the weblog of Alan Knox

Guest Blogger: What is wrong with the word “Church”?

Posted by on Apr 16, 2012 in definition, guest blogger | 34 comments

Guest Blogger: What is wrong with the word “Church”?

I’ve invited several people to write “guest blog posts” for this blog. There are several reasons for this: 1) To offer different perspectives. 2) To generate even more discussion and conversation between blogs. 3) To introduce other bloggers to my readers.

(If you are interested in writing a guest blog post, please contact me at aknox[at]sebts[dot]com.)

Today’s post was written by Marc Winter. You can connect with Marc via his Facebook page.

——————————————-

What is wrong with the Word “Church”?

When we use the word “church” in our everyday conversations, we say things like: “Where do you go to church?” or “I will meet you at the church.” Most people understand that Jesus did not mean He would build a building; “And the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” But we continue to use this word; a word that in our current and historical usage means: a building where religious services are held. The King James Version translates the Greek word “ekklesia” as “church” 80 times in the New Testament. No wonder we have this word “church” stuck in our heads and in our vocabulary.

Language is the fundamental method we use for conveying information and understanding. When translating the Scriptures, the changing of one word can literally change the world, and in this case it has.

Jesus did not say in Matthew chapter 16, “I will build my church”. He did say, “I will build my ekklesia (ek-klay-see-ah).” The ekklesia is correctly translated: “called out assembly or community”. The word “church” is taken from the Greek word “kuriakon”(koo-ree-ak-on’), not “ekklesia”. Kuriakon, means: belonging to the Lord. Specifically, in the first century it was commonly understood to be a temple or house in which pagans worshiped their gods. We should ask why the word ekklesia was incorrectly translated “church” meaning a building, when the correct meaning was clear. When King James and Arch Bishop Bancroft set up 14 rules to be followed in translating the scriptures into English, the third rule required “the old ecclesiastical words to be kept, such as “church” instead of “congregation.” They also wanted the old offices of bishop, deacon, and pastor to relate to their “most common use by the most eminent fathers” (rule four). There was a deliberate focus on translating words favorably to the Anglican Church (of which King James was the head) to maintain control over the people. Without a building to gather the people around, the clergy, the pope, and to some degree, the king, would have lost control over the people. Even today without the use of buildings, the clergy and all denominations would lose control over the people.

When my wife and I read our English Bibles we insert the word “ekklesia” when we read or discuss what was incorrectly translated as “church”. The use of the word “church” has contaminated our hearts and minds to the Lord’s true purpose for His called out assembly or community. We get building focused, and we get clergy focused, which is exactly what King James, Bancroft and the spiritual forces behind them intended.

Remember the movie The Matrix? Church is just a prison built for your mind. When you know the truth, the truth will set you free.

All Comments Welcomed.


34 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-16-2012

    Okay, this really seems important to you over Church, and the mlsplaced way it is used for control over the people. And if it had been used correctly then the called out ones would be free and the called out ones are free, and despised by the ones that want control of the flock.
    I am glad you see this so here is my acronyms for the word CHURCH

    C hrist
    H as
    U ttered
    R esurection
    C hoice
    H eaven

    This is church to me and each believer that is led by the Spirit of Christ is the Ekklesia, called out and all things shall work for God’s will in and through the called out ones, have a great day for eternity
    Howard

  2. 4-16-2012

    Excellent article, Marc. I have had to train myself to only refer to the church as the body of Christ. In our culture, a lot of people unregenerate and regenerate alike still think of the church as a building or place where one worships. I now translate as I read God’s word….”church” for the body of believers.

  3. 4-16-2012

    Really interesting post! This is an interesting take. Most people want to stop calling the building the church. You seem to be saying that we should stop calling the people the church. I think either way you slice it we’ve gotta stop confusing the two and we’ve gotta stop thinking that there are such things as holy buildings.

  4. 4-16-2012

    Marc,

    You know that I love your focus on what the term “ekklesia” in Scripture represents. It is important for us as Jesus’ followers to know what he was referring to, and what he was NOT referring to.

    You also know that I disagree about the use of the term “church”. Changing the word we use will not change our understanding. Changing to a term that comes from the Greek word “ekklesia” will not correct the problems; just ask the people who use the Spanish “iglesia”, or the French “eglise”, or even still use the Latin “ecclesia”.

    Regardless of which English term we use, we must be sure that we are referring to the same thing (people) that Jesus was referring to.

    -Alan

  5. 4-16-2012

    Alan

    I wonder if using a different term might at least stop people for a moment to question the way they typically use the same word for three different things: the people, the building, and the event of gathering, and maybe start to think (possibly for the first time) about the differences between each. If there was a distinct word that referred to the people and not the building or event then maybe there would be less confusion when reading that word in Scripture? I could see value in creating that distinction in terms, but you are right, just using a different term is not going to help as long as the term is still used for all three things.

  6. 4-16-2012

    Thanks for sharing this bit of history. I have never heard this before.

    Our solution to the use of the word church is to gently correct its usage when it comes up. Like when people say, “Where do you go to church” we reply, “Its impossible to go to church”. It makes for good conversation.

    We have also come up with a term to call our gatherings. When we get together like the church did in Acts 2:42 we call it a God Party. We got it thinking about what we call family gathering. Families often get together for a birthday party, anniversary party, graduation party, Superbowl party ect. So when the family of God gets together why not call it a God Party!

  7. 4-16-2012

    @louisvillebobby Yes, my wife and family have to train ourselves as well, to use other words, so our thoughts do not go to the default “church building”. In one respect, and in many cases “church” really is just a building where religious services are performed (Jesus not in attendance).

    @ Alan and Dan, I like what Dan said “I wonder if using a different term might at least stop people for a moment to question the way they typically use the same word for three different things: the people, the building, and the event of gathering, and maybe start to think (possibly for the first time) about the differences between each.”

    @ Alan, Remember the Clint Eastwood movie Fox Fire, where Clint was attempting to fly an advanced Russian jet fighter that was controlled by thoughts and not mechanical controls. Clint was unable to fly the jet until he began to think in Russian. This case is the same, so long as we think in Christianese we can not understand Jesus and His Kingdom.

    @ Darrell, love the God Party! We had a big family gathering this week-end and as we discussed these things (the Kingdom of God), as I sensed the Holy Spirit’s presence, I would mention “Jesus is here.”

  8. 4-16-2012

    This article is interesting to say the least. Most wonder why there are many words for one thing. In studying the Bible I understand that the English was translated from the Hebrew. When looking at the original one finds that even the Hebrew letters have word meanings and that one letter means many things, so when words are put together there are many meanings. Which actually gets lost in the English translation.

    Very insightful. Thank you for sharing & God Bless you….)

  9. 4-16-2012

    As a pastor who has led a church plant for 13 years, I’ve had the benefit of both no building and having a building to use. There are benefits to both, but no righteousness gained in either form. Like food – we either eat, or we don’t eat it, no righteousness is gained (1 Corinthians 8). I believe the motives of King James might be connected to denominations who still hold sway over the buildings their people meet in, but that’s pretty rare in evangelical circles, I think. More churches are locally autonomous. Seems to me the bigger issue is the leadership and obedience issue. Do pastors/elders lead our people, regardless of facility status, to believe, follow, and obey Jesus Christ and His Word, or do we try to build larger tribes and facilities? Do we serve them as we feed them the gospel, or do we lord it over them? Control isn’t to be valued by leaders when trusting Christ, but leadership is required by God, and it isn’t bad (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Heb 13:17, 1 Peter 5:1-4). Seems a bit novel, or even – please take no offense – arrogant to focus on changing a word, rather than attempting to lead and serve God’s church/family/ekklesia/called out ones/assembly the way He tells us to.

  10. 4-16-2012

    What about the usage of “ordain(ing)elders in every city” and the term “bishop” used in Titus 1:5-9 where Paul tells Titus to “set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city,…v7 For a bishop must be blameless….”?

    These words seem to convey a command toward some organized if not pervasive system of hierarchical human institution. Are these translation also “colored” by the third and fourth rule mentioned and if so, can you elaborate a little on the actual meanings of the original Greek words?

  11. 4-16-2012

    Thank you Alan for sharing these thoughts about the church by Marc Winters. I have had an interesting journey through many words we use and to learn the concepts behind the definitions. This one is particularly poignant. Thanks.

  12. 4-16-2012

    @ Essence, words are important as they are the method for conveying information from one person to the next. Thanks for the comment.

    @ pjrhc, I agree the buildings are not the larger issue except for the control afford by the use of them. I mean you can not come to this location anymore if you do not obey us (clergy controlling attendees). Or the building controls everyone (we have this mortgage to pay and we need to apply appropriate pressure to get the funds to pay for and maintain it). As far as leaders go, yes they are needed to mentor, but by the Holy Spirit as an elder I receive from the sheep constantly. So they feed me as much as I feed them, and that my brother is VERY freeing. Christians originally didn’t use buildings. This was a distinguishing attribute; it separated them from the pagans whose focus was on buildings,rituals and physical objects.

    @ Just Wondering “A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit and the press of the external situation.” A.W. Tozer
    In Titus 1:5-9 the word for elder presbuteros, simply means old man. This indicates a mature believer, who just as a shepard or parent might be a visable example to learn from (to follow).
    Interestingly In 1 Timothy 3:10 and 13 the phrase, “the office of a deacon,” is translated from one Greek word “diakoneo”, being a verb, which correctly is better translated “ministry” or “service of a servant” denoting the action of the verb. The Greek word is defined by Thayer as meaning “to be a servant, attendant, domestic; to serve, wait upon.” He further states, “like the Latin, minstrare, to wait at table and offer food and drink to guests.” This word is a verb denoting an action of serving and is not a noun that would denote a title of an office, officer, or official. The phrase “office of” is not in the original Greek text. There is no “office” of anything in the Lord’s ekklesia.

    @ JIm Dudek, Thank you for commenting.

  13. 4-17-2012

    Interesting… Let me just pitch in on this.

    I totally understand and agree with what you said, about the fact that the word ekklesia does not primarily refer to the buildings or place of meeting, and that it actually refers to the body of believers, those called out and separated unto the Lord. Unfortunately, what started as a very insightful discussion ended rather badly.

    You might want to rethink some of your statements and perhaps your entire motive for writing this piece. To say something like, “which is exactly what King James, Bancroft and the spiritual forces behind them intended.”, for me, may be out of place. Would you have anyone believe that King James and Bancroft, were not true Christians, or that they were deliberately advancing the agenda of the devil against Christ or what? I’m not saying it is impossible, but is that what you want to be saying? For all you know, this could be misinterpretation, arising out of misunderstanding of the Scriptures. A great many translators have misinterpreted portions of the Scripture, because of the inaccuracy of their own understanding of the gospel. It is hardly fair or right to attribute such errors to intent, or to the devil for that matter.

    Now you already mentioned that most people are already aware that Jesus was not referring to the building when he spoke, and that is true. Awareness about this particular issue has come a long way, and I believe that many Christians are aware of this. So I might say that the word maintains this dual application for most people, in some contexts, especially in speaking we may sometimes use it to refer to the place of meeting, but in the study of the Scriptures we are very well aware that the word refers to the body of Christ, and not a building, something which the context of the Scripture will also show.

    Now to some of the comments.

    @Dan, on your first comment, there is such a thing as holy buildings. It’s in the Bible. Whenever God sets something apart for Himself, whether a person, a place or a thing, that thing is now referred to as ‘holy’, because it is consecrated, it is separated for God’s use and purpose only.

    @Alan, agree with you completely.

    @Dan, agree with your second comment completely.

    @Essence, very important point you made that often accounts for a lot of the misinterpretations that we have in some translations in the Bible, perhaps even this one. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Finally, I’m getting too many references to movies in an attempt to explain spiritual truth. Sorry guys, but no matter what the inspiration of the movie might have been, or what it might seem to represent, a movie is a fictional story and should not at all be mentioned as though it validates a spiritual truth that you are trying to put across. Small point, maybe, but…

    Nice day, everyone.

  14. 4-17-2012

    You know that trick you play on someone when u say to them ” Apples,right now don’t think about apples”. The point you are making to them is that for that moment u control what they think and they are helpless to resist because you planted the thought.
    Well, in the same way, after we’ve all drunk the kool aid of self centered life in Christ, with all the attending evils we now live with of double meanings of words, arguments over original vernacular et al, we seem to be destined to drink it to the last drop.
    Except that Jesus gave us a way out.
    We MUST become like little children to enter the kingdom of God.
    Instead we have become children, or maybe not matured yet collectively.
    If they are healthy, children aren’t self conscious or morbidly introspective, they don’t jockey to take the adults places and they recover from their role play (Im the pastor & your’e the sheep) without losing their identity.
    That takes more than role play, but that’s another discussion.
    We christian adults take our own integrity too seriously and don’t give the same breaks to others, we use our developed intellect to trump one another and most childishly, we expect and are disappointed with the lack of Christlike maturity from undisciplined brethren, not to mention our anger against pagans for being pagan.
    Jesus asked us the question that all children know the answer to :”Who can add one inch to his height by thinking”?
    Consider the lilies, how they don’t work, but they display Gods glory”
    If we will encourage one another to cleanse ourselves from all impurity of flesh and spirit, sit together at His feet to learn from Him and work hard to love one another and our enemies like He loves us, we will become like little children.
    Then He will appear among us in His glory, as He did to the early church when they simply waited for Him for 40 days, like children: unsure of what next but doing what He said anyway.
    blessings
    Greg

  15. 4-17-2012

    @ Greg, I apologize for not understanding your post? Can you say that another way?
    Marc

  16. 4-17-2012

    I’ll try, in the few min I have.
    The kool aid I referred speaks to the experience and language we have developed over many generations of having a form of Godliness but with man’s intellect having hijacked the agenda. Our attempt to explain to each other where we went off the rails, and what genuine ‘ekklesia’ looks like originates from the same vacuum that previous explanations and reforms did. The fact is, we don’t know experimentally what we are talking about because we are not living it now. When the NT was written, they were living letters because the speakers and hearers lived what we now only read about and try to grasp thru our intellect.
    Jesus told Nicodemus that he should have understood what He meant by ‘born again’. The reason he didnt though is because Nicodemus had a intellectual form of Godliness without the Spirit.
    Like Nicodemus, we miss Jesus point when He says we must become like little children to enter the kingdom, and for the same reason.
    Ive been listening to myself and many others have this same discussion for forty years, and we picked up where previous generations left off. Certainly some may benefit from it, but after all is said and done, we all must become like little children before Him.
    Imagine the upheaval and debate among the disciples and elites as Jesus challenged and often turned upside down the tenets of their own 3 thousand years of experience and understanding of their ‘church’. He didn’t explain much, speaking in parables, leaving questions for answers and defying convention. He didn’t tell them why He wanted them to wait in Jerusalem. He didn’t sort out the circumcision debate before He ascended, and didn’t leave even a hint of who the new teachers and scribes were to be to guide us into the kingdom. Two thousand yrs later, we still cant agree on much of anything any of them wrote.
    Jesus said “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”
    He meant for us to hear the voice of His Spirit as He speaks to us anew each moment of our lives, confirming and enlightening the scriptures, not for us to hear the Word preached in church, although there is benefit there too.
    Mark Twain, an unbeliever, said he was more afraid of the things in the bible he did understand than the things he didn’t.
    We understand that we must become like little children but that doesn’t mean its us that must do that work. We need to quit trying to help Him get us to be the ekklesia. Jesus didn’t let anyone into the executive circle of the Trinity when it came time to birth the church, and I doubt He will now as He raises us from the dead works and traditions we all hate and despise.
    I’m not saying stop doing what we are doing, because He uses even our feeble attempts to obey Him. But, we could discuss what we need to do and what expectations we might be allowed to have inside the parameters of “without Me you can do nothing” and ” I will build my church” and “unless a grain falls in the ground and dies, it cannot bring forth fruit”.
    Spiritual discernment is needed to understand spiritual truths, and only babes and children, who know they don’t possess the intellect, qualify to receive a revelation of Christ. Our intellects are good servants and poor leaders, and we have this ‘church’ morass to prove it.
    Sorry for the rambling; I’m in a bit of a hurry.
    Hope that helps brother.
    blessings
    Greg

  17. 4-17-2012

    Marc,

    Thanks for continuing to respond to the comments here. As I’ve said before, it’s fine with me if people want to use a different term besides “church.” There’s nothing special about that term. I often use the terms “assembly” or “gathering” or “group” in place of the term “church.” At the same time, there is nothing wrong with using the term “church.” Language is dynamic and fluid. I know that it is possible for people to change their understanding of a term and it’s referent in Scripture.

    -Alan

  18. 4-17-2012

    @ Greg, Thank you for the clarification. Indeed attempting to understand the scriptures, or any spiritual matter with our intellect alone is futile.
    “Spiritual discernment is needed to understand spiritual truths, and only babes and children, who know they don’t possess the intellect, qualify to receive a revelation of Christ. Our intellects are good servants and poor leaders, and we have this ‘church’ morass to prove it.”

    Alan, I understand. My hope is for all of those who are too repulsed by “church” to ever come to one, may one day be open to a redeemed community of believers. It is up to believers to take the lead and clearly reject what is known to the public as “church”, and offer a reality in Christ the world has little known or seen.

  19. 4-17-2012

    Marc,

    I appreciate your last comment to me very much. I can tell that we are both seeking to help God’s people to live as a redeemed community of believers and followers of Jesus Christ.

    -Alan

  20. 4-18-2012

    Alan, Indeed, I enjoy your friendship, fellowship, and insights. Thanks for this opportunity to share these thoughts on your blog! Hope you buy the book (or I will happily send you one), it will serve as a great introduction as we get to know one another better.
    Marc

  21. 4-20-2012

    Rather than cast doubt, the Bible casts certainty. Words are bound by rules. What a word means when inserted into a document, must forever mean in that document what was meant when it was inserted. What does the compound word ekklesia mean as used. It is two words conjugated. In researching the word, and rules relative to it, I dropped the word church in my vocabulary, and began using the literal meaning; the called out. After all, this correctly refers to those named by God; Christians. Those who received the invitation from Christ, accepted the terms and conditions of it, and responded to him in becoming his blood bought disciples. My religious life was simplified greatly when I began to look at Scripture from the divine perspective. Did God mean what he said? My view of God does not allow anything else. Yes, words in a living language change, but those in dead languages are forever static. I believe the divine perspective is simply, “Here is the meaning of the word when I gave it, and that is what I expect you mortals to realize and abide by.” For this view, I have been called about everything a Christian can be called. Yet, when I approach people on the basis:”We shall never expect anything of you that imitation of Christ will not produce,” they are immediately at ease and willing to discuss the word. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

  22. 4-20-2012

    Charles,

    I appreciate the comment. The Greek term ekklesia is composed of two other Greek terms: ek (“out”) and kaleo (“I call”). However, that does not indicate that it means “called out ones.” It would be a fallacy (the etymological fallacy or genetic fallacy) to assume that a compound word necessarily means the same as the combination of the two source words. For a modern example, consider the English terms “butterfly” or “understand.” To determine what “ekklesia” meant, it is necessary to look at how it is used. It is not always used to refer to “called out ones.” It usually simply refers to a gathering or assembly of something, often people, but sometimes even animals.

    -Alan

  23. 4-20-2012

    You are correct in general use of words. However, common usage in all languages, and documents more particularly, strongly aids in determining the meaning of words. (Cf preface in Webster’s Third Edition Unabridged Dict. It is not a correct way to always determine correctness of meanings, but when the definition of a word is used in the place of the word, it can tell us a great deal about the fitness of the definition. I have done this, along with other tests with the word ekklesia. If you use: (1) a building used for religious purposes, (2) assembly, (3) congregation, and (4) the called out, it is easy to see that in the majority of uses the called out flow much smoother than any of the other definitions usually given. Words translated into such as establish, build (Matt. 16:18), and other terms used in connection with ekklesia, properly used, enhance the called out term. Furthermore, the New Testament is the primary context, with the Old Testament prophecies secondary, but directly related. We need to use it all to help us understand many of the words used to modify ekklesia. Please do not misunderstand me. I believe it will take at least two generations, possible more, before a thorough study, absorption, and application can be accomplished and a general concensus on ekklesia reached. During that time, much love, longsuffering, patience, and mutual encouragement needs to be demonstrated in the matter. It is only when people reject the word, and abuse it, that we need to respond alertly and directly with vigor. We all need to exhibit a genuine love for God and reverence for his word which says, “We want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” and then search for just that. In the meantime, I believe all who claim to love God can draw closer together in heart and words, in our efforts to arrive at truth in all things. During that time, if you wish to use the word church, I shall not think the less of you so long as you truly believe you have God’s approval to use it. I am frail flesh, and I recognize that we all must deal with each other with this in view, or we all shall devour each other. Respectfully, Charles

  24. 4-20-2012

    Charles,

    I understand that the definition “called out ones” is popular for the Greek term “ekklesia.” I agree that God’s children are called by him, but that “calling” is not found in the term “ekklesia,” but in other descriptions and designations. I believe the terms “assembly” or “gathering” work just fine in all the uses in the NT, OT, and even other writings from the same time period as the NT. “Called out ones” only works because of other terms associated with certain “ekklesiai” in the NT, not with other “ekklesiai” in the NT.

    -Alan

  25. 4-21-2012

    Due to unusual circumstances last night I grew too verbose to deal with the comments on the compound term and the conjugation of certain words. Your use of butterfly (a compound of two nouns) as an example does not mitigate against the idea that a preposition joined with a noun does (must) retain some of, or at the least a variation of, the original meaning of the words. In the Koine Greek, the preposition governs the noun. In its dominating position, it retains its original message in some form. Further, in the Greek prepositional phrase with the preposition joined with the noun, one sees the implication of the definite article except where the context will not allow it. In the case of this structure, although the preposition is presently a part of the word itself, the idea still carries over. With the preposition in the driver’s seat in the word, it must, where context permits, retain a form of its original meaning. I do not deny that assembly works in some, in fact many, contexts. What I do say is that the called out (ones) also works and produces a common usage as it works in almost every instance as well or better than any other single word. Common usage is a working definition of any word in nearly any language. At this point I resign myself to more study, not to settle doubt, but by nature when a matter is raised about which I do not have a complete grasp, I study more. Also, this is my first venture into a public discussion of this concept, and I sense an area or two where I need more time to apply myself to an investigation. I am grateful for the opportunity, and the kind, considerate way you have dealt with an old fossil (80 years) like me. I hope to be back one day soon. As a parting thought, I believe we all can agree, upon sober reflection of the word church, that its use demands in the popular understanding of it, as well as its language definition, a false concept of God’s people. All Christians are priests unto God, under our high priest, Jesus Christ. No man has the moral authority to stand between us and Jesus Christ. They may have the right to lead us by teaching the word, and example, and we always have the moral obligation to submit to the truth of the word, but no man may bind upon the conscience of any Christian, any matter originating within man. Christians must submit to each other in love and respect, in the fear of God(Ephesians 5:21) and in reverence and godly fear serve God, Hebrews 12:28. If we become the servants of men, we can not serve God acceptably, Galatians 1:10. Thank you, and God speed in your search of His will.

  26. 4-21-2012

    Charles,

    From what I’ve seen, some words in Greek with prepositional prefixes maintain the same meaning as the same word without the prepositional prefix. Some words with prepositional prefixes have slightly altered meanings based on the prefix. And some words have completely different meanings that do not seem related to the prefix. For example, ginosko means “I know” while anaginosko does not mean ana (“up”) + ginosko (“I know”). Instead, anaginosko means “I read.” Again, we can only know from how a word is used in context. Plus, we have to realize that meanings change. So, we must look at how a word is used in a certain time period.

    Here are a couple of posts that I’ve written that go into the word “ekklesia” in more detail: “The Other ‘Church’ of Ephesus” and “The ekklesia of Josephus.”

    -Alan

  27. 4-21-2012

    Approaching the word “church” from a contemporary practical point of view, we must understand the word “church” has more baggage than a freight train. That is a key reason for a reexamination of the usage of this word. To very blunt, for some it is the buildings where children go to be molested, for others it a building where moralist congregate in their fever pitched rhetoric against gays, Muslims. For others it was the source of the Crusades, the Inquisitions, etc; I could go on…remember Jesus’ words “a good tree can not bear bad fruit.” If that is true, then the word “church” and its related institutions is a bad tree.
    Secondly, we need to look at the evidence that Arch Bishop Bancroft and King James set up the rules for translating the text into English. Rule three states that “the word ekklesia NOT be translated as congregation,” as Tyndale had done. They insisted the word ekklesia be translated as “church”. It is no stretch to see they wanted “Church” and it’s usage of that day, as a building,kept. This was crucial, for without a word that meant a building, the clergy and the King would have lost their control of the masses.
    Third, in a spiritual sense, when the Lord does a new thing, He sometimes changes the name of those key people to indicate the change His is doing. Jacob, to Israel, or Abram to Abraham etc; Why not church to, “called out community”, or simply “ekklesia”?
    My point in all of this, is I can see the future of this organization, this institution, and this name. The exodus from these organizations and institutions under the banner of that name, will not end. To those with ears to hear, it is time to stop trying to save that which the Lord is ending… mercifully ending. It is time to prepare to be His Called Out Bride. Relating in Spirit led ways. Many people are already seeing this and working to prepare for this event.

  28. 4-21-2012

    Marc,

    Isn’t that primarily what you’ve already stated in this post?

    I know many people who use the word “ekklesia” (and words that originated from “ekklesia”) to refer to things and events that are not God’s people. Again, changing the word used will not change anything.

    Is there baggage with the word “church”? Yep. There’s also baggage with the terms “Jesus,” “Christ,” “God,” “apostle,” “minister,” “pastor,” etc.

    -Alan

  29. 4-21-2012

    Alan,
    I do hear you loud and clear. What you are saying is completely reasonable. However, this is exactly the message I have been given from the Lord. It may not be popular, or convenient, but it is from the Lord, as He has given me continual confirmations.
    There may be some baggage with the name of Jesus, or God, but the baggage is not the baggage of murder, child rape,or torture. Let’s get some guts, and some creditability with those Jesus seeks to save. For the lost the name of “church” is a synonym for, moronic behavior, hypocrisy, and prideful arrogance.
    Furthermore, it is not simply about the name, after all a name is just a name (as you point out). But it is the understanding that this institution, called by this name is a wolf masquerading in sheep clothing, devouring the infant children of God before they can ever mature and become fully mature soldiers of the Kingdom. Church as we know it, is a substitute for the real body of Christ. I do not dispute that true believers, millions of them , are inside of those dark caves of spiritual oppression, but how do they come out if we dare not call a spade a spade?

  30. 4-22-2012

    Excellent post!

    I have been relational housechurching and planting for 30 years now. The church is not a building or a system, it is the people of God.
    http://notesfromthebridge.wordpress.com

  31. 4-24-2012

    Marc,

    If I remember history correctly, there has been alot of murder, rape, and torture in the names of God and Jesus Christ.

    Christopher,

    “The church is not a building or a system, it is the people of God.” Yes, I agree completely.

    -Alan

  32. 4-24-2012

    Why is this name “church” important? It’s importance is not just in this physical realm. When a system, with a name, becomes such and effective tool for the enemy of all souls. A system with a name, that not only keeps the larger part of the western lost world at arms length because of its bad fruit (a good tree can not bear bad fruit), but is the actual source of spiritual blindness and immaturity for million of attending believers, why defend it any longer. Give the lost a chance, they do not know about your simple church, or home church verses the devil church down the street, they are both still a “church” to them.

  33. 5-2-2012

    I have attended many “church denominations” and have left many times. Yet like a dog returns to his on vomit I returned, thinking that this time it was going to be different. That I was going to find some people that were really there because they were head over heals in love with Jesus and I could find a church home.
    My last expeirence was most likely the best, I found severall people in Sunday school that really smelled like Jesus, and talked about Him like He was real. We meet at each other’s houses and sang songs talked until mid night, prayed for each other, it was awesome.
    I however grew to dread the clock on my Sunday school wall ever inching toward 10:30 when we had to end and go downstairs and do the church thing. Our Sunday school goup shared with each other, we cried and prayed for each other, we often went out to lunch with eachother, and we focused on Jesus, but we had to go downstairs to the “church service”. Well after I had many nights of up all night prayer and meditation, and a long lunch with my Dad it came to me…what if church is not what God intended. Then upon thinking about God and what I know of Him, it really doesn’t seem like something He would have designed at all. So I left….I have had dinner with several elders, my Sunday school teachers and they all gave the same type answer…you can’t stay out of church or the devil will get you…that I need to be under some spiritual covering?? Well I have left that system and the longer I am out of it the more clearly I am seeing God and it. I know there are many inside of many church’s that are crying out for something more.
    I have come to understand the word CHURCH as something more powerful that just a name we might call something, say for instance a “car”. I believe it to be a userper of Jesus’ headship, I believe that it teaches almost all the wrong things about God, the way He operates, His Kingdom, and most of all what the real focus of a christians life should be and it’s not “SIN”. It is to be CHRIST conscience in all that we do. To let the Holy Spirit reveal to us what really happened at salvation. Who we are in Christ, and what He is called us to allow Him to do through our lives. I understand that CHURCH is not just a word, that is to way deminish it’s power, I maybe stepping out to say that CHURCH IS THE DEVILS SYSTEM, possibly the name of a principality? It is also a very us focused system built upon comfort, dare I say lazyiness. A system where we would rather pay someone to do the work for us , it is designed after the worlds system (clergy,laity) pyramid style leadership, and when you leave it is tougher than dried paint to get off of you.
    Why call things church (which is a noun, meaning a place) call things as they are, we are called “many are called and few are chosen”. We are His bride, We are His body, We are joint heirs, We are seated in Heavenly places. We are a royal priest hood a Holy Nation, We are citizens of Heaven who have been hood winked by a system of religion that calls it’s self CHURCH.

    Your Brother Hidden In Christ

    Stephen

  34. 5-2-2012

    Stephen,

    I appreciate that you and others have decided not to use the term “church.” I can even understand your reasons. However, I do not use the term “church” to describe that things that you mention, and I know many other people who do not use the term “church” to describe those things. So, it would be invalid to assume that every use the term “church” refers to organizations, events, locations, etc.

    What happened to those brothers and sisters in the Sunday school class that God placed in your life?

    -Alan

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Three Recent Thought-Provoking Posts | New Covenant Bible Fellowship of Las Vegas - [...] What Is Wrong With The Church [...]