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What Is a Church?
Tomorrow's World Magazine
May 1971
Volume: Vol III, No. 05
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What Is a Church?
Richard A Wiedenheft

CHURCH business today is big business! Millions of dollars are spent on "churches" and millions of people go "to church" every week.
   But few realize that by Biblical definition, one cannot go to or construct a church.
   In every case in the New Testament, the word "church" is translated from the Greek word ekklesia, which Strong's Exhaustive Concordance defines as "a calling out, i.e., a popular meeting, a religious congregation." It is also translated "assembly" a few times.
   Notice some examples of how ekklesia is used in the New Testament.
   Paul instructed the Roman Christians to "Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus.... Likewise greet the church that is in their house" (Rom. 16:3, 5 ). Obviously there was no separate physical edifice in the house of Priscilla and Aquila, but the assembly of called-out ones — the Church — met there.
   Paul referred to the same congregation (hosted by Priscilla and Aquila) in I Cor. 16:19. "The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house." Colossians 4:15 refers to a congregation that met in the home of Nymphas in or near Laodicea. Philemon also had a church meeting in his home (Philemon 2).
   In the book of Acts, Luke referred to the Church in the days following Pentecost, 31 A.D. "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple.... Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:46-47).
   The Church grows as Christ adds individuals to it; and it is wholly composed of those whom He has called out of the world — those who are set apart by Him to be a part of His body.
   Paul wrote of Christ, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, and the firstborn from the dead..." (Col. 1:18). In verse 24 Paul referred to himself, "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church."
   Paul was willing to suffer for the Church — the body of Christ — those who had repented and had been converted by God.
   How plain! The Church is not the building. It's not something one can go to or join!
   It is the sum total of all true Christians who have been begotten by the Holy Spirit, who have been called out by God, and have thus become part of the body of Christ — the true Church of God!

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Tomorrow's World MagazineMay 1971Vol III, No. 05
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