ekklesia/Mitchell Gray

Joe A. Friberg JoeFriberg at alumni.utexas.net
Tue Jul 27 20:53:01 EDT 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Carl W. Conrad [mailto:cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu]
> Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 1999 7:42 PM

> I'll take a closer look at the 114 instances of EKKLHSIA in the GNT, but I
> really expect to find the great majority of them in reference to local
> congregations rather than the universal body of believers. That is the
> chief reason why one might prefer to use "gathering," "meeting," or
> "congregation" than "church"--because it is less likely to be
> misleading to
> an English reader who tends to think of "church" in all its ambiguity.

Actually, my recollections from a study I did some 10 years hence is that
most all the instances of EKKLHSIA in the GNT do, or at least very possibly
can, refer to a local body.  Only in Eph (1.22 et al.), and probably Mt
16.18, is the reference strongly to the 'universal body' connotation.

For this reason I join those in favor of "assembly" or "congregation", even
in those instances where the reference is non-local.  I do not find it such
a stretch to understand a spiritual sense of congregation in which we now
participate in heaven.  It is simply metaphorical.  After all, he has
"raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavenlies" (Eph 2.6),
a present reality.

Joe A. Friberg
M.A. Linguistics
M.A. Theology student
Arlington, TX
JoeFriberg at alumni.utexas.net

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