Monthly Archives: April 2021

Ekklesia- the now and not yet

The ekklesia is ………

Yes, it can be a bit tricky to describe, depending on who you are or where your experience lies with your experience of the term.

But lets give it whirl, in our definition of the word, ekklesia.(we will use the greek word, instead of the english word that is used to let us be more specific in our definition. The english word of ‘church’ can be used in various ways that will confuse us, unless we define those differences in the onset of our explanation. So we will stick with the greek word,’Ekklesia’.

If we are to use the greek word then we must use the greek definition to get us on the right track. The Greek word ekklēsia means assembly, or a gathering of called-out ones. It is used seventy times in the Septuagint for the Hebrew ḳāhāl (from which latter we have our word call), rendered in Sept, by sunagōgē and ekklesia. This latter word occ. in N.T. 115 times (36 in plural), and is always transl. “church” except in Acts 19:32, 39, 41 (assembly). (used from Companion Bible; Ethelbert W. Bullinger)

ḳāhāl is used (1) of Israel as a People called out from the rest of the nations (Gen. 28:3); (2) of the tribal council of Simeon and Levi, those called out from each tribe (Gen. 49:6); (3) of an assembly of Israelites called out for worship or any other purpose (Deut. 18:16; 31:30; Josh. 8:35; Judg. 21:8); (4) any assembly of worshippers as a congregation (Ps. 22:22, 25. Ekklēsia in Matt. 16:18; (18:17; 1 Cor. 14:19, 35, &c.); (5) the equivalent ekklēsia of separate assemblies in different localities (Acts 5:11; 8:3; 1 Cor. 4:17, &c.); (6) of the guild or “union” of Ephesian craftsmen (Acts 19:32, 41), and v. 39 (the lawful assembly). Finally, the special Pauline usage of ekklēsia differs from all these. Other assemblies consisted of called-out ones from Jews, or from Gentiles (Acts 18:22), but this new body is of called-out ones from both. (used from Companion Bible; Ethelbert W. Bullinger)

Ekklesia is a defining term which probably take you alot of different directions if you let it, but we won’t let it here. Ekklesia meaning assembly or the ‘called out ones’ was defined early on in the OT as the word for the coming together of the people of Israel or the twelve leaders of the tribe to meet with Moses, to tell them of what God’s message to them as a people were to do. This is the example that is used in Gen. 28:3 to the actual ‘calling’ of the people of God, as an assembly apart from the other nations.

6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. Heb 3:6 This verse is an example of a description of God’s house but where it lies.

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. This also describes the temple of God as YOU because “God’s spirit dwells in you”. Now, for some clarification on these two verses that most people miss when they read it. This is where in translation of anything from one language to another, sometimes the language which you are translating into does not have a word or just a variant of that word. This is one of those cases that english does not have a plural form of ‘You’, the closest thing that we have to it is the phrase that the ‘Texans’ have that expresses a plural ‘You’ and it is “You’all”. So this is what we will use as an example in describing this attribute of ‘you’ in these verses.

By ‘seeing’ this in the word that it is not of a singular use but of ‘you’all’, it does change things in our understanding of these scriptures, let alone of the dynamics of the paradigm of the storyline. This theme (you,you’all) will be used in understanding alot of things in the bible throughout the story of God. To further the studies I would also recommend using some kind of greek help in totally understanding different words that might point in different direction if don’t know it.

God is amazing in his guidance of his showing his creation the way back to him from their exile from him. It is not just a quick, “You messed up, now come follow me,NOW! No, it is a step by step process that involves our eyes and our heart being receptive to ‘SEEING’ and ‘Hearing’ Him in all our lives. It was also for the Israelites, in their long,long journey from exile from their wilderness. It started for man in the garden of eden with God, changed in this process, God created a pinpoint within the Temple Holy of Hollies,changed when the system became corrupt, Jesus walked with mankind for 33 years, Jesus died and rose again, Jesus(God) now within Us’all.

God is very systematic is his work as a creator, just look at your surroundings today while you are outside, We will be amazed at the planning and reasoning behind everything that just works so perfectly together. Tonight, go look at the night sky and look at the billions and billions of stars that are out there, not one of them is colliding with each other, synced perfectly for our awe and amazement.

This is also they way God works in His Body, God being the Head of his body has synced his being in us, and us into him, through His plan of Christ becoming man but also staying Christ, to commune with us as one to be as He was from the beginning. God IS AMAZING!

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So many issues…

I usually don’t do the movie reviews but this might be my first one. I have watched this one twice.

I don’t want to really address the actual topic of the movie but two things that stand out to me in the real portrayal of the actual circumstances of what usually goes on in this kinda thing.

The movie is called “Come Sunday’, it was aired in 2018 about a real pastor that was becoming a real inspirational speaker in the denomination of the church. I would recommend this movie for just watching on the two reasons that I will talk about but also the main focus of the movie is the subject of ‘universalism’, which I will touch on a little.

This is no bad rap on the actual movie on what I am going to say, I believe that it is accurate perception of the way things are done and I hope that it is seen as a glaring problem in the ‘church’ today wherever you go. The movie was well put together in the cast and dialogue, and uses the time frame of the issues for references to bring out the storyline.

The storyline is that of a preacher in a very successful denomination, in a megachurch, in a up and becoming town of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This pastor bringing his weekly sermon to his parishioners with gusto and life changing decisions being made is making a big difference in his community. He has the backing of the denomination, his board, the people and the community. His message of ‘you must be saved’ by a ‘personal commitment’ to Jesus to get to Heaven is tested when He is at home one evening and watches the news.

The national news program is on the tv, when the broadcast is telling of the Rwandan Genocide in Africa. As the news anchor is talking He hears the reporter tell of the details of the story. He soberly tells the news of over 800,000 people who have died in the genocide attacks. This fact is devastating to the Pastor(Carlton Pearson) of the crime that was committed in africa, but it is more devastating to him that those 800,000 people did not have the chance to have that ‘personal commitment’ to ‘be saved’ before their deaths.

It is then that the pastor realizes that ‘what he has been preaching’ is wrong. How could God not allow all those people a ‘chance’ to act on their commitment to be saved without a chance to do so, when their life was cut so short, of women,children and elderly? This was not in Carlton’s understanding on how God worked? Something was wrong in the theology of his ministry.

It isn’t until later that night that Carlton hear’s a voice from God telling him that ‘All are Saved’! Then he see’s in his bible all the scriptures in the bible that reaffirms this fact that God’s love and His son dying on the Cross for ‘All mankind’ is the ‘All are saved’ paradigm by God.

He then goes to the pulpit in his next week’s sermon, comes to the people of the church and presents a different theology of God’s amazing Love for mankind that He say’s to them that “All are already saved”! This doesn’t go over to well, with a few people standing up to renounce the pastor as not preaching from God, or not preaching from the scriptures.

This is where I would like to make my points, first without telling all the details of the scenes or all the movie, let me just say that the things that I am referring to are the facts that it wasn’t shown in the bible as a point of reference, but what I would say is that this is probably what happened anyway. When Pastor Carlton stood up to preach and give his detailed understanding of his new and exciting theology that God ‘saves all’, their was not one person in the congregation looking at their bibles for reference to see what the pastor was talking about. It was a man talking to people telling them some new ‘good news’.

I don’t recall any people walking into the service carrying any bibles,(this is before cell phones with apps with bible on them) let alone having the people look down at the bibles that they had carried into the service. But it was the quick reaction of some of the people that stood up to scream that He was not preaching the Word to them! How would they know? No bible’s to be seen. It is with this that I seen problems at a lot of levels.

One subplot, from this is that we as christians have been taught, year after year after year, from our grandparents to our parents to finally us that the message is the same. So why bother. But what if that message is wrong from the beginning? what then. Is there a correction, and how is it found, by who,when, and why? At some level this is where we as christians have gotten caught up in ‘tradition’. This I see is major problem in christianity all the way around.

Let me expand on this a little, We can actually put these two things that I have mentioned together to solve the problem. The bible and believing the same ole thing week after week or year after year.(Fact checking) the term that I almost hate to use now days but is the only words that I see to use here. We have to first use the source of which we all can use, not just the person at the pulpit. That is the way that in the new testament the word was received to the assembly’s of people around the temple. We all can hear and read the scripture to strengthen our understanding of God’s words to people before us and now. One of my favorite little statements about the bible is ‘The Bible wasn’t written to us, but for us.’

The scripture is for us, it is to be used in all our battles, in standing up in our own personal lives, for our personal family’s, for our friends,for our acquaintances, and for ultimately for the world.

The second thing that should disturb us in the movie is that the portrayal of the authority of the ‘church’. Again I recommend that you see this movie to understand what I am saying, but it is the ‘government’ of the denomination(this concept is used in all denominations to control the individual church’s,not just this denomination)that overrides the ‘message,gospel’ to the people. This suffocating blanket of a paradigm is what leads people to question that ‘leadership’ in what they are actually there for. When we are dictated by a group that thinks that they know what is good for us, it then takes away the ‘personal God’ that we need to live by Him.

I say all this to say this movie was again a wake up call to alot things that is wrong with the church, the church is only the church in their building, they are of biblical ignorance(20 minutes of sound bites of the bible a week thru the pastor) as opposed to the ‘sound christian’ that actually believe that what a christian is,bible reading,fellowship with others, a follower of God(worship Him,His God) that believes that by believing in such God that my hear soul and being believes in saying, doing, believing in the things of God. It is this that will ‘SHINE’ as a light that ‘MY GOD’ is the only God, and that being an image of Him will set the world on fire with Him, and ‘ All will be saved’!

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A strange thing happened on the way to…

I love reading. I love reading christian theology. I love reading the bible. and I do!

I had the opportunity to pick up some older books from my father that He had gotten from his pastoral Uncle, which would be two generations back. So these books are early 1900’s edition of christianity in all phases of literature. I have about thirty or so left to read(before the end of the year,I promised to have them read). I went thru the books trying to see which one I wanted to read next, after a store bought book which I was almost finished with to start on.

I perused the selection of books with no particular rhyme or reason on the subject on which to pick the book on, I usually stick with a theme of books for a period of time that peak’s my interest. So I pick this small withered book with yellow pages that was still in pretty good considered it was printed in 1966. It is book titled “Studies in Amos” by Kyle M. Yates,Jr. Now, this in round about way is considered a commentary on ‘Amos’, which exceedes it’s accomplishment as a book.

When I delve into a subject for studying I am never surprised that I don’t ‘see’ something new or a answer a question that I have always had, and it gets answered in the book. This book was no exception. I am a hound dog in always looking for insight and answers to questions that arise in my journey. If you haven’t read the book of Amos lately, I would strongly suggest you do, to remind yourself on what the prophet Amos was telling Israel that their indiscretions and turning from God was taking them down the road to destruction, and it was coming soon.

Israel was in trouble, God was not happy. God’s design for them was to worship Him.

It seems that their “seeking and Living” was being construed as something else as God had planned. The people were not using the temple as their understanding of worship it was meant for. John 4: 24 says that “God is Spirit,and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” This was not being done in the kingdom of Israel. The people of God had made their ‘meeting place the idol that it was the focus of their lives. After all, this was where God’s finger was touching still, even tho his people were not worshiping him as they said. But this wasn’t what God intended for his people, It was HIM, that He wanted them to seek and find, and not to be infatuated with the ‘place’ that He could be at.

It seems that Israel did not take the warning to heart, because it wasn’t for long in it’s history that Israel’s Temple was destroyed. Amos’s warning was a precursor to the ‘church’ of today I believe that the same thing is coming to the building of worship, of the so called believers. It is the realization that the church must face that we are using the building for the substitution of Jesus Christ, for the answer. It is the essence of Christ that we are missing, the ‘life’ of Christ we are missing, the Love of Christ is missing, the Care of the World by Christ is missing,We just don’t understand why the things we are doing aren’t working? A Duh!

As was when Israel was trying to ‘Seek’, They were not seeking ‘Christ’, they were seeking the meeting place. God is Spirit, and the Truth is that He is within ‘US, and We are within Him.

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Update on latest books read

I like to every once in awhile keep people up to date on my studies and books that I have read.

My latest books that I have read are in the same genre in a way, they include things that pertain to the theme of ‘Universalism’. Like “I say to the people that ask me what are you reading now”?, I tell them that I am quite diverse in my book reading or interest in the subjects of the bible. This topic is of a controversial subject that has been in the christian history since the beginning of the New Testament, it has not ever gone away. It seems that in the last 20+ years it has come into the spotlight in alot of different arena’s in the christian realm. This is why I took up the gauntlet to delve into the subject. Here are a few of the books that I come across to educate me.

The first one is by David Bentley Hart-“That All shall be Saved”.

This is probably one of the two books that challenges the concept of ‘Hell’, which is a part of ‘Universalism’.

The second one is by Richard Rohr –“The Universal Christ”.

Addresses the ‘Saving of All’

The third one is by Haley Goranson Jacob –“Conformed to the Image of His Son”.

Very deep material of why man is restored to the image of God.

The Fourth one is by Ilaria L. E. Ramelli –“A Larger Hope”

This book is the going thru the Apostolic fathers that were either hinting of the concept of ‘Universalism’ or was intentionally. This was thru the Middle ages.

The Fifth one is by Robin A Parry –“A Larger Hope”(second volume of first)

This book continues with the prior one thru the 20th Century of Apostolic fathers and others that were instituting the claim of ‘Universalism’.

I would recommend all these books for research and studying for increased knowledge of biblical theology. But I am especially impressed with both authors of the book “A Larger Hope”. They are all very deep and will need prior knowledge of alot of scriptures to use as references. But this is what it is all about in ‘seeing’ the scriptures as they are presented to us as a complete story of God and His Eternal Purpose.

Let me know if you get to read any of these Great books and your opinion of them or any questions on them.

Good Reading!

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Knowing Scripture

2 Timothy 3. 16 Every Writing is God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for setting aright, for instruction that is in righteousness,(YLT)

Romans 4.3 For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

Act 1:16Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture would be fulfilled, *said, “I am thirsty.”

Scripture is important. In the course of history of man and of christianity, oral speech was king, it wasn’t until their was a need for man and christianity to have it written down for reference for personal or for a group. They was the norm for all to agree to for posterity’s sake. This did not take away the importance of the speech or the actual words of the one who was being quoted.

These scriptures along with multiple others are the assurance of God’s plan for mankind to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ the “Word’ of God. God’s desire is for us. It is thru the communication of himself and his selected representation of the first ‘Godly’ people the Israelites that we ‘hear’ the word given to us to live by and to know.

Gal 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! This is to my point that it is our failure to ‘know’ the storyline of all the scriptures as an assembly of people that can walk and talk our way thru these scriptures to know Him, our creator,Lord and Savior.

I want to press upon you the need to get together with some of your friends in fellowship and read slowly and earnestly the WORD of God and ‘SEE’ what is written down from the oral tradition of God, His People and His Kingdom. This has to be High Priority for christians to come together as one in God, and walk and talk with him.

Start a small bible study this week with no more than 5 people to keep it simple with plenty of opportunity for everyone to talk,listen, ask questions about the scripture. Most importantly is to not have anyone in charge! This is to be a uninhibited bible study with no ‘leader’ in charge. This is for complete understanding of the scriptures with alot of questions and alot of different answers with the Spirit of the Lord, giving the ultimate answer to all.

Good Bible study to all, and Let me know how it goes!

In Christ’s name, Doug

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The scriptures were not written ‘to’ us,but for us.

Learning is a funny thing that we struggle with in our normal daily lives. We all do it differently, it seems by how we ascertain information in our brains to keep the good and the bad things of importance. Some information is retained by the ‘seeing’ of the actual information and some is actually retained by hearing the conversation.

The scriptures, alas the ‘Bible’, is a collection of history, personal testimony, revelations, commentary and Holy Scripture from God himself. There is a journey of a people, the Jews of Israel and all their trials and errors trying to be a Holy nation following God. This journey is filled with good and bad things in their existence of a nation. But it is in the bad we must ‘see’ and ‘know’ the reason behind the failure of all people, not just the Jews at this time.

The scriptures were in the old testament(covenant) were a detailed covenant between the Jewish people and their God to work together as one entity. God established his Kingdom among them in the land that he established and they became his people to be united with. It is in this covenant that strict things that were instituted for man, for the Jewish people were selected to be the light unto the world, for when light is shown in a darkened world it does two things. One, it conceals the things that are still in the dark area, which is where the evil is hiding. Secondly, The light is an attraction where everyone should !move to, to see where they are going without darkness hindering them to stumble and fall.

The downfall for Israel( Jewish People) was that they were tainted by darkness in alot of their lives, by actually moving to the ‘dark side’! lol Mankind has struggled in their quest to be ‘good’, their knowledge of good and evil, has led them down the wrong road, in their own understanding. This choice of ‘which God to serve or ‘worship’ has been the downfall of mankind ever since. God is the creator. His work is the definition of Good, He defines it specifically in Genesis 1-2. Everything that created from the Universe down to all the things in the planet that we live on was pronounced as Good. Even the Days were announced as ‘Good’. This was proclaimed so that we might realize that everything was for our benefit of knowledge of God’s handiwork.

God’s creation was good. Yet mankind did, and has put their own definition of what is good in their ‘eyes’ for them to live by. But it is when we deviate from the blueprint of what has been defined by ‘good’ and set our own definition of good, is when it becomes skewed in reasoning. We have spun the meaning of good to our own tastes for centuries, and we have had to live with our definition of good, with catastrophic results on the whole of mankind, not just on our individual selves, which is where we have actually defined the word, as the good for ‘me’. This seems to be really bringing this concept to the forefront to our society in the #metoo movement, it’s all about me and my wants.

With this knowledge of the past behind us in the story of the creation by the creator and our God, we should see that we as mankind cannot set the definition of ‘good’ until we see the root of the word, which was set by God himself, with understanding that only thru God can we be ‘good’. God sets the definitions, not his creations.

The question then is “When will mankind ‘see’ and understand this”?

We shall see, but I hope and pray that it is sooner than later because our definition of ‘good’ really sucks!

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