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Never get involved with God, and above all never in any really intimate way. Get involved with people and imagine that together with them you are involving yourselves with God. ~ Søren Kierkegaard
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. ~ Thomas Paine

A church is a group assembled in the name of God.

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  • Sed non solum locum Ecclesiae zelare debemus, sed hanc quoque interiorem in nobis domum Dei; ne sit domus negotiationis, aut spelunca latronum.
    • But it is not only of the space in the Church which we ought to be jealous, but also of the interiors of the house of God in us, so that it might not become a house of merchandise, or a den of robbers.
    • Ambrose, commentary on John 2:16, Exposition of the Psalms of David 118 (PL 15 1457B).


  • Where God hath a temple, the devil will have a chapel.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section IV. Memb. 1. Subsec. I.


  • "What is a church?" Let Truth and reason speak,
    They would reply, "The faithful, pure and meek,
    From Christian folds, the one selected race,
    Of all professions, and in every place."
  • What is a church?—Our honest sexton tells,
    'Tis a tall building, with a tower and bells.
  • Habere non potest Deum patrem qui ecclesiam non habet matrem.
    • No one can have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.
    • Cyprian, De Ecclesiae Catholicae Unitate (AD 251), ch. vi.
  • Salus extra ecclesiam non est.
    • There is no salvation outside the Church.
    • Cyprian, Letter to Jubaianus (AD 256), Letter 73


  • The church in the spiritual and theological sense always contains a current that is hostile to political power, that is revolutionary and anarchical. But this is not the current that society as a whole, and especially the political authorities, recognize as the church.
    • Jacques Ellul, The Subversion of Christianity (1982), G. Bromiley, trans. (1986), p. 132.


  • The Lord showed me, so that I did see clearly, that he did not dwell in these temples which men had commanded and set up, but in people's hearts … his people were his temple, and he dwelt in them.


  • The nere to the churche, the ferther from God.
    • The nearer to the church, the farther from God.
    • John Heywood Proverbs (1546) Part I, chapter 9.


  • Never get involved with God, and above all never in any really intimate way. Get involved with people and imagine that together with them you are involving yourselves with God.


  • ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, καὶ πύλαι Ἅιδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.
    • Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
    • Jesus in Matthew 16:18 KJV.
  • Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
  • Not even the church is so powerfully equipped to serve the public psychologically as is the motion picture company.
    • William Moulton Marston as quoted in Henry W. Levy's, "Professor to Cure Scenarios with Wrong Emotional Content: Dabbled in Movies While at Harvard; Now Sought By Hollywood with Offer of Favorable Contract", New York University News January 1929; The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014) by Jill Lepore, p. 137.


  • Είς μίαν, αγίαν, καθολικήν καί αποστολικήν Έκκλησίαν.
  • Wir haben also als Missverständnis: … eine kirchliche Ordnung, mit Priesterschaft, Theologie, Cultus, Sakramenten; kurz, alles das, was Jesus von Nazareth bekämpft hatte. (Original: German)
    • We therefore have a misunderstanding: ... a church order with priesthood, theology, cult and sacraments; shortly, everything Jesus of Nazareth fought against.
    • Friedrich Nietzsche, Nachlass, KSA 13: 11[295].


  • All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
  • Who builds a church to God, and not to Fame,
    Will never mark the marble with his Name.


  • If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him?
    If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future?
    If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers?
    If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him?
    If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weaknesses?


  • There is no family in America without a clock, and consequently there is no fair pretext for the usual Sunday medley of dreadful sounds that issues from our steeples.
  • The church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little, by way of example.
  • I was afraid of a united Church; it makes a mighty power, the mightiest conceivable, and then when it by and by gets into selfish hands, as it is always bound to do, it means death to human liberty, and paralysis to human thought

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 117-119.
  • The nearer the church, the further from God.
    • Bishop Andrews, Sermon on the Nativity before James I (1622). Proverb quoted by Fuller, Worthies, II. 5. (Ed. 1811).
  • To Kerke the narre, from God more farre.
    • As quoted by Spenser, 'Shepherd's Calendar (July, 1579). Douse Manuscript, 52. 15 (1450). See Murray, N.E.D. Used by Swift, Legion Club. Note. Heywood, Proverbs. Given also in Ray as French. Known to Germans and Italians.
  • Where Christ erecteth his church, the divell in the same church-yarde will have his chappell.
    • George Bancroft, Anti-Puritan Sermon (Feb. 9, 1588). Martin Luther, Von den Conciliis und Kirchen, Werke, 23. 378. (Ed. 1826). Melbancke, Philotimus. Sig. E. 1. Charles Aleyn, Historie of that Wise and Fortunate Prince Henrie (1638), p. 136. Dr. John Dove, The Conversion of Salomon. Attributed to Erasmus by Franz Horn, Die Poesie und Beredsamkeit der Deutschen, Book I, p. 35. (1822). William Roe, Christian Liberty (1662), p. 2.
  • Oh! St. Patrick was a gentleman
    Who came of decent people;
    He built a church in Dublin town,
    And on it put a steeple.
  • Pour soutenir tes droits, que le ciel autorise,
    Abîme tout plutôt; c'est l'esprit de l'Église.
    • To support those of your rights authorized by Heaven, destroy everything rather than yield; that is the spirit of the Church.
    • Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, Lutrin, Chant I. 185.
  • An instinctive taste teaches men to build their churches in flat countries with spire steeples, which, as they cannot be referred to any other object, point as with silent finger to the sky and stars.
  • Whenever God erects a house of prayer
    The devil always builds a chapel there;
    And 'twill be found, upon examination,
    The latter has the largest congregation.
    • Daniel Defoe, True Born Englishman, Part I, line 1. Note in first Edition says it is an English proverb. Omitted in later editions.
  • God never had a church but there, men say,
    The devil a chapel hath raised by some wiles,
    I doubted of this saw, till on a day
    I westward spied great Edinburgh's Saint Giles.
  • Die Kirch' allein, meine lieben Frauen,
    Kann ungerechtes Gut verdauen.
  • It is common for those that are farthest from God, to boast themselves most of their being near to the Church.
  • No sooner is a temple built to God but the devil builds a chapel hard by.
  • When once thy foot enters the church, be bare.
    God is more there than thou: for thou art there
    Only by his permission. Then beware,
    And make thyself all reverence and fear.
  • Well has the name of Pontifex been given
    Unto the Church's head, as the chief builder
    And architect of the invisible bridge
    That leads from earth to heaven.
  • In that temple of silence and reconciliation where the enmities of twenty generations lie buried, in the Great Abbey, which has during many ages afforded a quiet resting-place to those whose minds and bodies have been shattered by the contentions of the Great Hall.
  • A beggarly people,
    A church and no steeple.
    • Attributed to Malone by Swift. See Prior's Life (1860). 381. Of St. Ann's Church, Dublin.
  • It was founded upon a rock.
    • Matthew, VII. 25.
  • As like a church and an ale-house, God and the devell, they manie times dwell neere to ether.
    • Nashe, Works, III. Have with you to Saffron Walden. Same idea in his Christ's Teares. Works, IV, 57. Dekker, Rauens Almanacke, Works, IV. 221.
  • There can be no church in which the demon will not have his chapel.
  • Non est de pastu ovium quæstio, sed de lana.
    • It is not about the pasture of the sheep, but about their wool.
    • Pope Pius II.
  • No silver saints, by dying misers giv'n,
    Here brib'd the rage of ill-requited heav'n;
    But such plain roofs as Piety could raise,
    And only vocal with the Maker's praise.
  • I never weary of great churches. It is my favourite kind of mountain scenery. Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.
  • Boni pastoris est tondere pecus non deglubere.
    • A good shepherd shears his flock, not flays them.
    • Suetonius. Attributed by him to Tiberius Cæsar, Life 32.
  • The itch of disputation will break out
    Into a scab of error.
  • See the Gospel Church secure,
    And founded on a Rock!
    All her promises are sure;
    Her bulwarks who can shock?
    Count her every precious shrine;
    Tell, to after-ages tell,
    Fortified by power divine,
    The Church can never fail.
  • Disputandi pruritus ecclesiarum scabies.
    • The itch of disputing is the scab of the churches.
    • Sir Henry Wotton, A Panegyric to King Charles. (Inscribed on his tomb).

See also[edit]

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