CHURCHIANITY, CHURCHIANICS, THE CHURCHED AND CHURCH – Part 5

Church2 I will strongly encourage that you read the preceding parts of this before you jump on here.This will help you appreciate where I’m coming from with all these stories I am patiently following through. From the past series I have tried to look at some serious misconceptions about the church and within the church. Thus I have coined words such as Churchianity, Churchianics, The Churched all to help conceptualize the misconceptions that exist today regarding the church. This is the 5th part of the series and I am now looking at what is the real meaning of the church and what was the original plan of its founder.

THE CHURCH

I am a student of purpose and subscribe to the belief that when purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable. This is very simply to understand because everyone who creates a product has a plan or purpose in mind. No one makes a spoon and uses it as a drumming instrument; neither does one cook a pot of stew and uses it for painting the walls simply because it’s almost red in colour. Purpose is what guides action and the execution of any plan or design. Most of us can attest to the fact that our lives had little direction until we came in touch with our self-defined or God-given purpose. Secularly we can appreciate when people say they came to an epiphany all because they found something larger than themselves on which to base life’s journey upon. As we all find meaning to who we are and what we do or what we are engaged in, so also everything in life has it predefined purpose, whether we know it or not. This was my quest when I began trying to understand what the church really stood for and what the idea in the mind of the founder was. Is what we see to be the church today according to the purpose of He that founded it? If not, what then was the founder trying to accomplish when He set it forth? These are important questions I had to seek an answer to and this has led me to consider this whole topic. So I consider this part the first of the concluding part to my discourse so far on the church. I want to be able by the end of this to establish what the church really mean, and what role we all play within it. This may be fairly longer that the other parts, but please do bear with me, as this is difficult to summarize.

If I asked what the definition of the word “church” was, I am sure I will hear statements such as “a church is a building in which Christians meet for worship,” or “a church is a group of Christians who gather for religious purposes.” These definitions seem very harmless, but they do not take us very far in our understanding of the true purpose of why Christ established The Church. First of all, the New Testament, from where we hear Jesus establish the rise of the church, is written in the Greek language. And it is important to note here that most of our readings of the English translations bears little semblance to what was really communicated. The word translated as church today came from the Greek word “Ekklesia “, which means an assembly or a gathering (etymologically it connotes the calling out to a gathering or assembly). The word “church” on the other hand comes from an Old English word “Cirice”, similar to an Old High German word, “Kirihha”. These two words originate from a Late Greek word, “Kuriakon”, which comes from the Greek “Kuriakos”, the possessive form of the word kurios, the term for “Lord.” Kuriakos thus simply means “Lord’s,” showing possession, or “belonging to the lord” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary). Therefore this word can mean anything that belongs to the Lord. This is where the word “church” comes from and it means The Lord’s. In fact this word only appears twice in the Bible (I Corinthians 11:20 where it talks about the Lord’s Supper and in Revelation 1:10 talking about the Lord’s Day). Ekklesia however is mentioned about 112 times in the Bible and this is by no way a religious word. Rather it was more political in its meaning because of its origin, which is ancient Greece. It was the name given to the governmental assembly of the city of Athens, duly convoked (called out) by proper officers and possessing all political power including even juridical functions.

At the time of Jesus, a lot of the Greek political concepts were fully functional in society. Herod for example had what was called Herod’s Ekklesia, who were highly informed individuals called out and gathered to advise Herod. They deliberated on Herod’s plans and decisions and were very knowledgeable and respected, thus formed a kind of advisory team to Herod. Jesus never made a mistake when he stated clearly from Matthew 16:18 that He would “build his “Ekklesia” (gathering of informed people)”. He knew exactly what He was talking about. But this has been substituted with the word church, which connotes a religious gathering of people or a structure where such peoples gather. In Greek society, the Ekklesia was the assembly of full citizens in a particular city. (Most residents were not full citizens at that time.) Thus the Ekklesia was rather like the city council in a modern American city in terms of its authority. Look closely how Jesus continues that statement; “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:19). This shows the awesome authority that this group of people was to exercise. Make no mistake; it had nothing to do with a religion, but a Kingdom which Jesus had come to establish. This is an important step in retrieving our brains from the trap of religious confusion.

In Ancient Greece, within the city-state system, the Ekklesia was made up of all the citizens who had retained their civil rights. The powers of the Ekklesia were almost limitless. According to the writer John W. Ritenbaugh, “It elected and dismissed magistrates and directed the policy of the city. It declared war, and it made peace. It negotiated and approved treaties and arranged alliances. It chose generals, assigned troops to different campaigns, raised the necessary money, and dispatched those troops from city to city. It was an assembly in which all members had equal right and duty.” These points to the level of influence Jesus had in mind when He used that term to refer to what He wanted to build. Remember Jesus was a King and this He established even before Pilate. So it follows that a King enhances His kingdom by giving Authority to His followers to apply His laws wherever they find themselves. It is so interesting to see how much political terms Jesus used during His earthly ministry. Thus the people that were to represent this King were men who had been built into a certain level of competence to be representatives of the King. I remember the Scriptures put it this way in 2 Cor. 5:20: “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ…” May I remind you once more that the word “Ambassador” is not a religious word, but it is a political one. Ambassadors must attain a level of competence before they represent the affairs of the King, and this is why Jesus commanded His disciples to go into the world and make men of the same quality as themselves, and teach them to observe all that had been taught them by the Lord.

We also see from the Scriptures that much of these gatherings took place in the houses of members and not under any big structure. It was only the Jews then that had Synagogues or worship temples as well as those of the pagan religions around then. The nature of an Ekklesia was one that every member had the right to speak and to reason with the others regarding the words of the King. Thus a smaller homely setting will create more close contacts and more opportunity for members to register their presence and to exercise their special abilities. But today we see the desire for God’s people to build huge structures that does nothing but stroke the religious egos of Christians and open the door for a competitive spirit to mute the voice of our gospel. Now we compare ourselves with ourselves and fall into the foolishness which Paul referred to in the New Testament. I am by no way condemning huge gatherings, but I tell you the truth, it can never deliver effectively the purpose of God on the earth. Paul Yonggi Cho, Pastor of the largest gathering of nearly 830,000 people, found out this important truth. The church will only grow on the basis of the cell system, which is church in the home. Many churches adopted this model and saw a dramatic increase in Disciples of Christ. Meanwhile many Pastors and church leaders are busy planting churches everywhere and then going to evangelize people to come into these buildings. Wow!!! How we have missed the point. There is a reason why the home is the base of the Ekklesia. Jesus says that the only way the world will know that we are His Disciples is if we have love one for the other. Where else is best to express this except in the small gathering?

In the final part I will talk about how effective we can be when we follow the original pattern laid out by Jesus.

Please forgive all errors

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7 thoughts on “CHURCHIANITY, CHURCHIANICS, THE CHURCHED AND CHURCH – Part 5

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  1. Reggie, if you don’t mind I’d like to add a few comments of my own regarding your article above on churchianity, which I just finished reading backwards! ha, ha I stumbled upon your July article first then found this one. Again I agree with what you’ve written and your perspective on things is very interesting and refreshingly different yet still scriptural. I’d like to add my thoughts on organized church leadership, which is clearly the root of the problem and is where the “church” got off track, all the way back with the “founding fathers.”. Today’s “one man” pastoral system clearly produces pride and greed in the men who call themselves ‘pastors’ and it produces idolatry and mass Biblical ignorance in the people who follow them. They place their faith in the words of men, not God. These pastors have assumed a mantle not based on God’s Word, but on men’s traditions (as you also allude to in your above article). The word “pastor” isn’t even in the (original) bible. Correctly translated from a literal bible or lexicon is the word “poimen” which means a shepherd. Of course todays “pastors” claim they are “shepherds” but their actions speak louder than their words. Eph 4:11:…… “and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as proclaimers of good news, and some as shepherds (not “pastors”) and teachers. Using the Bible to translate itself instead of accepting man made doctrines and traditions might be a great way to find out exactly what the “shepherds” should be doing: 1 Peter 5:2-4: I appeal to the shepherds of God’s flock that is among you, watching over it, not because you must but because you want to, and not greedily but eagerly, as God desires. Do not lord it over the people entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock. Notice it doesn’t say teaching, preaching, business administrating, tithe collecting or stuttering prophetic words in a spotlight…. it says WATCHING over the flock. Todays “religious guru” brand of “pastor” has taken its form from the nicolaitan (Nico = Ruler, Laitan = laity) man made traditions passed down through generations of manmade error. After the first 300 years of true New Testament Discipleship and home churches this “pastor”/minister/priest function took over the church system beginning in Rome and has been used to enslave people to manmade religious institutions ever since. If you want to know what a real shepherd does, and a real “church”…. read your Bibles for yourselves. This position of shepherd is one that should exist in the background, a protector of the flock, not a “ruler of the laity” on a raised platform with a spotlight ON THEM and loudspeakers in your face. This is a form of brainwashing! Does the body of Christ being relegated to “laity” make sense in light of the fact that Paul NEVER mentioned a single “pastor” EVER in any of his travels? The KJV only mentions (& mistranslates) the word “pastor” ONE TIME in the entire new testament. True followers of Christ are supposed to be loving and encouraging each other face to face, not staring at the backs of other people’s heads, which is the entire purpose of “assembling together” – Heb 10:25. The Bible says almost nothing about “pastors” yet we see them everywhere like a plague of locusts all over the landscape of what calls itself “christianity” today. Elders are mentioned frequently and the “pastors” who smugly call themselves “ministers” (ala “church of christ”) like to throw a lifeline over to that term and say “oh yea, we’re also elders!” Says who? That’s not what the BIBLE says. They are no different than all the others. If the Holy Spirit wanted to say “pastors” where the word “elders” is used then we would see alot more than one single instance of the word “pastor” in the entire Bible, don’t you think? In addition, “elders” are not “deacons” or what passes for “elders” in most churches today. Elders are those who are mature in the faith and are humble servants to the body of Christ, married to one wife and able to lead their family well, not a board of directors to vote in or out paid “hirelings.” This practice is also nowhere to be found in the Bible. “Pastors” (most, not all) have developed a system that cannot be justified anywhere in the Bible without hijacking legitimate functions within the true body of Christ, which as your article indicates is equal, (but with different functions, of course). If the Bible says “teachers” that doesn’t mean “pastor.” If the Bible says “prophets” that doesn’t mean “pastors.” If the Bible says “elders” that doesn’t mean “pastors.” A “shepherd” stands in the background from the sheep looking out for and exposing false doctrines/false teachers. Not a popular position and definately not the focal point of the church! The focal point within the true church is JESUS CHRIST ALONE. It’s kind of hard to maintain the integrity of the faith when one man’s opinion on doctrine is elevated above the rest of the body of Christ combined. (Sorry, but that’s how CULTS operate!). Everything about todays so called christianity is wrong. Jesus talks about removing lampstands and spueing churches from His mouth in Revelation Chpts 2 & 3. If someone still thinks they are “once saved, always saved” after Jesus just vomited them out of His mouth, well….they have way bigger problems than I can address here. The gates of hell are surely prevailing over what passes itself for “christianity” today so either: 1. what calls itself “christianity” in this world is a lie or 2. Jesus Christ Himself lied when He said the gates of hell would not prevail against HIS church. Which is it? Maybe He really meant what He said when He said “His flock is a little and scattered flock” (paraphrased) Luke 12:32. The Bible calls people to a simple, CHILD LIKE faith in Jesus Christ alone, not some man centered, seminary taught, doctrinally preconceived, PRIDE filled, “good ole boy” relgious system that we now see on the corner of every street in America. It has to be utterly nauseating to the REAL Jesus I read about daily in my Bible. He is nothing like most of these people!! His yoke is easy and His burden is light, so why do so few choose it in favor of a man made religous image that cannot save? Another unscriptural practice of today’s pastors that is not to be located in the New Testament is “tithing” which was a Jewish practice in the Old Testament, when the high priest and his assistants lived in the synagogues. Not only is tithing by Christians not specifically mentioned in the NT, its not even hinted at, not by Jesus, not by Paul, not by anybody. When Jesus scolded the pharisees for straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel, He simply pointed out to them that in following the law they should not leave out tithing but should give greater adherance to mercy and truth. The Jews were still under Old Testament law, therefore “tithing” was required for them, but not New Covenant follwers under grace. Today’s nicolaitan clergy beat their poor “herds” over the head with the “tithe”, but they seem to have no interest in animal sacrifice or observing ANY of the other portions of the O/T law. Today’s clergy conveniently extend their Biblical cherry pickers and pluck out “tithing” for the lowly “laity” to obey then leave all the rest behind. No need to “obey” anything else since they are under “grace” not “law”. That’s what I call selective religion, not true Christianity. Freewill giving, however, is mentioned in the New Testament right here: 2 Cor 9:7 Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Who decides what and how much to give? WE DO, not the “pastor,” and not the Old Testament Jewish law. And this truth scares the pants off of today’s ministers because their faithlessness in God’s provision leads them to believe that if the “laity” are not put under guilt, fear and compulsion they will never give, or what they give will be paltry and won’t support their expensive, babylonian “church” building mortgage. The bottom line is they do NOT really believe in Him, they have no faith in a God that hears and answers prayers. Their faith in is in your wallet. Where are the shepherds of God today who follow Paul’s example (a tentmaker) and work day and night for their own bread so they will not be a burden to the flock? Where are the servants today who have the faith to trust God to meet their needs without cherry picking one topic from the old testament to squeeze the last penny out of the sheep? The thing is that people rely too much on the pastors instead of God and fail to read the Bible for themselves, instead believing whatever they are told. But when one reads the Scriptures for themselves they will find that most of today’s pastors have absolutely no scriptural legs to stand on for what they are doing. Has the Lord used “pastors” to carry out his work on earth? YES, but before someone gets the wrong idea please understand that ALL THINGS work for good in the lives of those who love Jesus. Romans 8:28 … And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Does the fact that the Lord has worked through “pastors” validate their manmade nicolaitan system? Hardly. Men have established a pastoral system, also known as the “clergy” to rule over the “laity” when the body of Christ, in truth, is EQUAL. But today’s clergy are in one class and you/me are in another lower class. The Lord specifically points out that He HATES this system of clergy/laity. The people who practice this clergy/laity game are known as NICO (conquer) LAITANS (laity-you & me). Rev 2:6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Tithing has no place in the church today but giving does… according to what YOU decide to give. Our God created us to be FREE to serve Him, not under any kind of religious slavery and bondage to men. Men have created a religious system that assassinates your freedoms and instead shackles you to their lifeless institutions that they euphemistically call a “church.” The church is not a social club or a building or an institution or a man made organization, it is the living breathing BODY of Jesus Christ and Jesus is not religious, He is Truth (John 14:6).

  2. Lynn, you have just fed me again the things I am internalizing in my heart from God’s word. So much of negation we see today in the religious set up and yet, many of us are thoroughly enslaved to this big lies.

    From what you have expanded on I can also remind us that we shouldn’t forget that there is a deliberate repetition of what happened in the organized church of the Middle Ages, when follows of Christ could not read the Bible for themselves, but take as law what proceeded from the mouths of the Nicolatians (just love that word…apt!). Today, we see the glorification of ideology in place of scriptural truth and even though people have the scriptures to search like the Berean Christians, the rather sell their souls to the concoctions served in churches.

    Also you hit a point with tithing. A few years ago, the Lord delivered me from the bondage of this doctrine and freed me to serve Him from my heart and not my pocket. I found what Jesus said in Matthew 6. He said “Consider the lilies, they neither ‘toil’ nor ‘spin’, and consider the fowls of the air, they neither sow nor reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them” This was sooooo powerful and changed my life for ever. From that point I began to understand what Jesus said about giving unto Caesar what was his and God what was God. I realized that it was Caesar’s image on the coin, but God’s image was on me. So he wanted all of me, for then it will be easier to give of my substance to Him, just like the Macedonia Church in 2 Cor. 8, as Paul testified that they gave of themselves first.

    This is deep truths that we must let the whole world know about and I am really glad I met you. Perhaps, I will be ushered into further truth and your iron will sharpen mine.

  3. Wow! This is really exciting to me. I have prayed numerous times for the Lord to introduce me to a true brother or sister in the Spirit and you are the first one I’ve come into contact with a very similary spiritual foundation. I’ve met a few others online but they are still partially blinded by various issues such as militarized christianty (no such thing), pagan oriented Christ-mass, Easter (Ishtar, fertility egg queen), July 4, (Illuminati Day), Halloween (witches highest “holy” day), and all the other pagan “holy-days” we have been hoodwinked into celebrating. Thanksgiving is the only one I can’t find anything offensive to God in celebrating, but that is something we should do every day. And then I find others who are still entangled in the hegelian deception of politics (divide and conquer with Republicans vs. Democrats) when both arms are attached to the beast government who represents the pyramid on your dollar bill (ancient babylonian mystery religion). Their satanic symbolism is everywhere yet most professing believers are willfully blind about this and refuse to allow themselves to be jarred awake (my parents are an excellent example of willful ignorance), placing more credibility on Shepherd Smith (Fox News) than the Good Shepherd. God has pretty much separated me from my own family (for the most part) because of their blindness and refusal of the truth. Of course He predicted that to: “Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother in law against daughter in law and daughter in law against mother in law. Luke 12:53 Basically, most of the professing believers I meet on line or in person are still entangled with this present world and it’s corrupt system, ruled by satan (1 Jn 5:19). We are commanded to be “wise as serpents but harmless as doves” which to me, means to know what the enemy is up to and his various schemes and deceptions but at the same time, not to participate in it (like voting, joining the military, celebrating christ-mass and Ishtar, etc. etc.) This past year was my first fully awake year with regard to Christ-mass and I refused to go home to my family and participate and sent them a card with Jeremiah Chapter 10 and a full explanation of it’s origination in Babylon with Nimrod and his mother, Tammuz who had an incestuous relationship and the evergreen tree represented Nimrod’s “eternal life”. Did you know the original “ornaments” on the original “christ mass” tree in ancient babylon were sacrficed infant’s heads? I hope I don’t shock you but it’s true. The demonic spirits of satan literally revel in our ignorance at that time of year because they derive power from our ignorance (hence, be wise as serpents.) Jesus is shrewd and brilliant. The more I get to know Him, the more in awe I am!

  4. I had long been delivered from observing so called sacred day, because everyday I walk with the Master is sacred to me. I remember Him always and not on special days.

    Besides on the side I would like to talk to you on something else you talked about here. Preferably by email.
    reggie@calabarboy.com

  5. Another correction, Semi-Ramis, not Tammuz. Tammuz was their “love child”. My head is still foggy this morning!

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