Give Yourself to Others …

I don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind

Posted on: 2007/06/07

Isn’t that a great headline? Intended to get your attention and lead to the obvious question: What is it that Jesus didn’t have in mind?

My answer is: I don’t think when you look at most “churches” that you find what Jesus had in mind when he used the word, ekklesia (which has commonly translated, church).

The word, church, is actually derived for a German word, kirche, which refers to cathedrals. While ekklesia, in the original Greek, refers to an assembly. Nothing special about the assembly, except that it seems to refer to a group that assembles for some purpose — as opposed to an unruly mob or crowd. For example, when the citizens of Athens assembled to vote, they were an “ekklesia.”

In modern English, I’d suggest that a better word is association or fellowship.

If you read the New Testament text and take special note of Jesus’ comments about the Pharisees, it seems that if you replace Pharisees with “organized religion”, most of Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees seems to apply.

In addition, many people seem to think the only path to God is thru one church or another. And Jesus said quite the opposite. The path to God is thru Jesus, and Jesus alone. And the assembling of Jesus’ disciples together seems only natural, given their common relationship with God.

I think Jesus would speak as harshly about modern churches as he spoke about the Pharisees and the Jewish leaders. Do you think differently?

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