Anyone can now text questions in during & following the service based on the sermon. Those questions not answered after the conclusion of the service will be answered here in a Q&A blog post. This is what this is.
Q: Would another translation for “ekklesia” be assembly, gathering or congregation?
A: The Greek word εκκλησια (“ekklesia”) is translated “church” in most places in the New Testament (ex. Matthew 16:18, Acts 2:47, Acts 5:11, Romans 16:5, etc.) though other places you can find it as “congregation” (eg. Acts 7:38) or “assembly” (Acts 19:39). Its origin is from two Greek word “ek” (out of) and “klesis” (a calling) combined to mean “called out ones”. So yes, it can be translated as assembly, gathering or congregation depending on the context of which the word is in. Church is used in English translations to understand what it is referring to in those passages. The church (universal church – Christians) are called out ones – called out from the world, called to serve Christ.
Q: How did the word “church” come about?
A: The Middle English word is “chirche” which came from the Old English word “cirice” which some say derives from the Old Greek word “kuriake” which means “Lord’s house”. Thus our modern word “church” is formed (in fact Scottish churches you can find by the name “The Kirk” as kirk means church). Now there are many websites out there that will argue how the word “church” is an evil term and how it was used by the Roman Catholic church to deceive people into thinking that the church was a building and not the people, thus so they could rule over them. Perhaps so, but we know the early ekklesia of believers met together, had pastors/overseers teaching them, and an organization of some kind. In fact Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us that there are evangelists, apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints. Like any language, words can change meanings over the course of time in a culture. For example, the old English word for “donkey” is seen as a mild curse word now. Our English word “love” can have many different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Regardless of how it started, the word church today continues to mean the people (believers) and not the building. In Scripture it can also be used to mean a local gathering together (Romans 16:5). So if one would rather use “assembly, congregation or called out ones” rather than the word “church” that is fine. We can still call a building “a church” as there is not anything wrong with that, but “the church” is much more than any one building.
To listen to the teaching this question was posed from, visit www.refugesanger.com/teachings or find us as a podcast on iTunes. This teaching series is called “Power On” and is a sermon series on the Church, the Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts. These questions were related to the “Power On – God’s Blueprint for the Church” teaching.