ekklesia/Mitchell Gray

Eric Weiss eweiss at gte.net
Wed Jul 28 00:34:11 EDT 1999

This raises another word issue, i.e., "body." We often use the term "body" 
(as in: "local body") to refer to a local "church" or "gathering" or 
"assembly" of believers. But ... it seems to me that the NT most often uses 
"body" in relation to believers in terms of the one body of Christ. If so, 
then I think we ought not to use "body" to refer to a local assembly or its 
members - even though in our day and age "body" (as in "a body of people") 
can have this meaning - because a local "body" and/or its 
members/participants can, by association, inadvertantly come to think of 
itself/themselves as "the body" of Christ - and thus strive to be something 
in form or substance which they are not meant or able to be. (I speak by 
experience, having been in a group that called itself a "body" and strove 
to function as a "body," almost coming to speak of or view such an 
achievement as God's ultimate plan or purpose - an effort I felt was 
off-base because I never could understand how a single local "assembly" 
could constitute "a body" in the NT sense - since Christ only has one 

Comments? (I could be wrong, you know! ;-)

- Eric Weiss
eweiss at gte.net

On 07/27/99, ""Joe A. Friberg" <JoeFriberg at alumni.utexas.net>" wrote:
> > -----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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