The Ecclesia VS The Church

In Matthew 16:18, we find the very first appearance of the word, "church". It's used in our English Bibles to define the Greek word, "ecclesia" which simply means "assembly or congregation". In the context of every place the word "ecclesia" appears in the Bible, it's referring to those who belong to the family of God. It has nothing to do with Sunday mornings or public places of worship. As a matter of fact, when you read what the Bible says about the purpose of our assembling together, you'll discover that most (if not all) of those purposes are left unfulfilled in those public places of worship. So if the Greek word "ecclesia" means "assembly or congregation," then why doesn't our English Bibles just translate it that way? Where did the word "church" come from and what does it mean? It turns out, the word "church" originated from another ancient Greek word which means, "the master's house" and it was originally used by pagan religions to identify their places of worship, which were usually shrines filled with artifacts to identify the building with their religion. The term "church" identifies the place of worship, rather than identifying the worshipers. No wonder we're so confused today. Jesus never used this word. Christians didn't originally use public shrines or religious buildings and that distinguished them from the pagans who's focus was heavily on buildings, statues, rituals, ceremonies and physical objects. Unfortunately, all of that changed when Christianity intermingled itself with the paganism of ancient Rome so that by the time the Bible was translated into English, the understanding of the word "ecclesia" had shifted it's focus away from the people and onto a building with officials and a religious hierarchy.

43 Minutes
July 23, 2010

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