The Ekklesia formation : the current emphases of the Spirit of God, its post denomination and reformation paradigm is producing a New Wine skin for the expression of the Faith globally. It is borne out of the Understanding of Gospel of the Kingdom as against the Gospel of the Church.
The word, “Church” and “Churches” appear 114 times in the King James Version of the New Testament, starting with Matt. 16:18 where the Lord Jesus famously declared, “I will build my “Church”. For centuries in Christendom, we have believed that Church comes from the Greek word, “Ekklesia”. Alas, it will shock you to discover that:
- Jesus NEVER said I will build my “Church”
- The word “Church” actually means a physical building
- Ekklesia which is the actual Greek word that Jesus used in Matt. 16:18 IS NOT the same as Church. In other words, Church is a mistranslation of the word Jesus used i.e. Ekklesia – not just in Matt. 16:18 but in 111 places out of the 114 times that Church and Churches are used in the New Testament.
- Worst of all, the mistranslation was not an accident but deliberate!
The undeniable fact is that the word, “Church” is NOT from Ekklesia but from an entirely different word, “Kyriakon”. This fact is easily verifiable in this day of Information Technology.
What is Ekklesia?
While Ekklesia literally means “Called Out”, its historical and contextual meaning is a legislative assembly. That means Ekklesia is not related to religion in any way. The word has been in use since the days of the Greeks up to Roman times to refer to a political assembly. When we understand the proper context of the Matt. 16:13-18 discourse, it will not be surprising why Jesus chose such a term to describe the Body that He is building when He could have easily used other religious terms such as temple, sanctuary, altar, synagogue, tabernacle, and so on. But the Lord Jesus said what He meant and meant what He said.
What of Kyriakon?
Kyriakon means “the lord’s house” but do not let that mislead you into assuming that the “lord” there refers to the Lord of the bible or that the “house” refers to the Assembly. While it is true that one of the metaphors used for the Body of Christ is a building (Eph. 2:21, 1 Cor. 3:9, 2 Cor. 6:16), kyriakon actually refers to a physical building for the worship of heathen gods or idols. Recall that until the 4th century, no physical building was associated with the Christian faith. So, kyriakon was always used in reference to heathen temples. Synonyms include temple, shrine, (and if you like, synagogue or even mosque because what is common to them all is that they are literal physical buildings dedicated for religious worship).
The birth of institutional Christianity
The word, Kyriakon, however was introduced into the Christian lexicon as a place dedicated for Christian worship in the fourth century, when Constantine established Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. This was when Christians began to meet in “worship” buildings, rather than in homes or in public places. And that transition (the shift from homes to dedicated worship buildings) marked the beginning of our identity crisis: a switch from nationhood into religious institutionalization. And with every passing year, decade, century up to a millennium, the identity crisis deepened and became entrenched. Somebody once said, “Repeat a lie long enough and it becomes an accepted and established truth.”
CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE HEAD
Fast forward to the 16th century during the Protestant reformation. The printing press had just been discovered to coincide with ongoing efforts to translate the bible from Latin to other languages, English being one of the first
In 1525, William Tyndale translated the first printed Bible into English. He translated the word ekklesia as “congregation” or assembly. This was in direct contradiction to the Roman Church. At that time, the Roman Church feared that removing the word “church” from the Bible would threaten their authority and hierarchy. This was one of the major reasons Tyndale was burned at the stake by the Roman Church in 1536. Interestingly, when King James authorized his translation of the Bible in 1611, eighty-four percent of the New Testament was translated directly from Tyndale’s Bible. But King James made one translation rule clear: ekklesia was to be translated “church” and not “congregation” or “assembly.” … King James was the head of the Church of England and all forty-seven translators were members. For political and control reasons, the King James Version of the Bible mistranslated the Greek word ekklesia to “church.” Since then, just about every English version of the Bible has kept to this translation of “church.”
Thankfully, besides the Tyndale translation, other bibles that have chosen to stay with the original word Ekklesia; include Darby, Young’s literal translation and Complete Jewish bible. They use the word Assembly instead. CJB uses “Community” which I believe to be contextually an even more accurate rendition.
CORE TO THE EKKLESIA FORMATION IS :
- The Abandonment of the deeds of the Nicolaitans which Jesus hate : Priests/Laity. The posture of one man going in on behalf of others; Moses and Aaron type of Leadership.
- The elevation of the priesthood of all Believers, requiring that all joints supply, giving ministry back to the Saints especially those in the marketplace instead of few people claiming to be in ministry.
- The movement towards the City Church formation. ONE CHURCH IN EVERY CITY.
Finally, key to the Ekklessia formation is deep love for the Lord and for those He has shed His Blood, Love for all men and true koinoinia is the Bond in Christ Body. Those who are called to be leaders in the Ekklessia will have a servant posture, not a corporate C.E.O or business magnate type leaders of the institutional church systems of today.
Resources for Further Reading.