The Idea of Church


#1

I had a Protestant friend try to refute the idea of a Church as Catholics understand it.

!. He says in Greek the word for Church is ecclesia which means called out into a community of faith or something to that effect.

  1. My friend was trying to say that the Greeks (hence the Greek language) did not have a concept of a “Church” since they were all polytheistic pagans.

Since I do not know Greek I did not know how to respond.


#2

G1577

ἐκκλησία

ekklēsia

Thayer Definition:

  1. a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
    1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating
    1b) the assembly of the Israelites
    1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously
    1d) in a Christian sense
    1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting
    1d2) a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake
    1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body
    1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth
    1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven

Part of Speech: noun feminine

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from a compound of G1537 and a derivative of G2564

Citing in TDNT: 3:501, 394

Definition 1b is of special importance. The septuagint used this word to refer to the entire congregation of Israel, either in the sense of them having assembled together (like in a building), or in the simple sense of every Israelite everywhere. This helps us to establish the idea of ecclesia being used to refer to the invisible Church, which is no doubt what your friend is trying to assert. The word no doubt refers to all Christian believers everywhere. (at least I hope this is what he is trying to prove, if not then he is even wrong from a Protestant perspective).

Given that, however, is it possible that the word could refer to The Church, as we Catholics like to claim? This would seem to contradict your friend’s statements, especially number 2.

The fact is that the Greeks DID have the concept of a Church. Definition 1d2 clearly states this. Also, refer to this statement:

In the New Testament the term is used also in the narrower sense of a single church, or a church confined to a particular place. So of the church in the house of Aquila and Priscilla (Rom_16:5); the church at Corinth, the churches in Judea, the church at Jerusalem, etc.

  • Vincent’s Word Studies

It is easy to see this. Open up the book of Revelation, and read the various letters addressed to the seven churches. It’s all over the Bible, every time a church is mentioned as being at Corinth or Ephesus or whatnot.

Therefore we have the Bible itself as proof theat there DID exist the concept of a church. Somebody may want to expand upon this, but to me the idea of moving from ecclesia refering to a single building, which is an organization of worship, to the Catholic Church, which is an organization of worship, is simple.

Also note that the Catholic Church often refers to its invisible boundaries and it’s visible ones. The invisible boundary refers to that surrounding all the believers everywhere, the community of faith. The visible boundary refers to those belonging to the Catholic Church in a formal way, which is the second definition.


#3

this thread is relevant to the idea of Church

bibleforums.org/forum/showthread.php?t=36682


#4

Thayer Definition:

  1. a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
    1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating
    1b) the assembly of the Israelites
    1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously
    1d) in a Christian sense
    1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting
    1d2) a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake
    1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body
    1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth
    1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven

Thank You. I do not know how to read Greek. According Karl Keating’s Catholicsm and Fundamentalism the greek word for In “This is my Body”, the ‘is’ part is the Grk. word *Esti *which is used 900 times in N.T according to
online Protestant dictionary (www.crosswalk.com). It used 744 times to mean “is” literally, or the primary meaning of the word. I find it ironic that my Fundamentalist friend will use secondary meanings to support taking “This is my Body” symbolically, but he will insist on only defining ecclesia by the first definition [1a] given above?


#5

Yeah, that is what they tend to do. I posted this in another thread:

“Catholicism, in other words, interprets the Bible based on all the appropriate scholarly means, taking into account culture, the original language, the type of literature, and so forth. Most (but not all) Protestants interpret the Bible based only on what they want it to say. They start off with their own ideas about what they want to teach, and they interpret different Bible passages in different ways to make it say that. Catholicism doesn’t do this; it uses the most appropriate scholarly means to find the Scriptures’ true meanings.”


#6

Yeah I would agree with Lazer. Two preconceptions that most Protestants have when interpreting the Bible are called sola fide and sola scriptura… After just reading Scott Hahn’s book “Rome Sweet Home” I can say that thankfully, not all Protestants read the Bible with these two preconceptions set in stone. Scott realised by himself (when he was very anti-Catholic) that sola fide isn’t taught be the Bible. Hopefully more and more “thinking” Protestants will realise this too and it will lead them home…


#7

[quote=philipmarus] He says in Greek the word for Church is ecclesia which means called out into a community of faith or something to that effect.
[/quote]

I never can understand why this definition goes against what the Catholic Church is. It’s one big community of faith. All communities have leadership, from neghborhood subdivisions to universities to clubs to cities to countries. The Biblical Church or community also has leadership specifically mentioned in Scripture including bishops, deacons, and priests. Why is the Catholic Church not a community of faith?

  1. My friend was trying to say that the Greeks (hence the Greek language) did not have a concept of a “Church” since they were all polytheistic pagans.

What does this have anything to do with anything? I don’t get it? he just gave us his defiition of the greek understanding of “church”–a community. Why is the Catholic Church not a community?


#8

[quote=Genesis315]I never can understand why this definition goes against what the Catholic Church is. It’s one big community of faith. All communities have leadership, from neghborhood subdivisions to universities to clubs to cities to countries. The Biblical Church or community also has leadership specifically mentioned in Scripture including bishops, deacons, and priests. Why is the Catholic Church not a community of faith?

What does this have anything to do with anything? I don’t get it? he just gave us his defiition of the greek understanding of “church”–a community. Why is the Catholic Church not a community?
[/quote]

I’ve noticed some Protestants have deep suspicion of anything that from “Pagans” of Greece and Rome. My Friend utterly rejects using a Greek Lexicon based Homer’s Dialect for example. My friend’s view is that “Pagan Greece” were not christians, therefore in his opinion they had no concept of a “Church” in the christian sense of the word, so he views the word translated as Church could not really mean Church to the ancient greeks.


#9

[quote=philipmarus]I’ve noticed some Protestants have deep suspicion of anything that from “Pagans” of Greece and Rome. My Friend utterly rejects using a Greek Lexicon based Homer’s Dialect for example. My friend’s view is that “Pagan Greece” were not christians, therefore in his opinion they had no concept of a “Church” in the christian sense of the word, so he views the word translated as Church could not really mean Church to the ancient greeks.
[/quote]

Well this point is refuted by the fact that it is used in the Bible to do just that (like in Revelation in reference to the Church at Ephesus, etc.)


#10

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