All my relatives and most of my family belong either to
Churches of Christ or the Christian Church. The other day I received the following from local pastor from my relatives Christian Church in the mailbox.
The Church….An Assembly of People
All organizations, political, religious or social from the time to time hold meetings of their members. But, so as far as I know, the church is the only organization in which the assembling of its members played such a dominant role in its nature, that the institution itself became known “far an d wide” by the simple designation “the assembly”. And, of course, the eman of the term ekklesia (church). The word ekklesia was commonly used among Greek-speaking people of the first century to identify a group or gathering of people. Even in the New Testament that word is used not only to identify the collective body of Christ, but to indicate any non-religious gathering as well (Acts 19:32-41). In some it is to be regretted that the English word “church” has evolved into a sacred term used only with a religious affiliation. Robbing the term of its secular significance has contributed, in large measure to divesting it of much of its real meaning, when applied to the people of God. It is all too easy for us to forget that the being together, assembling as a united body of people, is at the very heart and soul of the church. When we look at the activities of the ekklesia in the New Testament as a corporate body of people, whether large or small, the impression of a “regular” and well established pattern of meetings is reconfirmed and enhanced (Acts 11:26,14:27, 1 Coritnhians 11 and 14, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 2, Ephesians 4:4). In 1 Cor 11:18 Paul says the believers should “come together as a Church” certainly has nothing to do with the location as such. The idea of church as a “building” is completely foreign to the New Testaments. Whether in the Assembly (ekklesia) or in the marketplace Christians were the church (the body of Christ disciples) individually or collectively. Four more times Paul used the term ekklesia as he gave instructions to the disciples at Corinth concerning individual as well as corporate conduct. These instructions were not intended to regulate just any gathering of two or more people but refer to the time when disciples gathered to worship. There was beyond a doubt among early disciples, the understanding of a certain gathering (assembly) which by its nature and purpose was distinct, special, particular, and regular. It was not possible to separate one’s daily life from that corporate life…Next time we will look at specific facets of the assembly.
Pastor Smith, Minister
I have a lot trouble with this issue. What is this big protestant concern about secular meaning of the term so important to them? I have no double they think this some how detrimental to Catholicism because I know there are very subtle anti-catholic since they offer Church History clases on Sunday nights where they cover 300 A.D to 1515 in about 2 minutes.
I frequently get challenged by relatives based the above argument on Ekklesia. Where and what could better inform my reading on the Catholic view of the Church.