I recently read a Facebook post where 2Corinthians 6:17 was quoted. “…come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” The writers implied that those who have received the ‘revelation’, must separate themselves from those who are still in the institutional church.
The writer further implied that anyone in a traditional church was not only ignorant, but unclean, too. If this post was isolated, there would be no cause for alarm. However, when I saw the many ‘likes’ he received, and the numerous supportive comments that followed, my heart was broken.
Most ‘believers’ I know were saved in a traditional or institutional church. For those few who were not, they often looked for a traditional or institutional church to connect with after receiving Christ. The concept of ‘church’ is deeply engrained in the psyche of most believers.
Some of us have recently been graced by God to see something fresh. We have learned that Jesus never came to build a church, but rather an ekklesia. We have learned that ‘church’ and ekklesia are not the same. We have learned that Jesus intent is to give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to an earthly ruling council with the authority to bind and loose on earth, whatever heaven has already bound and loosed. God has given authority His ekklesia to affect every facet of human existence. Unfortunately, everyone does not see this. Most believers only know the ‘church system’ that has been prevalent for nearly 1,700 years.
I have served as a traditional or institutional ‘church pastor’ for nearly twenty-five years. I see and embrace what God is doing in the Body of Christ today. What do I do with those I have served all these years? Do I leave them because my revelation shows me something that is incompatible with the traditional church? Do I ‘come out from among them’ and abandon them because they seem to still like traditional church?
No. I will not abandon them. Many are still trying to comprehend the difference between church and ekklesia. I suspect that there are some reading this blog who still have not comprehended the difference.
I am determinedly working to transition from ‘church’ into ‘ekklesia’. I am weaning myself, and helping to wean those around me from the system we have known all our lives. I am teaching those I have served to gather interdependently from house to house.
What about the many relationships I have gained with other existing traditional pastors? Do I ‘come out from among them’ implying they have allegiance to some evil entity? Have they become ‘unclean’ because God has allowed me to see something different? Will God receive me and reject them? To use 2Corinthians 6:17 to imply some spiritual superiority over other believers is pure spiritual arrogance.
an atmosphere of ‘us versus them – good versus bad, and right versus wrong’. You can never build something new based on being an antithesis to something else. What you build must have focus and purpose and above all revelation. Jesus said that He would build His ekklesia with those who have the revelation that He is the Christ, Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16-18). We are workers together with Him (1Corinthians 3:9; 2Corinthians 6:1)
Those of us who have been given a glimpse of the Lord’s ekklesia, have been entrusted by Him to bring this truth into the earth. We must seek to be an example of God’s will and way before our brothers and sisters. We need to spark their interest by the way we love them and one another (John 13:35), assemble with each other (Acts 2:21-47), and impact our community (Acts 16:20; 17:6). When they come asking what is going on, it gives us an opportunity to share (1Peter 3:15).
Finally, it is interesting that the admonition to forsake not the assembling is preceded by provoking one another to good works through love (Hebrews 10:24-25). I personally do not believe that I have the right to bash another system if I have not exampled the love, power and purpose emanating from mine.
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.