To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord
The Greek word translated “Church” is “ekklesia”, meaning “called out ones”. The Church is also called the “Body of Christ” (Ephesians 1:22, 23) and the “Bride of Christ” (Ephesian 5:23-33).
In the context of the New Testament, “The Church” refers to people; individuals who belong to Jesus and who are called to be in a relationship with each other. The word “Church” can refer to all the followers of Jesus everywhere, or those believers in a certain location.
The New Testament usage of the term “Church” does not refer to a building, or some place we “go”, or a social organization like the Lions Club or Elks Lodge, or a corporation.
The traditions of men, especially those coming from the Roman Catholic Empire (and continued via Protestantism and Evangelicalism), have perverted our understanding of the word, “Church”. We think of “going to Church” meaning that we are going to a building we call “the church” or a meeting we call “church”. We are deceived into thinking in terms of a building, or some place we “go”, or a social organization like the Lions Club or Elks Lodge, or a corporation.
But, it is crucial that we continuously remind ourselves that “The Church” is people: all individuals who belong to Jesus and are called to be in relationship with each other.
The modern concept of a “corporation” serves as a good illustration. Our friends (let’s call them Dan and Cheryl) incorporated their business. They created a legal entity called, a “corporation” which is an institution. It is its own legal entity. The corporation is not Dan and Cheryl. It is legally distinct from them as individuals. A corporation has officers and employees. They are part of the machinery of the corporation. Dan and Cheryl are officers in the corporation, i.e., part of the machinery. But they and the corporation are distinct.
There is no teaching in the Bible that the Church is a corporation, an institution, distinct from individual Christians. Rather, the Church, IS the individuals who belong to Jesus and are called to be in relationship with each other.
The Church is people. We who belong to Jesus are the Church. When we meet together, it is a meeting of the Church. We go to meetings of the Church. The Church meets in buildings or homes or out in the woods. When the Church ministers, individual Christians minister as the Holy Spirit empowers them.
What do you think? Let me know.