Monday, January 30, 2012

church is not "called out ones," but "something tangible you can live in"

Frank Viola ( see "Frank Viola impersonates Dirty Harry/talks community"), from the book on the left in this photo:
“Our English word church is translated from the 
Greek word ekklesia. When we hear the word church, one of the following images usually pops into our heads: a building with a steeple on it; a Sunday morning service; a denomination; a pastor; a pulpit; pews; a worship team (or choir); and a sermon. Or we think of all the Christians in the entire world

Like ‘nice’ and ‘pagan,’ the word ekklesia has morphed since the first century. Back then, it did not mean “called out ones” as is sometimes taught. Consistently, the word meant a local community of people who assemble together regularly.

The word was used for the Greek assembly whereby those in the community were “called forth” from their private lives to meet (assemble) in the town forum to make decisions for their city. Consequently, the word also carries the flavor of every-member participation in decision-making. According to the New Testament, the church of Jesus Christ is not a place where one buries the dead and marries the living. It’s a community of people who gather together and who possess a shared life in Christ. As such, the ekklesia is visible, touchable, locatable, and tangible. You can visit it. You can observe it. And you can live in it.” -Frank Viola, “From Eternity to Here”, pp. 280-281


  1. This looks/sounds like a book I should check out. :)

  2. you will like it, St. Katy

  3. So, in regard to "called out ones", are you in agreement, or not? For if the word originally was derived from " 'called forth” from their private lives to meet (assemble)' " then it is really identical to the etymology of "called out ones".
    Not a Greek reader, nor heteroclitic (as far as I know), I looked through several words in Strong's preceding and following Ecclesia. All were verbs.
    "Ecclesiastes" in the Bible, is the Greek equivalent of Koholet קהלת in Tanakh (Jewish Bible).
    Is the book "called out" too?

  4. Hi atilla:

    Thanks. i hear you. But it could be that this is s case of etymological fallacy.See:

    On Ecclesiastes. Hmm.. not sure why we call that book of the Bible that in English. It's obviously derived from that Greek words. But the Jews would have us call it by its Hebrew name: Qoheleth (Hebrew: קֹהֶלֶת, The Preacher)


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!