8 Minute Read
Adversity brings out things often hidden in the heart. The coronavirus pandemic is exposing some dangerous things in an already divided ‘church’.
Before the pandemic and the subsequent lock-down, the church as we know it was already divided by three things.
Ideology – this is the division created by churches who follow conservative or liberal politics. Churches have lowered themselves to follow Democratic or Republican views. Many have become the mouthpiece for political candidates rather than the Kingdom. The result is a ‘church’ divided by religious groups bowing to worldly thoughts.
Race – In some ‘churches’ this is blatant as some pride themselves as catering to a specific racial group. Others speak of racial unity, but every week they worship in services predominately filled with one particular race. Some congregations are more integrated than others, but isn’t is sad we are still referencing today’s churches as predominately Black, White, Hispanic, or some other racial group.
Doctrine – At Antioch, the believers were first called Christians to identify them as separate from the world. Today, we call ourselves Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal and the like to separate ourselves from each other. In the first century, the only thing that divided believers was geography. Today we camp around our doctrinal positions and defend them against intrusion from other belief systems
At Antioch, the believers were first called Christians to identify them as separate from the world. Today, we call ourselves Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal and the like to separate ourselves from each other.
Even within the categories of ideology, race and doctrine there are deeper divisions too extensive to cover in this blog.
As this coronavirus pandemic has spread, it has awakened another line of division created by pride masquerading as faith. Many states have issued ‘stay at home’ mandates. Nationally social distancing has become a new phrase previously unheard of. This shuts down places where large amounts of people gather. Schools, restaurants, bars, casinos, shopping malls, factories, and of course ‘churches’ have been impacted.
n the midst of this, there are church leaders who have chosen to continue to have their regular services. I am not here to judge their decisions, but I do want to highlight a new form of division further fracturing the Body of Christ. There are three categories I have noticed in the past few weeks.
First, there are the ‘faith’ groups. These are churches who continue to meet as usual claiming their faith in God protects them from the coronavirus. Implicit in what they claim is that churches that do not gather are lacking in faith. Even within the churches that continue to meet, some of their parishioners chose to stay at home. Unfortunately, they found themselves being referred to as having a lack of faith, weak, or at worst disobeying their leadership.
The second group are the politically defiant. They believe the government has overreached its authority when churches are required to limit their gatherings. I have heard such proponents of this line of thinking claim a myriad of political views to justify their beliefs. Like the faith group, the politically defiant imply that those who follow anything suggested by the government are acquiescing to governmental control.
The third group are those who are following state and local guidelines. They choose to ‘social distance’. Because of this, the surge in use of some social media platforms has quadrupled in the last few weeks. Pastors who were never on Facebook before are now broadcasting LIVE every Sunday. ZOOM, Free Conference Call and the like have added thousands of new subscribers. Outdoor drive-in services are being held all around the country. In other words, this final group is looking for ways to ‘gather’ within the guidelines given. But this group is also succumbing to a form of division. Some are claiming that by following the social distancing guidelines, they are proving to be ‘wiser’ than those who don’t. In other words, they have subtly made themselves an elite group of people who have faith, understand government, but who use ‘common sense’.
The coronavirus pandemic has added more division to an already weak and divided church system. It really saddens me to hear one side demonizing the other.
Finger pointing proves that it is both structurally weak and far off its foundation in Christ. You may ask me, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” I don’t have a perfect answer to this, but one thing I do know, the growing divisiveness in the ‘church system’ created by this pandemic is not of God (1Corinthians 1:10-13). Something is amiss when all these fractions are claiming their view is the Godly response. Somebody, somewhere has missed it.
When we read Matthew 12:25, our focus is usually on the results of division in the kingdom, city and house. But I took note of how this passage began. “And Jesus knew their thoughts...” In John 2:24, Jesus did not commit Himself to those following Him because “...he knew all men”. And we know that the Word has the ability to discern between the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
It appears that the pressure of this pandemic has exposed the hearts of many in the church world. It has exposed those who are shallow, prideful, and fearful. We all need to examine ourselves, but more importantly allow the Lord to examine us (Psalms 26:2; 2Corinthians 13:5).
Where does the ekklesia fit into all this? I believe this pandemic is training ground for the emerging ekklesia – the Lord’s original intent for His people. Rather than taking political, religious or prideful views of our choices, we must sit at the feet of Jesus. When you consider the authority entrusted to the ekklesia to bind and loose – to prevail over hades – and to have use of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven – this is a perfect moment for the ekklesia to have impact. The ekklesia must learn to be the voice of the Lord in this difficult time. Is it possible? I believe it is
Don’t be blindsided by current events. Learn more about the ekklesia and God’s plan for you!
Some things break my heart to say. It is not because what is said is not true, it is because most people will either reject it, ignore it, or battle it.
I have been teaching that the English word church is a mistranslation of the Greek word ekklesia. This is more than a simple word change, it is a complete shift from what Jesus actually said and intended at Caesarea Philippi. It is a change into a system that is completely different in meaning and function.
Jesus said to Peter, “upon this rock I will build my ekklesia!” Jesus did not use the word kyriakos which is the Greek word best translated as church. Jesus did not say He would build His ‘heiron’, or His temple. Neither did He say he would build His ‘sunagoge’, which would have been His synagogue. Jesus deliberately said He would build His ekklesia, and everyone who heard Him say it understood this word and its concepts.
The ekklesia in the first century had become known as an arm of the Roman government. It was a called-out citizenry that was empowered to conduct the affairs of Rome in a particular territory. People knew that the local ekklesia had the full backing of the Roman government. It was this concept that Jesus used to express what He would build. He committed to building His ekklesia, and the government it would represent would be the Kingdom of Heaven.
Immediately after declaring His intent, He outlined the authority His ekklesia would have. First, the gates of hades would be powerless against it. Second, He gave it the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven which gave them access to all the heavenly government’s resources. He then gave it the authority to bind and loose on earth in accordance with the policies of the Kingdom (Matthew 16:18-19). It is clear that Jesus intended His ekklesia to be a force to be reckoned with. But something happened.
In 1611, King James commissioned a translation of the bible that would bear his name. In doing so, he gave his hand-picked translators a list of fifteen directives to use. It is the third directive that brings us back to where this blog began. King James specifically told the translators to use the word ‘church’ instead of ekklesia. It was a willful and deliberate mistranslation. On the surface it may appear to be a minor switch of words, but the reality is that this mistranslation literally changed the operational trajectory of the Body of Christ.
What do you think of today when you hear the word church? The first thing is usually a building, or a place to go to. Then we think in terms of our denominational affiliation, which has become our religious validation for separating ourselves from other brothers and sisters in Christ. Church is equally divided by race, ideology, and of course doctrine. None of these were intended by Jesus Christ at Caesarea Philippi.
Since the mistranslation was entered into the King James bible, the word church has become the common word for most believers. If you are like me, I was raised in the church. I was saved in the church. I have served in the church. I have seen many wonderful things take place in what we know as ‘the church’. I can honestly say that I love the people serving in what we know as ‘the church’. But the fact remains that Jesus never said or intended to build a church. He said He would build His ekklesia – a called-out ruling council that would represent the Kingdom of Heaven in the earth. Church is an illegitimate system operating in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Here's my point...
God was not caught off guard by the coronavirus. The current pandemic in the earth has served to expose the flaws in many earthly systems – religious and secular. The inability to gather has impacted churches around the country. Many are scrambling to survive. What will happen when this is over? Will the church go back to business as usual? Or, is it time to revisit what Jesus actually said and meant when He declared He would build His ekklesia? Maybe it's time to rethink what we know as church! Blessings!
The coronavirus blindsided the church. As a believer, you should never be caught off guard. Don’t be blindsided.
I do a lot of talking about the ‘church as we know it’. If you follow my blogs, books, live teaching and other media, you hear me say that the ‘church’ will not be the same in a few years. It is in transition. But the question must be answered, ‘Where is it transitioning to?
I also speak often about the Greek word ekklesia. Sometimes I share it as though people thoroughly understand what I am talking about. In my excitement to show that Jesus never said He would build a church, I failed to clearly articulate His intentions. Within the framework of His intent is the revelation of where the coming transition is taking us.
It all began with the simple declaration, “upon this rock I will build my ekklesia”. Jesus had other word choices besides ekklesia. He could have said He would build His heiron, which is the Greek word translated as temple. Everybody in Jesus day would have identified with the temple. He could have also declared that He would build His synagogue. Both words would have been acceptable to the religious minds of that day. The temple and the synagogue were centers of Judaic religious activity.
Jesus used a word that had no religious connotations...
Jesus used a word that had no religious connotations – ekklesia. It was known in that day as an arm of the Roman government. He did not say He would build a church. Understanding this gives us a glimpse of where the church is transitioning.
The ekklesia was given specific authority by the government it represented. The Roman ekklesia could legislate, confer or deny citizenship, set policies and elect officials. Likewise, when Jesus declared He would build His version of the ekklesia, a similar authority would accompany it. Rather than representing the Roman government, His ekklesia would represent the Kingdom of Heaven. The authority it had would be a clear threat to the kingdom of darkness (Matthew 16:18-19).
The devil’s tactic to disrupt the Lord’s intent was to change the identity of the ekklesia. When the instructions were given to insert the English word church for ekklesia, the Body of Christ shifted from having an impact in the world, to an audience in a building. The Body of Christ took on a completely different identity. It was never intended to be a church.
...the Holy Spirit is bringing emphasis to the ekklesia the Lord originally proclaimed
Maybe this will give you a glimpse of what the coming transition is intended to produce. Over the past 400 plus years, the Lord has restored many things that had been stripped from His ekklesia. Critical doctrines and the ministry gifts were restored in preparation for this time. Unfortunately, they were restored and encased in a system totally foreign to their original purposes. Today, the Holy Spirit is bringing emphasis to the ekklesia the Lord originally proclaimed. Ekklesia is being restored. Its restoration will bring back the kingdom authority it originally had.
This is the first part of the coming transition. Church will be restored to ekklesia, and there is much more to come. Once we realize our identity, we can move into doing what is expected of it. Binding, loosing and establishing the footprint of the kingdom in the earth will once again become the norm. The gates of hades will not stand a chance against what Jesus said He would build.
If you are like me, you are looking forward to this powerful transition. Jesus is still building His ekklesia, with believers like you. Get ready, there is more to come.
P.S. Watch the latest episoded of 'Good Morning, Ekklesia!' Currently we are doing an indepth study on Ekklesia In The Word.
Ekklesia will be a disrupter. When Christians discover the historical facts surrounding what Jesus actually said, they will have to take a good look at how we have veered so far off course!
In my book, Leaving Church Becoming Ekklesia, and in other writings, I list six types of people and their responses to learning about ekklesia. In this post, I want to somewhat expand on that list to include five reasons why some are rejecting this teaching. These are not theoretical or hypothetical reasons. Each reflects actual beliefs I have encountered since I began sharing and teaching about ekklesia.
Before I outline this list, I want you to know that I am not solely focused on the negative and apprehensive responses I’ve heard. I have encountered many more people who have been liberated and empowered by learning about ekklesia. I simply share this in hopes that some who read it will avoid falling into the subtle traps satan uses to keep us from discovering what God has for us.
Here are the five top reasons people use to reject ekklesia.
My purpose for writing this was to show you there are barriers to understanding what the Lord is doing in this age. You may be able to add to this list. The Ekklesia Center is committed to helping you align with the word of God.
We strive to help you place your religious traditions in their proper place. We help you to accurately interpret the Word of God. We stand with you when you feel you are losing things dear to your heart. We unapologetically will provoke you to learn and discover for yourself. And finally, we help you to discern truth, even when it comes through people who you are not used to hearing.
Like The Ekklesia Center Facebook page where fresh content is added nearly everyday. Click here!
We are in exciting new times. Jesus is still building today with believers like you.
PS. For a limited time, you can download a FREE copy of my book, 7 Facts Why Jesus Didn't Say He Would Build A Church CLICK HERE
Fresh revelation never fits into the current status quo. Fresh revelation often challenges our religious comfort zones and forces us to re-think patterns and belief systems. True revelation often produces conflicts. Those who have a vested interest in the current traditions and religious system are many times the most vocal against the new revelation.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy (Acts 2:17-18)
To some, fresh revelation is no more than ‘religious information’. These people often have a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. They ‘take it’ if they receive some personal benefit, but ‘leave it’ if they have to leave their comfort zones. They forget that God does not give suggestions. He expects us to obey His Word. Our comfort is not His motivation – the accomplishment of His will is.
In the last days, God promised that He would pour out His Spirit upon ALL flesh. The evidence will be dreams, visions and prophecy. Some of the prophetic utterances is the release of fresh insight into the purposes of God for this season. Pouring out His Spirit is 'God-Speaking' His purpose for the His Ekklesia. His purpose has already been revealed in scripture (Genesis 1:28; Ephesians 3:10-11), however how it will be manifested is being released as we are able to handle it. What we consider 'fresh revelation' is in fact the unveiling of God's already established will for this generation. The problem is that we often become so enamored with the last revelation that we become blinded to any new truth.
Again, fresh revelation that is new to us has always been in the mind of God. He desires “…to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:9). Our carnal nature, our traditions, our fear of losing our position in the church system, and satan often blind us from seeing what God is saying. God will never stop revealing His purposes and His will. You must decide if you will hear and obey.
"...fresh revelation that is new to us has always been in the mind of God"
The church as we know it is in transition. This is a prophetic fact. The Barna Group has done research showing a growing restlessness among believers in the traditional church.
Two of their articles explore ‘church attendance’ and the growing attendance among those who gather from house to house. In the mind of many, there is something missing in the what they know as church. People are seeking a more meaningful experience.
Is there something missing? Yes, it the understanding of ekklesia. It is what Jesus actually said he would build. It is a body of believers that that Jesus declared the Gates of Hades would not be able to overcome. It is His ekklesia, that is governed by elders, developed by ministry gifts, and where the believers primarily gather in homes rather than dedicated buildings (Acts 2:46; 14:23; Ephesians 4:11-12). It is where the Kingdom Mandate is a lifestyle (Genesis 1:28). Ekklesia has always been in the mind of God, even though to us it may seem to be new.
What causes us to miss what God is pouring out?
It is our traditions and our flesh. For the natural man is not able to take in the things of the Spirit of God: for they seem foolish to him, and he is not able to have knowledge of them, because such knowledge comes only through the Spirit (1Corinthians 2:14 Bible in Basic English). Fresh revelation regarding the structure of the New Testament Church is being released by God through apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:5). I am one of many with a mandate to release this revelation in the earth. You must determine how much your traditions rule you. Only you can determine how you will respond to what God is speaking.
The Apostle Paul prayed that your eyes will be open to see all that God is doing in the earth today (Ephesians 1:17-20). Are you committed to obeying God at all cost. I believe you are. Yes, the revelation being released in the earth regarding ekklesia may be new to you, but rest assured that God has your best interest in his heart. How will you respond?
The Ekklesia Center is committed to providing you with a path to explore the Lord's ekklesia. Start the journey today!
It's been a while, but we are back!
The Ekklesia Center website and blog has a new look and is more focused on insuring that you grow in your understanding of the Lord's ekklesia. We still have work to do but we have enough completed now to release the site to the public.
If you have not subscribed to this blog, EkklesiaInsights, I encourage you to do so today. You don't want to miss any up to date information you need to stay abreast of how the ekklesia is expanding throughout the earth. Also, LIKE our Facebook page. You can watch my daily broadcast, Good Morning Ekklesia that is designed to encourage your growth in understanding ekklesia. And there's more...
From the Good Morning Ekklesia broadcast, I have been developing Study Starteres for you. These include videos from the morning broadcasts and the notes I use each day. You can download the notes and use them in your gatherings to increase you understanding of ekklesia.
In a few weeks, you will see The Ekklesia Center on Instragram and Twitter. Please feel free to share any of the content we provide. And there is much more to come! I look forward to revealing some of the exciting things we have in the works.
Finally, our purpose here is to provide a platform for all things related to ekklesia. This is your day. It is the Day of the Saints. It is the season when believers like you are being empowered by the Holy Spirit to impact the earth from the Kingdom of Heaven.
Get Ready! Jesus is still building with believers like you!
About The Author
Tim Kurtz is the Founder of The Ekklesia Center. The purpose of this blog/vlog is to explore subjects that show how the mistranslation of ekklesia to church has impacted the Body of Christ. He has served in ministry over three decades amd is the author of several books. He and his wife Carolyn have been married 46 years and live in SC Michigan.