Friday, January 30, 2004

Busy today trying to configure some XP laptops as remote internet kiosks. The hardest part is getting them properly locked down. I know their is kiosk software out there but I really don't have the time to test it, learn it, and procure it. XP is doing alright, I just have to remember to enable the built-in firewall. The Group Policy snap-in is quite a tedious way to lock down the machine but it's free.
The cool thing about these laptops is the Aircard PC 3220 cards. Wireless net access anywhere on Verizon's data network. Nice.
I've got another email to write (you know who you are) but I don't know WHEN that'll happen since I have been busy with the laptops and I will be in FL from Sat to Wed. If I can hit a Kinko's down there this blog will get an update at least.
Going to recopy something I posted last night to the FFF concerning churches:
In another thread it was said that since the church is a called-out assembly if they all didn't meet together it wouldn't be a church. I am not only interested in looking at ekklesia in response to this but also as it concerns the ideas of the local and universal church.
1. Church and churches (except for two places), in the KJV are always translated from ekklesia. The two places don't really count here:
"Churches" in Acts 19:37 is a mistranslation of "hierosulos" which means temple robbers;
"Church" in I Pet 5:13 is an insertion of the KJV translators and does not appear in the Greek.
2. Ekklesia is translated assembly three times.
3. Ekklesia is not translated in the KJV as anything other than church, churches, or assembly.

Now with this background we need to look at some different ways the church is described, universal and local:
Mat 16:18 - Universal
Acts 9:21 - Local (Plural)
Acts 11:22 - Local
I Cor 15:9 - Universal
All of these passages reference the ekklesia. So both Mat 16:18 and I Cor 15:9 imply a universal called-out assembly, While passages like Acts 9:21 and Acts 11:22 imply a local called-out assembly. Is it a different called-out assembly? Is an ekklesia an ekklesia, or not? How about some other verses:
Rom 16:5 Likewise [greet] the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
1Cr 11:22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise [you] not.
Hbr 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
In Rom 16:5 we have a church, obviously local, in a house. Obviously this doesn't refer to the entirety of the church in that area.
In I Cor 11:22 we have people congregating outside of their houses, evidently. Let's back up to v.20. The KJV has Paul giving them instructions for when they all "come together therefore in one place". "One place" is a translation from autos meaning "a person or group." Paul is not specifying a place. The church at Corinth may have well owned a building but it need not be so. In v.17 Paul simply says "ye come together," and in v.18 he says "when ye come together in the church" and then in v.20 Paul defines "church" by saying "autos", or group.
In both Rom 16:5 and I Cor 11:18 we get a glimpse of what Paul considered the ekklesia, in a very basic and general sense, to be. In Rom 16:5 he refers to a church which is in a house, referring obviously to part of a body (be it local or universal). In I Cor 11:18 Paul appears to draw the picture backwards by telling us that people in the church are coming together. The local assembling of believers both in the house of Priscilla and Aquila and also the local assembling of believers in a group or "autos" at Corinth obviously shows us that when Paul is referring to a physical assembly of believers it does not necessarily represent an entire ekklesia (be it local or universal) although the latter is addressed to the entire ekklesia at Corinth.
Before looking at the ramifications of this reality of church life it should be said that the "forsaking" of Heb 10:25 carries the meaning of abandonment and should not be interpreted as meaning that a believer cannot miss any meetings whatsoever and for whatever reason.
The idea that only part of an ekklesia met at any one time gives us a picture of early church life. It would not have been required for you to take off certain of the same times every week to be in attendance because the church met daily (Acts 2,6,16). Paul would have understood that the physical assembling would continue throughout the week so that various groupings could occur as people were able to attend, given their schedules.
The idea of called-out assembly then, pertains not to physical assembly, but pertains to the idea explained in I Pet 2:5:
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
The spiritual house being the church:
Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Which is the church universal since the head of this "body" is Christ:
Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
The "local ekklesia" is not the ekklesia. It is merely the "ekklesia in a locality" (Acts 8:41; Rom 16:1; Rev 2:8,12,18; Rev 3:7) and exists as a separate unit only in the sense in which its local elders are responsible for particular groups in the city they are in.
With this understanding we can look at several ideas:
Para-church(para-ekklesia) ministries: No such duckling, unless there is no spiritual oversight(elders) and the people themselves aren't saved. Most reputable ministries will have a spiritually-minded board of directors or some other directing group along with professing Christians serving in them.
Denominations: Do not represent different ekklesias or churches, but merely represent different groupings of ekklesia members.
Magisterium: Non-existant.

Also we must understand baptism not to refer to a "local church" initiation rite which is basically how many Baptist teachers see it, but an act pure obedience to Christ and an identification with the whole ekklesia which is under Christ.

One more very important thing to realize in this discussion is what Christ's relation to the bride is. The bride is not the "local church". It is the whole ekklesia. Christ, in His seven letters to the churches, has shown His willingness to relegate entire groups of believers to uselessness if they do not turn to Him.

(I deleted one last out-on-a-limb comment. You can get on the FFF if you want to see it.)

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