Summary: How the unscriptural term "church" is causing an Identity Crisis!
I found it interesting that Dr. Erwin Lutzer was named "Bible Teacher of the Year" by Christian Newswire and yet in todays (2/19) radio message from Moody Chuch (Part 3 of 4 Callings-I Pt.2) erroneously stated that "ekklesia" is the Greek word for "church". One will look in vain for the Greek word for "church" in their Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. It's just not there!
From Fausset's Bible Dictionary, CHURCH: "the Greek KURIAKEE [Having No etymological connection to Ekklesia] "house of the Lord," a word which passed to the Gothic tongue; the Goths being the first of the northern hordes converted to Christianity, adopted the word from the Greek Christians of Constantinople, and so it came to us Anglo-Saxons (Trench, Study of Words). But Lipsius, from circus, from whence kirk, a circle, because the oldest temples, as the Druid ones, were circular in form. Ekkleesia in the New Testament never means the building or house of assembly, because church buildings were built long AFTER the apostolic age".
Consider this excerpt from Michael Scheifler's "William Tyndale - Saint or Heretical Blasphemer?" (Everything in brackets or capitalized is mine for emphasis):
"Sir Thomas More [A Catholic "saint" and "opponent of the Protestant Reformation and in particular of Martin Luther and William Tyndale"] had this to say about Tyndale- he calls him 'a beast', as one of the 'hell-hounds that the devil hath in his kennel', discharging a 'filthy foam of blasphemies out of his brutish beastly mouth'...
"So what had Tyndale done in his translation that was so heretical? According to David Daniell, Tyndale had translated the Greek word for 'elder' as 'elder' instead of 'priest', HE HAD TRANSLATED THE GREEK WORD FOR 'CONGREGATION' AS 'CONGREGATION' INSTEAD OF 'CHURCH', the Greek word for 'repentance' as 'repentance' instead of 'penance' etc. Why were such differences important to the church? The Roman Church has priests, not elders. A congregation implies a locally autonomous group of believers guided by the Holy Spirit and not a hierarchical unified church subject to a Pope. The Roman Church is built on penance and indulgences to the priest and Church, not repentance to, and forgiveness from God. IN TRYING TO FAITHFULLY RENDER THE GREEK INTO ENGLISH, TYNDALES TRANSLATION EXPOSED THE ERRORS OF THE [ROMAN CATHOLIC] church to the people which quickly brought the wrath of the church down on him."
My perspective on this issue in regards to the inclusion of the unscriptural word "church" which has no etymological root to "ekklesia" and was popularized by King James, is that there is a greater implication than just what form of government believers should practice (i.e. plural, local, autonomous vs. hierarchical). The greater issue of importance, in my mind anyway, is one of IDENTITY.
When the translators of the Septuagint/LXX translated the Hebrew word "qahal", which was used approx. 100x in reference to the people of God (i.e. Israel), they chose the Greek word "ekklesia". For approx. 200 yrs. before the coming of Yeshua/Jesus, the Septuagint was used in the synagogues to one extent or another. At any rate, the term "ekklesia" would have been a familiar term with the disciples in the first century and would of been considered synonomous with "qahal"=Israel. By keeping this in mind, when we read the word "church", a whole different picture should emerge and verses such as Rom.11:17,18,24; Eph.2:11-14 should take on a whole new meaning. In other words, all believer's in Yeshua/Jesus should understand themselves as adopted/grafted into the faithful remnant called ISRAEL which is "the Israel of God" (Gal.6:16). The unscriptural use of the word "church" only serves to promote the (false) theologies/traditions of men by creating a false dichotomy between Israel and "The Church", a separate entity that was unknown of by Yeshua and His disciples in the first century.