Church and ecclesia
"The word 'church' refers to a building. An ecclesia is not a building. We don't
even need a building. You'll note that Christians call their buildings
'churches'. They do not call them
I can't help myself here. This reminds me of what I learned as
Take your two hands, put them together as in the common mode
of prayer, with fingers pointing straight up. Now interlock the fingers, folding
them in half-way. Then, still in this interlocked position, turn them all the
way underneath, with only the first joints of the fingers on top, and the rest
of the fingers pointing downward, but with thumbs still opposing one another and
still held upright. Press the palms back together again. Now you are
"Here is the church"... referring to the first joints of the
fingers on top, which now looks like a roof.
"And here is the steeple"... wiggling the two upright
Now... pull the palms apart, whilst leaving the fingers
underneath and still interlocked...
"Open the door, and see all the people"... wiggling the ends
of the fingers underneath.
Very entertaining for most children up to the age of six or
so. (And for some "adults" in their fifties.)
But it also illustrates the difference between "church" and
"ecclesia", as commonly used. "Church" -- to most people -- means the "building"
where a "Christian" congregation meets [although, sometimes, even ordinary
"church"-goers will make the point that the "church" is (or really should be)
the people, not the bricks and mortar!].
And so we commonly use "ecclesia" -- which we understand to
mean the people assembled -- or even "unassembled"... for they don't all need to
be in one place to be an ecclesia. Sometimes, in the New Testament, the
"ecclesia" means the worldwide body of all believers.
But we may want to make clear to others, who might otherwise
be confused, that -- yes, indeed, what we call the "ecclesia" is really a
"church", of sorts, IF you understand what the common word, as used in most
English Bible versions, really means!