Tuesday, May 05, 2020


The Greek word translated as “church” in the New Testament is “ekklesia”. It was not a group of people that gathered to meet on Sundays.

The literal meaning of ekklesia is “called out ones”. It does not refer to people who have been called out of the world into the church. Rather it refers to people who have been called out of the Roman Empire, or whatever kingdom rules at that time, into an alternative kingdom, the Government of God. They have been called out of the kingdom of the world, out of the Roman Empire, out of their nation-state, out of the political system that controls to become a Kingdom Community with its own independent government under God.

Ekklesia was a political term. In the ancient democracy of Athens, ekklesia (Greek: ἐκκλησία) was the principal assembly of all male citizens who had qualified for citizenship. This was not democracy as we know it, but a meeting of the rich and powerful, who controlled the rest of the people. The word is used in this sense in Acts 19:38-39 where the town clerk said to the mob of Ephesians who were stirred up against Paul.

The courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly (ekklesia).
The ekklesia was the governing body of a city, albeit constrained by submission to the power of Rome.

Many Christians have noted that Jesus talked incessantly about the Kingdom of God, but Paul used the word kingdom relatively infrequently. They have assumed that Paul was less interested in the Kingdom of God, but that is not true. In contrast, Paul was actually describing how the Kingdom of God would come into being, as God called people out of the Roman empire and formed them into Kingdom Communities in the places where they lived. Each one was referred to as an ekklesia, because they were called out of the kingdom of the world to form a community within the Kingdom of God.

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