Posted by: SandreS | October 29, 2009

The Greatest Show on Earth

… make a fair show in the flesh … (Galatians 6:12).

“The Greatest Show on Earth” is the slogan of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus; but if the truth be known, the greatest show on earth would be Christendom’s religious institutions called “church.”

The idea is not all that far fetched. There actually appears to be an etymological connection between the Sunday morning “church” and the “circus.”

One of the most popular Bible dictionaries – a standard for over one hundred years – reveals an interesting connection between the two. Smith’s Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1884, has a very remarkable observation for us regarding the roots of our English word “church”:

The derivation of the word is generally said to be from the Greek kuriakon, “belonging to the Lord.” But the derivation has been too hastily assumed. It is probably connected with Kirk, the Latin circus – because the congregations were gathered in circles.

Interestingly, think of the parallels between the religious system’s “church” and Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s “circus.”

They both are a form of entertainment.
They both have a stage.
They both have skilled performers.
They both have a ring master.
They both have a paying audience.

With all the staging, show and drama, ultimately they are both a “three ring circus.” Between the “circus” and the “church,” obviously, the “church” is in reality the greatest show on earth.

Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh (Colossians 2:23).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Windber, PA
© 2009 Bible Student’s Press

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