Tag Archives: doctrine

Preaching [and] Preach (3)


qārā’
Before leaving this pivotal theme, we should note how preaching relates to worship . It is extremely significant that the people’s response to Ezra’s reading and exposition of Scripture (Neh_8:8; cf. Neh_6:7) was worship (Neh_9:3). This is the climax; everything points to this and has prepared for it. There is nothing of equal importance to the exposition of God’s Word. Take the time now to read Jon_3:2 again, as well as Psa_80:18; Psa_105:1, where call is qārā’, signifying proclamation.
While lost in most churches today, preaching was central to the early church (note the primacy of “doctrine” in Act_2:42) and its immediate descendants. Writing in the middle of the second century, apologist Justin Martyr described a typical worship service of his day: “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen.”
Mark it down—the reading and explanation of the Word of God was the absolute center of the worship service. (Note that this statement also refutes the accusation made by modern “Sabbath keepers” that Sunday did not become the day of worship until the fourth century.)
Sadly, this is not the case today. Central today is music, drama, comedy, discussion, anecdotes, or anything else we can think of except preaching. But nothing praises God as does the proclaiming of His Word as absolute Truth.
We should be challenged by these comments by the late pastor and great expositor James Boice: “There is nothing more important for Christian growth and the health of the church than sound Bible teaching. Yet sadly, serious Bible teaching is being widely neglected in our day, even in so-called evangelical churches. Instead of Bible teaching, people are being fed a diet of superficial pop psychology, self-help therapy, feel-good stimulants, and entertainment, and the ignorance of the Bible in churches is appalling.”
Scriptures for Study: Note the centrality of preaching in the following texts: Isa_1:2-31; Matthew 5-7 (Jesus’ sermon is the greatest model of exposition); Act_2:14-36; Act_7:2-60; Act_15:14-21; Act_17:16-31.

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68 – March – 09 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

The importance of Baptism
1790 – Susanna Nun, Edmund Botsford’s first wife died, though only thirty-nine years of age.  Botsford was born in England in 1745 and at the age of seven lost both of his parents.  His aunt became his guardian and sent him to board with a Baptist lady who had been a dear friend of his mother.  Through that he was early influenced in spiritual matters and also the reading of Bunyan’s writings.  In time he lost interest in the spiritual and became careless in his living, enlisted in the army and at the age of twenty, sailed to Charleston, S.C., arriving in 1766.  There he came under the influence of Rev. Oliver Hart and the First Baptist Church and was converted to Christ on March 13, 1767, and baptized.  He was licensed to preach by the Charleston church in 1771.  Pastor Hart trained Edmund, friends provided him a horse, a saddle, and clothing to continue his training under the Rev. Pelot at Eutaw.  However, the pastor of the Baptist church at Tuckaseeking, Georgia died and they invited him to lead them.  His ministry was primarily as an evangelist at that time in 1772.  Even though a “Regular Baptist” Botsford preached at the Separate Baptist Kiokee Church, in Georgia and became great friends with Daniel and Abraham Marshall.  He stopped at the home of Loveless Savage for directions to Kiokee and invited Savage to go with him at which Savage said that he wasn’t very fond of Baptists because they think that they are the only ones that are baptized.  Upon inquiry as to how he knew he was baptized, Savage said that his parents told him that he was.  Botsford said, “Then you do not know except by information.  It bothered him so bad that he later allowed Daniel Marshall to baptize him and began preaching the same day.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 98.
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Raised for Our Justification


 

Romans 4:23-25

 

 

But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification,” Romans 4:24, 25.

 

 

Justification is the doctrine that God pardons, accepts and declares a sinner to be just (innocent) on the basis of Christ’s righteousness (Rom. 3:24-26; 4:25; 5:15-21).

 

Many years ago, a lawyer was contacted by a prisoner named Jim who maintained his innocence in the conviction of aggravated robbery. After careful examination of the evidence, the lawyer took the case back to the courts and the judgment was overturned. The court apologized to Jim for his false imprisonment, declared that all records be expunged of his conviction and a small monetary compensation was given to him. When the judge gave Jim time to speak to the court, he announced, “After all these years I am a free man. I have received justification.” Had the lawyer not acted on Jim’s behalf, he would have never been justified.

 

Jesus is the supreme lawyer. Every time one trusts Christ by faith as his Savior, Jesus goes before the great Judge (His Father) and declares that he is free from the penalty of sin. This is accomplished through the justification of Jesus’ death on the cross and completed by the resurrection.

 

 

Reflection

 

Jesus died, as the sacrifice for sin for sinners, and He rose so that believers are justified or accepted by God (1 Peter 1:3, 21).

 

Beverly Barnett

 

 

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He Gave Himself for Us


 

Galatians 1:3, 4

 

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father,” Galatians 1:4.

 

Jesus gave His life for us! The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus combined is the fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion and declared it throughout the Bible. Furthermore, it is the reason we do not have to wait until Heaven to enjoy the blessings of being believers! The beautiful reality of the sacrifice of Jesus is that He gave His life for us so that we can give our lives to Him. It is a win-win situation. (Gal. 2:20)

 

Salvation is so much more than escaping hell. It is having victory over Satan through Jesus while we live on earth (Rom. 8:38, 39). Satan cannot defeat Jesus. He has tried multiple times and failed; he will never win. But Satan can defeat us if we do not let Jesus fight with us. We are not watching the battle from the sideline; we are soldiers in the Lord’s army. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:10, 11). Jesus gave His life so that we can be more than conquerors with Him (Rom. 8:37).

 

 

REFLECTION

 

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31).

 

Beverly Barnett

 

 

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320 – Nov. 16 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Baptists and church discipline

 

1776 – The Grassy Creek Baptist Church in Granville County, N.C. brought Aaron P before the church to give reason for not communing. He was corrected and later restored.  However, the church was even handed in their discipline. “In 1770 Elder James Reed, the pastor was excluded for unchristian conduct. Elders Jeremiah Walker and John Williams, were called on as helps or as a council, to aid the brethren in this very serious difficulty.”  Pastor Reed had been baptized by Shubael Stearns in 1756 and was the first pastor of Grassy Creek. It was not for morals or doctrine that he was dismissed, and after two years he was restored and enjoyed a long and fruitful ministry of almost forty years as their pastor. In 1798 at 72 he was called to his heavenly home. His last words were: “Do you see the angels waiting to convey my soul to glory?”  On March 5, 1773, at a church conference, the question was asked and answered: Should a private transgression be made public?”  The answer was “No” based on Matt. 18:15 concerning settling differences privately before they are brought before the church. These people were serious about church discipline. On Sept. 24, 1775, the church records show that Henry Howard and Lemuel Wilson were appointed to admonish sister J___C____ for living an immoral life, such as dancing.”  They based it on the word “revellings” in Ga. 5:21 and I Pet. 4:3. Revellings referred to,“dancings in merry making, a jovial festivity with music and dancing.”  They reported back on Nov. 24 that they had admonished her, she was present, but she found no repentance, she was then excommunicated. [Robert I Devin, A History of Grassy Creek Baptist Church (Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards, Broughton and Co., 1880), p. 78. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 626-28.]   Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon

 

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J.R. GRAVES Life, times and Teachings 11


METHODISM IN TENNESSEE

Nashville was then and, indeed, is still the center and stronghold of Methodism in the South. They had there their great book concern in which every Methodist preacher was said to have a pecuniary as well as a denominational interest. Their one paper published in the Southwest was there. They had other important and thriving business establishments. They outnumbered the Baptists in Nashville at that time five to one and they really claimed this territory as peculiarly belonging to them, resenting the activities of the Baptists as invading a territory which should have been left alone. Above all, they had as the editor of their paper, The Christian Advocate, a man of varied attainments, one of surpassing ability and fierce prejudices. He was regarded as unscrupulous as he was talented; and he was a cordial hater of all the peculiarities that distinguish Baptists. That this practical polemic should at once turn his guns on the young editor was to be expected, and the manner in which he would do so might have been foreseen by his attacks on the dignified Dr. Howell:

The inflated bird of Nashville, bigoted, presumptuous enough for anything; lacking only the power to be come a pope; in a state of putridity, i.e., that in morals we understand that Brother Howell is in a state of putridity.”

This reflection was passed upon Dr. Howell just after he had delivered a masterly address at the annual commencement of the Nashville University in which he greatly enhanced his already growing popularity.

Again:

We (McFerrin) understood him (Dr. Howell) to say that he does not consider it a matter of importance always to state the plain truth.”

Once more:

To deny that Baptists have asserted that they believe that there are children in hell is more than madness, if lying is worse.”

We here give only one response from Dr. Howell, to show his estimate of the man and also his manner of making reply:

What we have said is enough to prove beyond question all that we propose, and that is that Mr. McFerrin will and does adopt any expedient, however repugnant to moral principles, if he thinks he can by such means do any injury to the Baptist denomination.”

DR. GRAVES GETTING HIS STRIDE

In the course of his editorial work, Dr. Graves, having become editor of The Baptist, set forth the Baptist view of baptism, insisting upon its meaning in the original Greek. In order to enforce his argument, he quited from namy authors. Among these were John Wesley and Adam Clark.

The editor of The Christian Advocate upbraided him as ignorant and as publishing “lies” in order to mislead his readers concerning “well known and fully accepted teaching.” Then the doughty editor of the Methodist organ challenged the editor of The Baptist to show his authority, and added: “If he failed, he would denounce him as an ignoramus and a liar and prosecute him for libel.”

Many people have been led to believe that Dr. Graves deliberately and wantonly attacked other denominations, thus seeking to draw them into debate, either oral or written. This was far from the truth and the above and the above experience indicates the ordinary course. But a challenge like that, followed by such a threat, was not the sort of dare that Dr. Graves would decline to accept. He replied, giving from Mr. Wesley’s writings and from Dr. Clark’s Commentaries their own language, making the statements which he had credited to them. He gave the volume and page from the authentic works of these great Methodist leaders and copied the quotations accurately. It was thus that the conflict with Methodism began. Dr. Graves was not the aggressor, but responded to the most vicious attacks. The same is practically true concerning Dr. Graves’ decision with respect to all denominational leaders, Baptists and others, who complained so loudly at him.

DR. McFERRIN’S LIEUTENANTS

Then there was in the state the notorious Parson Brownlow, of whom little need to be said here, a desperado in politics as in religion. This turbulent man was a heart foe of Baptists and their principles. He attacked them constantly in his political organ, The Knoxville Whig. Then throughout Tennessee and Mississippi wnt two traveling lecturers and disputers whode manin work was to attack and misrepresent Baptists. One of them was named Chapman, an Irishman, who was the bitterest and most unscrupulous man who at that time wore the ministerial garb. These were the men whom Graves, the newly elected editor, had to meet in the defense of himself and the principles which he intensely loved, and he had to meet them almost alone, as his was the only Baptist paper being published in the Southwest, for John l. Waller, of Kentucky, had retired from the Baptist Banner and Pioneer and its publication was then suspended. The Christian Advocate had been transferred by Dr. Mercer to the Georgia State Convention and was merely a medium of denominational news. The Biblical Recorder, of North Carolina, had been suspended for want of patronage and was struggling to renew its existence. It will help to understand the situation if it is remembered that there was no Baptist paper being published at that time in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, or Texas. The whole Southwet was dependent upon The Baptist as a denominational exponent.

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24 – Jan. 24 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


Rev. Larkin always exhibited a gracious spirit.
Clarence Larkin died on Jan. 24, 1924 at age 74.  He was born on Oct. 28, 1850 in Chester, PA.  He was converted to Christ at age 19 and became a member of the Episcopal church.  Knowing that his sins were forgiven, he desired immediately to preach but it was a few years before he left employment at a bank and entered college.   He had a methodical mind, and graduated as a mechanical engineer and later became a teacher of the blind.  As an engineer and a teacher of the blind, the Lord was preparing him for his life’s work of organizing the scriptures into visual charts on prophecy and doctrine that people were able to understand clearly the great truths of God’s Word.  At 32 he was immersed and united with a Baptist church.  Two years later he was ordained.  He became pastor of the Baptist church in Kennett Square, PA.  His second church was at Fox Chase, PA where he remained for twenty years.  At the time of his ordination Larkin was not a pre-millennialist, but as he studied the scriptures literally he was forced to come to that conclusion.  For years the postmillennialists had taught that the world was getting better and better, and that the church would convert the world and Christ would then return.  Rev. Larkin made huge wall charts describing his views on this subject and great numbers would come to hear him present these prophetic truths.  He reduced his teachings to Dispensational Truth (or God’s Plan in the Ages), which was his crowning work.  The Book of Daniel, The Spirit World, and The Second Coming.  Often it has been said that one can be dispensationally correct while being dispositionally mean spirited.  Those who knew him best reported that Rev. Larkin always exhibited a gracious spirit.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins, pp. 49-51.

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Adopted Girl Stuns Judges With Unbelievable Talent


Adopted Girl Stuns Judges With Unbelievable Talent.

There are those that contort the scriptures extremely to support their doctrine. For person this is an amazing feat. For a Christian it is a distortion of the truth.

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BABBLERS AND FOOLS


Ecc 10:11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?

Fools words injure others and himself.
A fool betrays his own folly by his words.
A fool does not realize that with a few words he is found out to not know what he is talking about. A fool displays wisdom when he listens more than he speaks and thereby learns.

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

Our words are to be words of God because our study has been directed to find the truth instead of satisfying our predetermined minds. Without a study plan we cannot find truth. Would you notice that the unlearned are call profane and vain babblers which increase to more ungodliness. Now Paul mentions two men that were apparently called Christians at one time but Paul in I Timothy 1:20 delivered Hymenawus unto satan.

Isa 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

We find truth when we compare scripture to scripture and principle to principle.

An example: Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This passage is salvation encapsulated in just a few words. Notice it is from God. It is given because of His great love for mankind. It is given through His Son. It is available to any that believe. The person that believes will not perish but is secure in God’s salvation.

Now we can build upon this. We will not take anything away or add to it. We will simply put meat on the bones.

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Every person ever born is in need of a Savior because we all have sinned. This is implied in John 3:16, yet it is not expressly stated.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All of us are worthy of death because we all have sinned and have reaped the wages of sin.

Joh 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

A statement that was not understood by Nicodemus but was clarified by Jesus in verse six comparing the natural birth and delivery when our mothers water breaks to the flesh and the second birth as a spiritual birth. Therefore the gift that John 3:16 refers to is the new birth.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Here is the means. By Grace. Whose Grace? God’s Grace. Through faith. Faith in who or what? Faith that Jesus Christ was crucified for us and shed His blood for us that we might be cleansed of our sin. That faith must extend to His resurrection. If He were still in the grave, He would have died in vain. Notice that what is very plainly stated here is, there are not any works that will get us in heaven. Isaiah said “all our righteousnessess are as filthy rags.” We simply in our flesh cannot please God. This leaves out baptism, church membership and the Lord’s supper. Notice – believe, Grace, faith. These bring salvation.

Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Repentance and confessing our sin to the Lord Jesus. With heart we believe and with the mouth confession is made.

John 3:16 has it all there but study of scripture; line upon line and precept upon precept makes it clear enough for a Nicodemus to understand and for children to trust upon the Lord unto salvation.

If you have never been born again but this has been clear enough for you to understand, leave a comment. You don’t have to reveal who you are unless you want to.

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ECCLESIOLOGY (Study of the Church) Lesson 2


LESSON 2
THE MEANING OF ECCLESIA

I.DEFINITION OF TERMS.
A.As previously stated, most scholars agree that the English word “church” comes from a Greek word (kuriakos) which means “the Lord’s” and joined with day (hemera) or supper (deipnon) describe exactly what is refered to as being the Lord’s.
B.When the Greek kuriakos (church) is used to replace ecclesia (assembly), it is used to define what assembly. It is not simply any assembly, It is the LORD’S.
C.I. K. Cross says, “In Acts 19:39-41 the term is used twice. Once to refer to the ‘lawful assembly’ which was called out of the citizens of Ephesus to handle legal matters in the city. The other to refer to the assembly that had been called together to run Paul and his companions out of town. In either case the assembly, or ecclesia (for this is the word used here), was a called out group, called together for a specific purpose, and local in nature. This was the common usage of the term and always the proper definition of an ecclesia. THIS IS WHAT OUR LORD SAID HE WOULD BE BUILDING.”
D.Cross continues, “If Jesus Christ had intended to build another kind of company there were other words in the language He could have used. He could have used the word ‘Synagoga,” a term without such limitations and yet designating an assembly. It would certainly have been more fitting for a ‘universal company.’ He could have also used the word ‘panagris’ if he had a solemn assembly in mind of a massive and festal nature. But these were rejected in favor of the most limiting term in the Greek language with reference to an assembly; a term that can only be properly interpreted as an assembly local in nature” (Ibid).
E.Cross in another place says, “The word ‘ecclesia’ is more than a mere assembly. The word is really a compounding of two words. ‘Kaleo,’ to call; and ‘ek,’ meaning out, or literally ‘to call out.’ Thus, an ‘ekklesia’ is a Called out assembly, implying some conditions. The Lord did not call all Christians in the area that cared to assemble into His ‘ekklesia,’ but he was very selective about it in Matthew 4:17-22; Matthew 9:9; John 1:43,44 and on until he had 120 in that assembly by the time he went back to the Father. I Cor. 12:28 says that ‘God hath set some in the church (ekklesia)…,’ not all. The same passage states that He set the apostles in the ‘ekklesia,’ and on the occasion when the apostles were chosen there was quite a congregation of disciples present of whom he chose the apostles – and Paul says the apostles, not the crowd, were set in the ‘ekklesia’” (Landmarkism on Trial, Cross, p. 7).
F.Overby concurs, “To change the meaning of a word you must have good evidence that the speaker or writer of that word intended it that way. A basic principle that all scholars recognize is that a word must retain its usual meaning as long as the word used makes good sense that way. Only when it will not make good sense are we allowed to give it a new or rare meaning. If we apply this principle in this passage (Matthew 16:18), we will see that ‘assembly’ makes good sense so we cannot agree with those who would try to change the meaning here” (Brief History of the Baptists, Overbey, pp. 26,27).
G.Roy Mason asserts, …I submit the proposition that the church that Jesus founded was the local assembly, and that to use the word ecclesia to designate a ‘universal,’ or ‘invisible’ church is to pervert its meaning, and to fall into serious error” (The Church That Jesus Built, Mason, p. 26).
H.Mason also says, “The word ecclesia rendered ‘church’ in English translations, was not a new word coined by Jesus, but a word already in current use at that time and moreover a word the meaning of which had become definitely fixed and established” (Ibid, p. 27).
I.A. C. Dayton said, “The Greek ‘ekklesia’ consisted of certain individuals who, when assembled and organized, constituted an official body for the transaction of such business as might come before them. It was not merely an assembly, but an official assembly, consisting of persons specifically qualified, and who had each his specific rights and duties as a member of the ekklesia. It was not every resident in the city who was, strictly speaking, a citizen; nor was it every citizen who was a member of the ekklesia to which was intrusted the management of public business; but the ekklesia were called out from the mass… Every assembly was not an ekklesia, nor was every ekklesia an ekklesia of Christ” (Theodosia Earnest, pp. 72, 73).
J.Again, “The Greek ‘ekklesia’ was an assembly of called and qualified citizens, invested with certain rights, and registered in the city records” (Ibid, p. 129).

II.IMPROPER MEANINGS ATTACHED TO ECCLESIA.
A.The worship service (in contrast to Sunday School).
B.The clerical profession (so used in most modern terminology).
C.Building in which Christian assemblies meet:
1.Dayton says, “…history informs us that the Chrisitans had no such buildings (church-houses) for some two hundred years after this, (the time of the apostles), but continued to meet from house to house, or in the Jewish synagogues, or wherever they might. And the word (ekklesia) is never used in the New Testament, or any other Greek book written before or during the time of the apostles, to signify a house or building” (Ibid, p. 81).
2.This usage, so common even among those who know the truth, has come about by an original misconception of the word ekklesia.
D.All of One denomination:
1.That each denomination is a “branch” off the one big church.
2.Thus, the “Methodist Church,” the “Presbyterian Church,” etcl
E.Historical sense – the whole field of ecclestiastical activity in history since the days of Jesus here on earth – “the church in history.”
F.Modal sense:
1.Terms like “a scriptural church” “church of the N.T.,” etc.
2.These terms are not unscriptural as far as teaching, but the terms themselves are found nowhere in the Bible.
G.Universal, invisible sense:
1.That all the saved are in the mystical body, the church.
2.This theory is dealt with thoroughly in a further lesson.
H.From the modern usage of “church” one can easily see that the vast majority of those who use the word are totally ignorant of the Greek ekklesia.

III.QUOTES FROM RECOGNIZED SCHOLARS.
A.Liddell and Scott (Lexicon) – “An assembly of people called together; an assembly called out.”
B.Dean Trench – “Ekklesia, as all know, was the lawful assembly in a free Greek city of all those possessed of the rights of citizenship, for the transaction of public affairs” (Synonyms of the N.T., p. 17).
C.Edward Robinson – “Ekklesia, a convocation, assembly, congregation. In the literal sense a popular, or rather assembly, composed of persons legally summoned” (Lexicon).

D.A. H. Strong – “Ekklesia signified merely an assembly, however gathered or summoned. The church was never so large that it could not assemble” (Systematic Theology).
E.Vincent – “Originally an assembly of citizens, regularly summoned” (Word Studies in the N.T.)
F.Thayer – “Take the entire range of Greek literature in all its dialects, secular and sacred, and there is not one passage in which ecclesia means an invisible and universal spiritual assembly” (Lexicon).
G.Alexander Campbell – “Ekklesia literally signifies an assembly called out from others and is used among the Greeks, particularly the Athenians, for their popular assemblies, summoned by their chief magistrates and in which none but citizens had a right to sit. By inherent power it may be applied to any body of men called out and assembled in one place. If it ever loses the idea of calling out and assembling, it loses its principal features and its primitive use” (Ekklesia – The Church. Ross, p. 7).LESSON 2
THE MEANING OF ECCLESIA

I.DEFINITION OF TERMS.
A.As previously stated, most scholars agree that the English word “church” comes from a Greek word (kuriakos) which means “the Lord’s” and joined with day (hemera) or supper (deipnon) describe exactly what is refered to as being the Lord’s.
B.When the Greek kuriakos (church) is used to replace ecclesia (assembly), it is used to define what assembly. It is not simply any assembly, It is the LORD’S.
C.I. K. Cross says, “In Acts 19:39-41 the term is used twice. Once to refer to the ‘lawful assembly’ which was called out of the citizens of Ephesus to handle legal matters in the city. The other to refer to the assembly that had been called together to run Paul and his companions out of town. In either case the assembly, or ecclesia (for this is the word used here), was a called out group, called together for a specific purpose, and local in nature. This was the common usage of the term and always the proper definition of an ecclesia. THIS IS WHAT OUR LORD SAID HE WOULD BE BUILDING.”
D.Cross continues, “If Jesus Christ had intended to build another kind of company there were other words in the language He could have used. He could have used the word ‘Synagoga,” a term without such limitations and yet designating an assembly. It would certainly have been more fitting for a ‘universal company.’ He could have also used the word ‘panagris’ if he had a solemn assembly in mind of a massive and festal nature. But these were rejected in favor of the most limiting term in the Greek language with reference to an assembly; a term that can only be properly interpreted as an assembly local in nature” (Ibid).
E.Cross in another place says, “The word ‘ecclesia’ is more than a mere assembly. The word is really a compounding of two words. ‘Kaleo,’ to call; and ‘ek,’ meaning out, or literally ‘to call out.’ Thus, an ‘ekklesia’ is a Called out assembly, implying some conditions. The Lord did not call all Christians in the area that cared to assemble into His ‘ekklesia,’ but he was very selective about it in Matthew 4:17-22; Matthew 9:9; John 1:43,44 and on until he had 120 in that assembly by the time he went back to the Father. I Cor. 12:28 says that ‘God hath set some in the church (ekklesia)…,’ not all. The same passage states that He set the apostles in the ‘ekklesia,’ and on the occasion when the apostles were chosen there was quite a congregation of disciples present of whom he chose the apostles – and Paul says the apostles, not the crowd, were set in the ‘ekklesia’” (Landmarkism on Trial, Cross, p. 7).
F.Overby concurs, “To change the meaning of a word you must have good evidence that the speaker or writer of that word intended it that way. A basic principle that all scholars recognize is that a word must retain its usual meaning as long as the word used makes good sense that way. Only when it will not make good sense are we allowed to give it a new or rare meaning. If we apply this principle in this passage (Matthew 16:18), we will see that ‘assembly’ makes good sense so we cannot agree with those who would try to change the meaning here” (Brief History of the Baptists, Overbey, pp. 26,27).
G.Roy Mason asserts, …I submit the proposition that the church that Jesus founded was the local assembly, and that to use the word ecclesia to designate a ‘universal,’ or ‘invisible’ church is to pervert its meaning, and to fall into serious error” (The Church That Jesus Built, Mason, p. 26).
H.Mason also says, “The word ecclesia rendered ‘church’ in English translations, was not a new word coined by Jesus, but a word already in current use at that time and moreover a word the meaning of which had become definitely fixed and established” (Ibid, p. 27).
I.A. C. Dayton said, “The Greek ‘ekklesia’ consisted of certain individuals who, when assembled and organized, constituted an official body for the transaction of such business as might come before them. It was not merely an assembly, but an official assembly, consisting of persons specifically qualified, and who had each his specific rights and duties as a member of the ekklesia. It was not every resident in the city who was, strictly speaking, a citizen; nor was it every citizen who was a member of the ekklesia to which was intrusted the management of public business; but the ekklesia were called out from the mass… Every assembly was not an ekklesia, nor was every ekklesia an ekklesia of Christ” (Theodosia Earnest, pp. 72, 73).
J.Again, “The Greek ‘ekklesia’ was an assembly of called and qualified citizens, invested with certain rights, and registered in the city records” (Ibid, p. 129).

II.IMPROPER MEANINGS ATTACHED TO ECCLESIA.
A.The worship service (in contrast to Sunday School).
B.The clerical profession (so used in most modern terminology).
C.Building in which Christian assemblies meet:
1.Dayton says, “…history informs us that the Chrisitans had no such buildings (church-houses) for some two hundred years after this, (the time of the apostles), but continued to meet from house to house, or in the Jewish synagogues, or wherever they might. And the word (ekklesia) is never used in the New Testament, or any other Greek book written before or during the time of the apostles, to signify a house or building” (Ibid, p. 81).
2.This usage, so common even among those who know the truth, has come about by an original misconception of the word ekklesia.
D.All of One denomination:
1.That each denomination is a “branch” off the one big church.
2.Thus, the “Methodist Church,” the “Presbyterian Church,” etcl
E.Historical sense – the whole field of ecclestiastical activity in history since the days of Jesus here on earth – “the church in history.”
F.Modal sense:
1.Terms like “a scriptural church” “church of the N.T.,” etc.
2.These terms are not unscriptural as far as teaching, but the terms themselves are found nowhere in the Bible.
G.Universal, invisible sense:
1.That all the saved are in the mystical body, the church.
2.This theory is dealt with thoroughly in a further lesson.
H.From the modern usage of “church” one can easily see that the vast majority of those who use the word are totally ignorant of the Greek ekklesia.

III.QUOTES FROM RECOGNIZED SCHOLARS.
A.Liddell and Scott (Lexicon) – “An assembly of people called together; an assembly called out.”
B.Dean Trench – “Ekklesia, as all know, was the lawful assembly in a free Greek city of all those possessed of the rights of citizenship, for the transaction of public affairs” (Synonyms of the N.T., p. 17).
C.Edward Robinson – “Ekklesia, a convocation, assembly, congregation. In the literal sense a popular, or rather assembly, composed of persons legally summoned” (Lexicon).

D.A. H. Strong – “Ekklesia signified merely an assembly, however gathered or summoned. The church was never so large that it could not assemble” (Systematic Theology).
E.Vincent – “Originally an assembly of citizens, regularly summoned” (Word Studies in the N.T.)
F.Thayer – “Take the entire range of Greek literature in all its dialects, secular and sacred, and there is not one passage in which ecclesia means an invisible and universal spiritual assembly” (Lexicon).
G.Alexander Campbell – “Ekklesia literally signifies an assembly called out from others and is used among the Greeks, particularly the Athenians, for their popular assemblies, summoned by their chief magistrates and in which none but citizens had a right to sit. By inherent power it may be applied to any body of men called out and assembled in one place. If it ever loses the idea of calling out and assembling, it loses its principal features and its primitive use” (Ekklesia – The Church. Ross, p. 7).

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