True News 4 U — Test All Things — Ecclesia vs. Church
Ecclesia vs. Church
By Ted R. Weiland
Why Understanding the Difference is Critical to Our Future
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus1 answered and said unto him, ... upon this rock I will build my church [?]; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:16-18)2
Who’s Prevailing Over Whom?
Nearly every town in America has multiple churches representing different denominations. The number of attendees is presently (January 2020) estimated at 214 million throughout America. There is no other organization with such representation, and yet where do we find America today? Has America become more Christian or less Christian as the numbers of Christians3 have burgeoned? Is America less or more ungodly as her churches have multiplied?
As the churches increase, so do the infanticide clinics, sodomite parades, drag queen library shows, abhorrent legislation, debt and economic woes, and a plethora of other national, state, and local abominations.
Furthermore, Christians are often forced into the Constitutional Republic’s biblically adverse secular courts4 in order to protect themselves and their businesses against wicked litigation initiated by atheists, sodomites, lesbians, and other non-Christians. Occasionally, those same courts grant Christians judicial victories, but these amount to scraps thrown to them under their secular masters’ table.
So who’s prevailing over whom? Does this sound like the church prevailing over the gates of hell, or does it sound like the gates of hell prevailing over the church? If the gates of hell have prevailed against the church, wouldn’t this make Yahweh5 a liar?
Who’s the Problem?
Is God the problem, or are the churches the problem?
Yahweh does not fail, therefore His promises don’t fail:
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)
Consequently, the problem must lie with the churches. Some of the reason for this is because of the word “church,” an extremely poor translation of the Greek word “ecclesia.” When translated and interpreted correctly, ecclesia is a potent threat to all ungodly governments of this world, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail, precisely as Christ promised.
Why was Caesar Threatened?
Understood correctly, ecclesia in practice today becomes the same threat Caesar feared from the 1st-century Christians:
[C]ertain lewd fellows of the baser sort ... gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar ... crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also ... and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. (Acts 17:5-7)
With all the power of the Roman Empire behind him, why did Caesar feel so threatened by the small band of 1st-century Christians that he murdered them at his pleasure. Yet even with the threat of death, this movement could not be thwarted:
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)
How glorious and dynamic Christ’s resurrection from the dead as it pertains to eternity and potent its implications for us while living here on earth:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (Psalm 23:4-5)
Yahweh shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. (Psalm 110:2)
Caesar and his subjects understood what has escaped today’s double-minded constitutional Christians here in America: there can only be one supreme law. Choose wisely! Either the Constitution is supreme per Article 6.6 Or Yahweh’s moral law is supreme per the Bible. To attempt to choose both is to choose the lesser of the two, which harks back the double-minded Israelites on Mount Carmel with Elijah:
Why halt ye between two opinions? If We the People (a contemporary form of Baal7) be God, serve them. If Yahweh be God, serve Him.
The wrong choice is an act of idolatry. Idolatry is not so much about statues as it is statutes, such as what one considers the supreme law of the land.
Caesar understood the implications of the supreme law and so did the 1st-century Christians, who therefore became a supreme threat to Caesar’s government.
Where Were the 1st–Century Churches?
Had Rome been populated with Christians and churches like those here in contemporary America, would Caesar have had the same response? Of course not! There would have been no reason for him to fear his regime being toppled by such churches. Today’s Christians might well have been considered some of Caesar’s finest citizens.
There were no churches like those here in America colonizing the 1st-century Roman Empire. Stop and think about that. Neither are there ecclesias populating America like there were in the Roman Empire—at least not anymore.
Caesar feared the 1st-century ecclesias, against which the gates of hell could not prevail and which would in turn ultimately prevail against the gates the hell. In other words, these ecclesias would turn the world upside down (or, in reality, right-side up). When you’re on the top—as was Caesar—your greatest fear is that someone or something will turn your world upside down, by which you end up on the bottom or worse.
[I]n the days of these kings [those of the Roman Empire] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed ... but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44)
Contrast the 1st-century ecclesias with what’s found on street corners in nearly every town in 21st-century America, where people gather in four-walled, stain-glassed church buildings doing their church thing—what, if we’re honest, mostly amounts to putrefying. Tragically, the bulk of today’s alleged Christians8 are best depicted by Christ in Matthew 5:13 as salt that’s lost its savor, good for nothing but to be trampled under the foot of man. Hardly a depiction of prevailing against the gates of hell.
It was not always this way here in America. In the early 1600s, America was known more for her ecclesias than for her churches:
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835: They [the Puritans] exercised the rights of sovereignty; they named their magistrates, concluded peace or declared war, made police regulations, and enacted laws as if their allegiance was due only to God. Nothing can be more curious and, at the same time more instructive, than the legislation of that period; it is there that the solution of the great social problem which the United States now presents to the world is to be found [in perfect fulfillment of Deuteronomy 4:5-8, demonstrating the continuing veracity of Yahweh’s law and its accompanying blessings, per Deuteronomy 28:1-14].
Amongst these documents we shall notice, as especially characteristic, the code of laws promulgated by the little State of Connecticut in 1650. The legislators of Connecticut begin with the penal laws, and … they borrow their provisions from the text of Holy Writ. “Whosoever shall worship any other God than the Lord,” says the preamble of the Code, “shall surely be put to death.” This is followed by ten or twelve enactments of the same kind, copied verbatim from the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy.
Blasphemy, sorcery, adultery, and rape were punished with death….9
Whereas the oft-parroted quotation, allegedly from de Tocqueville, regarding America’s churches10 cannot be found in any of his writings, the quotation above regarding the legislation of that period is easily documented from his Democracy in America.
Some Good Things
This is not to say some good things do not occur in today’s church buildings—just like there are good things taking place in your local Elks Club, Moose Lodge, and even your local Masonic buildings. But those good things—such as praising God, commemorating Christ’s sacrifice, and praying—do not negate what is otherwise scripturally egregious in those same churches.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23, NASB)
As an example, in 2 Samuel 6, when King David set out to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to its rightful place in the Tabernacle in Jerusalem, he proceeded with a great praise procession that would have certainly rivaled any praise service in today’s mega churches. Despite the spiritual celebration, God was not pleased with David and the others involved. The event concluded with the death of the Levite Uzzah when he reached out to prevent the Ark from toppling to the ground. Why? Because instead of being obediently transported via two poles on the shoulders of four Koahite Levites, the Ark had instead been put on an ox cart.
Consequently, David’s praise procession was as much an abomination as are the prayers of today’s antinomian11 Christians:
“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9)
“Thus saith Yahweh, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein … [consequently] your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.” (Jeremiah 6:16, 20)
King, Kingdom, and Law
Many of today’s churches are renowned for their praise and prayers. However, such prayers and praise are nothing but a facade without recognition of the King, the present reality of His Kingdom and His law,12 and obedience to His dominion commission.13 They are stain-glassed window dressing—baptized humanism.
Because the bulk of today’s Christians have rejected Yahweh’s moral law as applicable today under the New Covenant, there’s no consistency between denominations and churches. This essentially amounts to every man doing what is right in his own eyes, per Judges 21:25.
Part of the reason for this sad state of affairs is because of the word “church” and what it’s come to represent to people calling themselves Christians. Worse, it has helped modern Christianity fulfill Matthew 5:13—that is, to become trampled, savorless salt rather than the “tramplers” Christ our King intends us to be on behalf of Him and His kingdom.13
Either Yahweh is a liar or something is amiss with today’s churches, as evidenced in that the gates of hell are prevailing against the churches rather than the other way around.
Today’s churches do not resemble anything we find in the New Testament or anything historically found at the birth of Christendom in the First Century AD. The reason for this is because Christians are not called to church but to ecclesia. Whereas the gates of hell have easily prevailed against our four-walled, stain-glassed churches and the inhabitants enslaved therein, the gates of hell cannot prevail against what should instead be ecclesias.