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!
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.