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ravi4u2
Nov 17th 2007, 11:24 PM
The earliest English translation of the Bible (from the Latin Vulgate) was by John Wycliffe in 1380 (and was handwritten). THIS bible does not contain the word CHURCH. Congregation was used instead.

In 1517 – Martin Luther nails 95 Thesis to the door of the Cathedral at Guttenberg and the Reformation begins.

Around 1525-6, Tyndale produced another translation – Again, this translation does not contain the word Church – Congregation was used.

In 1557, the Geneva bible was produced. Again “Ekklesia” was translated Congregation.

In 1611, the King James Version of the bible was completed. The translators were instructed to ensure that the translation would not contradict what was being done in the Anglican Church (King Henry the 8th had split from the Catholics in 1529). The “brief” to the translators of the KJV had 15 general rules that they were instructed to follow. The most significant with regard to our study of the word “Church” is rule 3 which states:

“The Old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation &c.” (refer: http://www.av1611.org/kjv/kjvhist.html)

The word “Church” is derived from the Greek “kyriakon” which is different from the Greek “Ekklesia”. Therefore it should never have been used to render “Ekklesia” as it has a very different meaning. (kyriakon means “House of God”, while ekklesia means “the called out ones” – the people of God).

punk
Nov 18th 2007, 01:57 AM
The word “Church” is derived from the Greek “kyriakon” which is different from the Greek “Ekklesia”. Therefore it should never have been used to render “Ekklesia” as it has a very different meaning. (kyriakon means “House of God”, while ekklesia means “the called out ones” – the people of God).

This looks like a genetic fallacy.

Although, historically "church" may derive from "kyriakon", the fact is "church" is now a full-fledged English word with no one even able to tell it has foreign roots.

If, in modern English, "church" is the best translation of "ekklesia", then it should be translated as such.

Personally, I don't think it is the best translation, but I think the reasoning given in the OP is flawed.

ravi4u2
Nov 18th 2007, 05:35 AM
This looks like a genetic fallacy.

Although, historically "church" may derive from "kyriakon", the fact is "church" is now a full-fledged English word with no one even able to tell it has foreign roots.

If, in modern English, "church" is the best translation of "ekklesia", then it should be translated as such.

Personally, I don't think it is the best translation, but I think the reasoning given in the OP is flawed.Everyone is entitled to his opinion. But the language we speak, also shapes our mindset. Hence the importance of knowing and speaking the right words.

punk
Nov 18th 2007, 10:03 PM
Everyone is entitled to his opinion. But the language we speak, also shapes our mindset. Hence the importance of knowing and speaking the right words.

I agree with you as long as we recognize that words do not have a fixed meaning, and that the meaning of words changes in time.

The correct words at one time may not be the correct words at another (particularly with religious words where institutions tend to take what was a perfectly good word at one time and slowly change its meaning over time).

This is another argument for producing new translations of the Bible, as institutions have taken what were once correct words and changed their meaning to something a bit more convenient to the institution.

TrustGzus
Nov 18th 2007, 11:26 PM
A form of the word in question is used only twice in the NT (1 Corinthians 11:20 & Revelation 1:10) and neither time does it refer to a building nor the people of God. It simply means Lord's.

Since we're talking KJV in the previous posts, I'll post from Scrivener's Textus Receptus:

1 Corinthians 11:2o . . .
20 συνερχομενων ουν υμων επι το αυτο ουκ εστιν κυριακον δειπνον φαγειν

Scrivener's Textus Receptus (1894) : With morphology. 2002 (1 Co 11:20). Bellingham: Logos Research Systems.Revelation 1:10 . . .

10 εγενομην εν πνευματι εν τη κυριακη ημερα και ηκουσα οπισω μου φωνην μεγαλην ως σαλπιγγος


Scrivener's Textus Receptus (1894) : With morphology. 2002 (Re 1:10). Bellingham: Logos Research Systems.In both cases it's translated Lord's. In 1 Corinthians 11 it is speaking of the Lord's supper. In Revelation 1:10 it is speaking of the Lord's day.

Whether or not church is a good word to use or not for ekklesia depends on the culture the Bible is being translated for. If people think of a building, then it might not be the best word. If people think of the church as people, then it's a fine word. I don't think I own an English Bible that gets away from the word church as its primary word choice for ekklesia.

Grace & peace,

Joe

ravi4u2
Nov 19th 2007, 03:31 AM
A form of the word in question is used only twice in the NT (1 Corinthians 11:20 & Revelation 1:10) and neither time does it refer to a building nor the people of God. It simply means Lord's.

Since we're talking KJV in the previous posts, I'll post from Scrivener's Textus Receptus:

1 Corinthians 11:2o . . . Revelation 1:10 . . .In both cases it's translated Lord's. In 1 Corinthians 11 it is speaking of the Lord's supper. In Revelation 1:10 it is speaking of the Lord's day.

Whether or not church is a good word to use or not for ekklesia depends on the culture the Bible is being translated for. If people think of a building, then it might not be the best word. If people think of the church as people, then it's a fine word. I don't think I own an English Bible that gets away from the word church as its primary word choice for ekklesia.

Grace & peace,

JoeBut as you say, if meanings of words evolve, would not it be better to translate 'church' into a less ambiguous word, to better reflect 'ekklesia', or the 'called out ones'?

ProjectPeter
Nov 19th 2007, 01:04 PM
But as you say, if meanings of words evolve, would not it be better to translate 'church' into a less ambiguous word, to better reflect 'ekklesia', or the 'called out ones'?
If your aim is to wreck the "institutionalized" church then I suppose. But then I see that as just being part of the problem and does nothing to offer a solution. It is often said by many that the church is the people. There are few folks that don't realize that I figure save a few of the older denominations that hang a lot on their actual church (institution).

jeffreys
Nov 19th 2007, 02:23 PM
The earliest English translation of the Bible (from the Latin Vulgate) was by John Wycliffe in 1380 (and was handwritten). THIS bible does not contain the word CHURCH. Congregation was used instead.

In 1517 – Martin Luther nails 95 Thesis to the door of the Cathedral at Guttenberg and the Reformation begins.

Around 1525-6, Tyndale produced another translation – Again, this translation does not contain the word Church – Congregation was used.

In 1557, the Geneva bible was produced. Again “Ekklesia” was translated Congregation.

In 1611, the King James Version of the bible was completed. The translators were instructed to ensure that the translation would not contradict what was being done in the Anglican Church (King Henry the 8th had split from the Catholics in 1529). The “brief” to the translators of the KJV had 15 general rules that they were instructed to follow. The most significant with regard to our study of the word “Church” is rule 3 which states:

“The Old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation &c.” (refer: http://www.av1611.org/kjv/kjvhist.html)

The word “Church” is derived from the Greek “kyriakon” which is different from the Greek “Ekklesia”. Therefore it should never have been used to render “Ekklesia” as it has a very different meaning. (kyriakon means “House of God”, while ekklesia means “the called out ones” – the people of God).

First of all, there were a lot of things the early Christians were called - most of them negative and derogatory.

Second, they met when and where they could, for the purpose of worship, edification, fellowship and encouragement. A good deal of what they did was not doctrine-driven, but was done out of necessity. (For instance, meeting quietly, for fear of persecution. They didn't use cymbals, and other instruments, partly because of fear they'd be heard and found. Now some people come along and try to make a doctrine out of that pragmatic practice.)

Some of the early Christians met in the Temple Courts, but that does not mean we are commanded to meet only in such a place.


If you feel strongly that you need to be part of a small house church, I'd suggest that's exactly what you do. Worship, fellowship, witness and grow in that context!

Teke
Nov 19th 2007, 03:25 PM
The earliest English translation of the Bible (from the Latin Vulgate) was by John Wycliffe in 1380 (and was handwritten). THIS bible does not contain the word CHURCH. Congregation was used instead.

In 1517 – Martin Luther nails 95 Thesis to the door of the Cathedral at Guttenberg and the Reformation begins.

Around 1525-6, Tyndale produced another translation – Again, this translation does not contain the word Church – Congregation was used.

In 1557, the Geneva bible was produced. Again “Ekklesia” was translated Congregation.

In 1611, the King James Version of the bible was completed. The translators were instructed to ensure that the translation would not contradict what was being done in the Anglican Church (King Henry the 8th had split from the Catholics in 1529). The “brief” to the translators of the KJV had 15 general rules that they were instructed to follow. The most significant with regard to our study of the word “Church” is rule 3 which states:

“The Old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation &c.” (refer: http://www.av1611.org/kjv/kjvhist.html)

The word “Church” is derived from the Greek “kyriakon” which is different from the Greek “Ekklesia”. Therefore it should never have been used to render “Ekklesia” as it has a very different meaning. (kyriakon means “House of God”, while ekklesia means “the called out ones” – the people of God).

Well, a couple things about these notes. First "kyriakon" doesn't mean "house of God", that would be two Greek words, neither of which is "kryiakon".

Ekklesia, simply means "gathering" in the LXX. But in the NT it is used in a different sense when relating the "church" which is a "mystery". In proper English the sense Paul is relating would be found more in the words "the mystical Body of Christ".

Likely the reason for the note in the KJV is to deter those who would translate the Hebrew word for "congregation" (synagogue) as "church".

While the church is a gathering of believers in Christ, the understanding should not be neglected that it is Christ who gathered them.

ravi4u2
Nov 19th 2007, 04:32 PM
Well, a couple things about these notes. First "kyriakon" doesn't mean "house of God", that would be two Greek words, neither of which is "kryiakon".

Ekklesia, simply means "gathering" in the LXX. But in the NT it is used in a different sense when relating the "church" which is a "mystery". In proper English the sense Paul is relating would be found more in the words "the mystical Body of Christ".

Likely the reason for the note in the KJV is to deter those who would translate the Hebrew word for "congregation" (synagogue) as "church".

While the church is a gathering of believers in Christ, the understanding should not be neglected that it is Christ who gathered them.You are right. The earliest written record of kyriakon was more than two hundred years after Jesus and the twelve (apostles) died. People used it of the building in which Christians met for corporate worship, 'kyriakon doma' or house of the Lord.

Greek word kyriakon and the Greek term ekklesia have no etymological connection... they are two entirely different words... words like "church" or "churches" do not convey the meaning of the Greek term ekklesia.

I also agree with you that 'gathering' is a closer word to Ekklesia than congregation. But congregation (meaning to congregate or come together) is better than 'church'.

While the word 'church' usually gives a mental image of a building, the word 'gathering' (as you suggested), puts the focus on the people who come together.

Professor Brent Walters who lectures in San Jose State University and is an expert in early Christlike communities, believes that the translators of KJV were instructed to ensure that the translation would not contradict what was being done in the Anglican Church (King Henry the 8th had split from the Catholics in 1529). The “brief” to the translators of the KJV had 15 general rules that they were instructed to follow. The most significant with regard to our post of the word “Church” is rule 3. This shows the bias (it is more important to fit the new translation into church traditions rather than be true to what the bible actually says) of the translation. We also have to remember that King Henry broke with Rome because of Rome’s opposition to his divorce, not because of a theological differences. Hence the 'roman' form which emphasizes the 'institutional' is kept intact.

ravi4u2
Nov 19th 2007, 04:34 PM
First of all, there were a lot of things the early Christians were called - most of them negative and derogatory.

Second, they met when and where they could, for the purpose of worship, edification, fellowship and encouragement. A good deal of what they did was not doctrine-driven, but was done out of necessity. (For instance, meeting quietly, for fear of persecution. They didn't use cymbals, and other instruments, partly because of fear they'd be heard and found. Now some people come along and try to make a doctrine out of that pragmatic practice.)

Some of the early Christians met in the Temple Courts, but that does not mean we are commanded to meet only in such a place.


If you feel strongly that you need to be part of a small house church, I'd suggest that's exactly what you do. Worship, fellowship, witness and grow in that context!I am neither for nor against house churches. I am moe concerned about the 'being', than the 'doing' or 'forms'.

jeffreys
Nov 19th 2007, 05:02 PM
I am neither for nor against house churches. I am moe concerned about the 'being', than the 'doing' or 'forms'.

Huhh? :hmm:

Could you explain, please?

TrustGzus
Nov 19th 2007, 05:13 PM
But as you say, if meanings of words evolve, would not it be better to translate 'church' into a less ambiguous word, to better reflect 'ekklesia', or the 'called out ones'?I don't have any influence to change the word church into something less ambiguous. Translators have very in-depth conversations when doing translations and I'm sure they've considered what you're saying and have concluded they don't have a better word at this time.

I think Project Peter brought up a good point and I'll word it a little differently. Church might be becoming a better word now than say 50 years ago. Churches are meeting in a variety of structures now. They build their own buildings which more often look like warehouses now than old fashioned churches. They rent spaces in shopping strips.

The idea of the church as a building appears to be on a decline anyway, at least in the United States. As the word church becomes less tied-up with a building, it should more accurately reflect its biblical usage - people.

ProjectPeter
Nov 19th 2007, 05:42 PM
You are right. The earliest written record of kyriakon was more than two hundred years after Jesus and the twelve (apostles) died. People used it of the building in which Christians met for corporate worship, 'kyriakon doma' or house of the Lord.

Greek word kyriakon and the Greek term ekklesia have no etymological connection... they are two entirely different words... words like "church" or "churches" do not convey the meaning of the Greek term ekklesia.

I also agree with you that 'gathering' is a closer word to Ekklesia than congregation. But congregation (meaning to congregate or come together) is better than 'church'.

While the word 'church' usually gives a mental image of a building, the word 'gathering' (as you suggested), puts the focus on the people who come together.

Professor Brent Walters who lectures in San Jose State University and is an expert in early Christlike communities, believes that the translators of KJV were instructed to ensure that the translation would not contradict what was being done in the Anglican Church (King Henry the 8th had split from the Catholics in 1529). The “brief” to the translators of the KJV had 15 general rules that they were instructed to follow. The most significant with regard to our post of the word “Church” is rule 3. This shows the bias (it is more important to fit the new translation into church traditions rather than be true to what the bible actually says) of the translation. We also have to remember that King Henry broke with Rome because of Rome’s opposition to his divorce, not because of a theological differences. Hence the 'roman' form which emphasizes the 'institutional' is kept intact.
Honestly... sounds like gagging at gnats while swallowing camels. ;)

Teke
Nov 19th 2007, 06:10 PM
You are right. The earliest written record of kyriakon was more than two hundred years after Jesus and the twelve (apostles) died. People used it of the building in which Christians met for corporate worship, 'kyriakon doma' or house of the Lord.

Greek word kyriakon and the Greek term ekklesia have no etymological connection... they are two entirely different words... words like "church" or "churches" do not convey the meaning of the Greek term ekklesia.

I also agree with you that 'gathering' is a closer word to Ekklesia than congregation. But congregation (meaning to congregate or come together) is better than 'church'.

While the word 'church' usually gives a mental image of a building, the word 'gathering' (as you suggested), puts the focus on the people who come together.

Professor Brent Walters who lectures in San Jose State University and is an expert in early Christlike communities, believes that the translators of KJV were instructed to ensure that the translation would not contradict what was being done in the Anglican Church (King Henry the 8th had split from the Catholics in 1529). The “brief” to the translators of the KJV had 15 general rules that they were instructed to follow. The most significant with regard to our post of the word “Church” is rule 3. This shows the bias (it is more important to fit the new translation into church traditions rather than be true to what the bible actually says) of the translation. We also have to remember that King Henry broke with Rome because of Rome’s opposition to his divorce, not because of a theological differences. Hence the 'roman' form which emphasizes the 'institutional' is kept intact.

I believe you have missed my point. I don't think that congregate would be a better word for "church". A congregation is just a group of people who have congregated together, such as the Jews did in synagogues.

The unity (spiritual) of the church isn't conveyed in "congregate", which means, to collect into a group or crowd. This is what people do, not what God does.
Ekklesia, is more an existence given by God in Christ (in the NT sense). Which, as I believe someone pointed out, doesn't mean a central gathering in general. Because if it did, then we'd all have to gather in the same place. On a world scale that would be very difficult.

In Greek, kyriakon, can mean a number of things, depending on what it's associated with. The root of the word is more in the meaning of great power.

I pointed out that ekklesia means gather in a general sense. As that is the way it is used in the LXX OT. But that is not the manner Paul uses it in the NT in relation to Christ. As Christ is the One who does the gathering, not the people themselves. The people can assemble themselves in that gathering, but they are not Who gathered themselves. Jesus Christ said, "I will build My church..." He gathers the "lively stones" to build with, not us.

So, no, we don't want to put the focus on us the people, but on Jesus Christ and His mystical Body the Church.

Also, I don't see any relation to the notes with disputes between the churches. ie. the king and Rome
The KJV uses the Hebrew Massoretic text for the OT and Greek of the NT. In doing so there can be conflict of understanding, or interpretation into English. Which is why I ref. the LXX, to be consistent.

The more correct term in the sense the NT relates it, IMO, would be "the mystical Body of Christ". That doesn't associate a building necessarily, but it does relate structure, such as the structure of a body. I believe the large majority of Christians understand "church" in this manner. And if not, then they should.;)

ravi4u2
Nov 19th 2007, 11:37 PM
I don't have any influence to change the word church into something less ambiguous. Translators have very in-depth conversations when doing translations and I'm sure they've considered what you're saying and have concluded they don't have a better word at this time.

I think Project Peter brought up a good point and I'll word it a little differently. Church might be becoming a better word now than say 50 years ago. Churches are meeting in a variety of structures now. They build their own buildings which more often look like warehouses now than old fashioned churches. They rent spaces in shopping strips.

The idea of the church as a building appears to be on a decline anyway, at least in the United States. As the word church becomes less tied-up with a building, it should more accurately reflect its biblical usage - people.Neither did I imply that you change the word. If indeed there is a better word, than it begs the asking, "why was not a better word used?"

ravi4u2
Nov 19th 2007, 11:41 PM
Honestly... sounds like gagging at gnats while swallowing camels. ;)Well, if the gnats choke you...beware the gnats...;)

ravi4u2
Nov 19th 2007, 11:46 PM
If your aim is to wreck the "institutionalized" church then I suppose. But then I see that as just being part of the problem and does nothing to offer a solution. It is often said by many that the church is the people. There are few folks that don't realize that I figure save a few of the older denominations that hang a lot on their actual church (institution).So, what is the solution for an old wineskin that is not able to hold new wine?

ravi4u2
Nov 19th 2007, 11:51 PM
I believe you have missed my point. I don't think that congregate would be a better word for "church". A congregation is just a group of people who have congregated together, such as the Jews did in synagogues.

The unity (spiritual) of the church isn't conveyed in "congregate", which means, to collect into a group or crowd. This is what people do, not what God does.
Ekklesia, is more an existence given by God in Christ (in the NT sense). Which, as I believe someone pointed out, doesn't mean a central gathering in general. Because if it did, then we'd all have to gather in the same place. On a world scale that would be very difficult.

In Greek, kyriakon, can mean a number of things, depending on what it's associated with. The root of the word is more in the meaning of great power.

I pointed out that ekklesia means gather in a general sense. As that is the way it is used in the LXX OT. But that is not the manner Paul uses it in the NT in relation to Christ. As Christ is the One who does the gathering, not the people themselves. The people can assemble themselves in that gathering, but they are not Who gathered themselves. Jesus Christ said, "I will build My church..." He gathers the "lively stones" to build with, not us.

So, no, we don't want to put the focus on us the people, but on Jesus Christ and His mystical Body the Church.

Also, I don't see any relation to the notes with disputes between the churches. ie. the king and Rome
The KJV uses the Hebrew Massoretic text for the OT and Greek of the NT. In doing so there can be conflict of understanding, or interpretation into English. Which is why I ref. the LXX, to be consistent.

The more correct term in the sense the NT relates it, IMO, would be "the mystical Body of Christ". That doesn't associate a building necessarily, but it does relate structure, such as the structure of a body. I believe the large majority of Christians understand "church" in this manner. And if not, then they should.;)I agree to most of your thoughts here, but the very word 'church' actually connotes 'doing', rather than 'being'. If the Body of Christ is indeed a mystery, than she just needs to 'be' the Body.

Scruffy Kid
Nov 20th 2007, 12:54 AM
Genetic fallacies, and "church", "iglesia", "ekklesia"

The meaning of a word is quite independent, in principle, of its etymology.

To suppose that a word's etymology necessarily gives, or affects, it's meaning is fallacious. Carson, a conservative evangelical Bible scholar at Trinity Deerfield (TEDS) explains this in detail in his book Exegetical Fallacies Thus we cannot assume that the real meaning of "butterfly" is derived from "butter" and "fly", or that the real meaning of "hoosegow" is "court of justice" because it was derived from a spanish word that means that, or that when people say "nice!" they really mean "how ignorant!" because "nice" is derived from the latin "nesciens", meaning "ignorant."

This kind of etymological fallacy is an instance of a broader class of fallacies which assumes that a thing's origins determine its character. Thus, we cannot assume that a university founded by a godly Christian man, for purposes of propagating the Christian faith (Harvard, or Yale) still has that as its "real" purpose. And we cannot assume that a holiday has the meaning that the day it is celebrated on had 1500 years ago. Such fallacies, as punk points out, are called "genetic fallacies" -- fallacies that confuse the origin of a thing with its actuality, meaning, or purpose now. We can't assume that the faith of a Syro-phonecian woman is pagan and that of a devout Jew godly, for as Jesus says "it's not what goes into a man that makes him unclean, but what comes out of him!" (Mark 6:53-7:30)

That was punk's very sensible point in his original post in this thread.


The word “Church” is derived from the Greek “kyriakon” which is different from the Greek “Ekklesia”. Therefore it should never have been used to render “Ekklesia” as it has a very different meaning. (kyriakon means “House of God”, while ekklesia means “the called out ones” – the people of God). This looks like a genetic fallacy.

Although, historically "church" may derive from "kyriakon", the fact is "church" is now a full-fledged English word with no one even able to tell it has foreign roots.

If, in modern English, "church" is the best translation of "ekklesia", then it should be translated as such.

Personally, I don't think it is the best translation, but I think the reasoning given in the OP is flawed.
Unfortunately, recent posts perpetuate this error:

You are right. The earliest written record of kyriakon was more than two hundred years after Jesus and the twelve (apostles) died. People used it of the building in which Christians met for corporate worship, 'kyriakon doma' or house of the Lord.

Greek word kyriakon and the Greek term ekklesia have no etymological connection... they are two entirely different words... words like "church" or "churches" do not convey the meaning of the Greek term ekklesia.
If we are to reason this way, then we would have to accept that words such as the French "eglise" or the Spanish "iglesia" which are derived from "ekklesia" therefore do properly translate it. But these words mean the same as "church" does in English, or "kirk" in Scottish. So the let's-go-by-the-word's-etymology method if followed consistently would contradict itself.


"Kyriakon doma" as "house of the Lord"

Everyone, I would assume, agrees that the ekklesia of God is the people of God, called together in worship and praise of God, and the like. No sensible person assumes that it consists of a building. In just this way, Jesus makes it clear that He is the true "temple" of God, the place where we come to worship God. In a lesser way, each Christian also is a "temple of the Holy Spirit". But just as God uses the metaphor of a building -- particularly a building used for worship, or a building where God dwells, to signify the people of God gathered to praise him -- so too may we use the image of a building designated, set aside, for worship as a metanomy (figure of speech) indicating the people who gather there to worship.

When David goes to build a temple, he speaks of building a house for God. God replies that He will build David a house (a lineage) instead! Yet He gives Solomon instructions for building a temple. Jesus, as just noted, refers to Himself as our temple, and Paul refers to us as temples for God the Spirit. Peter (Simon whose nickname, Cephas or Peter, means rock or stone) speaks of Christ as a "living stone" to whom we come, and goes on to say "You also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 2:4-9, esp. 4-5).

To speak of God's people as Christ's bride, or His body, or as "the house of the Lord", does not seem to me to violate Scriptural usage, nor to have inherent theological problems. I see no problem with the idea of using the word "the house of the Lord" (i.e. Kyriakon doma) to refer to the ekklesia.

So it's not so clear, IMO, that there is anything untoward, anything bad or unbiblical, in using the term ekklesia, later, to denote not just the people of God, but also some of the buildings they use to gather for worship. However, no instructed person who speaks of the ekklesia -- using the word "church" supposes that buildings are mainly involved. So the fact that "church" or "kirk" or "eglise" or "iglesia" or "ekklesia" is used for buildings as well as for congregations, or larger fellowships of the faithful, does not really seem to me to be a problem.


What's the problem with "church"?

And I'm afraid I don't get what the problem is with using "church" (or "iglesia") to translate "ekklesia". By itself "assembly" or "gathering" is certainly farther away. A high-school "assembly" is not anything near as close to "ekklesia" as a "church" is. A "gathering" of friends at the local pub for darts, or of a non-Christian family to have turkey on Thanksgiving Day, does not seem closer to "ekklesia" than even a very imperfect church.

I feel that there are two problems folks seem to have with the term church to translate ekklesia.

One is that folk seem to think that our current churches aren't as pure as those of the first century. I'm not so sure. Paul writes the Corinthians telling them that they can't just go on accepting people in their church who are living in incestuous relationships, for instance. He tells them not to get drunk at the Lord's supper. The church always has its problems. Jesus came to call not the righteous but the sinners to repentance.

The other is that we use "church" to designate not just local assemblies, but larger ecclesial structures. People seem to think that "ekklesia" in NT times meant only small local bodies. Again, I'm skeptical. Christ speaks (at the time of Peter's confession) of the gates of hell not prevailing against the church, singular, which he aims to found.(Matt 16:18, cf. 18:17) Colossians says that God's plan is to unite all things in Christ, and speaks of Christ's body (1:18, 24) -- meaning all those who are Christ's -- as "the ekklesia", as well as referring to ekklesias in various cities. Ephesians calls "the ekklesia" that which reveals the manifold wisdom of God, says Christ is its (her) head, and gave Himself for her, and says "unto God be glory in the ekklesia, both now and evermore." Clearly, a larger universal church is involved. And of course, soon there would also be an ordering of churches, under leaders who themselves were subject to the apostles, and to leaders they appointed, and so on. So there's every reason to suppose that an "institutional" ekklesia sprang up very quickly. This being so, I don't understand the objection to "church" as a word.

But even if one is opposed to ecclesial structures beyond the local congregation, I don't see the way to argue about it as being using a semantic argument about the word "church". That just seems to me to muddy the issues.

To all, peace and grace,
Scruff

ravi4u2
Nov 20th 2007, 07:48 PM
Genetic fallacies, and "church", "iglesia", "ekklesia"

The meaning of a word is quite independent, in principle, of its etymology.

To suppose that a word's etymology necessarily gives, or affects, it's meaning is fallacious. Carson, a conservative evangelical Bible scholar at Trinity Deerfield (TEDS) explains this in detail in his book Exegetical Fallacies Thus we cannot assume that the real meaning of "butterfly" is derived from "butter" and "fly", or that the real meaning of "hoosegow" is "court of justice" because it was derived from a spanish word that means that, or that when people say "nice!" they really mean "how ignorant!" because "nice" is derived from the latin "nesciens", meaning "ignorant."

This kind of etymological fallacy is an instance of a broader class of fallacies which assumes that a thing's origins determine its character. Thus, we cannot assume that a university founded by a godly Christian man, for purposes of propagating the Christian faith (Harvard, or Yale) still has that as its "real" purpose. And we cannot assume that a holiday has the meaning that the day it is celebrated on had 1500 years ago. Such fallacies, as punk points out, are called "genetic fallacies" -- fallacies that confuse the origin of a thing with its actuality, meaning, or purpose now. We can't assume that the faith of a Syro-phonecian woman is pagan and that of a devout Jew godly, for as Jesus says "it's not what goes into a man that makes him unclean, but what comes out of him!" (Mark 6:53-7:30)

That was punk's very sensible point in his original post in this thread.

Unfortunately, recent posts perpetuate this error:

If we are to reason this way, then we would have to accept that words such as the French "eglise" or the Spanish "iglesia" which are derived from "ekklesia" therefore do properly translate it. But these words mean the same as "church" does in English, or "kirk" in Scottish. So the let's-go-by-the-word's-etymology method if followed consistently would contradict itself.


"Kyriakon doma" as "house of the Lord"

Everyone, I would assume, agrees that the ekklesia of God is the people of God, called together in worship and praise of God, and the like. No sensible person assumes that it consists of a building. In just this way, Jesus makes it clear that He is the true "temple" of God, the place where we come to worship God. In a lesser way, each Christian also is a "temple of the Holy Spirit". But just as God uses the metaphor of a building -- particularly a building used for worship, or a building where God dwells, to signify the people of God gathered to praise him -- so too may we use the image of a building designated, set aside, for worship as a metanomy (figure of speech) indicating the people who gather there to worship.

When David goes to build a temple, he speaks of building a house for God. God replies that He will build David a house (a lineage) instead! Yet He gives Solomon instructions for building a temple. Jesus, as just noted, refers to Himself as our temple, and Paul refers to us as temples for God the Spirit. Peter (Simon whose nickname, Cephas or Peter, means rock or stone) speaks of Christ as a "living stone" to whom we come, and goes on to say "You also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 2:4-9, esp. 4-5).

To speak of God's people as Christ's bride, or His body, or as "the house of the Lord", does not seem to me to violate Scriptural usage, nor to have inherent theological problems. I see no problem with the idea of using the word "the house of the Lord" (i.e. Kyriakon doma) to refer to the ekklesia.

So it's not so clear, IMO, that there is anything untoward, anything bad or unbiblical, in using the term ekklesia, later, to denote not just the people of God, but also some of the buildings they use to gather for worship. However, no instructed person who speaks of the ekklesia -- using the word "church" supposes that buildings are mainly involved. So the fact that "church" or "kirk" or "eglise" or "iglesia" or "ekklesia" is used for buildings as well as for congregations, or larger fellowships of the faithful, does not really seem to me to be a problem.


What's the problem with "church"?

And I'm afraid I don't get what the problem is with using "church" (or "iglesia") to translate "ekklesia". By itself "assembly" or "gathering" is certainly farther away. A high-school "assembly" is not anything near as close to "ekklesia" as a "church" is. A "gathering" of friends at the local pub for darts, or of a non-Christian family to have turkey on Thanksgiving Day, does not seem closer to "ekklesia" than even a very imperfect church.

I feel that there are two problems folks seem to have with the term church to translate ekklesia.

One is that folk seem to think that our current churches aren't as pure as those of the first century. I'm not so sure. Paul writes the Corinthians telling them that they can't just go on accepting people in their church who are living in incestuous relationships, for instance. He tells them not to get drunk at the Lord's supper. The church always has its problems. Jesus came to call not the righteous but the sinners to repentance.

The other is that we use "church" to designate not just local assemblies, but larger ecclesial structures. People seem to think that "ekklesia" in NT times meant only small local bodies. Again, I'm skeptical. Christ speaks (at the time of Peter's confession) of the gates of hell not prevailing against the church, singular, which he aims to found.(Matt 16:18, cf. 18:17) Colossians says that God's plan is to unite all things in Christ, and speaks of Christ's body (1:18, 24) -- meaning all those who are Christ's -- as "the ekklesia", as well as referring to ekklesias in various cities. Ephesians calls "the ekklesia" that which reveals the manifold wisdom of God, says Christ is its (her) head, and gave Himself for her, and says "unto God be glory in the ekklesia, both now and evermore." Clearly, a larger universal church is involved. And of course, soon there would also be an ordering of churches, under leaders who themselves were subject to the apostles, and to leaders they appointed, and so on. So there's every reason to suppose that an "institutional" ekklesia sprang up very quickly. This being so, I don't understand the objection to "church" as a word.

But even if one is opposed to ecclesial structures beyond the local congregation, I don't see the way to argue about it as being using a semantic argument about the word "church". That just seems to me to muddy the issues.

To all, peace and grace,
ScruffThe history of the word 'church' has contentious etymology in the English language. The question of whether it has a Greek or a Latin origin has been debated since Walafrid Strabo first asked it in the 9th century. But almost all modern scholars are in agreement that it derives from the Greek kyriakon "of the Lord". Online Reference: ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=church).

punk
Nov 20th 2007, 08:39 PM
The history of the word 'church' has contentious etymology in the English language. The question of whether it has a Greek or a Latin origin has been debated since Walafrid Strabo first asked it in the 9th century. But almost all modern scholars are in agreement that it derives from the Greek kyriakon "of the Lord". Online Reference: ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=church).

But the point is that none of that contention has any bearing on the meaning of the word "church" in 2007.

Stefen
Nov 20th 2007, 09:43 PM
But the point is that none of that contention has any bearing on the meaning of the word "church" in 2007.

I disagree. When people here the word church today most of them think of the buildings and the organiztions behind the buildings. For example you will here this often "What church do you go to?" or " I'm a member of this church." Statements like these implly that they denote the place and institution they are a member of as a church when in reality there is only one "Church" or gathering or assembly of God.

Words are everything because a word is a thought expressed in laungauage and your idea and use of a word could be different then what it is intended to convey which could lead people atray from the truth; this is the situation with the word church today.

If you want to really shed some light on the situation there is no such thing as going to "Church" in the new testament. The "Church" or called out ones gathered together in many different ways and their focus was not just organizing get togethers, but their main focus was on being the called out ones and that is my focus today, being a called out one.

punk
Nov 20th 2007, 10:57 PM
I disagree. When people here the word church today most of them think of the buildings and the organiztions behind the buildings.

And this is a statement about what people in 2007 think "church" means. This is totally relevant to the subject.

That "church" may have derived from a Greek word in use 2000 years ago, and what the Greek word meant then, are irrelevant.

ravi4u2
Nov 21st 2007, 03:39 AM
But the point is that none of that contention has any bearing on the meaning of the word "church" in 2007.I understand where you are coming from. A rose is a rose even by any other name. It is known more by its characteristics and fragrance.

But just as an example, see how 'Church' is defined by Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=church&x=14&y=16).

Instead of conjuring up an image of a mysterious Body of Christ Jesus, that Christ gathers, it is often understood and portrayed as:

1 : a building for public and especially Christian worship
2 : the clergy or officialdom of a religious body
3 : a body or organization of religious believers: as a: the whole body of
Christians b: DENOMINATION c: CONGREGATION
4 : a public divine worship
5 : the clerical profession

Words helps shape mindsets. With that being said, would not a better word better reflect the Body of Christ, as did 'ekklesia'?

Stefen
Nov 21st 2007, 03:51 AM
Words helps shape mindsets. With that being said, would not a better word better reflect the Body of Christ, as did 'ekklesia'?
Most deffinately

punk
Nov 21st 2007, 06:21 AM
I understand where you are coming from. A rose is a rose even by any other name. It is known more by its characteristics and fragrance.

But just as an example, see how 'Church' is defined by Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=church&x=14&y=16).

Instead of conjuring up an image of a mysterious Body of Christ Jesus, that Christ gathers, it is often understood and portrayed as:

1 : a building for public and especially Christian worship
2 : the clergy or officialdom of a religious body
3 : a body or organization of religious believers: as a: the whole body of
Christians b: DENOMINATION c: CONGREGATION
4 : a public divine worship
5 : the clerical profession

Words helps shape mindsets. With that being said, would not a better word better reflect the Body of Christ, as did 'ekklesia'?

Well, in my opinion, the best translation of the Greek "ekklesia" is "assembly".

"Assembly" brings out what the word meant before Christianity and outside of the Christian context - namely the gathered citizen body making laws.

"Ekklesia" is originally a political and not religious term, and was still in use as a political term when Christianity originated. It had not lost its political meaning, and it was understood that Christians were using a political term to refer to their new grouping.

Sure it is literally "called out", but it is called out in the same way you Americans get "called out" when that jury duty summons appears in the mail box.

Of course "assembly" has a notion of radical democracy which "church" (with the implied monarchical pastor or bishop) lacks.

But, being the classics geek I am, when I see "ekklesia", I think of ancient Athens before I think of the New Testament.

Steven3
Nov 21st 2007, 07:02 AM
while ekklesia means “the called out ones” – the people of God).

Hi Ravi :)
What you're saying about some ecclesiastical bias in English translations is true enough.

But when you eat a strawberry does your mind go to straw? The problem with etymology (word origins) is that they quickly lose their strength. People forget what they mean. 500 years before Christ yes ekklesia did mean called out ones 500 years before the NT, but no longer at this point in history - as can be judged by the mob in Acts 19:32 which was also an ekklesia. No one called the mob out, they just assembled. And to Jews "ekklesia" meant the OT congregation in the wilderness, as Stephen quotes the Septuagint in Acts 7, where there was also no particular calling-out, it was the assembly of all Jews.

Congregation and assembly are fine for local churches, avoids the connotation of buildings, but in the sense of a worldwide "church" can there be a worldwide "assembly". I suppose there can - a worldwide "congregation"
God bless
Steven

Stefen
Nov 21st 2007, 07:22 AM
I think Ravis point is being missed. He is trying to stimulate your paradigm on what the church is and how the use of the word church today doesn't really reflect what the writers of the new testament where saying. Really there's no reason to even use the word church, so I think that I am going to stop using it entirely.

ravi4u2
Nov 21st 2007, 10:33 AM
Hi Ravi :)
What you're saying about some ecclesiastical bias in English translations is true enough.

But when you eat a strawberry does your mind go to straw? The problem with etymology (word origins) is that they quickly lose their strength. People forget what they mean. 500 years before Christ yes ekklesia did mean called out ones 500 years before the NT, but no longer at this point in history - as can be judged by the mob in Acts 19:32 which was also an ekklesia. No one called the mob out, they just assembled. And to Jews "ekklesia" meant the OT congregation in the wilderness, as Stephen quotes the Septuagint in Acts 7, where there was also no particular calling-out, it was the assembly of all Jews.

Congregation and assembly are fine for local churches, avoids the connotation of buildings, but in the sense of a worldwide "church" can there be a worldwide "assembly". I suppose there can - a worldwide "congregation"
God bless
StevenI truly appreciate the way this thread has been so far. Almost everyone has been very objective. I think you have answered your own question. As Punk might says, "if it is Christ who 'assembles' His Church', than there can surely be a worldwide 'assembly' of His people.

ravi4u2
Nov 21st 2007, 10:47 AM
Well, in my opinion, the best translation of the Greek "ekklesia" is "assembly".

"Assembly" brings out what the word meant before Christianity and outside of the Christian context - namely the gathered citizen body making laws.

"Ekklesia" is originally a political and not religious term, and was still in use as a political term when Christianity originated. It had not lost its political meaning, and it was understood that Christians were using a political term to refer to their new grouping.

Sure it is literally "called out", but it is called out in the same way you Americans get "called out" when that jury duty summons appears in the mail box.

Of course "assembly" has a notion of radical democracy which "church" (with the implied monarchical pastor or bishop) lacks.

But, being the classics geek I am, when I see "ekklesia", I think of ancient Athens before I think of the New Testament.I like assembly as much as gathering. I think these two words are much more closer in English to the intended meaning of Matthew 16:18. But 'gathering' seems much less defiled by modern usage than 'assembly'.

Just so that you know, 'Ekklesia' is translated as 'Thee-roo-saa-bai' in Tamil, my native language. And the literal translation for that word is 'coming together'. It was Thomas the apostle who brought brought God's word to India and was martyred there. His body still lies in St. Thomas Hill in Chennai, India. The Tamil Bible is translated from the original Hebrew and Greek and the language itself, being one of the ancient language is closer to the intended meanings of Hebrew and Greek.

Teke
Nov 21st 2007, 05:19 PM
Well, in my opinion, the best translation of the Greek "ekklesia" is "assembly".

"Assembly" brings out what the word meant before Christianity and outside of the Christian context - namely the gathered citizen body making laws.

"Ekklesia" is originally a political and not religious term, and was still in use as a political term when Christianity originated. It had not lost its political meaning, and it was understood that Christians were using a political term to refer to their new grouping.

Sure it is literally "called out", but it is called out in the same way you Americans get "called out" when that jury duty summons appears in the mail box.

Of course "assembly" has a notion of radical democracy which "church" (with the implied monarchical pastor or bishop) lacks.

But, being the classics geek I am, when I see "ekklesia", I think of ancient Athens before I think of the New Testament.

Then the classics geek in you is right. :)
As it is meant in the NT in exactly that manner (Athenian). It is 'political,' in an unusual, other-worldly sense. This "assembly" is composed of the citizens of the Kingdom of God.

There are other Greek words for gathering, but the NT uses them rarely, preferring this 'democratic' language, and I believe it does so for a reason.

Stefen
Nov 21st 2007, 06:46 PM
There are other Greek words for gathering, but the NT uses them rarely, preferring this 'democratic' language, and I believe it does so for a reason.

I Believe it does so for a reason aswell. Just like Paul used the analogy The Body of Chirst which is a very political statement. Paul didn't come up with this analogy on his own, he took it from the romans. The romans used to say the empire was the body and the emperor was the head; so Paul's use of this statement is pretty politcal. The entire new testament is about the Kingdom of God coming upon the world.