Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

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Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby John Mark » Tue May 15, 2012 11:14 am

Church includes anything and anybody from a building to the Vatican, from a minister to a pope, a pastor to a priest, an evangelical to a scientologist.

Church is derived from kurios, which means Lord, and led to k-ir-k and to ch-ur-ch. However, church cannot be derived from Ekklesia.

Ekklesia comes from ek and kaleo. Kaleo means to "call out" and ek means "out" in the sense of "away" and "from".

I, therefore, argue that "church" is a bad translation of "ekklesia" and that, as a result of this erroneous translation, the whole concept of "church" is not a New Testament concept so that whatever we understand by "church" today has no Scriptural warrant whatsoever.

"Ekklesia" gives us the concept of "those who have been called out" or "gatherings of those called out by God through the Truth of the Word of the Gospel".

The Lord taught that "where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there I am in the midst of them". Very small numbers of those called out are gathered together somewhere.

The Lord also taught that those who are called out and away from the world are taught by him as the Teacher. Since it is the anointing which teaches us all things, and since Christ is the only Teacher (or Rabbi), the non-biblical entity or institution called "church" is full of those who are hirelings, that is hired to teach, so that they displace the only Teacher, who is the only Shepherd of those who have been called out by grace.

Since, from minister to pope, pastor to priest, they are teaching when there is only one Teacher, who teaches by the Holy Spirit, then the non-New Testament "church" is full of those who have displaced Christ from his rightful position of being [b]the[b] Teacher. To have displaced Christ as Teacher is to be "in the place of Christ" and this, sadly, is what anti-Christ means.

So, those, who have fled from this man-made concept of Church, to live for a while alone or in a small group of two or three or so, can have Christ as their Rabboni and Teacher. What a truly wonderful prospect!
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby Cindy Skillman » Tue May 15, 2012 12:12 pm

I agree with you that translating ekklesia to church was incorrect. The etymology is a matter of controversy, but ekklesia does not equal church. I'm a member of an organic assembly and have been for around four years now, and I love it.

However, it does not follow that the pastors of traditional churches are antichrist. God works in us (the people of the earth) in periods of time, gradually increasing His revelation. A sister in our group said she thinks it is two steps forward, one step back -- or sometimes two or even three steps back! I think she's right. It takes a long time to build the "one new man." Father is patient. I do believe that meeting with Jesus as the head is more in line with NT teaching and practice and that we are being moved that way.

But . . . the pastors (the good and dedicated ones -- which I'm sure is the majority of them) of traditional churches are not therefor antichrist. God uses them where they are, and it may be that He has placed them where they are (some yes, some doubtless no). Jesus said to pour the new wine into new wineskins and therefore preserve both the new and the old.

People who are accustomed to the old wine prefer it. Neither you nor I are going to regenerate the concept of meeting together with Christ alone as head within this decade. If you look at trends, the church/ekklesia is changing, and I believe it WILL change completely in time. However, pastors, etc. are needed to care for that part of the flock who simply do not want to drink new wine. New wine is harsh and acidic and hard to take for one who has been accustomed to the old. It will mellow over time, but at the beginning, it's a bit of a shock.

If you're involved in organic church, you know that many people, accustomed to traditional church, don't care for our style of meeting. We're still learning and our meetings are often awkward, unprofitable, and even just plain boring. I believe that God is maturing us and preparing us to teach others, but not everyone is ready or willing to go through that process with us. It's a hard process. That we've welcomed it doesn't make us heroes or better than those who haven't. God has just given us a different path for our journey into His Son. There are infinite paths within our Rabbi, Jesus.

Jesus does NOT want the old wine spilled and wasted. He wants it preserved along with its wineskins. So, while God IS doing what for us is a new thing, that doesn't mean the old is bad. God makes everything beautiful in its time.

And of course, it's important to remember that we do have dear and precious and sold-out to God members of this group who are among the clergy. They believe (and I won't dispute them) that they're doing what God's called them to do. I respect that and appreciate and love them and consider them brethren in the Lord who are walking within His will for their lives.

So yes, obviously I think organic ekklesia is preferable, at least for me. If I didn't, I wouldn't be involved in it. But I don't think legacy churches (as Felicity Dale calls them) are automatically outside of God's will, nor that their leaders are standing in for Jesus. Most of them are working hard to point their people to Jesus. It's not the ultimate in scriptural settings (but then we organic folks haven't arrived either), but God is pleased with His children, so long as we desire Him above all else.

Blessings and love in Jesus, Cindy
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby John Mark » Tue May 15, 2012 9:47 pm

Cindy, thank you for your reply. I wasn't deriving my argument that teachers, in what is called the church, are false teachers from the meaning of the world ekklesia. I'd kind of moved on to the idea that Christ himself is the only Teacher, so that this entity falsely taught as church is full of professional false teachers.

They're not false because they are unpleasant people or because they are not sincere in what they do. My argument is that they are false, simply and solely, because they shouldn't be teaching, they shouldn't be there as teachers.

Teaching is a top-down process where the person at the top knows the subject and has the ability to change the knowledge of those who are taught. What the NT is saying is that Knowledge and Understanding of the NT can only become part of an individual's understanding and knowledge if and when the Holy Spirit and God's grace make it possible for that individual to understand.

In other words, you can have thousands of professional and salaried "teachers" of NT, but they won't make any difference to their hearers unless grace from the Father and the Son makes it comprehensible to the mind and being of an individual.

Furthermore, the so-called teacher may not himself understand the NT correctly so that what is coming from top down is erroneous and will not be acknowledged by the Father as worth giving grace to bring about personal understanding.

I remember asking an elderly pastor who had been in the ministry for at least 30 years this question: "What is the difference between righteousness and holiness? For after all, the NT distinguishes these two concepts by using two different words and at different times." He looked at me and, then, slowly shook his head and said: "I don't know!"

Truly, a false teacher if his teaching does not include an understanding of the difference between rightousness and holiness, because it means that he neither understands what "righteousness" means in and of itself nor what "holiness" means similarly.

Now, I'm not basing my argument on this encounter with one pastor but using it to illustrate my point that for anyone to teach NT is a false position to be in, even if, which in my opinion is unlikely, they are teaching correctly.

For example, they won't be, or the majority won't be, teaching that church is not a NT concept, an idea that we both agree on, because it is church that pays their monthly salary and their old-age pension. You don't bite the hand that feeds you!
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby Cindy Skillman » Wed May 16, 2012 9:08 am

John Mark,

Thanks for your reply. :) While I agree that the office of the pastor is NOT a NT concept, I still do believe that God, our Father, works through this. He isn't limited to a perfect scenario. The organic/simple/house 'church' movement is full of former pastors who have received revelation from the HS that they need to switch to a more NT compatible expression of ekklesia. HOWEVER, I believe it is very wrong-headed of us to insist that God is changing the entire modern body of believers into simple 'church' right now, this instant.

There are a lot of older people (in particular) who have been in traditional church all their lives. I know from experience that many of them are just lost and panicked when you invite them to move over to simple church. They aren't ready for it and most of them never will be ready in this lifetime. If persecution comes to the west before they pass on, then they may end up with us. Otherwise they are that old wine that needs the old wineskins. They, for better or less good, need the pastor and the whole hierarchy, or at least some semblance of it.

You are new wine and the old wineskin CANNOT hold you. You would break it. Just the way it is. I would, too, which is why I left instead of staying and trying to 'reform' the existing 'church.' Many of us owe our introduction to Jesus to the traditional church. Many of us owe much of our knowledge of God's word to the (very often reasonably sound) introduction we received from traditional church. While I absolutely agree with you that this is not the NT pattern, I also believe that God uses and has used it. It's a stage in our development, and at some point, when He is ready, we'll grow out of it, imo. He knew it would happen and He allowed it and He's used it.

I suspect you don't mean to say that there's no room for teachers in the ekklesia, though. Teachers are among the gifts to the church mentioned in the NT, as are pastors. It's just that our incarnation of the teacher/pastor as a person who stands up front and lectures whilst everyone else sits on their hands is an incorrect picture. Yes, there may be times for a teacher to speak uninterrupted, but the norm for the ekklesia is dialog, not monolog. I think I'm probably a teacher, at least in some instances, and I know some of the others in our group are as well.

However, to feed the 'beast' ;) , I think you would enjoy a book by my friend, Jon Zens. He would certainly commiserate with you. Jon and I often disagree on things, however he is a dear and beloved brother in the Lord. His website is http://www.searchingtogether.org .

Blessings in our Lord,
Cindy
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby John Mark » Wed May 16, 2012 10:49 am

Cindy, when the Lord was teaching, as the only Person with the right and ability to transmit God's mind to us mortals as "teacher", when he was teaching about new and old wine, he was referring to the Truth in the NT (new wine) and what God had revealed through Moses and the prophets in the OT (old wine).

Jesus' Teaching and what was revealed to us by the Apostles was new at that time. It was the intellectual content of the New Covenant. It is still new to us now but, after 2000 years it is SO badly understood that ministers and people do not venture into the dark forest of the NT epistles.

As a result, there is so little new wine about. The old wine is still around within Judaism and those non-Jews who continue to think that the Law is of relevance to those who have been declared righteous by God and who belong to him as Children within the New Covenant. Within the church of all denominations, there is a rancid flat beer but no new wine or very little of it.

I have hope from the NT that the Satanocracy, which the human race has been living in since the Jews and non-Jews threw Christ out of this world, will end soon, in fact, with the total and utter destruction of Jerusalem. My hope is fulfilled in the Christocracy which will replace the Satanocracy after that terrible event.

In the Christocracy, the new wine will flow in abundance! No one will be afraid of it, at least, no one who professes Christ as their Lord and Saviour. The old beer of the church and the old wine of Judaism will be gone.

Since Jerusalem is now surrounded by armed militia armed with 200,000 missiles aimed at Israel, according to Israeli military intelligence, Jerusalem and, therefore, Judaism has never ever looked more vulnerable since Christ was crucified.

You refer to a Beast in your last paragraph! There is a Beast in Revelation 13 which comes out of the earth. This Beast is, I believe, the Christianized World of Human Thinking. The Beast will, therefore, include atheism and evolutionism, for examples, and all Christianized religions, which are notably found within the erroneous concept called "church". This Beast is also called the False Teacher in Revelation, and is removed from existence during the Christocracy.

So, yes, indeed, God the Father of Jesus Christ will do this, not me!
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby JasonPratt » Wed May 16, 2012 5:24 pm

John Mark, his original emphases wrote:Church is derived from kurios, which means Lord, and led to k-ir-k and to ch-ur-ch. However, church cannot be derived from Ekklesia.

Ekklesia comes from ek and kaleo. Kaleo means to "call out" and ek means "out" in the sense of "away" and "from".

I, therefore, argue that "church" is a bad translation of "ekklesia" and that, as a result of this erroneous translation, the whole concept of "church" is not a New Testament concept so that whatever we understand by "church" today has no Scriptural warrant whatsoever.


{ekklêsia} was already a culturally common term in 1st century Grecian areas, referring to any formal gathering, although most often (if I recall correctly) referring to urban social civic organizations who met under the nominal oversight of a deity to plan how to help the community. Naturally Christians borrowed the term for their gatherings, although Christian gatherings tended to be much more focused on deity worship than the polite nod usually given to the sponsorship of the deity in pagan urban benefit societies.

In countries with a Latin/Celtic language base (which picked up {ekklêsia} directly from Greek), what we call "church" in Germanic-based languages is still called a term based on {ekklêsia}. That definitely includes Christian worship organizations you oppose, JM; so the usage of the term there is entirely neutral to your point, unless you think the French Roman Catholic église (or the Italian Roman Catholic chiesa or any Spanish iglesia, or for that matter the Greek Orthodox ekklêsia) is a legitimate organization for using a term based on {ekklêsia}.

In the first few centuries some Greek-speaking Christians started calling their groups "kyriakon", the accusative (and/or genitive?) singular masculine adjective form of "Lord", i.e. "of the Lord", because the groups belonged to the Lord. And also possibly as a shorthand for the Lord's Supper, the celebration of which was the main structural action for such gatherings. The term is surprisingly rare in the New Testament canon, but one of its two occurrences is at 1 Cor 11:20 where St. Paul refers to such a gathering for the purpose of eating {kuriakon deipnon}. The other is at Rev 1:10 as a way of speaking of the Sunday as the Lord's Day; which is also of course when the {kuriakon deipnon} was chiefly celebrated in houses which sometime before the 3rd century began to be called "kyriake oikia" and "kyriakon doma", houses of the Lord.

That might have been intended to distinguish their groups from the common pagan term "ecclesia", but the term wasn't borrowed to stress human lordship--it was simply translating into Greek a phrase routinely used in the Old Testament (although I haven't checked to see if it was already used in translating the Greek Old Testament.) Anyway it was used in direct parallel with "ecclesia".

As it happens the term slowly fell back out of favor in most of Greco-Roman Christendom--my guess is because it wasn't specifically a scriptural term for gatherings of Christians, but I don't know for sure--except in areas of Germanic evangelization where, as you noted, it became very popular and was transliterated into various forms, one of which became the English word "church" eventually.

Most Christian groups in Europe (and its colonies), including all the established groups you oppose, continued to use terms based on "ecclesia". "Church" (and parallels in other Germanic based languages) was very much a relative minority usage until it was introduced to England and, centuries later, from there was exported to English colonies, one of which became our United States of America: the dominant cultural group on the planet (for better or for worse) for the past 100 years or so.

The development and spread of either term, consequently, "church" or "ecclesia", are wholly independent of any abuse of power by authorities of Christian groups and/or congregations. Admittedly it would be a little more 1st-century Greco-Roman of us to use terms based on "ecclesia" (as in fact all the currently existent and most highly authoritative Christian groups have done and still do in their historical languages); but there is no good reason to argue that "church" is a bad translation of "ekklesia" (unless you think it's a bad idea to refer to a congregation of its meeting place as belonging to YHWH ADNY), although it was very much a minority translation for a long time (and strictly speaking still is something of a minority translation, considering the world's population overall).

Much less can I see any reason to argue that what you call the "whole concept of a church" (which does also include the meaning of a common group of followers of Christ such as in the biblical ecclesia) is not a New Testament concept as a result of "church" being an ostensibly erroneous translation of "ecclesia".

John Mark wrote:"Ekklesia" gives us the concept of "those who have been called out" or "gatherings of those called out by God through the Truth of the Word of the Gospel".


Every one of the groups you are aiming at in your list of "from a building to the Vatican, from a minister to a pope, a pastor to a priest, an evangelical to a scientologist" expressly agrees with this, too. They disagree on other things, including on what such gatherings ought to be teaching and how they ought to be worshiping (and who should be teaching in the congregations and why), and on how someone counts as being in the gathering of those called out by God through the Truth of the Word of the Gospel, but they do in principle agree on that (even if they don't agree on particular details about that).

John Mark wrote:The Lord taught that "where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there I am in the midst of them". Very small numbers of those called out are gathered together somewhere.


Jesus was referring to a rabbinic teaching that YHWH will be present with those who gather in His name (especially to study Torah) even if the group is very small. There is no context indicating He meant that groups of gatherings should only be very small, and any group of twelve (for example) would significantly outsize a group of two or three. Much moreso a group of around twenty such as at Pentacost. Or a few dozen. Or five hundred at once. (Or thousands at once in the OT. Or thousands at once in Jesus' own Gospel ministry sometimes. Or every rational creature in all reality eventually someday, per several scriptural prophecies, numbering untold ten thousands of ten thousands.)

Trying to argue that it is in principle unbiblical for large groups of God's people to be gathering together under God for worship and teaching (even by God), is going to be a losing argument I think. What is clearly Biblical is that even small groups can do so, and are important to God even though they are small. (The context of Matt 18 where you quoted is certainly about a group of significantly more than two or three, for two or three are to be called as witnesses if a brother goes off base, and to report it eventually to the ecclesia. And where even two agree with each other on something in His name, shall be coming to them from the Father. It also happens to include a warning to the apostles not to be dismissing other people who are following Jesus even though those people are not following the apostles. I wish that those who succeeded the apostles had always kept that in mind, but it's apparently easy for human nature to accuse other Christians of being false to Christ when they happen not to be following along with us.)


John Mark, to Cindy wrote:I wasn't deriving my argument that teachers, in what is called the church, are false teachers from the meaning of the world ekklesia.


True. Rather, you seemed to be deriving your argument that teachers in what is called the "church" are false teachers because "church", as a translation of "ecclesia", results in a concept including teachers that is not a New Testament concept so that whatever we understand by "church" today has no (your emphasis) Scriptural warrant whatever.

I am somewhat unsure what you regard as the canonical scriptures of the New Testament, though. Normally I would assume you meant the 27 texts usually found in Christian Bibles, but if I refer to those I find your teaching to be astonishing.


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John Mark wrote:Since, from minister to pope, pastor to priest, they are teaching when there is only one Teacher, who teaches by the Holy Spirit, then the non-New Testament "church" is full of those who have displaced Christ from his rightful position of being the Teacher. To have displaced Christ as Teacher is to be "in the place of Christ" and this, sadly, is what anti-Christ means.


It is quite astonishing to hear someone with the pseudonym "John Mark" teach us that the New Testament teaches us that Barnabas and Paul, bringing along John Mark, returned from Jerusalem to Antioch as prophets and anti-Christs, displacing Christ from his rightful position of being the Teacher, in accord with the ecclesia there, while ministering to the Lord and being led by the Holy Spirit to depart (with John Mark as their deputy) on a fairly wide ranging missionary trip. (Acts 12:25-13:4ff)

Similarly it is astonishing to hear you teach us that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews was expecting that his readers in an ecclesia somewhere ought to be anti-Christs displacing Christ by now, but they have need of someone (another anti-Christ such as the Hebraist himself apparently) to teach them the rudimentary basics of the oracles of God again. (Heb 5:12. I acknowledge that the Hebraist is most likely indulging in some sarcasm there; but not about there being such things as proper Christian teachers apparently, him-or-herself being one of them.)

It is also quite astonishing for you to teach us that Paul was appointed as an apostle and an anti-Christ to the pagans in knowledge and truth, displacing Christ as our (their) only Teacher, in order for Paul to help provide the testimony of Christ giving Himself as a correspondent ransom for all, and to help teach the purpose and grace of God given to us in the abolishment of death and the illuminating of life and incorruption by Christ Jesus. Being sent as an anti-Christ to the pagans would admittedly explain why Paul is suffering; his suffering as such might also be explained by his refusal to be ashamed of being such an anti-Christ by his insistence on putting his life in trust to be guarded by the one in whom he has believed for a day to come. (1 Tim 2:6-7; 2 Tim 1:11-12) I feel rather sorry for those aged women (presbyteria) who were encouraged by Paul to become anti-Christs of the ideal things, displacing Christ as teacher; as hard as Paul's suffering was for that, it must have been worse for them. (Titus 2:3) At least the elders who have thus presided over the ecclesia, especially those who are toiling in word and displacing Christ from His role as our one true Teacher, are encouraged by Paul to be doubly honored by the ecclesia. (1 Tim 5:17) Indeed, they, along with the young men whom Paul exhorts to sanely displace Christ with uncorruptedness and sound words so that the Contrary One (Satan?...not Satan?) may be embarrassed (Titus 2:7-8), have their reward along with Paul the anti-Christ.

It is more than very strange, though, that Paul should exhort Timothy (and perhaps other readers of his epistle in the ecclesia) to teach things, thus acting as anti-Christs in displacing Christ; and that if anyone is in a different way acting as an anti-Christ, displacing Christ as our only Teacher, not approaching with sound words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, as an anti-Christ ought to do, then such an other anti-Christ (who doesn't do this) reveals himself to be conceited, versed in nothing, but rather morbid about questionings and controversies, out of which is coming envy, strife, wickedness and so forth. Whereas proper anti-Christs infer that devotedness to our Lord Jesus Christ instead is capital. (1 Tim 6:3-6)

Wherever such excelling graces come from and are given to us, graces such as being cheerfully merciful, generous sharers, diligent presiders over the body of Christ, the ecclesia, or anti-Christs displacing Christ from His rightful position as our teacher, I would have thought it must be from some hellish power committed to opposing God and His rightful authority. (Rom 12:3-8)

So it is also quite astonishing for you to teach us that Christ Himself displaces Christ from His rightful position as our Teacher by commissioning anti-Christs for the upbuilding of the body of Christ to the goal that we should all attain to the unity of the faith and of the realization of the son of God and to being mature men, instead of us being carried about instead by every wind of teaching, by human caprice, and by crafty systematizing of the deception. (Eph 4:11-14)

It is at least as astonishing for you to teach us that God Himself displaces Christ from His rightful position as our Teacher by placing anti-Christs in the body of Christ, the ecclesia, as third in rank of gifts after apostles and prophets. Although I suppose it is some comfort that not all are anti-Christs commissioned in the ecclesia by God, just as all do not have the gift of healing or of tongues. (1 Cor 12:27-30)

I guess it's a good thing that James warned us that not many of us, his brothers, should be becoming anti-Christs displacing Christ from His rightful position, being aware that we shall be getting greater judgment if we do so. Although one might have expected him to recommend that none of us do so. (James 3:1) For we all are tripping much. If only those three thousand converts at Pentacost who persevered in the displacement of Christ by His anti-Christian apostles, such as Peter, had not also persevered in fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayer, we wouldn't be in such a situation today. (Acts 2:42) The chief priest of the Sanhedrin was clearly right to forbid them to continue engaging in such anti-Christian activity, filling all Jerusalem with their rebellion against Christ as our only Teacher. (Acts 5:28) If only a fellow rebel of theirs against Christ, Gamaliel the First (the rabbi of Saul of Tarsus, perhaps not coincidentally) hadn't talked the Sanhedrin out of assassinating the apostles at that time, lest the Sanhedrin should be found to be fighting against God by doing so...!

Well, it is never too late to reject the teaching of Christ's apostles I guess.


John Mark wrote:[Christ is also] the only Shepherd of those who have been called out by grace.


The other shepherds mentioned in the NT being anti-Christian displacers of Christ, of course, even when commissioned by Him to feed His sheep, as our reliable Gospels report.

It is admittedly no small coincidence that the only named bishop or overseer in the New Testament is Judas Iscariot; but it is very hard to explain why our Great Overseer went on to commission people to be similarly anti-Christian "overseers" like Judas, in much the same way that it is hard to explain why Jesus promised that those who teach others to keep the commandments of God shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens. (Matt 5:19; no doubt referring to things like Daniel 12 where those who teach shine as the brightness of the expanse.)

Thank God we have the reliable report of the Gospel of Matthew, one of Christ's own apostles and overseers, to correct us on such a grave error as to think Jesus actually expected His followers to teach all the nations to be keeping all of whatever He directs us (such as is falsely taught by the so-called Gospel of Matthew instead in the next to last verse of its pernicious anti-Christian text.)

And thank you also, "John Mark", for teaching us better on this matter: that the NT authors teach us that legitimate teachers other than Jesus Christ, such as ones commissioned by Jesus Christ, are not a concept found in the New Testament; and for making the point that for anyone to teach what the New Testament is saying is a false position to be in, even if (which is in your opinion unlikely), such people are teaching the NT correctly. Such people are false, simply and solely, because they shouldn't be teaching, and shouldn't be there as teachers.

Although I suspect we are not quite ready for such teaching as yours.

John Mark wrote:Jesus' Teaching and what was revealed to us by the Apostles was new at that time.


Well at least they were revealing some of Jesus' Teaching to us when they weren't also displacing Christ as our one and only Teacher. I guess we can acknowledge them that much credit.
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby JasonPratt » Wed May 16, 2012 6:39 pm

Now for the non-sarcastic version (although the bulk of the data is still in my previous comment.)

Yes, "John Mark", actually the New Testament has a lot to say about legitimate Christian authorities teaching (and presiding over people and being shepherds and being overseers, a term also related to shepherding--but moreso about teaching). And not everyone in the body of the Church is given a special grace from God for that role (nor for presiding either). In fact few people should seek to be teachers. Yes, the scriptures also say that God teaches everyone inspired by the Holy Spirit, although the scriptures also tend to indicate this is something that will be more directly evident in the Day of the Lord to come (when no one will have to be taught by someone else anymore.) But that doesn't change the fact that the NT texts affirm Christian teachers (and other authorities, including as authorities) very often.

If you say that the New Testament doesn't teach that the Father and the Son commission teachers, I don't know what texts you're limiting the NT to.

It's true that most of the references come from Paul's Pastoral Epistles, which are widely regarded (even among some conservative Christian scholars) as being late forgeries (to put it bluntly)--partly because of differences in language such as their frequent use of "teacher" as a term for example!

But even if you get rid of them, you still have references from Paul (in Ephesians) or from someone in the Pauline school in the anonymous Hebrews if Paul didn't write that. And Hebrews is a pretty long book to be throwing out of the canon!

And even if you get rid of them, you still have the epistle of James, which even sceptical scholars tend to date pretty early, even as the earliest composed NT text.

And even if you get rid of that, you still have references in Romans and 1 Corinthians: two texts which are regarded by even most hypersceptical scholars as being genuine Pauline epistles (unless they reject the existence of Paul altogether). If you get rid of them on the ground that Paul was a false Christian teacher who early corrupted the Christian ecclesia (by claiming to be a teacher and that other people could and should also be teachers for example), you might as well get rid of other epistles of similar stylism which are also regarded as legitimately Pauline.

And even if you get rid of half the New Testament outright by rejecting the Pauline epistle group (including Hebrews, whoever the author was), you still have Acts--including a reference to legitimate Christian teaching as teachers in connection to one of the Bible's few direct references to your namesake John Mark!

And if you get rid of Acts as being written by an untrustworthy companion of Paul, what are you going to do with GosLuke? Or GosMark for that matter?

And even if you eliminate half what is generally regarded as canonical New Testament texts (the Pauline texts), and go on to eliminate at least another quarter of the New Testament by bulk (GosLuke and Acts), plus stragglers like EpistJames and GosMark (just to be on the safe side)...

...and even if you eliminate most of the remaining 25% by discarding texts that teach that there can be valid Christian shepherds/overseers, such as the Johannine and Petrine texts...

...you still have your own key citational text, from which you appear to hang all your point, the Gospel of Matthew. Where the author not only reports Jesus saying we have only one Teacher, but also reports Jesus directly instructing His disciples to go teach other people! Twice! (Once during the Great Commission of all places!) You can't get rid of that text without eliminating your main ground for attempting your position in the first place! In fact, unless I misrecall, GosMatt is the only one of the Gospels that does talk about the positive importance of Christian teachers!

(I'm pretty sure I skipped over a few more places in my main list above, btw, where NT texts talk approvingly about Christian teachers; but even I was getting bored with finding new examples after a while. ;) It wasn't like they were difficult to locate. Some were very famous examples.)


When someone comes on the board calling other Christians who don't follow after him anti-Christian and rebels against Christ (something Jesus also has some words about in GosMatt, by the way), even if he's complaining about them doing the same to him, and presumes to instruct us on what the New Testament texts absolutely do and do not say on the matter, and gets his own teaching to us on the topic of teachers very easily and broadly demonstrably wrong--then I become annoyed, and I have to admit I am liable to express sarcasm (although I have tried to provide a less annoyed option to read instead. :) )

If you will be more careful in the future (maybe including more care-ful for your opponents), you should be able to avoid such problems.

But as a site admin I also recommend you tamp back on denouncing other people as anti-Christian (especially for doing what you happen to be doing yourself at that moment, if in other modes). This isn't really the forum for that kind of thing.
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby Sherman » Thu May 17, 2012 5:59 am

And btw John Mark, Paul said in Eph. 4: "11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ."

People called by and equipped by God to be leaders in the body of Christ are thus due our respect and appreciation.
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby John Mark » Thu May 17, 2012 9:55 am

Sherman, I would love to reply to your thoughtful post but I have been banned, it would appear. Even this won't get through!

I wrote a detailed and fully inScripturated reply to Jason's enormous post but, after pressing the submit button, there was a long delay and then it disappeared. No "this has been accepted" appeared. Presumably during the delay, Jason or someone was censoring it.
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby Sherman » Thu May 17, 2012 12:27 pm

To my knowledge there has been no discussion concerning warning, much less banning you from this site, and I'm one of the mods. We value different perspectives here and we seek to discuss our various beliefs with grace and humility. You're welcome to present your beliefs and why you believe such, for open consideration and discussion.

Why your reply to Jason's post did not go through, I do not know. I've had that happen to me a few times at various sites where the next time I tried to post something it was taken, as apparently happened with you. But it's not due to being banned. Why you would jump to the being banned conclusion, I do not know. As long as you present what you believe and respect others as they present what they believe, there will be no problem.

In fact, as I review this thread, it is missing a post I made and assumed went through. Hmm, maybe I've been banned too.
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby Cindy Skillman » Thu May 17, 2012 12:56 pm

John Mark,

No, you would have been warned numerous times and fully informed of what was being done (and in the most courteous and loving terms) before your posts would have been held for moderation. (And what's more, I would have been informed, too.) I don't know anything about what happened to your post, but I've occasionally had something similar happen and I assume it is a technical glitch. So . . . if I ever take a great deal of trouble with a post, I try to remember to copy it to my clipboard so that, if a glitch occurs, all my work won't be lost.

You may still be able to find your post, though, if you haven't closed your browser. I have reclaimed posts that the system "ate" by hitting the back button until I got to that page. You could try that. This message board program seems to work very well, but occasional problems are inevitable. Attributing them to nefarious intent is completely unjustifiable. I don't mean to offend you, but I believe we should always do our best to think well of one another -- at least until we have ample reason to do otherwise.

I can only conclude from your automatic assumption of censorship that you've had that sort of problem on other sites. This leads me to wonder why others may have felt the need to censor you. We put a lot of stock in acting lovingly toward one another here. If you will join us in that, you need never worry about being censored. All manner of opinions are acceptable here, but trolling and abuse of other members (calling them antichrist, for example) is never acceptable. Even in that, however, you would/will be contacted and informed of any actions against your account, such as banning.

Further, you must understand that this particular forum exists for the purpose of discussing Universal Reconciliation. We do talk about other things, but if you want to discuss simple church, you might enjoy visiting http://www.simplechurch.com. Or it might be http://www.simplechurch.ning.com. However, they also will not tolerate name calling. They're very nice people over there and I'll bet you can find people interested in discussing appropriate leadership in the ekklesia.

Blessings, Cindy
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby JeffA » Fri May 18, 2012 1:19 am

JasonPratt wrote:In countries with a Latin/Celtic language base (which picked up {ekklêsia} directly from Greek), what we call "church" in Germanic-based languages is still called a term based on {ekklêsia}.


In Welsh we still use 'Eglwys' for church.
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby JasonPratt » Fri May 18, 2012 4:51 am

JM,

Not only do I not ban posts, I demonstrably un-ban posts that are temporarily taken down for moderation consideration once the issues are resolved. We only nuke posts that are obvious spam (selling people things etc.) We do ban people occasionally but not without warnings private and public first, and often after months of tolerance. I don't think it's even technically possible for a post to be banned in transit, even by an administrator; and as it happens, although I am an administrator I don't have the special admin forum powers because of how my computer accesses the internet.

Hopefully it wasn't the Holy Spirit Who was teaching you that I banned you. ;)

I have occasionally hit "save draft" instead of "submit", although that would bring up another screen confirming you wanted to save it. From what you said that didn't happen, so I doubt this will help; but just in case, you can try going to your user control panel (should be the link directly under the "board index" link toward the top of any page), and then clicking on the tab in the vertical list on the next page which reads "manage drafts". That will bring up any drafts you saved to the system with the "save draft" button (if you accidentally did that instead of "submit").

When I lose a post on rare occasion to laggy internet (or whatever), I usually regard that as a probable sign from God that I ought to have redrafted it anyway; but I always regard it as a reminder from God that I should compose long messages off-forum in a text editor first so I can easily save them along the way. We've all had that happen here to us; it's distressing but it isn't hostile intent by anyone.


You could probably cover a lot of ground relatively briefly, without trying to redraft the whole reply, if you explained generally (in principle not yet in detail) how you regard the many scriptural testimonies about people being (apparently?) properly and legitimately commissioned by God to teach other people.
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby Sword of ManticorE » Wed May 23, 2012 6:00 am

I know this is somewhat off topic, but I cannot resist adding my two cents. Is it coincidental that the first Anglo-Saxon word for church was "circe"? The reason why I ask is because it almost fits what is written in Rev 17 and 18 about the great harlot. Though I believe that the harlot is Jerusalem, I can't help but think that circe may have something to do with both chapters in Revelations. Circe was the sorceries pagan goddess that seduced and fornicated with kings. She would drug them with her chalice of wine, and then fornicate with them after turning their men into beasts. Homer's Odyssey is a good example. Any thoughts?
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby Cindy Skillman » Wed May 23, 2012 7:53 am

SoM, I watched your video -- beautiful and uplifting -- thanks so much for putting this together. :D

As for your comment, I've heard so many different stories about the origin of the word church that I have to conclude that no one really knows. However what you say is a great reminder to us all that the Kingdom of God is and must be separate and higher than the kingdoms of men. The times when people have attempted to combine political power and the worship of God have been disastrous, to say the very, very least. :(

In the US, we have a significant contingent of people who would like to see, not just Christians in politics, but more than that -- Christianity in political power. The first is fine; the last is a recipe for catastrophe such as that we've read about during the dark ages, or even WW2 Germany when the church was blamed for what Hitler did, though he himself privately professed atheism. The church and state were officially joined, and the church was hijacked by a power-mad politician for his own ends.

God's Kingdom is higher and completely other than that. If it isn't, then it isn't truly God's Kingdom, but only being represented as such -- and certainly not to the true glory of God. Jesus rightly said, "My Kingdom is not of this world."

Thanks, Brother :)
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby JasonPratt » Wed May 23, 2012 10:00 am

Sword of ManticorE wrote:I know this is somewhat off topic, but I cannot resist adding my two cents. Is it coincidental that the first Anglo-Saxon word for church was "circe"? The reason why I ask is because it almost fits what is written in Rev 17 and 18 about the great harlot. Though I believe that the harlot is Jerusalem, I can't help but think that circe may have something to do with both chapters in Revelations. Circe was the sorceries pagan goddess that seduced and fornicated with kings. She would drug them with her chalice of wine, and then fornicate with them after turning their men into beasts. Homer's Odyssey is a good example. Any thoughts?


Two different histories of the word: "circe" is a direct port of Greek {kirkê}, which is not at all the same Greek word the Germans were borrowing {kuriakon}. It's simply an ancient Greek word for "bird"; the sorceress was no doubt named that for her beautiful "plummage" and because she lived on an island named after the Greek word for "air". (It is also possible that Homer, and/or his tradition source, was making an audible pun with Greek {guuros}, which has the same meaning as what we later called "circle" from similar Latin words like "circulus" and "circus". Greek {guuros} has some connection to a Greek word for "woman", too--and Circe's woman-circle was definitely a main plot element in her story. ;) )

Even a minority of Greek Christians wouldn't have wanted to name their congregations after Circe, although the usage may have fallen back out of favor to the majority {ekklêsia} instead partly in order to avoid drawing pun comparisons to her name perhaps. The Germanic tribes whose language developed from contact with Greek traders (and perhaps Greek evangelists) picked up {kurios} long before their Catholic evangelization (as in the popular Val-Kyrie or bright/brave lady), so they already had a term sort-of in place for calling their assemblies "of the Lord's" as some of the Greek Church had done.

It isn't impossible that God set the whole thing up to criticize the Church later as being in effect Circe, of course. But it's a rather misaimed criticism if so, since most Christian congregations throughout history (including ones who drastically abused their authority) have used {ekklêsia} as a base term, not {kuriakon}.


(On a completely trivial note: I suspect Eastern Europe outside Germanic languages, over into Russian/Slavic languages, use {kuriakon} as a base term, too--not because I've been able to check that, but because of the famous Russian secret agent hero "Illya Kuryakin" played by British actor David McCallum on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.! :lol: )
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby Paidion » Wed May 23, 2012 7:06 pm

About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel. But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the εκκλησια was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular εκκλησια. For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” And when he had said these things, he dismissed the εκκλησια. (Acts 19:23-41)


Let's see. Did the town clerk dismiss the church? Hardly since this assembled group were worshippers of the goddess Artemis.

Did he dismiss the "gatherings of those called out by God through the Truth of the Word of the Gospel". It's getting worse!

We can make too much of the etymology of the word "The called-out ones." Yet the people gathered there actually were "called out" in a sense. They were called out by Demetrius the silversmith to protest the fact that the craftsmen were losing business in a big way. Too little demand for silver shrines of Artemis.

Most translations render εκκλησια as "assembly" in each of the three times it occurs in this account.
That seems to be a most reasonable translation and fits all contexts including those which refer to Christian assemblies — and even to the one and only Assembly of Christ.
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby JasonPratt » Thu May 24, 2012 5:27 am

Nice catch, Paidion; I had forgotten that there was actually an example of the typical pagan guildgroup ekklêsia in Acts! (The Artemisian silversmith guild.)
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby blackiebori » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:01 am

John Mark wrote:Church includes anything and anybody from a building to the Vatican, from a minister to a pope, a pastor to a priest, an evangelical to a scientologist.

Church is derived from kurios, which means Lord, and led to k-ir-k and to ch-ur-ch. However, church cannot be derived from Ekklesia.

Ekklesia comes from ek and kaleo. Kaleo means to "call out" and ek means "out" in the sense of "away" and "from".


"Church" is indeed a mistranslation of the Greek word ἐκκλησία, the latter literally meaning "to call out from." The deeper, semantic meaning of ἐκκλησία is "congregation," "assembly," or "gathering." I would like to point out that the Aramaic word for ἐκκλησία, which would have originally been used by Jesus in Matthew 16:18 and 18:17, is ‘ēdtā. It has essentially the same meaning as the Greek word, but is not used in Syriac/Aramaic (Peshitta) Old Testament translations. Instead, the word knuštā is used in Peshitta OT texts. In Numbers 26:2 of the Septuagint (Greek OT), for example, it is translated as συναγωγῆς (synagogue), but in the Peshitta OT it is knuštā. In the Biblical Hebrew it is ‘edah (עֵדָה), which is obviously cognate with the Syriac/Aramaic ‘ēdtā. In light of this, knuštā and ‘ēdtā seem to be synonymous, and both can be translated as "synagogue."

Today, we usually take the word "synagogue" to mean a building in which a Jewish assembly congregates or worships, but that is not its original meaning. The "synagogue" is the assembly that congregates and worships. Indeed, even a Christian congregation can be considered a synagogue, so maybe that is the more appropriate term to use instead of "church." I suspect that it will be hard for most Christian congregations to break the habit of using "church" to describe their gatherings. It is not wrong, however, for Christians to refer to their refectories as "churches" because the words "church" and "kirk" are actually derived from the Greek κυριακὴ οἰκία, "House of the Lord."
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Re: Ecclesia Should Never Have Been Translated As Church

Postby Cindy Skillman » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:06 am

It's not really so much about the word (though that makes a difference), but about the meaning of it. We also use "church" to refer to the building, though few Christians would fail to point out that "the church is the people."

In a synagogue everyone (or at least all the males) who had something to offer could participate. In the 1 Cor. 14 church, all could participate. (Yes even the women could prophesy if they kept their heads covered! :lol: Paul says so plainly earlier in the letter.) So the 1st century ekklesia was more liberal about participation than even the synagogues were. The modern-day church is more like the OT Temple in that, for the most part, no one but the "priests" takes an active role in the meetings (unless you count ushering, working the sound board, caring for the kids in the nursery or children's church, vacuuming afterward, etc.) Not all modern traditional churches are like this of course, but in America, most are.

When people object to the term "church" as a translation for "ekklesia," what they are usually objecting to is the church hierarchical system. Changing THAT is the REALLY hard thing to get used to. Just changing a word is difficult, let alone asking every single member of an assembly to participate and contribute to the life of the body. They don't know how, and they're not used to having to put that much into it. Most of the church pastors, etc., whom I've met (not all that many, admittedly -- they're not always accessible to get to know) wouldn't object to having whole-church participation. Well, they say they wouldn't. But it IS hard to actuate this kind of thing. People are used to sitting and listening quietly and maybe singing along with the hymns they like. Old habits die hard.
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