Why is it that whenever God does something new, only a few people seemed to grasp it?
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. It was the religious leaders who resisted Jesus and the apostles (John 11:47-48; Acts 14:1-4). Jesus himself pointed out that there is only one force, one stronghold that “sets aside” and “nullifies” the revealed will of God – human traditions (cf. Mark 7:1-23; cf., Frank Viola, Reimagining Church, p. 42).
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 people.
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.
...fresh revelation that is new to us has always been in the mind of God
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 begin-
ning 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.
The 'church as we know it' is in transition. The Barna Group has done research showing a growing restlessness among believers in the traditional church. Two of their articles that 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, what has been missing is 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 all that 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 ekklesia 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? TLK
When I joined in the chorus of those teaching the importance of ekklesia, I anticipated some religious push back. In my book, Leaving Church Becoming Ekklesia, I outlined some of these responses.
There will be those who hear about ekklesia and set it aside as irrelevant. Some will consider the conversations around ekklesia as a new religious fad that will blow over in time. Some will see this as a threat and a movement intended to overthrow traditional ‘church systems’. They will consider ekklesia as contemporary heresy. There are those who will agree with the concept, but will have no interest in pursuing it. Finally, there will be many who grasp this and do everything they can to walk it out in their daily lives.
Recently, I read a concern that adds to this list. It had to do with evangelism, which I would agree is a legitimate issue. This was brought up in a Facebook stream in response to my blog, It’s Personal. There were two specific thoughts presented by the writer.
First, they stated that arguing about this issue of Church, Ekklesia or Kyriakon is not the way to salvation. They suggested that we should spend our time spreading the Gospel to the lost, and helping them to serve God. Second, the writer felt that comparing ekklesia to church only serves to cause division. It occurred to me that this line of thinking may be shared by many others.
First, let’s make sure you understand that kyriakon is the Greek from which church is translated.
No one I know is implying that teaching the difference between church/kyriakon and ekklesia will cause a person to accept the Lord. That is not the primary purpose of why this is being taught. It is because most believers don’t know their true identity. Most don’t clearly understand what Jesus really said or intended at Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13-18). Most believers have no clue as to how the word ‘church’ was inserted into our religious vocabulary (even though Jesus never used that word).
Most sincere and dedicated believers will tell you how important it is to be a member of a local church. They have no idea that they are first and foremost citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, who are called out to serve in the Lord’s ekklesia. Unfortunately, the idea of Kingdom has been encased in the ‘church’ system.
The Church and Soul Winning
For centuries, people have serve God to the best of their abilities in the system we know as ‘church’. The structure and very nature of the ‘church’ has crippled the spread of the Gospel. The first century saints took the gospel everywhere. Their ministry work was to ‘go-out and reach their families, neighborhoods, cities, etc. Believers were actively involved spreading of the gospel.
The advent of the church created a ‘come to’ mindset. People had to ‘come to’ a building to connect with God. There they watched as ‘professional clergy’ performed rituals and solemn ceremonies. The believers became spectators, who early on, were even forbidden access to the scriptures. The gospel was not spread – it was contained.
In the tradition I grew up in, joining the ‘church’ was equal to being saved. Leading people to the Lord was often consummated by joining the local church. Today, I still hear people validate a person’s salvation by the fact they are members of a local church assembly.
Regularly attending the ‘church’ meetings, possibly taking new member or discipleship classes, giving financially, and learning the ins and outs of the denominational system, is what it takes to be successful in the church. Most end up spending their entire Christian life as spectators in the church system. They may be involved in small groups, choirs or various auxiliaries, but generally speaking, their role is to sit and watch. Leaders in the church system govern from the top down. Jesus never intended this for His followers.
The Ekklesia and Soul Winning
The very nature of the ekklesia requires active participation
The very nature of the ekklesia requires active participation. In the first century, believers understood that the ekklesia consisted of those who were called out to conduct business for the city/state. As a
believer, you are first called out of darkness into the Kingdom of our Lord (Colossians 1:13; 2Peter 1:10-11). Then, the Holy Spirit empowers us with gifts that are to be used to expand the Body of Believers, and the Kingdom of God in the earth. (Romans 12:4; 1Corinthians 12:1-11; Ephesians 4:1).
The ekklesia Jesus declared He would build would form organically, through the Holy Spirit. In its’ inception, believers would gather from house to house strengthening and encouraging one another. In the Lord’s ekklesia, soul winning is coupled with empowerment. Leaders in the Lord’s ekklesia serve from the bottom, not from the top. It takes a different type of spiritual strength to serve from the bottom. They serve as a support system that provides the foundation and protection for the masses of believers pursuing God’s call on their lives.
The writer in the Facebook stream suggested that teaching about ekklesia will create more division. Division is not created by what is taught, it is created by the responses to what is taught.
Depending on the source you choose to cite, there are literally thousands of denominations in the United States alone. Each encamp around a belief that makes them distinct from the other groups. They can say they are all Christians, but division around doctrinal beliefs - is still division. It doesn’t matter if we have our little ‘fellowship’ meetings if remain separated to the point of ineffectiveness.
Here is my point. Ekklesia will not create anymore division than what already exists. It is my belief, that if we embrace what Jesus is building, and get down to the business of expanding the Kingdom of God in the earth, then our petty differences will be swallowed up in divine purpose.
Is it necessary? What do you see as the pros and cons of understanding ekklesia? TLK
How we identify ourselves is important. Are we the church, or are we an ekklesia? There is an African proverb that says, “It’s not what you call me that matters, it’s what I answer to.” There is truth in this statement. A problem surfaces when you realize that you have answered to the wrong identity. It has been said that power is the ability to define a person’s reality and have them believe it.
Christians have been taught the importance of ‘going to church’. This concept began with Clement of Alexandria. It should be noted that the context he used this phrase evolved around proper the proper dress code. In an attempt to be progressive, there are Christians touting the idea that “We are the church!” By doing so, they are still aligning themselves with an identity that should have never existed.
Jesus declared He would build an ekklesia, and church became its counterfeit. If using counterfeit seems strong, you may want to consider the following.
First, according to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a counterfeit is something that is made in imitation of something else with intent to deceive. I am sure that some would argue that the use of church is an unfortunate mistranslation with no deceptive intent. Yet, when you understand the history of how the word ‘church’ came to be used so widely, it is hard not to come away with the feeling that some level of deception was evident.
Second, King James ordered the translators of the bible that bears his name, to use the word church instead of congregation, which would have been a more accurate translation of ekklesia. The word congregation had been used in Matthew 16:18, in earlier bibles, specifically the Tyndale Bible. For King James, it was not just the use of a word, but it was the eradication of a concept that he attempted bury.
The king ran the Church of England through his hand-picked bishops. He made all the decisions, and they simply carried them out. The Puritans had attempted to introduce the concept of governing through a Presbytery. They were angrily rebuffed by the king, as he saw this as a threat to his authority.
The word congregation would implicitly elevate the common person, and put all believers on par with one another. This was unacceptable to King James. He believed that kings were gods and were to be undisputed in all things. When a dispute arose over the marriage of one of his sons, he was quoted as saying:
This statement coincides with his publishing of two books, The Divine Right of Kings and The True Law of Free Monarchies. Both show the absolute godlike authority he felt he, and all kings had.
So, we get back to the use of the word church. By using the word church, King James was able to push back any potential threat to his hierarchal system. Whether he did it for political expediency, or with or without malice or deception, the results have been the same. The switch from ekklesia to church has caused countless believers to embrace an identity that Jesus never intended. This switch changed the trajectory of the destiny of the Body of Christ.
The Holy Spirit is beginning to pull back the blinders. Pockets of believers around the world are beginning to see. It is becoming more evident that something is wrong with the ‘church system’, even if it remains unidentifiable to some believers.
The conversation is growing. More people are beginning to write, discuss and debate this subject. Some are positioning themselves to enter the Lord’s ekklesia, and some are lining up to be against it. There are those who have taken a wait and see posture, while some have written this off as some new religious fad. Regardless as to who stands where, it is clear that the conversation is rising.
My prayer is that you will be among those who embrace your identity as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, and allow the Lord to position you accurately in His ekklesia (1Corinthians 12:18).
Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word of the Bible. This was one of the first of many books I have read on the subject of ekklesia. As with any book I read, I first want to understand the key point the author is trying to convey. I believe the full title of Steve's book sets the tone for his message.
Let's start with the title. Implicit in the phrase, 'beyond church' is that there is something outside of our traditional understanding of what believe to be 'church'. Is what we know, all there is to be known? For the average believer, the assumption is that what we know, is all there is to know. In this book, you will learn that is not the case.
The invitation that is extended becomes an additional challenge. It is intriguing to imagine there can be a 'lost word' in scripture. It is more intriguing to discover what that word is - church. Thus, begins the core of this book. Let's dig a little deeper.
The first chapter clearly outlines what you will hear over and over if you choose to study this subject. That is, that the word church is a mistranslation of the Greek noun, ekklesia. From the start, you will be faced with the idea that what you have known all your life to be church - should have never existed. Likewise, you will a challenged to try to justify version of church. You will undoubtedly find that to
be an eye-opener. Most of what we do today cannot be substantiated by scripture. You will no doubt be confronted with the decision to 'experience' the lost word of the bible - ekklesia.
As you move throughout BEYOND CHURCH, Steve begins to build a case for ekklesia. In sharing his conversion and introduction into the Jesus Movement, the author helps us to see his global view of this topic, and how he successfully assimilated his experiences into the Salvation Army.
Being born again in a traditional Presbyterian system, and later discovering Christ in open participatory meetings, it is easy to see how God used these experiences to lead Steve to his grasp of ekklesia.
I particularly like the third chapter, 'How Does Ekklesia Work?' as it reminded me of my own journey and subsequent writings. As I was writing this review, I took note of the many notations that I made during my initial reading of this book.
This is the 500th year since the Protestant reformation. Martin Luther posted his famous 95 Thesis on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenburg in protest of the practice of indulgences among other things. In his book, Steve Simms has provided a contemporary 95 Thesis for the 21st century believer. Those chapters alone will serve to create great discussion starters.
Now if you think that I am about to do a chapter by chapter summary, I will probably disappoint you. However, I will tell you that the remainder of the book will give you a panoramic view of ekklesia. it will be as if you are looking over Steve's shoulder as he outlines critical aspects of what he calls, 'the lost word' of the bible.
Do I have any criticism of Beyond Church? Not really. As with any book, there are areas where I may disagree with the author. But I have learned not to confuse my personal preference with criticism or disagreement. In fact, I don't even think any such areas that may exist are worth mentioning. You may find areas I struggle with to be completely acceptable.
So, what is my conclusion?
Steve Simms has done a good job of presenting a challenging subject in a very relaxing style. This alone takes away the harshness of realizing that you have been led down the wrong path in an institution called church.
I would recommend this book to you. You should have it in your library. With each chapter you will come away with a better grasp of what the Lord intended when He declared, "...upon this rock, I will build my ekklesia!"
I was honored to have the opportunity to have Steve Simms join me on our new The Ekklesia Center Podcast. We discussed a myriad of subjects about ekklesia that will encourage you. It will also help you understand the author and his book. Click the link below to hear the full podcast. Blessings! TLK
Steve Simms has served as a Pastor, motivational speaker and ministry leader in the Salvation Army. He has studied at the Memphis Theological Seminary, the Melodyland School of Theology, and The University of Tennessee Martin. He publishes a blog, FREE GAS FOR YOUR THINK TANK (a blog to jog your mind and unclog your heart) He and his wife, Ernie live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Acts 19 begins with the Apostle Paul’s interaction with a band of believers from Ephesus. He asked them had they received the Holy Ghost since they believed. Their response was that they had not even heard whether if there was such thing as the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:2)
I use this story to highlight a similar matter that I recently encountered. My new book, Leaving Church Becoming Ekklesia was recently released. I have shared it with people in my community, to marketing experts, and a few Pastors. Some commented similar to the Ephesians. They had not heard whether there was such a thing as ekklesia.
As they were examining my book, several found it difficult to pronounce the full title; specifically the word ekklesia (pronounced ek klah see ah). Even more, they claimed they were completely unfamiliar with this word. I was clearly taken aback by this these reactions – especially from some religious leaders.
Having just released a book highlighting ekklesia, it became a little disconcerting to me that several people were not familiar with it. Talk about a potential sales bummer. After giving it some thought, it occurred to me that the root of this could be traced to the deception that has blinded so many believers. We have been taught that we are ‘the church’ for so long that no one would ever think to question anything else. Ekklesia, on the other hand has been buried under years religious assumptions.
October 31, 2017 will mark the 500th year since Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg. I don’t think it is an accident that the Holy Spirit is beginning to highlight the true words of Jesus in this season. Frankly, I sense we are on the verge of another great reformation.
It is highly conceivable that the folks in Luther’s day would have had difficulty absorbing what he was teaching. The indulgences and rituals were deeply engrained into their way of religious life. New ideas, such as being saved by grace through faith, and the priesthood of all believers was probably received with suspicion and doubt. But God’s purposes prevailed then, and I believe it will today.
For most believer’s today, their quest is to be good ‘church folks’. After all, it has been stressed to each of us the importance of belonging to a good ‘church’. We often beam with pride as we declare the building we are entering as being, “my church”. I can quickly clarify my doctrinal beliefs by letting you know what ‘church’ I belong to (i.e. Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, etc.). Thus, the word church has become the catch-all word for nearly everything in our Christian life.
Now this word ekklesia has been introduced. A word that actually goes beyond its surface definition of simply being called out. It encases the very intent of Jesus for His followers. In the first century, people generally understood the secular function of the ekklesia. Today, we must be taught this historical concept and it’s meaning to us.
Some people are familiar with ekklesia – many others are not. Among those ‘in the know’, it has been generally accepted as being the original Greek word for our English word church. Therefore, if ekklesia and church are the same, it presents no real reason for deeper study. The belief that ekklesia and church are synonymous has gone unchallenged, uncontested and unconsidered by most Christians. This reasonable apathy has existed for centuries – until now.
As I was writing this post, I thought it would be interesting to see what people understood about ekklesia. I am also under the assumption that you want to know more about ekklesia. There is a ton of information online, but I imagine you are following The Ekklesia Blog to see what I say on this subject. I clearly want to be accurate, and meet the needs of my reading audience.
You can help me. Below is a pop quiz. (No, you won’t be graded) By responding to the questions below it will do two things.
First, it will help me to know what most people understand. Then, I can prayerfully work towards providing quality information that I believe will help you.
Second, most importantly it will help you get a handle on what you know about this subject. It is important to know where you are, in order to accurately move to where you should be. Test your knowledge. All responses are anonymous. Have fun!
I can’t wait to get your responses and I thank you for taking the time to do this. Remember, what Jesus is building, He is doing it with believers like you!
I don’t consider the difficult times I face as an opportunity to present myself as a martyr. The times may get tough, but I don’t assume that what I face elevates me to the level of an artificial sacrificial lamb. But make no mistake. Anytime the enemy attacks me - it's personal!
The writer of Hebrews admonished us to consider Christ who endured the cross and despised the shame associated with it (Hebrews 12:2-3). This follows the long list of saints who endured cruel mockings, scourgings, imprisonment, being stoned to death, sawn in pieces, tempted, killed with the sword, were destitute, afflicted, and tormented.
He goes on to say that the world was not worthy of these true martyrs. Their lives were worthy of a good report, even though they never received the promise they sought (Hebrews 11:36-39). This goes back to why I refuse to let difficult times define me as a martyr. Compared to these saints, I don't come close to qualifying.
At the same time, I must be keenly aware of what difficulties mean in my life. On the outside looking in, some things may be considered a streak of ‘bad luck’. But I am learning to be sensitive and discerning when I suddenly face a barrage of calamities.
Over the past year, I have become more aware of Jesus words at Caesarea Philippi. He said that upon the revelation of who He is, He would build His ekklesia. All my Christian life, I thought He said He would build His church. Even after learning of the word ekklesia, I was taught that it was the Greek word for church.
It wasn’t until this past year that I discovered that church is a mistranslation of ekklesia. It was no accident. It was willfully mistranslated by the order of King James. The third of his personal instructions to the translators was to use the word ‘church’ instead of ‘congregation’ (which would have been a closer translation of ekklesia).
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It was the historical understanding of ekklesia that caught my attention. It was more than simply a called out assembly or congregation. In Jesus’ day, the ekklesia was known among the people as an arm of the Roman government with authority to act on its behalf. Although the Romans had borrowed the concept from the Greeks, it clearly understood to be a legislative body. Jesus said He would build His ekklesia with the authority to act and legislate on behalf of the Kingdom of Heaven.
By changing ekklesia to church, King James literally changed the trajectory of the Body of Christ. Rather, than being a called-out assembly who act as a ruling council in the earth, they have become an insular conclave of people who huddle in dedicated buildings propped up by sectarian ideas and operational structures through which they defend their beliefs, fight each other and look for ways to survive.
So, I have been sharing the ekklesia/church switcheroo whenever I have had the opportunity. Recently however, my wife and I have been hit with several difficult matters. Each one was painful, difficult to deal with and had the potential of being permanently debilitating. I won’t list them, as it is not my intent to focus on them. There are those who may read this and know of some of these matters, but I pray that you see me moving forward with integrity and grace.
It was about a week ago I mentioned to my wife that these things, seeming to all come at the same time, appeared to me to be more distractions rather than destruction. On the surface, what we are dealing with could happen to anyone. But when they all come within a matter of months, weeks and days of each other, it triggered something in my spirit.
"...what we often think is an attack against us, is in fact an attack on our mission and message"
Whenever you or I begin to move accurately towards God’s purpose, we need to become alert to the tricks of the enemy. If we allow Him to divert our attention from our mission, he can potential destroy or delay God’s work in us. I believe that what we often think is an attack against us, is in fact an attack on our mission and message.
The Gospel of the Kingdom and the understanding of our identity as the Lord’s ekklesia are both critical in this season. I suspect that the devil will use any tactic including family issues, personal health, catastrophic loss, and even religious presuppositions to intimidate and discourage those preaching God’s purposes.
Is it a roadblock or a giant?
In the past, I have taught there is a clear difference between a ‘roadblock’ and a ‘giant’. A roadblock is an inanimate object. It is designed to keep you from taking a particular road.
It can be the loss of a job or being abandoned by allies. It can be a missed opportunity, or being sabotaged by those who don’t like you or your message. A roadblock is not there to keep you from your destination. It only alerts you that a different path needs to be taken.
A giant is a living being. Giants try to intimidate you by both their size and verbal taunts. They shout at you. They mock your abilities. They threaten you. And, they brag on their size and strength. Giants cannot be negotiated with. They must be destroyed. Giants usually appear at the door of your ‘promised land’.
Of all the issues I’ve personally faced, I have identified most of them as giants. Their appearance has challenged my courage, my strength, and tried to make me second guess my actions. But I am clear in my message and purpose - and I will not be deterred.
As of this writing, all my recent issues have not all been resolved. However, I am resolved to press ahead in Jesus Name! I take this personal. I stand on the words of the Psalmist “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles” (Psalms 34:17).
I am encouraged! Are you? I have written this blog to encourage you. There is greatness in you. Don’t let roadblocks or giants keep you from your destiny! Press forward. The victory is ours! TLK
The discussion surrounding ekklesia and church can be confusing. Many still believe that the word ‘church’ is the English word that was translated from the Greek word, ekklesia. At one time, I was among that group. Now the facts are coming out. But the question remains among most believers, "What is the difference between church and ekklesia?"
Ekklesia and church are not the same – in definition or purpose. The word ‘church’ in the bible, specifically the King James Version, is a willful mistranslation of ekklesia. This fact bears repeating over and over again. Church and ekklesia are not the same.
As believers come to grips with this truth, it will force a change in the way we function as a called-out body of believers. You cannot be both. You will be one or the other. This is more than the differences in definition, but includes a new reality for nearly every aspect of Christianity.
God intended a called-out body of believers who would enact and enforce the Kingdom of Heaven policies into the earth
The bottom line is that we are not, and should have never become churches. That is not what Jesus intended. That is not what He said a Caesarea Philippi (even though I imagine your bible uses the word church). God intended a called-out body of believers who would enact and enforce Kingdom of Heaven policies into the earth.
Rather than delving into the literal definitions of ekklesia and church, I believe it is appropriate to visit and contrast some of the practical differences of these two words. This understanding will show you how you can potentially live out ekklesia in your day to day life. In my book, Leaving Church Becoming Ekklesia, I provide a graph that contrasts fourteen specific areas. How does ‘the church’ generally view each area, and how is the same area expressed in the ekklesia.
In this blog I will highlight four of these comparisons.
1. Jesus Christ In the church system, Jesus is often portrayed in light of the organizations doctrinal distinction. Denominations have often made Jesus appear to support their beliefs, causing unbelievers to stay away. On the other hand, the only access into the ekklesia
is by confessing that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God. This is accepting Him for who He is, not who we want Him to be (1Corinthians 15:1-8).
2. Scripture The chapters and verses were added to scripture in the 13th and 14th centuries. Whereas this makes it easy for us
to find certain passages, it has also created a problem where scriptures are often quoted out of context. Verses are used to drive religious points of view, or worse, to assassinate the character of someone. This is unchallenged behavior in the church realm. As we embrace ekklesia, scripture MUST only be applied to further the Kingdom of God in the earth. Context is critical in order to ascertain what the Lord is saying to us.
3. Word of God Why do I separate the concept of scripture usuage and the Word of God? With scripture, I emphasize how we manipulate it to prove our beliefs. When I speak of the Word of God, I am reflecting on our response to what we read. Some may see this as semantics, but allow me to explain. In the church, most believers are content with being hearer’s of the Word. They hear it, and it goes no further. In the ekklesia, believers are continually looking for ways to DO the word. In other words, “How do I live out what I see in scripture?” 4. Doctrine Linked extremely close to scripture usage, and tied closely to our response to the Word of God, is how doctrine is applied. The first century believers only knew the Doctrines of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-3), and generally followed the apostles doctrine (Acts 2:42). Ultimately it was often reported that the believers were of one heart, and one soul (Acts 2:44-46; 4:32; 5:12). Yet, they were only divided by geography, not doctrine. Today, scriptures have been cut and pasted together to form doctrinal distinctions that have divided the Body Christ into thousands of denominations. It is imperative that the ekklesia return to the values in the Word of God, where the power of God is demonstrated through everyday believers. Otherwise, it too will be reduced to another fruitless denomination.
I hope these four categories I’ve shared will help you to see that there is difference between church and ekklesia. Other categories you may want to compare between church and ekklesia include evangelism, prayer, ministry gifts, leadership, how we gather, buildings, giving among other categories you may interject.
A friend of mine recently shared that we are on the verge a reformation that could eclipse the reformation of the 16th century. If he is correct, and I tend to believe he is, then everything we know about ‘church’ will be challenged. TLK
Gradually, the conversation is beginning to escalate. Yes, there is still some confusion, and apprehension, and of course some excitement. The bottom line is - people are talking. And that’s a good thing.
Last week I received a text from a friend who shared with me a video of a brother in Nigeria. He was teaching about ekklesia. I was deeply moved by what I heard. He covered the subject very well.
The most amazing thing came near the end of his video. He shared that he had come across a website that had encouraged him, as it confirmed much of what he was preparing to teach. That website is the one that this blog is found, The Ekklesia Center.
I can't express how much that blessed me. Since then, I have reached out to this brother, and prayerfully we may be able to connect in person, in the future.
With this being said, I would like to share his video with you – not because he mentioned my website, but because he has something to say on this subject. I pray it will help you to see that people really are talking. I believe this brother, Adeyemo Temidayo will be a significant voice as the Holy Spirit highlights ekklesia in the earth.
Take a few minutes to watch this video, and then gather with other believers to keep the conversation going. Blessings. TLK
Tim Kurtz is the founder of The Ekklesia Center developed to help believers desiring to pursue New Testament values and structure. He teaches extensively on what the impact the mistranslation of the Greek word ekklesia to the English word church has had on the Body of Christ. He has served in numerous capacities in the 'church system' including being a Pastor for over 25 years. He is the author of several books and the primary contributor to the EKKLESIAInsights Blog. Tim is also the host of Good Morning Ekklesia, broadcast live on Facebook. In these daily Study Starters he provides key information that believers can use to study ekklesia deeper. He and his wife Carolyn have been married 46 years and live in Michigan. They have two adult children, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.