Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Meaning of Ekklesia....Hmmmm, Yes

This little video provides a couple of points in my opinion. One is that it shows the fellowship between these three men, one of which, Dever, who will also be appearing at an upcoming conference in Lansdale with Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder. Second, I'm amazed at how ridiculous the other two sound in their defense of what they do. Obnoxious. Third, Dever at 1:00 to about 1:20, to explain why he doesn't multi-site says, number one, the meaning of ekklesia in the New Testament is "assembly." That's my main, if not entire point for posting this. Three evangelicals not attempting to make any kind of significant point about ecclesiology and Dever says, "Ekklesia means 'assembly.'" That's right. If we're going to be honest with our understanding of "church," then we, like Dever, will say the church is an assembly. So there is no universal church. That is a contradiction in terms. Thank you. The other two try to argue Dever away with their hypotheticals and rhetoric. They laugh off his scriptural explanation. Dever sounds like he wants to give a real scriptural answer, but they just talk over him and disallow him from even giving his reasons. You can see that he decides at that point to become the interviewer and ask them questions. They don't want to let him talk anyway.

Assemblies assemble. That's what they do. That's what's wrong with multi-site, according to Dever. But Dever mentions the usage of ekklesia. He brings up Acts 18, wanting to be honest with the text. There is no universal church. The church is an assembly. Come on, folks. Plain meaning of the text.

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One more thing. Dever asks MacDonald a little ways in, why not go and make that an evangelistic event? Good question. Why are you going to start a church? Aren't we supposed to evangelize first? It's out of those converts that come a church. That would be "gospel-centered," wouldn't it? But they are franchising their group in different places. I like when MacDonald says he is nothing there in Florida. So he's something in Chicago? Something to be seen there. He also says "I build." He's building something, it's true. It would be better if it were God that was building something. Both the sower and the waterer are what? They are nothing. They are irrelevant. MacDonald is nothing in Chicago too. He just thinks he's something---hence the need, in his opinion, for multi-sites. I've been harping on the Luke 10 approach over at Jackhammer.

10 comments:

Gary said...

I've never heard of going to a church to listen to the pastor via video. Hmmmm, scary.

Victor Mowery said...

The video is very interesting. I had no idea multi-site churches were growing that large.

Meanwhile on the subject of Ekklesia meaning assembly, I wonder how you would respond to a line of reasoning that states that all New Testament saints are as a matter of fact currently assembled together, such assembly being in Christ, according to the following texts, and therefore they do in fact constitute an assembly in every sense of the word Ekklesia, as they were not "called out" into the local church but into Christ: Romans 8:1, 12:5, 16:7; II Corinthians 1:21, 5:17; Galatians 3:28; Philippians 1:1, 4:21; I Peter 5:14; and especially John 17:21-23; Ephesians 2:6, 2:11-22; Colossians 3:1-3; Hebrews 12:23.

I have never heard a well reasoned response to this line of thinking and I believe that if anybody would have such a reasoned response it would be you.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Victor,

Thanks for commenting. I am not going to be able to give you a long answer right at the moment, but I'll come back. I've got to leave in a minute here. As a matter of fact, my wife just said, "About ready to go?"

We start with how did the people understand ekklesia who were hearing it in that day? You have to spiritualize it for it not to be an assembly, and we have no basis for spiritualizing it. Dever gives a good reason for that when he gives the Acts 18 example, which I'll come back to, but I've got to go. "In Christ" is soteriological, and our position is a spiritual one. Ekklesia is not used like that up until scripture was written and we have no verse that would explain that it changed in its basic meaning.

I'll get to your references later.

Bill Hardecker said...

I have a number of issues with this video.

First, I get the icky feeling listening to James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll shoot down Mark Dever's explanation of the meaning of "ekklesia." Driscoll with his dismissive rant "according to who?" tells me that he fails to find meaning in the text itself. Meaning is everything, and when it is rooted in the text then we have a solid foundation for doctrine. However, eliminate that, and we are doomed to invent meanings according to our own subjective sentiments.

Second, pragmatism. They are just as aweful with the numbers as Jack Hyles was with his. What good is a work that grows from 200 to 500 in 6 months when their is zero confrontation of sin. A small church, that loves the Lord, and His Word, faithful to His ordinances is big in God's eyes - more so than a multi-sattelite group of people who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. Pragmatism is cheap, but obedience is priceless.

Third, pious overtones. "I'm just part of the set design." Just listen to the Spirit, enjoying the Scriptures, Say what God lays on my heart...my take on this is that Driscoll doesn't want to pastor people. In his massive missiological contextualization - he fails to actually pastor God's flock. I have a problem with this contextualization - it is unscriptural. The pastor is called to "feed the flock of God" (Acts 20:28). The pastor is the main instrument in Eph. 4:12 of perfecting the saints - He is responsible to restore them to their rightful place (I can hear it now..."according to who?"). Is it too much to ask for the pastor to well, pastor? To preach the word with all longsuffering and doctrine, to reprove, rebuke, and exhort? How can you reprove sin when you are "not even there" - you know just being part of the set design.

FWIW, I am glad for men like Pastor Brandenburg, men like my own pastor - and a many other pastor friends who really care about God's Word and His people. They lead, shepherd, serve, preach, love, pray for their flock, and rebuke others when needed. Praise God for godly pastors.

Bill Hardecker said...

I have a number of issues with this video.

First, I get the icky feeling listening to James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll shoot down Mark Dever's explanation of the meaning of "ekklesia." Driscoll with his dismissive rant "according to who?" tells me that he fails to find meaning in the text itself. Meaning is everything, and when it is rooted in the text then we have a solid foundation for doctrine. However, eliminate that, and we are doomed to invent meanings according to our own subjective sentiments.

Second, pragmatism. They are just as aweful with the numbers as Jack Hyles was with his. What good is a work that grows from 200 to 500 in 6 months when their is zero confrontation of sin. A small church, that loves the Lord, and His Word, faithful to His ordinances is big in God's eyes - more so than a multi-sattelite group of people who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. Pragmatism is cheap, but obedience is priceless.

Third, pious overtones. "I'm just part of the set design." Just listen to the Spirit, enjoying the Scriptures, Say what God lays on my heart...my take on this is that Driscoll doesn't want to pastor people. In his massive missiological contextualization - he fails to actually pastor God's flock. I have a problem with this contextualization - it is unscriptural. The pastor is called to "feed the flock of God" (Acts 20:28). The pastor is the main instrument in Eph. 4:12 of perfecting the saints - He is responsible to restore them to their rightful place (I can hear it now..."according to who?"). Is it too much to ask for the pastor to well, pastor? To preach the word with all longsuffering and doctrine, to reprove, rebuke, and exhort? How can you reprove sin when you are "not even there" - you know just being part of the set design.

FWIW, I am glad for men like Pastor Brandenburg, men like my own pastor - and a many other pastor friends who really care about God's Word and His people. They lead, shepherd, serve, preach, love, pray for their flock, and rebuke others when needed. Praise God for godly pastors.

Christian said...

I have a few (too many to count right now) concerns (both subjective and objective) about this video. But for now I will just offer two links for those interested in the discussion in CE circles.

The first is the recently released 9Marks Journal dedicated to the subject of multi-site churches:
http://www.9marks.org/ejournal/multi-site-churches

The second is a particular article by Jonathan Leeman entitled "Theological Critique of MultiSite: What Exactly Is a 'Church'?" This article expands on Brother Dever's argument about ekklesia. (I had similar reactions to this article as Brother Brandenburg did to the video above):
http://www.9marks.org/ejournal/theological-critique-multi-site-what-exactly-%E2%80%9Cchurch%E2%80%9D

For His glory,
Christian Markle

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Bill.

Thanks Christian.

I'll be back with further stuff for Victor.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Assemblies assemble. That's what they do.

Oh c'mon now, that's too easy and too reliant on the words of the text itself. You'll never get out of DBTS with that sort of an attitude.

Joe Cassada said...

Wow. I was hoping for a scriptural debate. That was over in the first thirty seconds with Dricoll's "according to who?" response. So what does ekklesia mean, Driscoll? No answers to that question. What followed was chest-thumping numbers dropping and pragmatism. All of the arguments were pragmatic. Unfortunately, all of Dever's questions were pragmatically oriented. Why didn't he engage them with more Scriptural questions?

In this video, Driscoll reminded me of not a few IFB celeb preachers who have the attitude that "I'm right and you're wrong because my church is bigger than yours."

Regarding multi-site churches, I'm still undecided. This conversation answered none of my questions.

Anonymous said...

Is there a "Bride of Christ"?

Is that bride made up of all those who have trusted Christ?

If so, then refuse to give it the label church if you want, but it is a catholic group -- a group made up of the whole.

Keith