So, you don’t like church?

A lot of people are turned off by “church.” My premise for this article is that people are repulsed not by the church, but by something else that bears that name but is not the genuine article. Let’s start off with a few basics.

First of all, the word “church” is a wimpy translation of another Greek word, “ekklesia.” Trust me…a better translation would be “assembly” in some contexts, “community” in others. If you don’t trust me, check it out for yourself and you’ll see I’m shooting straight with you. In the New Testament we learn some solid facts about the word we translate “church.”

  1. It never refers to a building.
  2. It always refers to people.
  3. It sometimes refers to a gathered assembly.
  4. It sometimes refers to groups or communities in regions.
  5. It sometimes refers to all believers in the world.
  6. It sometimes refers to the un-gathered community of the saved.
  7. There is only one ekklesia or flock belonging to God and all the saved are in it (Acts 2:47).
  8. It never refers to a particular denomination (As in, “Which church do you attend?”).
  9. It is always a noun and never modifies another noun (As in, church building, church treasury, church property, church members, etc.).
  10. Jesus built it (Matthew 16:18).
  11. It is God’s household (I Timothy 3:16)
  12. Christ is the only head of it, eliminating any other head…(Ephesians 1:22, Colossians 1:18 et al.).
  13. Christ sustains a loving, nurturing relationship to the church (read Ephesians 5).
  14. It is His body (Colossians 1:24).
  15. He purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28).

The monstrosity we so often see today is a corrupted, human-manipulated, man-dominated, misguided version of the church (ekklesia) revealed in God’s word. In many cases institutions called “churches” are merely clubs. They do not resemble the “church” of the New Testament in description or function. But make no mistake, if you are a penitent, immersed believer, God has added you to his community, flock, assembly whether you like it or not.

The ekklesia Christ built is a perfect concept. We ought to appreciate it for what it is. It is, however, made up of flawed humans (you and me) and will never be perfect in expression. We ought to struggle for what it can be.

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4 Comments

Filed under Change Agent, church, Community, Ekklesia, Jesus Christ, Kingdom Growth, Religion, Salvation

4 responses to “So, you don’t like church?

  1. I began saying nearly 30 years ago that what we see as “church” today in America is not representative of anything God had in mind when He chose to become flesh and live among us. Fortunately, I am seeing more congregations striving to be organisms rather than institutions.

  2. Bob Chapman

    Dwight,
    It is interesting that Jesus preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand”. The apostles and disciples preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of God has come”.
    This should be the preaching today? A return to preaching the kingdom of God and living like we reign in it is the only way the kingdom of Satan will be defeated.
    Three songs, a Bible reading, two songs, a prayer, a message, communion, a closing song and prayer and a rush to beat the Baptists to the steak house wont defeat the kingdom of Satan.
    Today’s “church worship” is a far cry from what the disciples engaged in at night after preaching the kingdom of God in the streets all day where they were healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, casting out demons and snatching soul after soul from the fires of hell.
    When did “true worship” become God’s focus for disciples? The only mandate Jesus had from the Father and passed on to us was, to seek and save the lost and make disciples of them, sending them out to make other disciples, (Luke 19:10, Matt. 28:18-20). Worship is not God’s current mandate — saving souls is! True, sincere, worship results from fulfilling this mandate.
    Yet most denominations, including the Church of Christ, focus on getting Sunday morning repetitively correct in order to compliment their acceptability before God on the final day — a far cry from Matthew 25:34-46 and James 1:27.

    Good article Dwight, but few are listening I’m afraid! As I have said to you before, Sunday worship is most places is “Groundhog Day!”
    Bob

  3. I found your article interesting, especially since our church is called “Ekklesia” (EkklesiaDetroit.com), and we’ve just launched a video contest called “Don’t Like Church.” We’re going to pay people to slam church all they want, in 2 minutes or less. If you, or anyone you know is interested in entering, you can visit DontLikeChurch.com

    Thanks Dwight,

    Chris

  4. dwhitsett

    Thanks for the comment Chris. Sorry I’m just now getting it posted.
    I hope that folks who don’t like church the way it is will, as you seem to have, start doing it right.

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