The Trouble with our use of Church Terminology

Terminology can be extremely misleading. We use words sometimes without thinking of their meaning. Let’s take a look at the some of the words we use without really considering what they mean. Church for example: What does that word mean and what is its origin – Often times we forget that the new testament was written in greek and not Elizabethan English. Be that as it may, we might however be lead to believe that the word “church” has it’s origin in Greek. We’d be wrong to think that as the Greek word for church is almost always translated εκκλησια ekklesia ek-klay-see’-ah. The Greek and the Spanish are more closely akin to one another as in the Spanish vernacular “Iglesias” is the word for church. Thayer’s  lexicon would have it defined this way: 1577 ekklesia ek-klay-see’-ah from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; TDNT – 3:501,394; n f KJV – church 115, assembly 3; 118 1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly 1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating 1b) the assembly of the Israelites 1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously 1d) in a Christian sense 1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting 1d2) a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake 1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body 1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth 1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven For Synonyms see entry 5897. Why this has become a problem is because we use the word church synonymously with a building where christians meet. When in actuality the term means the christians who meet and has nothing to do with a brick and mortar building. Some who attend church in such a building have greater reverence for the building than for the ones who meet there. This is just one word — there are many others. What are your thoughts on “The trouble with terminology”?

Why an English speaking assembly in Korea?

At first it may seem strange to some that a missionary would want to establish an english speaking assembly in Korea when there are so many assemblies already established here. Well the short answer to this question is to respond to the Lord’s leading to establish an assembly to meet the needs of english speakers in Korea.

Currently there are over a million foreigners living in Korea and a large majority of them are living in Seoul. A large part of this people group are fluent in english making english language the best choice for establishing a new church.

When a church comes to order in the name of (under the authority of) the Lord Jesus Christ there is a practical necessity of understanding the language being spoken “For if the trumpet give an uncertain voice, who shall prepare himself for war?” 1 Corinthians 14:8. Although there able translators in many of the assemblies we have all heard the expression “something must have gotten lost in the translation.” This is all too evident when several minutes of speech is translated into a 30 second summation.

In addition to this issue comes the problem of english speakers being understood by the listeners while exercising their priesthood in prayer or in teaching. The apostle Paul sums it up this way: “Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” 1 Corinthians 14:19. Now some of you are already to pounce on me for using this verse in this context and argue that Paul was talking about tongues, a spiritual utterance, but can you accept that it delivers the same point that I am trying to make without abusing the writers intended meaning? – That it is necessary  to understand what is being said in order for words to benefit the listener.

These are just a few thoughts on the reason for establishing an english speaking meeting in Korea. All that being said, the primary reason for this effort is that I believe it is what the Lord wants done.

Please let me know your thoughts on this subject. Thanks

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