English blog

THE ecclesia…

12-11-2011 - Posted by Andre Piet

In my previous blog, I pointed out that an ecclesia is not an organization, but an assembly. However, an assembly of what? In Acts 19:32 it is a gathering together of the citizens of Ephesus. Acts 7:38 refers to the ecclesia of the Israelites in the wilderness. When Paul speaks of the ecclesia in his letters, however, he is referring to “the body of Christ” (*1). This includes all “who in one Spirit are baptized into one body” (*2). Anyone who believes the Good News, receives the Spirit of promise (*3) and is thereby added to “the body of Christ.” That’s a spiritual matter – there’s not a drop of water used in this process and it has nothing to do with being enrolled in any administration of a church organization. In church jargon, one often hears mention made of “the universal church” and of “the local church”. Are even smaller circles in view, then the term “house churches” is used. But the Bible makes no such distinctions! Each ecclesia represents the whole body of Christ! Even if only a few believers meet in a house, it nevertheless is called “the ecclesia” (*4). They are not merely a part of the ecclesia, but “THE ecclesia”. Those who gathered represent the total (> synecdoche). We can compare this to our parliament. It is rare that all members are present, but nevertheless, the House will decide issues. The meeting represents all the members. With the understanding that each ecclesia represents the whole ecclesia, is, at once, the church-problem of the mutual relationship of “local churches” resolved. What do I say? The whole problem does not even exist! The problem exists only by the grace of using unsound words. The Bible knows no such thing as a “local church”. Paul did not write a letter to the ecclesia OF Corinth; no, he addressed the letter to “THE ecclesia IN Corinth…” (*5). It is the one ecclesia (“the body of Christ”) that holds meetings, at different times and in different places. But here again, it is “THE ecclesia.” With this name, every meeting of believers (with Christ as Head), is awarded an honorary title: it represents the whole body of Christ! ——————————————————— FOOTNOTES (*1) Eph.5:23; Col.1:18,24, etc. (*2) 1Cor.12:13 (*3) Eph.1:13 (*4) Rom.16:5; 1Cor.16:19; Col.4:15; Philemon :2 (*5) 1Cor.1:2; 2Cor.1:2 ——————————— translation: Peter Feddema

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