Sunday, October 05, 2008

DON'T GO TO Church (part 1)

I don't go to Church. I won't let my kids go to church, either. Because it's actually impossible to GO TO church. We ARE (a part of) the Church. This is a case where semantics are very important. You wouldn't say, "I'm going TO family would you?" Or how about, "Were you IN FAMILY Sunday?" It's the same thing. You see, the picture of the white building here is often wrongly referred to as a/the church. (As does this horrible definition)

It is very important that we use this word correctly. I believe it's a key (one of many) to the gospel, good evangelism, and good theology.
Here's a good biblical definition:
The word translated "church" in the Bible is ekklesia. This word is the Greek words kaleo (to call), with the prefix ek (out). Thus, the word means "the called out ones." It refers to PEOPLE! However, the English word "church" does not come from ekklesia but from the word kuriakon, which means "dedicated to the Lord." This word was commonly used to refer to a holy place or temple. By the time of Jerome's translation of the New Testament from Greek to Latin, it was customary to use a derivative of kuriakon to translate ekklesia. Therefore, the popularized word "church" in the english language is a poor translation of the word ekklesia --since when it is used, people imply a sacred building, or temple. A more accurate translation would be "assembly" because the term ekklesia was used to refer to a group of people who had been called out to a meeting. It was also used as a synonym for the word synagogue, which also means to "come together," i.e. a gathering. "Body of Christ" Since believers have been united with Christ through spiritual baptism, they are sometimes corporately referred to as the body of Christ. (Rom. l2:4-5; 1 Cor. l2:11,13,l8,27; Col. l:l8; Eph. 5:30) The idea seems to be that the group of Christians in the world constitute the physical representation of Christ on earth.

The church is the PEOPLE. It's better to refer to THOSE GOING IN the building as the CHURCH. So, with that said, WE CANNOT GO TO church. We ARE the Church. I know it's hard to change, but I believe we must work at changing the way we use the word.
Instead of: I go to church... Try: I am a part of a church (family).
Instead of: We are late to church... Try: we are late to the church's worship gathering.
Instead of: Good to see you in church today...Try :I love that you are a part of our church (that meets here). Instead of: Would you like to go to my church on Sunday?... Try: My church meets on Sunday if you want to join us sometime.

If we want to be Biblical, if we want to be good theologians, It's a must. If we refer to the building we worship in as the Church, I believe it transmits the wrong message. Think about it. What happens when people (the unbelieving world or even Christians for that matter) see the Church as a building or a place where people meet once a week?

more to come

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