Ecclesia vs. Hetaeria

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Thinkingstuff, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
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    I'm curious how christians view modern day christianity. The ancient church referred to christianity as ecclesia where we get the term church. In Roman and Greek usage it was used primarily in political assemblies such as a gathering of polis officials or a senatorial meeting. However, Pliny refers to christians as Hetaeria or a social club. He obviously didn't know much about the christiani. And was ruthless in dealing with them. However, my point is that the early ecclesia had a bond which would make them ecclesia. However, when I visit churches and see the montage of chrisitanity I wonder is Pliny more appropiate for today when he referred to christians as Hetaeria. Any thought?
     
  2. Agnus_Dei

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    My wife's grandfather refers to church today as a "social club". As a former Baptist, my pet peeve were these little "clicks" through out church. Once I left and briefly visited a Methodist Church, it wasn't so much "clicks" as it was that worship became religious entertainment.

    In Protestantism today, its a spiritual marketplace in which churches compete for believers and in which believers may choose which suits them best. Some churches even have marketing teams, focused groups to try and outdo the church down the street. The Holy Spirit is replaced by techniques of church growth movement and those nauseating signs we see in the front of Protestant churches. This situation facing Protestantism today, not only throws emphasis onto the believer, it also distorts the life of the church that now has to look to its own survival.

    In XC
    -
     
  3. Thinkingstuff

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    Thanks,

    Modern Christianity is of concern to me. You right. I think that we can choose the "right fit" christianity. Living as christians without real sacrifice and change.
     
  4. billwald

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    Yes, the church has some characteristics of a social club and/or a service club. Compare with the Rotary, Moose, or Elks, which also have some religious characteristics. Just as every Moose member is not a faithful Moose, neither is every local church member one of the elect? Does it matter?

    Old story about during the sermon, an old timer jumped up and shouted, "Halleluiah! The preacher got saved!"

    The Church is God's social contract for this dispensation.
     
  5. DHK

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    Ecclesia rightly translated means assembly or congregation as you pointed out. If it degenerates into a social club whose fault is that not? Certainly not the fault of Christ! Don't lay your blame on Him!
    Every ekklesia (assembly--church) is Christ's church or His body. He died for the church (the ekklesia), all of them that are Bible-believing churches.

    There is no such thing as "The Church." There is no such thing as a universal church. One cannot have an unassembled assembly. It is a contradiction of terms. The Bible does not use any terminiology that gives rise to that concept, nor is denominationalism taught in the Bible. Paul went on three missionary journeys and established over 100 local and independent churches. Each one of them were independent of the others. They were ekklesias or local congregations.
     
  6. Thinkingstuff

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    Do you think that is true? The Earliest church fathers would disagree with you. Independent of each other? What about James making his proclimation during the first church council in Acts? Seems that these issues about gentiles were made to be universally accepted by all the churches. What need was there for Paul to ask for funds for the Church at Jerusalem and berating them for not giving? Though I am sure that the little details of the church were different from church to church there were some startling common practices. In fact the early church fathers used Catholic (universal) a lot. I'm not advocating for the Catholic church in Rome. I think the Early church Fathers meant (like in accounting GAAP) Generally Accepted Christian Principles which became very important due to the gnostic attacks on the church. They were unified in these principles. Do we have that kind of cohesion today? I wonder.
     
  7. DHK

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    I don't put a lot of stock in the ECF. Many of the heresies of the RCC have arisen out of them. And some of them were outright heretics like Origen, considered a heretic even by the RCC.

    The local church at Jerusalem was the first church to be established. That is where Pentecost was, and 3000 were saved that first day. It grew very quickly. When Saul was persecuting believers, Acts 8 tells us that the believers went everywhere spreading the word but the Apostles remained in Jerusalem. The common believer looked to the Apostles for leadership. Although the Apostles were in Jerusalem, it was James that was the pastor. It was James that made the final decision. He heard Paul, Peter, and some others. And it was "Pastor James's decision that they all abided by.

    Acts 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
    Acts 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

    This decision was a decision regarding the Judaizers, those that believed circumcision and the keeping of the law were also essential to salvation. They were the ones that troubled Paul everywhere he went. Now a clear sentence had been made coming from the authority of the Apostles themselves that ought to put an end to these Jews that were troubling the Gentiles by adding to the gospel the works of the law. There was no "council" as such.

    Acts 15:1-2 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

    Paul wrote to individual churches to meet their needs. In his first letter to the Corinthians he addresses problems specific to that church that are addressed in no other church.

    In Jerusalem there was a famine. A great many of the believers were in poverty. Paul, in his compassion, took up an offering for these believers on one of his missionary journeys. This doesn't mean that all the churches were connected, as in a denomination. Believers traveled and moved such as they do today.
    Phoebe went to Rome, as did Aquila and Priscilla.
    Apollos ended up in Corinth, and Titus went to Crete.
    But in all of that there was no denomination. They were independent churches not having any connection one with another. And no church had any authority over another.
     
  8. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    Without pre-supposing 'Church' in the sense of the universally-by-conviction-faith-bound-together-spiritual-"Body-of-Christ's-Own" individuals, Congregations and invisible yet spiritual real 'Church', you would not have been able to say: "I don't put a lot of stock in the ECF. Many of the heresies of the RCC have arisen out of them. And some of them were outright heretics like Origen, considered a heretic even by the RCC."
     
  9. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    Where will you find a more universal, spiritual 'Church'-orientated concept and Institution like: "The Lord's Supper"?
     
  10. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    DHK:
    "One cannot have an unassembled assembly"

    GE
    O yes, one can. One must!
    What do you think did Paul write Letters to the Church for? Why were the Gospels compiled and composed? Why is it people do 'Bible study'?
     
  11. DHK

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    Read 1Cor.11. The Lord's Supper was given to the local church. Paul was giving instructions how the church at Corinth was to carry it out. There are instructions there how each local church are to observe this ordinance. It is one of the two ordinaces of the local church.
     
  12. DHK

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    Surely you understand the English language. One cannot have an "assembly" that does not assemble. It does not make sense.
    One cannot have a congregation that does not "congregate."
    Let's use some common sense here. Assembly is the only definition of the word "ekklesia." You just can't go and force your own made up definitions into that word.
    Paul wrote specific letters to specific churches. Every letter that Paul wrote was written either to a local church or to a pastor of a local church. The letters in the Book of Revelation were all written to pastors of seven different local churhes that all existed in the first century.
    If you do your "Bible Study" you should know these things.
     
  13. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    DHK
    "each local church "

    GE
    That implies the general assembly of the saints not assembled, assembled in faith, the Church. Sorry. must go, promised my daughter!
     
  14. gb93433

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    Typically where there is more opposition the church is strongest because people have a decision to make.

    I suspect that when James refers to the people as adulteresses the problem was around then. When I read Rev. 1&2 I suspect the same problem was around then. When I read of Peter denying Jesus three times I see no difference then than now. When I listened to Rev. Richard Wurmbrand in 1975 and heard him talk about those who denied Christ I suspect that the church had not changed since the time Peter denied Jesus and Judas betrayed him.

    When I read Mt. 7:21-23 I suspect that the church today is no different today.

    In the 1800s Spurgeon spoke of the weakening church in England. Paul wrote of those who made trouble for him.

    If it weren't for people we would have a perfect church today.
     
  15. DHK

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    There is no "church," as you refer to it.
    There are only churches, local churches, congregations, assemblies.
    That is the only meaning that ekklesia has. Take up your fight with the Greek NT, not with me.
    Because Spurgeon and others developed a wrong theology, doesn't make the Bible teaching on ecclesiology wrong.
     
  16. gb93433

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    Are you suggesting that God did not know what he was doing when he inspired the writer of Matthew to write Mt. 16:18?

    Take up your fight with the Greek NT, not with me.
     
    #16 gb93433, Jun 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2008
  17. steaver

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    You are losing me on this one DHK and I usually agree with you. There is the world wide church of Christ (one church, one head shepherd Jesus Christ) and many "assemblies" throughout the world. I don't get your stance.

    :thumbs:
     
  18. DHK

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    It comes down to terminology. There is one family of God of which we all are sons of daughers, and all have been adopted into when we were born again.
    But the Bible itself doesn't use the word translated church "ekklesia" in a universal sense, as in "church of Christ." It always refers to it as a local church, for the word itself should be translatied assembly.
    The only time all believers will be assembled together will be in heaven. We can look forward to that day.
     
  19. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    DHK:
    "Surely you understand the English language. One cannot have an "assembly" that does not assemble. It does not make sense. "

    GE:
    It does make sense -- spriritually. We are talking 'faith'-stuff - which is 'spiritual' not physical.

    I don't deny the 'physical' assembly is 'Church'. But think it from God's viewpoint: He does care for the Congregation sure, that is why He instituted for the Church-a-congregating the Lord's Supper and the Lord's Day. But the Lord's Body among men is not even this Congregation because it consists mainly of tares anyway. But to God, The-Body-of-Christ's-Own is worldwide, incapable of ever to congregate until that day we all are looking forward to -'we all' - the true believers, the Church in the wilderness without Congregation. Wait till you must get along in your spiritual life thrown out of the physical assembly, and must starve after the Communion of the Saints. Then you will know.
     
    #19 Gerhard Ebersoehn, Jun 30, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2008
  20. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    DHK:
    "Assembly is the only definition of the word "ekklesia." "

    GE
    You know it is not. It literally means 'Elect', as you well know. To me the best definition of the 'Ekklesia', is found in Col2:17, "The-Body-of-Christ's-Own" -- 'sohma tou Xristou'.
     

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