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Comparing the Man-Made Religion of Church with the Spiritual Organism of the Ekklesia

Updated on January 16, 2017

This article will attempt to make some clarifications on the assembly of the ekklesia, the community of believers, either local, or internationally and how they are manifested as the body that Christ. This spiritual organism called the ekklesia will be contrasted with man’s denominational religious corporate organization called church.

The early ekklesia as attested in the New Testament reveals how the body of Christ organized, which is strikingly different to the practiced counterfeit man-driven religion of church today.

The Contrast Between the Type of Witness

The term church must be thrown out entirely for one to comprehend what the ekklesia being built by Christ means. The term church is a double-minded concept to make people associate with a name denominational building where they congregate, sit on pews and go through the template of worship at appointed times dictated by salaried officials. As people herd through the doors, they are indoctrinated into the systematic mold of their brand of Christianity.

In contrast, The New Testament witnesses of the true faith are a spiritual assembly where ALL believers are in one accord with Christ with him anyplace, anywhere and at any time..

The carnal mind needs a physical assembly to affirm their faith in something that manifests for them at a specific appointed time and place. The masses are coerced by their hireling officials to never attempt to abandon the building, because if they do, they are deemed as walking away from Christ who cannot be separated them from the building.

The ekklesia of Christ are NOT part of organized religion. Rather, they are joined together in the name Christ as part of the spiritual assembly of all believers who are in him. All one has to do through the grace of God is to believe and obey the Gospel. It has nothing to do with assembling together in a church building partaking in the rituals of a religious service run by ecclesiastical men.

So those who received his word were baptized, and THERE WERE ADDED THAT DAY about three thousand souls. – Acts 2:41

Bondage
Bondage
Freedom
Freedom

Physical versus Spiritual

The church is a physical entity found on every other street corner, but the ekklesia are a spiritual entity that exists everywhere continually in Christ. This becomes very clear when the word of God is not read through a denominational lens.

The double-mindedness of the interchangeable word of using church as a building with denominationally segregated people creates confusion.

The organized religions of church is run like a corporate business located on prime pieces of real estate that have budgets, board of directors and salaried officials who pander special programs and services under their own denominational name brands. The active participation of the membership are a requirement for their business to succeed.

The ekklesia are a spiritual community that exists either locally, or internationally that are brought together without the ritual, rites and formalities of the man-driven church system. They may live close to other believers living within a certain locality, or common area where they have personal relationships with others through a common bond of spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom and making disciples.

Where are the ekklesia to be found?

The ekklesia are found according to their witness. They are citizens of the Kingdom of God, meaning that they ALL have a common identity in Christ. It is not about race, gender, location, etc., but they are found in every nation within cities, localities and communities throughout the world who walk in the faith of Christ.

It is the counterfeit church system that must make physical locations as their identifying factors.

For in Christ Jesus NEITHER CIRCUMCISION NOR UNCIRCUMCISION COUNTS FOR ANYTHING, but only faith working through love. – Galatians 5:6

The identifying Fingerprints
The identifying Fingerprints

Identity

The ekklesia are not a plurality of denominational identities, but are a singular living universal spiritual organism in Christ our Savior. Although they may be identified in certain communities, it has no relevance to a particular building. The ekklesia are not a centralized physical existence, but ONLY in Christ in a spiritual sense. The oneness and unity in Christ is not organizing people together to attend a man-driven church service, but it is a spiritual unity of believers anywhere in one accord having faith in the Gospel, and being obedient to God’s ways in the spirit of being oneness with other believers in Christ, just as Christ is one with his Father.

The ekklesia do not resemble anything like the denominational church members who seek God in temples built with man's hands..

For just as the BODY IS ONE and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are ONE BODY, so it is with Christ. For IN ONE SPIRIT we were all baptized into ONE BODY—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of ONE SPIRIT. – 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

God sees His ekklesia as scattered remnant throughout the world divided into cities, or localities who have faith in the Gospel of the Kingdom. There are in no special segregated denominational religious groups as Christ does not designate his followers that way. The ekklesia are designated as being in the world, but NOT of the world. They are the "called out ones."

In contrast, the counterfeit church system runs on the principles of the world as special named organizations and 501(c)3 entities.

The distinction is that one walks by the Spirit and the other through human effort.

The ekklesia are not centralized groupings of people, but are referenced to inhabited interpersonal locations, not segregated denominational buildings.

The report of this came to the ears of the EKKLESIA IN JERUSALEM, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. – Acts 11:22

To the EKKLESIA OF GOD THAT IS IN CORINTH, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, CALLED TO BE SAINTS TOGETHER WITH ALL THOSE WHO IN EVERY PLACE CALL UPON THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, both their Lord and ours – 1 Corinthians 1:2

Within one locality there may be believers who meet from house to house, but again the only plural use of ekklesia in Scripture pertains to different localities, not those within a building at specific designated geographical locations. The letters written by Paul to the ekklesia communities were referenced to the cities they resided in. The ekklesia were never named, or associated with any formal organized name of a religious building.

To ALL THOSE IN ROME who are loved by God and called to be saints – Romans 1:7

To the EKKLESIA OF THE THESSALONIANS in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ – 1 Thessalonians 1:1

“Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I HAVE MANY IN THIS CITY WHO ARE MY PEOPLE.” – Acts 18:9

John to the seven EKKLESIAIS THAT ARE IN ASIA – Revelation 1:4

The purpose of the ekklesia are to glorify Christ by what he has done.

The segregated indoctrinated denominational minds are blinded to this truth. They are trying to make themselves visible to other men by making a name for themselves. The manifestations are steeples and big signs to lure in masses. Christ never identified any of his disciples according to the organizational structure they attended. The focal point and manifestation of a spiritual community identified in Christ is through family relationships, not canned worship services with the constant passing of the offering plate.

Greet one another with a holy kiss. ALL THE EKKLESIAIS OF CHRIST greet you. – Acts 16:16

A Family of Households

The physical reality of the ekklesia consists of family households who live together within a locality emphasizing and edifying one another in the faith that manifests in love towards one another.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. BY THIS ALL PEOPLE WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES, IF YOU HAVE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER.” – John 13:34-35

When Paul addressed the Corinth ekklesia, they were a small decentralized group that met from house to house that encouraged, admonished, prayed and ate together. It should be understood that although they met at a particular person’s house, the representation of the ekklesia as a whole is not represented by the name of the household, or congregation pertaining to a building, but the spiritual unity of being assembled at all times anywhere in Christ 24/7.

Now I urge you, brothers—you know that the HOUSEHOLD OF STEPHANAS were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have DEVOTED THEMSELVES TO THE SERVICE OF THE SAINTS – 1 Corinthians 16:15

Interpersonal Communication

The spreading of the Gospel via the ekklesia is an interpersonal communication that is not done through a man-made organizational template, but as an organism that heeds its instructions based on what Christ, the Head tells them to do.

For NO ONE CAN LAY A FOUNDATION OTHER THAN THAT WHICH IS LAID, which is Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 3:11

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are FELLOW CITIZENS with the saints and members of the household of God, BUILT ON THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, CHRIST JESUS HIMSELF BEING THE CORNERSTONE – Ephesians 2:19-20

Organized religion is a much different entity than the ekklesia because it relies on a chain of command through hierarchical structure of authority through many levels of mediators. For it to function, there must be an imposed liturgy put on the masses so their centralized structure and brand name can grow.

But not so with you. Rather, LET THE GREATEST AMONG YOU BECOME AS THE YOUNGEST, AND THE LEADER AS ONE WHO SERVES. – Luke 22:26

But it shall not be so among you. BUT WHOEVER WOULD BE GREAT AMONG YOU MUST BE YOUR SERVANT, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even THE SON OF MAN CAME NOT TO BE SERVED BUT TO SERVE, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:43-45

A Spiritual Organism

The ekklesia is a spiritual organism that functions in a decentralized spiritual dynamic anyplace and anywhere on the basis of their relationship to the Head who is Christ. The Holy Spirit will not work in man’s attempts to organize, but through interpersonal communication of spreading the Gospel with the gifts that God has given each believer. Every believer participates as a functioning citizen of the Kingdom of God with equal access to Christ. There is no requirement to gather as a large meeting of members, have board meetings, or ask the pastor permission to do the work of the Gospel.

From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when EACH PART IS WORKING PROPERLY, MAKES THE BODY GROW SO THAT IT BUILDS ITSELF UP IN LOVE. – Ephesians 4:16

It is through interpersonal relationships that the needs of the ekklesia are met. All the citizens of the Kingdom of God are called to serve. If there is some formal organization required, it is temporary until the need is met as there are no permanent hirelings required to stay on burdening the ekklesia by making a living off their backs.

The man-driven church system is not an organism that serves the community, but are made of members who serve the organization. Members must put in their time and money to support their denominational agenda. This is strikingly different than exercising faith through the love of Christ. This is where the church system utterly fails because they rely on paid professionals to satisfy the needs of the masses rather than they themselves serving to satisfy the needs of others. The subservient church members are not free to access Christ first, but must go through a bunch of political red tape before they are given the okay from their organizational leaders to do anything. Organized religion hinders the process of faith and the outworking of love for a corrupt idolatrous temple system run by men.

The ekklesia are a spiritual organism who are part of a decentralized congregation of saints who are in unity of the Spirit with Christ. They interpersonally serve and communicate with others as they freely live out the Good News in localities throughout the world with the gifting God has given each one of them.

Are you part if a spiritual organism with Christ as the Head, or a physical organization with a hireling who is the Head?

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    • PlanksandNails profile image
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      PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Neil,

      Thanks for the great link, I added it to the contents of this article as it quite clear what Jesus had to say to the leaders within organized religion.

      You have brought up some great conversation ice-breakers for the "Churchian" to consider and start thinking themselves on their own if they have the ability to do so.

      I have found that with all organized religions and sects that claim to adhere to Scripture that they are not able to refute questions about their man-made hierarchical system and man-named buildings that they have built for themselves. Instead of arguing with "Churchians," Mormons and JW's etc.., about their different doctrines, get right to these two points.

      The words of Jesus Christ destroy their systems that they have created for themselves to attain God.

      The greatest among you shall be your servant. - Matthew 23:11

      But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant - Matthew 20:25-26

      A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. - Luke 22:24-26

      When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. - John 13:12-16

      These verses completely destroy their claims to adhering to the example of Jesus Christ. All you have to do is walk through the doors of any one of their named buildings, sit down on a pew and watch them do the direct opposite.

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      graceinus 2 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      PandN- Thank you. You've been very helpful.

    • PlanksandNails profile image
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      PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Graceinus,

      I mainly use Bibles that have originated from the Antioch manuscripts as its history attests to a line persecution of the people who used these over the Alexandrian texts. I also mainly use the ESV in my articles, but I believe that the English language does not have the depth that the the original languages of the original manuscripts do; therefore, referencing the original language of the words in a Scripture passage may bring more clarity and context is certain instances when digging for truths within the text. Even the more accurate versions have been tampered, such as the KJV that have corrupt words like "church" that have been used to mask the true meaning of the Ekklesia.

      I believe what has the most authority on any matters pertaining to God's Word is finding the accurate and precise meanings of the terms in question from the original languages.

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      graceinus 2 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      PandN- I have at least four versions of the bible, which version would you recommend for personal study? As I'm sure you are well aware, context is one of the most important aspect of God's word. Some versions of bibles I have read in the past were clearly off base and in them the context in many verses were changed to mean something else. One example of this can be found in the bible the JW use which does not have the word grace in it, they use a different term instead of the word grace, which changes the context of the verses where the word grace is normally found. This clearly feeds to the agenda of the JW. I'm sure there are many more examples in other versions of bibles. So, again, which bible version would you recommend that has the most correct context.

      God bless

    • profile image

      Neil Braithwaite 2 years ago

      Here is a link to a movie excerpt - (word-for-word Matthew 23) - that hits the nail on the head from. All you need to do is picture Jesus speaking to a bunch of mega-church pastors. (About 10min.)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eywrkZvvLdE

      BTW - The next time you speak with someone about "church," ask them if their pastor preaches for money. Notice the look on their face when you ask the question. You will probably need to tell them you're serious before they try to answer.

      If they have a hard time answering, offer them a couple of other questions. What's the guarantee the pastor will be preaching the Sunday sermon? (Answer - He's obligated because he is paid to perform) If the "church" stopped paying him, would he leave? (Answer - He certainly would)

      Then ask them if the pastor represents the "hireling" Jesus defined?

      I have found that this is a great ice-breaker that gets straight to the point.

    • PlanksandNails profile image
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      PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Organized religion replaces Jesus Christ with a named building. This is idolatry because they seek to draw people to the building, which becomes the mediator between God and man. They believe that the unsaved must come to their Church to hear about their Jesus and become a member of their family. Every denomination has a different "Jesus" and a different "Gospel."

      They give themselves preeminence by attaching a name, or adjectives as identifiers, but they fail to understand that the only identifying factor of a true Christian is the preeminence of Jesus Christ in their lives.

      The "Churchian" will always put up a smokescreen to defend their esteemed traditions. They will always use the same terms as those among the Eklessia and say the most important thing is Jesus Christ in what they do, but behind the facade of their religious terms is their esteemed Church institution, or independent group where all of their activities are centered around the building, or piece of land that they have their religious rituals on. What is most esteemed is the obligation to support a man-made institutional system within a sacred building. This is Churchianity's "golden calf," which is idolatry, the highest priority in the "Churchians" life.

      The manufactured institutional "Jesus " is an angel of light that deceives the masses to go into their ark of safety. They cling to to the establishment like a drowning man to a lifeboat.

      Churchianity consists of broken families bound to thousands of different names, denominations and sects at a predetermined time and location.

      The Ekklesia are one family bound by the love of Jesus Christ in their hearts anyplace, anywhere and anytime.

    • Rich kelley profile image

      Rich Kelley 2 years ago from The Ekklesia

      Aaron

      Amen, agree. If you place the "church" in the middle of a circle and then walk around 360 degrees you would see many things about the building that most do not because they just walk through the doors assuming what is going on inside is of God. Once you are not in the system, God can show you many things as you decrease and allow Him to increase.

      Keep pointing out what you see from all the different angles, someone might have thought they saw the same thing but shook it off with "no it couldn't be". He sees and knows all, if we get out of the way He will let us use His glasses to see as well.

      I'm encouraged by what He shows you for us.

      Rich

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      graceinus 2 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      The falacy of most of those who call themselves christians is the belief that there is a set time, place and manner in which to worship. And the belief that the more who come together for worship the greater chance God will hear their prayers in union. And if they do this once or twice a week then that is what being a christians is all about. They are called churchians.

      The true relationship with the Father in heaven is spiritual in nature and comes from the heart, having the knowledge that as citizens of a Kingdom of Heaven, it is 24/7 and that we worship our Father in Spirit and is truth at any time and in any place. And that our action, words and deeds should reflect our citizenship of the Kingdom of God. We are called ekklesia.

    • PlanksandNails profile image
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      PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Rich,

      It is the tendency of most to fall into a routine, and then equate the routine with true worship to God. This is the failure of organized religion.

      One of the biggest deceptions is that the language of the institutional church system uses the same terms, but they have completely different meanings.

      For if someone comes and proclaims ANOTHER JESUS than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a DIFFERENT SPIRIT from the one you received, or if you accept a DIFFERENT GOSPEL from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. - 2 Corinthians 11:4

      See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to HUMAN TRADITION, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. - Colossians 2:8

      And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order TO ESTABLISH YOUR TRADITION! - Mark 7:9

      Every carnal religious system centers around a temple, or a sacred place where people meet for rites and ceremonies. It requires hierarchy and men with prestigious titles to officiate rules and regulations of their ideologies within their named denominational buildings.

      Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. FOR THEY PREACH, BUT DO NOT PRACTICE. - Matthew 23:1-3

      Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for THEY LOVED THE GLORY THAT COMES FROM MAN more than the glory that comes from God. - John 12:42-43

      Traditions of man are easy to spot among the Church goers as they use the term church to mean the building, the clergy, the services and the programs they attend. When confronted on it, they will lie and tell you it is not about that at all, but as Jesus said, "They preach, but do not practice."

      The Ekklesia are the called out ones who are not a part of being called into the religio-good-works social club that is accepted and blessed by the worldly governments.

      Jesus Christ said that His followers would be rejected, hated and persecuted by the world.

    • PlanksandNails profile image
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      PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Lifegate,

      That is what this whole article is about, making the distinction between those who are among spiritual organism of the Ekklesia and those who conform to the rituals organized religion of the Church system.

      If you go to a Church meeting at a permanent centralized location, you are part of organized religion. There is no getting around it.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I do those things you mentioned on a daily basis, but I do meet regularly with a group of believers for edification, spiritual growth, and fellowship. I guess that's where we would differ. For me, it's not about "Serving in the Kingdom of God is not polishing the tithing plates, vacuuming the carpets and landscaping the Church grounds for "Jesus" all to get a pat on the back . . . ." It's about meeting with my family of brothers, sisters, focusing on our Father - growing and sharing together, serving God together, etc. Thanks for clearing things up!

    • Rich kelley profile image

      Rich Kelley 2 years ago from The Ekklesia

      A fish is not showed how to swim when the fish is born. If you leave the fish alone and don't bring all the human wisdom into the picture that fish will do exactly what God intended it to do. It is the same with the Disciples of Christ, if you could leave out the human wisdom and deception, that disciple would do exactly what God intended them to do.

      For some reason we want to cling to the things or language of the institutional church system, and we all know what a little leaven does. I was not created to swim, I can swim but I'm clearly not made to do that, but such is the way the human approach is to God. We will copy and do what the pagans do even if we drown doing it.

      Most of us fear the first death when it is the second we need to be concerned about. All the eating drinking and being merry because tomorrow we die is in fact a lie. It is the second death that should be of concern and living as though you are still in Babylon will ensure your second death. You cannot leave the institution and still do what they do and expect different results. You must be born again, and learn to walk as He walked and live as He lived.

    • PlanksandNails profile image
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      PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Lifegate,

      There where and how I meet would imply organized religion, which I do not partake in. I fellowship with other like-minded believers in different homes, gyms, cafes, restaurants, the internet, parks, downtown, etc... It is never the same. There is no centralized location and how the Holy Spirit leads is something different each and every time. It can look like a meal one day, singing the next, and teaching and encouragement with other people the day after. The where and the how is irrelevant because it is a lifestyle, not a meeting.

      Being open to leading of the Spirit is something completely different. I have had the opportunity to sit down with high ranking Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons for lengthy one-on-one discussions that God had ordained for a time. I have had coffee once a week with Charismatic Dominionists. I have chatted for an hour with a hireling church pastor whose wife divorced him because he was a slave to the Church system. I have had some dialogue with people where other people have gathered to listen in on the discussion. Other days it may be serving people within the secular community.

      It should be different for each and every Christian believer. If they are not, then they are a "Churchian" oppressed in the predictable rituals of organized religion.

      Serving in the Kingdom of God is not polishing the tithing plates, vacuuming the carpets and landscaping the Church grounds for "Jesus" all to get a pat on the back from the pastor as every good Church attender does.

      The where and how is different for every citizen of the Kingdom of God as their gifts are different. A predetermined ritual at a centralized location would not utilize their gifts, but choke them out.

      That is the difference between the playground of Church and the battleground of the Ekklesia. Unfortunately, many never get off the playground.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for the clarification. So where do you meet, and how do you meet? Thanks in advance.

    • PlanksandNails profile image
      Author

      PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Lifegate,

      No, I don't mean communal living as on a commune if that is what you are getting at. For more clarification, I have edited the phrase to, "The physical reality of the Ekklesia consists of family households who live together within a locality emphasizing and edifying one another in the faith that manifests in Christian love towards one another."

      The purpose of every believer is to spread the Gospel, not to get people to join a commune on a piece of real estate somewhere. A religious commune would be no different than what the Church system does already by getting people to focus on a centralized physical location.

      It is clear in Acts that the Ekklesia consisted of households in Jerusalem.

      But Saul was ravaging the Ekklesia, and entering HOUSE AFTER HOUSE, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. - Acts 8:3

      And every day, IN THE TEMPLE and from HOUSE TO HOUSE, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. - Acts 5:42

      Notice that the Apostles were preaching to those "in the the temple" and the previous verses reveal that they were persecuted by the councils, captains and chiefs of the temple system for doing so.

      It is the same today, The "Churchians" get enraged when their precious man-made temple system gets poked at and exposed for what it is.

      But Peter and the apostles answered, “WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN. - Acts 5:29

      Thanks for the question and your thoughts.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Just a quick question - you say, "The physical reality of the Ekklesia consists of family households who live together emphasising and edifying one another in the faith that manifests in Christian love towards one another."Do you mean by this it's communal living?

    • profile image

      graceinus 2 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      PandN- If people don't understand this article, then it's due to the fact they don't want to.

      This one I believe is more detailed than some of the other regarding the ekklesia. This is another outstanding article.

      God bless