The meaning of the word "Church" .
The Word "church" .
The meaning of the word "church" in Greek, English, and many other languages, is of exceptional importance.
Here I will agree that there is such a thing as "the church" as one world wide group of believers, but characterized by them having been "born again" to become the sons and daughters of God, "the body of Christ, the church", and therefore "the church" on Earth must necessarily believe the one and only (Gal 1: 6-9) quote "Gospel by which we are saved" (! Cor 15: 1-4). The Catholic Church and the Orthodox church do not preach this salvation Gospel, but rather a hodge podge of a dozen or more things all of which result eventually in salvation, of which formulae Jesus is just one ingredient. Thus the city of Rome is the Whore of Babylon, her daughters are the various Orthodox churches, and neither is the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, or the church.
Oxford English Dictionary definition .
1) a building used for public Christian worship:
examples: the church was largely rebuilt at the end of the 15th century | some people go to church every Sunday | after church we went to a restaurant | [ in names ] : St Luke's Church.
2) (Church) a particular Christian organization with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrines:
example: the Church of England.
3) (the Church) the hierarchy of clergy within a particular Christian Church:
example: Isobel would enter the Church as a deacon.
4) [ mass noun ] institutionalized religion as a political or social force: the separation of church and state.
verb [ with obj. ] archaic
5) take (a woman who has recently given birth) to church for a service of thanksgiving.
ORIGIN Old English cir(i)ce, cyr(i)ce, related to Dutch kerk and German Kirche, based on medieval Greek kurikon, from Greek kuriakon (dōma) ‘Lord's (house)’, from kurios ‘master or lord’. Compare with kirk.
1) Church - as a building .
It will indeed come as a big shock to many people, that the first definition of the word "church" in English dictionaries as "a building used for public Christian worship" is entirely absent from the bible. Indeed there is no evidence anywhere in the new testament of a purpose built building that was to be some holy place to gather, worship, have fellowship and teach the faith. The only evidence is Christians meeting in houses, or in nature, such as by the river in Acts. This is mega important to understand. It was part of the process of the Babylonian defilement of the Faith, to bring about a concept of "the church" as a conglomerate of buildings similar to Babylonian temples and shrines, and then to fill them with uniforms, outfits, regalia, paraphernalia, trappings, apparatus, accessories, appendages, implements, potions, witches miters and croziers. and all the other religious concoctions of rites, rituals and incantations of what God openly calls "sorcery" in the book of Revelation 17 & 18. But this witches brew of religious paraphernalia is all encased in this phony concept of a "church" being a purpose built religious building. This is an example of a secular dictionary helping to propagate a Catholic view of what a church is that became so common it entered into common usage, and is indeed therefore what the word means in our secular language, but is entirely absent from scripture. One has to also consider what the word kirk was being used for before sacerdotalist Christianity arrived.
Perhaps the best example of all examples of what Orthodox "church buildings" really are is the Parthenon. in the 6th Century AD it was converted into a church, blocking the East side to force people into entering on the West side (as if it was some big deal holy rule of God - when in reality it was just another man made tradition). It is not clear who destroyed the colossal statue of Athena that was situated in the Parthenon in Athens (the city is named after her), but what is clear is mother god worship was replaced with a new form of mother god, that is Mary idolatry, praying to the multiple gods of ancient Greece was replaced by praying to saints and Mary, and the bishops chair was placed over the spot Athena stood in. This only stopped in 1458 AD when the Muslim Turks invaded and turned the site into a Mosque.
2) (Church) a particular Christian organization with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrines .
Notice in this definition the public, laymen or "laity" are not involved? This is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans "nico = higher than" and "loas = the laity" or put together "higher than the laity" which thing Jesus said in Revelation he hates. This false idea is that the core center true church is the Titular Head (or Pope in Catholicism), all the babylonian bishops in their pompous miters, the priests scurrying about doing their bidding, the bogus traditions, half baked Creeds, and finally the buildings based on Babylonian shrines. The laity are just add ons, peons and a subspecies in this concept, and so throughout history the Orthodox Church quite literally made the people into serfs. All based around yet another bogus definition of "church" that entered into popular usage as a definition, purely out of observation of what was going on in society, not based on the bible. Secular dictionaries do not look to the bible as their final source of reference for the meaning of a word, even when it relates to bible subjects.
3) (the Church) the hierarchy of clergy within a particular Christian Church .
4) Church = Believers (those who are born again) .
The Tyndale New Testament famously translates Matthew 16:18 as "And I saye also vnto the yt thou arte Peter: and apon this rocke I wyll bylde my congregacion. And the gates of hell shall not prevayle ageynst it."
The classic Protestant answer about the meaning of this verse goes further, in that the translation should be "Thou are Petros (a stone) and upon this Petra (a Rock, Christ, the subject of the discussion, as Peter just declared him the Christ) I will build my congregation."
The belief here is that the word "church" as a concept of either a building, or a small group of men with man made doctrines (eg Catholicism or Orthodoxy) is heretical, and the word in Greek means congregation, the people of true Christianity, in a ministry, shepherds or sheep, and as the word is singular, equating the concept with the bride or "the body of Christ". This means for Protestants like Tyndale, and myself, there is a world wide church, the entire congregation of Christians, as well as "the church in your house" Philemon 1:2. Incidentally "And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:" shows a distinction between a building and the real meaning of the Greek word that means congregation.