Vol.IV No.VIII Pg.7
September 1967

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Dear bro. Turner:

I really liked your "Sermon on Living" (Aug. '67). Wish you would write a short addendum to it concerning the application of Acts 5:4." D.S.


The theme of last month's article was "total commitment" -- that we must give all to the Lord when we become Christians, and henceforth "the need and opportunity to serve the Lord will determine the use we make of our possessions -- not some arbitrary rule of percentage."

Peter told Ananias, "While it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?" (Acts 5:4) This does not contradict the principle set forth in my article, but refers to the power of choice (free agency) which all Christians have, to use themselves (and their possessions) for Christ, or fail to do so.

We are to present our bodies a "living sacrifice" -- which suggests a continual offering. Ananias was not forced to give anything -- which fact compounded his lie that he had given all. What we give by promise, when we obey the gospel; we must actually give -- freely -- as "need and opportunity" present themselves.

Bro. Turner:

Please state your opinion about use of the English word "church." SA


It has become a current fad among some to ridicule the use of "church" because (a) it is not a translation of "ekklesia," (b) it has an erroneous doctrinal connotation to the world, (c) it promotes an "institutional concept" of God's people. The same objections could be made to "saint" "prayer" "worship" etc. It is absurdly ridiculous to think that a word must have a direct Greek background in order to translate meaning expressed originally in Greek. Many arguments (?) made along this line show a childish conception of philology, and all word-derivation.

At the same time, we must recognize that the English word "church" is not sacred. It has erroneous connotations; but none that can not be erased with the same sound Bible instruction that teaches an alien about "salvation" "faith" "grace" "baptism" and a host of other words that have unscriptural connotations among men.

"ASSEMBLY" does not come from the Greek "ekklesia" but from Old French, "assemblee, assembler." "GROUP" comes from French, "groupe" which is from Italian, "gruppo, groppo," and probably has Teutonic origin. And for the purist, if we simply Anglicize the Greek and call God's people the "ekklesia" we run smack into the most obnoxious connotation of "ecclesiasticism."

I do not object to studies of the word "church" or even substitution of another word if the individual wishes; but making "church" a dirty word, and ridiculing the proper use of "church of Christ" can only produce a self-inflicted acid broth, in which the author will stew himself away.