ONE AND ONLY ONE ECCLESIA IN A CITY!

Never do you read in the NT Scriptures of more than one ecclesia (assembly or congregation) in any city! Now stop and think about that fact. Check it out for yourself. No city mentioned In Scripture had a plurality of ecclesias! All the saints in each city constituted the one ecclesia of that city. Today, however, there are hundreds of cities in this nation that have from two to fifty ecclesias/congregations and each one claims to be a separate, autonomous, independent entity. Each one exists as if it is the only one in the city. These churches are man designed human institutions or denominations just like all the other churches of today. Why was there only one ecclesia/assembly in a city in the days of the apostles and today there is a plurality of ecclesias in the majority of the cities in the U.S.A.?

You are aware, I hope, that the word ecclesia is the English spelling of the Greek word for what Jesus said He would build. Jesus said: "Upon this rock I will build My ecclesia..." (Matt. 16:18). What He said was that upon the great truth confessed by Peter, that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus would build His assembly, congregation, gathering, or redeemed people. Jesus did NOT say that He would build a church and He did not do such a thing! The ecclesia of Christ is NOT a church! All churches are the works and creations of men. Jesus did not set up a religious institution of any kind. The ecclesia is His called out, obedient people, wherever they are! The ecclesia is NOT an organization or institution.

Here again, as I have done so often in this paper, I must emphasize that the English word church should not be in the Scripture anywhere! It does not translate any word in the original Greek text of the Bible.

Understand that Jesus Christ did indeed build His ecclesia (congregation or assembly of redeemed people), but He did not build a church of any sort or kind! Men started churches! In truth, there is no such thing as a church even mentioned in God's word; that is, in the original text of the Scripture. King James ordered, decreed, that the English word church be substituted for a translation of the Greek word ecclesia in the authorized translation of the King James Bible. That is how the word Church got into the Bible. King James was the Head of the Church of England and he is responsible for giving the religious world the word church in Scripture. The Church of Christ Institution, like all other denominations (which are creations of men!), is from men, NOT from God or Jesus Christ. Literally there is no CHURCH of any kind set forth in Scripture: and the English word "church" should not be in the Scriptures as any informed, honest person will tell you.

The word "church" is substituted for a translation of the Greek word ecclesia in every place it appears in the NT Scripture with the exception of three instances; all three found in Acts 19:32, 39, and 41. Look at these passages and check the marginal notes in your Bible, if it has such, and you will see that the word "assembly" or "congregation" are both acceptable English translations of the Greek word ecclesia. The word "ecclesia" cannot be translated by the word church because it does NOT have the same meaning. A church is a religious organization or institution; or, the word is often used to refer to a building built by men, where people go to do their religious services. Again let me emphasize that the word "church" should not be in Scripture since it translates no word in the Greek text. Jesus did not die for a church or religious organization of any kind! He died for you and me; that is, for all the people who ever lived and who will live in the future. The C of C church, which is constituted of several sects, is simply a man-designed denomination just like all the other churches of today. Men have "birthed" every CHURCH that exists today. God has no church or denomination of any kind. Church members "belong to the church" of their choice, NOT to Jesus Christi Jesus has no religious institution or church!

In view of the above, it should be obvious to all honest hearts that there is no pattern In the scripture for setting up a church institution of any kind. The "pattern" followed today by all brands of churches, including the various C of C sects, is borrowed from the organizations and corporate structures in today's business world. The organization provides the mechanism for controlling the people and keeping them in submission to the institution, its rulers and clergy. The church organization today provides these clergymen -- the hired, professional preachers, with employment and a livelihood! They are employed, with a job description, just like the employees of any other business or organization. The Eldership, the rulers or corporate officials, sets the conditions of their employment, their duties, and pays their salary. Few, if any, will "bite the hand that feeds them."

ONE AND ONLY ONE ECCLESIA IN A CITY

Let me state a vital FACT: Every time the word ecclesia is used in connection with A CITY it is always singular! Let me cite some examples:

1)"the ecclesia of God which is at Corinth ..." (1 Cor. 1:2)
2)"the ecclesia In Jerusalem" (Acts 15:4, 22)
3)"the ecclesia of the Thessalonians" (1 Thess. 1:1).
4}"the ecclesia In Ephesus" (Rev. 2:1)
5)"the ecclesia in Smyrna" (Rev. 2:8)
6)"the ecclesia in Pergamum" (Rev. 2:12)
7)As well as the ecclesia {always singular!) in the cities of Thyatira, Sardis, and in Philadelphia.

Never do you read in Scripture of a plurality of ecclesias in any city! Let that sink in and think of its significance. There was only one ecclesia in a city and it was NOT an institution or an organization. The one ecclesia in each city constituted, or was made up of, ALL THE SAINTS in that city. In Jerusalem there were thousands of disciples and they all made up the ONE ecclesia of Christ in that city! The same was true of every other city. For certain there was no such thing as a Northside Ecclesia of Christ or a Main St. Ecclesia of Christ in any city. They had no organized or even an unorganized CHURCH in any city, for no such thing as a CHURCH existed in that age! I emphasize again that all churches are from men, none are from God!

Today it is very different. There are churches of many brands and kinds in almost every city in this nation, as well as all over the world. NOT ONE OF THEM IS ANY PART OF THE ECCLESIA OF CHRIST! They are all human institutions or organizations ruled and controlled by men. They do not belong to Jesus Christ. He has no part in such human organizations and religious systems. THERE IS NO CHURCH IN GOD'S WORD! Church of Christ churches are human institutions just like all the other denominations.

For almost seven years In this paper I have begged and chided the C of C church preachers to produce ONE essential requirement for being a denomination that is not true of the Church of Christ churches. Never has even one preacher attempted to produce such an essential, Why? Because they can't and they know that they can't do so. CAH