A Teaching Moment to the Impact Church Family:
Greetings Impact Family If you have been around Impact for any length of time, you have heard the term “Ekklesia”. I still hear that some do not have a clear meaning of that very important word. Some do not understand why we exchange Ekklesia for the word “church”.
The problem is that “church” is a word that was used in later translations that was not a word when Jesus first spoke about “His Church” in Mt. 16:18. Actually, had Jesus used this word church, His disciples would not have understood what He was saying. He actually said, “I will build my Ekklesia”. This word “ekklesia” literally means “called out” ones.
The word “Church” is neither Hebrew nor Greek and was not used nor understood by Jesus or His Apostles. Years later, the Roman Catholic Church substituted the word church for Ekklesia in their translations. Also, many bible translators were forced to use the word church rather than ekklesia because of the governmental and religious demand to control the people. So where did church originate? The word church finds its origin in the Celtic word “circle” and generally referred to a house where people met for religious assembly and generally they met in a circular format.
In contrast, the word Ekklesia, meaning called out ones, was a common word used in the time of Jesus for groups called out for legislative decisions, judgments, etc. It was not a religious term at that time but referred to any called out legislative group of people. These people changed laws, controlled government and legislated the will of the one ruling in authority Why does it matter? It matters because the word church today and the word ekklesia today indicate two entirely different and very important functions.
A church is a building where people come together and meet for a religious assembly. It is a Sunday Morning meeting place. Church is a place that is controlled by the governing board of the assembly, whether it is a large organization or a small independent church. We see this today especially in denominations that dictate what their “church’ will believe and how it operates. Today, denominations are splitting over unbiblical doctrinal differences that are being imposed on them from the church’s organizational authorities. In centuries past, by bringing the focus of believers into a “building” rather than being a fluid, organic power of Jesus in the earth, the authorities had control of the people, their minds, their positions and their wealth and what was a force that once turned cities upside down, became a controlled, powerless, man made organization. Sadly, this is much the case today.
In the time of Christ, Ekklesia was well understood to mean a group of people called out from the others with governing authority. Jesus could have used the word synagogue or temple had He wanted to create a place or location where people met. But, Jesus was calling out a group of believers who would understand their authority over the powers and principalities ruling the earth and who would establish legislative authority over these powers, consistent with God’s will and authority in the earth.
Can members of a “church” also be “ekklesia”? YES…If they understand what they are really called to be by Christ. We often refer to a “remnant” that God is calling. Who are these people? These are those who are hearing the call of God’s heart to be more than a spectator in a building on Sunday morning. The remnant are those discovering the purpose of who they are and what they are to do, and this new revelation will not fit into the religious establishment’s definition of “church”. These people are rising up and understanding they have authority in the earth to exercise, promote, decree and establish the will of God. They understand that they can make a difference in their culture, city and nation. These people are not satisfied just meeting on Sunday morning for a weekly assembly with no Power and Presence of God. They cry out for more!
This is Ekklesia! We are Ekklesia! The gates of hell will not overtake the Ekklesia of Jesus in the earth today!