what-is-churchNo doubt, today many christians all over the world will attend a church building but what exactly is church? As many of you know, I am always banging on about being a Berean and have witten a few posts about How to be a Berean in practice. One thing that we as Christians are scared of is having our normal way of thinking challenged biblically. We hear so many times that ‘we are the church and not the building’ and most christians would not disagree with that. However, if we are honest, most believers center their christian life around the building and not around the people. We have a ‘Come and See’ mentality. We invite people to the building, we go to conferences in the building, we encourage people to come to the building for various meetings, people feel guilty if they do not go to the building on Sunday. But what about those people who never want to step foot in the building? How do we reach them? Most of what I have learnt in my Christian life has not been in a building but has been through me searching the scriptures through myself and allowing the Holy Spirit to enlighten me through correct interpretation and rightly dividing the word. Once I did that, I was able to filter out a lot of garbage that I heard whether that be in a building, on TV, on the radio or anywhere else. I’ve mentioned them before but my friends in America host a radio show called Real Talk Radio  and they address real issues and topics that your average ‘church’ do not talk about. None of them attend a church building but do participate in christian fellowship. 

Below is an article written by one of the hosts about ‘Church’.

The Greek word for church is “ecclesia”. Ecclesia, in the original Greek means “called out ones”, “congregation” or “assembly”. Every instance in the KJV where the Greek word “ecclesia”, is found, it’s translated as “Church”, (in most other versions as well) EXCEPT in 3 verses, in the 19th chapter of the book of Acts.

Act 19:23-41 (KJV)

23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; 25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: 27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. 28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. 30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. 31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. 32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the “ASSEMBLY” was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. 33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. 34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 35 And when the town clerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. 37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of “CHURCHES”, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. 38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. 39 But if ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful “ASSEMBLY”. 40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. 41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the “ASSEMBLY”.

Here they are again:
Acts 19:32 some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the “assembly” was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
Acts 19:39 But if ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful “assembly”.
Acts 19:41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the “assembly”.

Also, please take notice of the following verse:

Acts19:37 “For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of “CHURCHES”, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.”

The actual word CHURCH(ES) is used here, but it is NOT, I repeat NOT translated from the Greek word, “ecclesia”. So WHY is “ecclesia” translated as “assembly” only these 3 times? Remember, every other instance in the KJV when the word “church” is mentioned, it’s translated from the Greek word “ecclesia”. The meaning of the “ecclesia” does not change. Let’s use the word “church” in acts 19 and see it makes sense.

Acts 19:32 some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the “church” was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

Acts 19:39 But if ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful “church”.

Acts 19:41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the “church”.

Do these verses make sense to our western mind? If not, why? It’s because the term “church” is a mistranslation. Now let’s look at some verses where the word “church” is used in the KJV and see if it makes sense when we use the words assembly, congregation or called out ones. (unlike using “church” in acts 19)

Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my “congregation”; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Act 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the “congregation” daily such as should be saved.

Act 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the “congregation”, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison

1Co 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the “assembly”, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

1Co 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the “congregation”.

Gal 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the “congregation” of God, and wasted it:

Phm 1:2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the “congregation” in thy house:

3 John 1:9 I wrote unto the “assembly”: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

Rev 2:8 And unto the angel of the “assembly” in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
Rev 3:1 And unto the angel of the “congregation” in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

I could go on, but you get the point. The word “Church” is a mistranslation of the Greek word “ecclesia”. William Tyndale was killed because he translated the terms “church,” “priest,” “do penance” and “charity,” to “congregation,” “senior” (changed to “elder” in the revised edition of 1534), “repent” and “love,”. Why was he killed for these translations by the Catholic Church? To protect their established religious order, and their power OVER the people.

Please don’t believe me, do your own research and ask God to reveal the truth to you.

So I did exactly what they said. I reseached this myself and found it to be true. For those who want to (and should) do their own research, you will find that all places which use the word ‘church’ and the three examples above in Acts 19 use the greek word ‘ecclesia’ and if you want to check the Strongs concordance number it is 1577. However, in  Acts 19:37, where the it states “For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of “CHURCHES”, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.”, the greek word ‘hierosulos’ is used (Strongs concordance number 2417) which means temple depoiler.

Now am I saying that ‘church’ as is commonly know in and of itself is necessarily bad? Not at all. However, what I would say is that the heavy emphasis that we seem to put on the building seems to be unbiblical and you cannot help but wonder, like William Tyndale, why those words were changed and what was the ulterior motive.

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Comments
  1. Justin says:

    Alan, you said “if we are honest, most believers center their Christian life around the building and not around the people. We have a ‘Come and See’ mentality. We invite people to the building, we go to conferences in the building, we encourage people to come to the building for various meetings, people feel guilty if they do not go to the building on Sunday.”

    I absolutely agree with you – this is something I’ve been trying to battle for a while now but it seems as though there is a lot of push-back from “Sunday Christians” when you challenge them “go out and make disciples” instead of “bring in to make disciples” – this is a new seeker mentality that even many elders & pastors are adopting (at least it’s that way here in the US). I also find that I cannot get hardly anyone to take advantage of classes provided that would equip them with the knowledge to train them to be effective outside of the Church building. I have provided such opportunities; in fact my friend and I are leading an Apologetics/Hermeneutics/Evangelism course that goes from the fall to the end of spring. Guess how many showed up the first week? One person from the church and one person I invited from work. Quite the turnout considering there is well over 100 people that now attend our church.

    You said: “Most of what I have learnt in my Christian life has not been in a building but has been through me searching the scriptures through myself and allowing the Holy Spirit to enlighten me through correct interpretation and rightly dividing the word. Once I did that, I was able to filter out a lot of garbage that I heard whether that be in a building, on TV, on the radio or anywhere else.”

    That’s quite the testimony, and it’s interesting because I have not heard that from hardly anyone I know – don’t get me wrong, it would be great if I were to hear more of that. Instead what has been evident to me, and from what I see, is that not many people come to a place of discernment from searching the scriptures for themselves, but instead the mentality around here is since there is so much being marketed in the Evangelical Industrial Complex (as Chris Rosebrough would say) that after new Christians come to the faith the immediately look to the Christian mainstream to disciple them, not knowing of all the terrible teachings that are there and that disguise themselves as Christianity. They get stuck in spiritual infancy, are swayed by every new doctrine that sweeps through the church, and are effectively inoculated by the constant warning by false teacher to “beware of the haters” so that discerning Christians who are attempting to help are ignored or looked at as if they need to be pitied for their negative opinions. Rarely do I ever hear of people looking only to their study of scripture to help them get discipled.
    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think resources are a bad thing – good resources from good ministries have helped me in my walk immensely. But you have to have good discernment what you choose to use.

    As a friend of mine said at his Bible study last night, it’s very discouraging when you are trying to help, trying to make a difference, and it seems as though nobody wants to be challenged to grow beyond what they are comfortable with already.

    Anyway, thanks for the thoughts in your post, I know I didn’t address exactly what you were writing about; it’s what you I quoted above that hit home for me.

  2. Hi –

    I’ve learned considerably more since leaving the church system. Not only have I learned more truths outside of that institution but I’ve grown much closer to and deeper in GOD and steadfastly walking in truth with Him.

    GOD says:

    3 John 4 – KJV
    I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

    ###

    In this age in which we live, the following has become epidemic in the church system:

    – lack of love flow and lack of demonstrating the fruits of GOD’s Spirit

    – Folks lusting for signs and wonders — meaning — seeking such more than seeking and obeying God/Jesus/Holy Spirit

    – false teachings

    – insufficient teachings

    – extortion = robbing folks with the long taught and false teaching about tithing

    – speaking in babbling and gibberish tongues — rather than the tongues as shown in the Bible, which is SUPERNATURALLY speaking, interpreting and understanding FOREIGN languages, such as Spanish, German, French, etc.

    – so called holy dancing. Folks can’t do holy dancing if they ain’t holy.

    – showboating, ego and power tripping

    ###

    Are there some good folks still attending church buildings? Yes, but increasingly, GOD is calling His people out from among them — to assemble elsewhere — which includes an assortment of places.

    In the book of Revelation, of the seven churches, only two didn’t receive rebuke from the Lord. My belief is that, these days, similar exists . . .

  3. Great article and a great reply from Justin. I’m going to check out the link Justin posted.

    I love Real Talk Radio. TJ during the week is a blast.

    SistaPeaz

  4. Amazing! Its really awesome post, I have got much clear idea about from this
    piece of writing.

  5. It’s actually a great and useful piece of information. I’m happy that you just shared this helpful
    info witgh us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Reblogged this on The Sinner's Textbook and commented:
    Interesting read. Forgot how are it is to read the KJV.

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