A common continuationist position is that there exists a gift of tongues which is a Spirit-given language, understandable by God, that is exercised in prayer between the believer/Spirit-filled individual and God
Therefore, from these verses in 1 Corinthians 14, it is clear that, as in Acts 2, the gift of languages was the miraculous ability to speak an unlearned language that is known by others for the purpose of exalting Christ and building up others. It served as a loud statement at the birth and foundational time of the church to declare that God’s plan of redemption is no longer restricted to one nation, but all nations. It served as a statement of judgment by God on Israel for failing their mission to be a light to the nations. This gift ceased with the apostolic era in the first century as the New Testament church foundation was established.
Last week we posted an article which argued that the idea of a heavenly prayer language is untenable based on Jesus’ command concerning prayer in Matthew 6:7. Additional questions arise on the issue concerning Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 14.
For example, some continuationists claim for the existence of two different types of tongue gifts. The argument claims that there is one gift in Acts 2 and another in 1 Corinthians 14. Among others, Nate Busenitz has demonstrated that this position is unsound from Scripture.
Other continuationists hold to the position of a heavenly prayer language on the grounds of various details in 1 Corinthians 14. As somewhat of a part two of last week’s post, this will briefly address some of the popular continuationist arguments therefrom. It will not deal with every detail in 1 Corinthians 14, but merely a few of the more common arguments posed in favor of the continuationist position.
A common continuationist position is that there exists a gift of tongues which is a Spirit-given language, understandable by God, that is exercised in prayer between the believer/Spirit-filled individual and God (e.g. Gordon Fee, NICNT: The First Epistle to the Corinthians; and David Guzik, Guzik Bible Commentary). Variations of this position exist within charismatic and continuationist theology.
Before a conclusion can be made from 1 Corinthians, an understanding of the context is needed.
The Context of 1 Corinthians
Overall, the book of Corinthians is written to answer several questions about biblical issues, while offering correction of spiritual pride and error rampant in that church. Many in the Corinthian church were overly fascinated and influenced by the culture. It seems they erred by using the spiritual gift of languages in a disorderly, unedifying fashion, while possible engaging in the popular Greek pagan practice of non-language ecstatic utterances. Though it gave a spiritual high, a sense of elevated spirituality, and a feeling of superiority in the culture and above others, Paul rebukes them because it was disorderly and absent of edification. He will argue for intelligibility and order in the worship service, since that is the prerequisite to edification, which is the goal of gathering (1 Cor. 14:12, 40).
If someone did have the legitimate first-century gift of languages, Paul is correcting the failure to translate the languages in the gathering. While some in Corinth may have manufactured the gift with ecstatic utterances, others likely had the legitimate gift. To these he gives corrective instruction on ensuring translation of the language to ensure edification.
The Context of the NT
The New Testament is absent of a teaching on the existence of Spirit-endowed private prayer language. However, we do see the existence of “tongues,” described with some detail in Acts 2:4-11. In that passage, intelligible human languages are listed (Acts 2:6-11). A natural reading of the text reveals that it is the miraculous ability to speak a previously unlearned foreign language for the purpose of exalting Christ and building up others in a foundational way during the early, first-century church. As with any interpretive issue, the less clear is to be interpreted with the help of the more clear. Thus, 1 Corinthians should be understood in light of Acts 2. The idea of a private prayer language as an endowment from the Spirit, called “tongues,” contradicts the more clear description of the gift in Acts 2.
Second, the Greek word, glossa, used both in Acts (e.g. Acts 2:4, 11; 10:46; 19:6) and 1 Corinthians 14 for tongues means either “language,” or the anatomical organ. The burden of responsibility lies with the continuationist position to demonstrate that the word means something other than an earthly, human language in 1 Corinthians 14.
The Context of Redemptive History
The language gift appears at a specific time in redemptive/salvation history for a specific reason. In Israel’s wake were centuries of nationalistic pride. She had presumed upon her pedigree and broken covenant with God. Her Messiah came, but was rejected to the utmost. In God’s sovereignty, however, he was unfolding a mystery. God would no longer center his redemptive plan on one nation with one language, but all nations and all languages (cf. Matt. 28:18-20, Rev. 7:9). So, at the birth of the church, God made it creatively clear with the miraculous gift of previously unlearned foreign languages that his new nation would be made up of the world’s people groups.
This new language gift was a sign of judgment upon Israel for failing her purpose (cf. 1 Cor. 14:21). An era of hardening had come upon her as God gave time to the nations (cf. Rom. 11:25). What better way to demonstrate that than to endow the early Christians with the ability to speak the word of God in the languages of the people whom Israel despised? The old was fading and the new was dawning. The temporary gift of languages, then, served the transitional period to make it absolutely clear what God was doing in birthing and building the church.
Today is known as Valentine’s Day – a day when we’re encouraged to celebrate all things pertaining to romance and love. Newsagents and florists love the financial boost they get. Red hearts abound. Grocery stores sell lots of chocolate. Tradition tells us that the day is named after a third century Catholic priest, who was martyred on this day. And there are ominous signs that true romance, celebrated on this day, is also on its deathbed.
The thin veneer of hype that is Valentine’s Day fails to combat what appears to be a concerted effort to kill true romance for this generation. Our young people are being sold a lie when it comes to all things love.
Look around on this Valentine’s Day 2017 and this is what you see –
- Fifty Shades Darker is the buzz in our movie theatres, and, despite the story line being about an abusive, obsessed and sadistic man’s domination of a woman, it is promoted as a romantic Valentine’s Day movie experience;
- Volley sandshoes are promoting the celebration of sexual expression online to anyone who wants their sandshoes, including children;
- The objectification of women continues to be overlooked by our Advertising Standards Board in public advertising;
- Australia has ‘respectful relationship’ curriculum materials for state schools which includes activities for 12 year olds to role play a 17 year old female who has had 15 sexual partners and who rarely practices safe sex because she is often drunk when she has sex.
- Pornography has become normalised in our society. Children are exposed to sexual content at a frighteningly young age, and young people are having their first sexual experience long before they can get their drivers licence. The ill-named “Safe Schools” ‘educational’ program promoted for use in our schools does nothing to discourage under-age sexual activity. In fact it does the opposite.
If all of this wasn’t so serious, you would have to pass it off as a bad joke. Instead, the dark undercurrent that threatens to kill the concept of lasting love and commitment for our next generation is causing incredible harm.
There is no excuse for glamorising abuse against women and dressing it up as romance. Humiliation does not a romantic fairy tale make! Violence and abuse is never an indication of love.
Australian teenagers are experiencing significant health issues that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
In an attempt to confirm to perceived ideals of body shape and size, eating disorders are affecting more young Australian girls than ever before, with many experiencing long term impairment including psychiatric and behavioural effects, medical complications, social isolation, disability and an increased risk of death.
Our children deserve their innocence. They should not be burdened with adult concepts prematurely. They should be playing sport for the simple pleasure of playing sport and not in the hope of being thin. We as adults owe them the opportunity to experience romance, and to understand what real and lasting love is, at an appropriate time and place.
- Boycott Fifty Shades http://www.acl.org.au/join_the_boycott_of_fifty_shades_darker
- Tell the Advertising Standards Board that children deserve to be protected from advertising such as Volley http://www.acl.org.au/volley_ad_campaign
- Sign up to attend the Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation on 5-6 May in Brisbane https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/australian-summit-against-sexual-exploitation-tickets-32039152969
We have all heard evangelists quote from Revelation: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). Usually the evangelist applies this text as an appeal to the unconverted, saying: “Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart. If you open the door, then He will come in.” In the original saying, however, Jesus directed His remarks to the church. It was not an evangelistic appeal.
So what? The point is that seeking is something that unbelievers do not do on their own. The unbeliever will not seek. The unbeliever will not knock. Seeking is the business of believers. Jonathan Edwards said, “The seeking of the Kingdom of God is the chief business of the Christian life.” Seeking is the result of faith, not the cause of it.
When we are converted to Christ, we use language of discovery to express our conversion. We speak of finding Christ. We may have bumper stickers that read, “I Found It.” These statements are indeed true. The irony is this: Once we have found Christ it is not the end of our seeking but the beginning. Usually, when we find what we are looking for, it signals the end of our searching. But when we “find” Christ, it is the beginning of our search.
The Christian life begins at conversion; it does not end where it begins. It grows; it moves from faith to faith, from grace to grace, from life to life. This movement of growth is prodded by continual seeking after God.
In your spiritual walk, are you moving from faith to faith, from grace to grace, from life to life? Are you continually seeking after God
If anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 1 John 2:1
From a Florida prison cell in June 1962, Clarence Earl Gideon wrote a note asking the United States Supreme Court to review his conviction for a crime he said he didn’t commit. He added that he didn’t have the means to hire a lawyer.
One year later, in the historic case of Gideon v. Wainright, the Supreme Court ruled that people who cannot afford the cost of their own defense must be given a public defender—an advocate—provided by the state. With this decision, and with the help of a court-appointed lawyer, Clarence Gideon was retried and acquitted.
But what if we are not innocent? According to the apostle Paul, we are all guilty. But the court of heaven provides an Advocate who, at God’s expense, offers to defend and care for our soul (1 John 2:2). On behalf of His Father, Jesus comes to us offering a freedom that even prison inmates have described as better than anything they’ve experienced on the outside. It is a freedom of heart and mind.
Whether suffering for wrongs done by us or to us, we all can be represented by Jesus. By the highest of authority He responds to every request for mercy, forgiveness, and comfort.
Jesus, our Advocate, can turn a prison of lost hope, fear, or regret into the place of His presence.
Father in heaven, please help us to know what it means to have the freedom of Your love and presence. May we experience this freedom even in places that we have only seen as our confinement!
The one who died as our substitute now lives as our advocate.
Joseph Farah of WND (WorldNetDaily) has written the following in an article titled “To those Israel-rejecting Christians. . .”:
“[A]n evil doctrine known as Replacement Theology, every bit as ugly as Liberation Theology, has taken root in the church. I’m sorry to say it, but you’ve got to discard or allegorize much of the Bible to adopt either one of these views and still call yourself a Christian.”
Here’s a challenge, Joseph. Set up a debate with Joel Rosenberg and me on the meaning of Ezekiel 38 and 39 to see who “allegorizes.” Like the “Replacement Theology” straw man, someone who does not agree with the modern-day, end-time approach to Bible prophecy is labelled an “allegorizer.”
Replacement Theology is defined as the belief that the Church has replaced Israel and that God is finished with the Jews. Joseph Farah leaves the impression that there is a causal relationship between his straw man version of Replacement Theology and the rise of anti-Semitism and the persecution of Jews. The next sentence that follows his “evil doctrine” claim above is this gem:
Meanwhile, Jewish children are being executed in cold blood on videotape in France. Some of the most well-known “Christians” in America are trying to find common ground with Muslims, who they claim worship the same god.
Because of my work on this topic, I was asked by WND Commentary Editor Ron Strom if I had “any interest in writing a response” to Joseph’s article. In fact, I had been working on a response before I received Ron’s email. There is so much I would like to say about what Joseph has written, but I’m going to restrain myself and deal with the theological heart of the issue: why the charge of Replacement Theology is a cover for fuzzy theology and for hiding the fact that modern-day prophetic speculation has distorted the Bible, not only on the topic of Bible prophecy, but on its impact on culture as well.
This article can’t begin to do with all that needs to be discussed. If you are truly interested in this topic, take a look at my books Last Days Madness, Is Jesus Coming Soon?, The Early Church and the End of the World, Left Behind: Separating Fact from Fiction, and 10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered (among others).
The charge of Replacement Theology is a cheap way to end any discussion on the relationship between Israel and Christianity. Notice I did not say “Israel and the Church.” It’s like calling someone a “racist” in a discussion about race, or a “homophobe” in a discussion about homosexuality. “Replacement Theology” is a more discreet way of calling someone an anti-Semite without ever sitting down to discuss the real issues. Here’s a typical definition:
[A] theological perspective that teaches that the Jews have been rejected by God and are no longer God’s Chosen People. Those who hold to this view disavow any ethnic future for the Jewish people in connection with the biblical covenants, believing that their spiritual destiny is either to perish or become a part of the new religion that superseded Judaism (whether Christianity or Islam).1
As anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that Christianity does not “supersede Judaism” and Christianity is not a “new religion.” Messiah-anity is about Jesus as the promised Messiah, the fulfillment of the Scriptures. Did Jesus fulfill His mission, or didn’t He? Did He “redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21) or didn’t He?:
And [Jesus] said to [His disciples], “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. . . .
Then [Jesus] told them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:25–27, 44–45).
The genealogies found in Matthew and Luke clearly show that Jesus is “the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). The first New Covenant believers were from the nation of Israel (Luke 1–2) with hints of a later expanded redemptive role for Samaritans (John 4:7–45), Greeks (John 12:20–22), the nations (Luke 2:32), and the world (John 3:16; 4:42; 1 Tim. 3:16). At Pentecost, we see that the gospel was preached to “Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). This was no new thing; it was Jesus’ mission. It’s why He was born and predestined to die (Acts 2:23).
Gentile believers were grafted into the Jewish assembly (ekklēsia) of believers (Rom. 11:17–24) and were given “the same gift,” the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:38). There’s one olive tree, not two; one Spirit, not two; “one new man” in Christ, not two (Eph. 2:15). Pentecost was not the beginning of the “church” since Peter declares that the events of that day were a fulfillment of a prophecy given to Joel, an Old Testament prophet: “this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28–32). Peter’s message was to “all the house of Israel” (Acts 2:36). When these Israelites asked, “Brethren, what shall we do?” (2:37), Peter replied: “For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord God shall call to Himself” (2:39).
Israel’s spiritual destiny is the same as it is for non-Israelites: Repent and believe in Jesus as the Messiah! No one said anything about a postponement in the promises that had been made to Israel. In fact, Peter clearly told his fellow-countrymen that the promises were for them and their children right then and there (2:38). They didn’t have to wait 2000 years for God to renew His covenant for a later remnant. Jesus said as much when He met His disciples on the road to Emmaus.
The Church could not replace Israel because the Greek word ekklēsia translated “church” is not something new to the New Testament. Ekklēsia was used many times in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament called the Septuagint (LXX) for the Hebrew word qāhāl. Both qāhāl and ekklēsia are best translated as “congregation” or “assembly.”2 Earl D. Radmacher writes, “[T]his Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures was the Bible of the early church. . . . Thus, when the writers of the New Testament, whose Bible was the Septuagint, used ekklēsia, they were not inventing a new term.3 They found the term in common use and simply employed what was at hand.”4
William Tyndale’s translation makes this point, and it got him in big trouble with the Roman Catholic Church. The Tyndale New Testament, the first English translation to use the original languages of Hebrew and Greek, did not use the word “church.” Tyndale (1494–1536) chose the words “assembly” and “congregation”5 to translate ekklēsia. Here is how Tyndale’s translation handled the first two appearances of ekklēsia in the New Testament (spelling modernized):
- “And upon this rock I will build my congregation: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18).
- “If he hear not them, tell it unto the congregation: if he hear not the congregation, take him as an heathen man, and as a publican” (Matt. 18:17).
Stephen describes Israel as the “ekklēsia in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). Most translations get it right by translating ekklēsia as “congregation.” Ekklēsia appears again in the next chapter: “And on that day a great persecution began against the church [ekklēsia] in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (8:1).
Thomas More protested Tyndale’s use of “congregation” as the proper translation of ekklēsia because it called into question the entire ecclesiastical structure of the church’s hierarchy. For his efforts, Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536 for defying church authority, opposing the Church by promoting doctrines such as sola Scriptura, justification by faith alone, the denial of purgatory, questioning the number of sacraments, and translating particular words that could lead the laity to believe that the Church’s authority was limited. That included his more accurate translation of ekklēsia as “congregation” and not “church.”
One of the Rules to be Observed in the Translation of the [King James] Bible required the following: “The old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation &c.”6 This time “the Anglican establishment,”7 wanted to impose on ekklēsia a contemporary “ecclesiastical” understanding of the word rather than its biblically contextual definition. Because of Rule 3, the hands of the translators were tied since they were in the employ of the king.
This means that the argument that there is a distinction between Israel and the church is false. The first believers in Jesus were Jews and they made up the first members of the New Testament ekklēsia which was an extension of the Old Testament ekklēsia. There is redemptive continuity between the testaments. Jesus didn’t come to start something new. We know from the book of Acts that probably tens of thousands of Jews came to Jesus as the Messiah. Remember, the gospel was to be preached throughout the cities of Israel before the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 10:23). We also know that the gospel was preached throughout the Roman Empire where probably a million or more Jews embraced Jesus as the promised Messiah (Rom. 1:8; 10:11–21; 16:25–26; Col. 1:6, 23).
The way Joseph Farah and other prophecy writers tell the story, the promises made to Israel have been postponed until a future time when God will once again deal with Israel as a separate redemptive people. We were told that this happened in 1948 and the “rapture” would take place within 40 years. You can read about the math in Hal Lindsey’s 1970 bestseller the Late Great Planet Earth and in the prophecy writings of Chuck Smith and others. For nearly 2000 years, so the theory goes, God has being dealing with His “church,” but one day He will get back to Israel. The Bible does not teach anything like this. God does not postpone His covenants.
Consider God’s covenant with Noah. He promised never to flood the Earth again like He did in Noah’s day. But what if God decided to postpone the covenant, to put it on hold for a time, so he could work with another group of people? During the time of the postponement, God sent another flood. Would God have been a covenant breaker? Not if we follow the logic of those who argue that we are living in a time when God is dealing with His “church” and not Israel.
Dispensationalists claim that their particular brand of eschatology is the only prophetic system that gives Israel her proper place in redemptive history. This is an odd thing to argue since in the dispensational view of the Great Tribulation, two-thirds of the Jews will be slaughtered (Zech. 13:8). Charles Ryrie writes in his book The Best is Yet to Come (except if you’re a Jew) that during this post-rapture period Israel will undergo “the worst bloodbath in Jewish history.”8
Dispensationalists don’t interpret “all Israel” (Rom. 11:26) to mean every Israelite who has ever lived. They don’t even understand “all Israel” to mean every Jew alive during the post-rapture great tribulation period since they believe that two-thirds of them will be slaughtered (Zech. 13:8). They mean by “all Israel” the remnant, what’s left of Israel after the antichrist has his way with the newly constituted nation. To get this remnant, two-thirds of the Jews have to be killed in another holocaust.
Joseph, you might want to see how this view of the end times affected the way some prophecy writers took a “hands off” approach when they heard how Jews were being persecuted. Like you, they argued that it was “predicted.” I tell the story in my book Last Days Madness.
John Walvoord follows a similar line of argument:
“Israel is destined to have a particular time of suffering which will eclipse any thing that it has known in the past. . . . [T]he people of Israel . . . are placing themselves within the vortex of this future whirlwind which will destroy the majority of those living in the land of Palestine.”9
Arnold Fruchtenbaum states that during the Great Tribulation “Israel will suffer tremendous persecution (Matthew 24:15–28; Revelation 12:1–17). As a result of this persecution of the Jewish people, two-thirds are going to be killed.”10 Since Joseph Farah is concerned about the Jewish people, as I am, he needs to deal with those who are predicting a new holocaust. The problem is, Joseph writes, “In fact, it is predicted.” If it’s predicted, then there is nothing that can be done to stop it.
According to the view espoused by Joseph and others, Israel has waited thousands of years for the promises finally to be fulfilled, and before it happens, two-thirds of them are wiped out. Those who are falsely charged with holding to “Replacement Theology” believe in no such inevitable future Jewish bloodbath. In fact, we believe that the Jews will inevitably embrace Jesus as the Messiah this side of the Second Coming. The fulfillment of Zechariah 13:8 is a past event (Matt. 3:7; 21:42–46; 22:1–14; 24:15–22). Those who believed Jesus’ words of warning at the impending destruction of Jerusalem that took place in A.D. 70 were delivered “from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10).
In Jeremiah 31:35–36, God promised the following to Israel: “Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: ‘If this fixed order departs From before Me,’” declares the Lord, ‘Then the offspring of Israel also will cease from being a nation before Me forever. Jeremiah 31:7 continues: “Thus says the Lord, ‘If the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done,’ declares the Lord.”
Jeremiah’s prophecy was given more than 2500 years ago. Prior to 1948 and after A.D. 70, Israel had not been a nation. So we have a few interpretive choices regarding the Jeremiah passage: (1) God lied (impossible); (2) the promise was conditional (not likely); the promise was postponed (always the dispensationalist answer and untenable); (4) or the fulfillment was fulfilled in the new nation that grew out of the New Covenant made up of Jews and non-Jews(most likely). Consider what Jesus tells the religious leaders of His day:
“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust. When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them” (Matt. 21:43–45).
Peter, quoting portions of the Old Testament related to Israel, raises the nation issue as it pertain to “the sons of Israel” (Ex. 19:6): “But you are ‘a chosen race,’ a royal ‘priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession,’ so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were ‘not a people,’ but now you are ‘the people of God; you had ‘had not received mercy,’ but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9–10). Does this not fulfill what is promised to Jeremiah? There is no need of a parenthesis, a postponement of covenant promises, for a future fulfillment. Peter is clear that a new nation of believers in Jesus Christ has been founded made up of Israelites and non-Israelites.
We need to stop teaching the two-people of God gospel, which is no gospel at all. There is one gospel and one people of God if they are in Jesus Christ: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17)
- Randall Price, Unholy War: America, Israel and Radical Islam (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2001), 412. [↩]
- Even modern-day Hebrew translations of the Greek New Testament translate the Greek ekklēsia as the Hebrew qāhāl. [↩]
- Following the LXX, the sacred assembly of Israel was the “ekklēsia of the LORD” (Deut. 23:1). “The people of God” are “in the ekklēsia” (Judges 20:2). Solomon took “all the ekklēsia” to Gibeon where the ark was (2 Chron. 1:3). There the ekklēsia inquired of the Lord (2 Chron. 1:5). When the temple was completed, Solomon blessed “all the ekklēsia of Israel” (1 Kings 8:14; cp. 8:22, 55; 2 Chron. 6:3). If this verse were in the NT, it would read “all the church of Israel.” When Solomon stands before the altar and prays, he is “before all the ekklēsia of Israel” (2 Chron. 6:12). The “ekklēsia of the LORD” was the covenantal assembly of Israel (Deut. 4:10). [↩]
- Earl D. Radmacher, What the Church is All About: A Biblical and Historical Study (Chicago: Moody Press,  1978), 121, 132. Radmacher argues that “although the etymological associations of ekklesia have their unquestionable bearing upon the significance of the term, the deciding evidence must be drawn from the exhaustive investigation of its actual use in the New Testament. While it is true that historical continuity seems to demand that the early appearance of the word ekklesia in any new literature should simply suggest ‘assembly,’ it is also true that the Holy Spirit frequently lifts words from their current usages to a higher plane of meaning and packs into them such vast new content as their etymologies will scarcely account for. Whitney states: ‘Philologists agree that the final authority of any word does not lie in its etymological or historical connotation but in its actual use’” (132). That is the question. What is its actual use and meaning in the New Testament? [↩]
- William Tyndale, “Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue” in The Works of William Tyndale, 2 volume work (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1849–1850), 2:13–16. [↩]
- Quoted in David Daniell, The Bible in English: It’s History and Influence (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), 439. [↩]
- Alister McGrath, In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture (New York: Doubleday, 2001), 172. [↩]
- Charles C. Ryrie, The Best is Yet to Come (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1981), 86. [↩]
- John F. Walvoord, Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1962), 107, 113. Emphasis added. [↩]
- Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, “The Little Apocalypse of Zechariah,” The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming Under Attack, eds. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2003), 262. [↩]