Changing names of places, streets and institutions have become a regular practice in India. They would argue that it is to retain the old and meaningful title and eradicate the memory of the colonial rule. But most of the time it is politically motivated. The ruling party uses its power to arouse public sentiments and keep their vote bank intact. The latest proposal has come from the ruling party of Kerala state, south India, to change ‘kerala’ to ‘keralam’.
YMCA vs The Y
Recently Young Men’s Christian Association announced that they will be known as ‘The Y” only. We don’t know what exactly the reason behind this change is. It may be to make it more appealing to the present generation from various communities. Some commentators suggest that the YMCA may have lost the original objective and principles after 166 years and ‘Christian association’ tag no longer valid!
Assembly vs Church
What would be the reason why certain local churches known as ‘assemblies’ are changing their name to ‘church’? These local churches separated from the mainline churches to gather together according to the New Testament pattern in all simplicity around 180 years ago, used to call their gathering as ‘assembly’ knowing fully well of it’s significance.
Bible scholars do agree that the word ‘church’ is not the best term for ‘ekklesia’, the Greek word the Lord Jesus Christ used when He said, “I will build my Church.” The word ‘ekklesia’ refers to a group of people called out for a special purpose. Cf. Act 19:32, 39, 41; 7:38. That’s exactly what the Lord meant in Matt 16:18. A specially called out people, separated for God. Cp. Act 15:14.
Ekklesia vs Kuriakos
The term ‘church’ has nothing to do with ‘ekklesia’. ‘Church’ comes from the Greek word ‘Kuriakos’ meaning ‘of or belonging to the Lord’. That’s why many well known authors while referring to a local church often use the word assembly. The translators of the Authorised Version knew it yet chose to retain the word ‘church’ may be to satisfy ‘The Church’ or even King James who ordered that translation.
The enlightened godly men who discovered the New Testament Church principles in the early part of nineteenth century referred to their gathering as an assembly. It doesn’t mean that they never used the term ‘Church’ at all. They did. But the point is they understood the difference between both the terms and used accordingly. Church is neither a building nor an organization but a gathering (assembly) of God’s people saved and separated by the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Progress or Retreat
As in the case of YMCA, do the descendants of ‘Assembly’ leaders consider that ‘assembly’ is no longer suitable as they have deviated from the path of those forefathers! Is it to get more acceptability, socially or even legally? What ever may be the reason, do not forget by rejecting the most meaningful word ‘Assembly’ we are not progressing for better. In fact we are trying to erase history and hide the distinctive truths associated with that title.
Let us rejoice to be part of the local assembly saved and separated by the Lord to be a witness for Him in this dark world. The world does not understand us for we are not part of ‘the Church’ that the world recognizes. 1John. 3:1, 2. We are different and make sure we do show forth these distinctive characteristics and stay true to the name we take. It is not easy, as God told Joshua; we need to be courageous to obey the word of God with out deviating to the right or left. Joshua 1:7.
With scorn and contempt an atheist said, “What man with any common sense could believe that several thousand years ago God stooped down, picked up a piece of mud in his hand, and breathing on it, change it into a man!”
A Christian replied, “You might ask me many questions about the creation of man which I could not answer, but there is one thing I know; God stooped down one night and picked up the dirtiest piece of mud in town, and He breathed upon it by His Spirit and from that very moment it was newly created, changed from a gambling, drinking, thieving wretch in to a man of God. For twenty- three years that changed bit of mud has never gambled, drunk, or thieved. And I was that bit of mud. It is easy to sneer at the Bible, but it is not so easy to answer such a changed life as mine.”
Duties of a Christian
Always privilege and responsibility go together. The higher is our position; our accountability also will be high. Apostle Peter encourages the suffering scattered saints not only to rejoice in their great salvation, but also to act accordingly. Their threefold responsibility is to:-
-Set their hope fully upon the coming of the Lord.
-Be Holy in all their conduct.
-Fear God in every moment of life.
In this world of uncertainties and turmoil the only hope on which a Christian can hold on to is the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A study based on 1Peter 1:13—17. Read More
“I cherish and follow the church in all things. I resist only those who in the name of the Church of Rome trying to erect a Babylon for us….
as if holy scripture no longer existed.”
“The Church (is) the gathering of God’s children, where they can be helped and fed like babies and then, guided by her motherly care,
grow up to manhood in maturity of faith.”