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A Gathering Of Those Called
by Wayne Blank
Another question. About 30 years ago a small group of independent Christians (their church was not legally associated with any other) could no longer afford to maintain their "church" building because of their dwindling membership numbers (most were farmers and country folk whose children had moved to the cities), so they legally ended their congregation and sold the building to a developer who demolished it to make room for other uses. Some people would say that the "church" died; their building died when it was demolished and their legal "church" died when they ceased to operate. But would God say that the "church" there died? No, He wouldn't because the people didn't die. They joined other Christian denominations in nearby towns. The church didn't die (again, whether they were of the true church is beside the point and purpose of this example).
No where in the Bible is a church referred to as a building. Nor is it ever referred to as a corporate entity. According to the Word of God, church means people.
In the New Testament, church is the translation of the Greek word (pronounced) ek-klay-see-ah, meaning a gathering of those called. It was later, in post-apostolic times, that the Greek word pronounced kuriakon came to be used to denote a place, and it is from that word that the English word "church" is believed to have been derived. But unlike man's definition, God's definition of "church" has always been His people.
Fact Finder: What did Jesus Christ say about the Church of God and the "gates of hell"?