition.

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