THE WORD OF TRUTH MINISTRY
228 NORTH EL MOLINO AVENUE
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91101-1675
Otis Q. Sellers, Founder David R. Hettema, Director
Volume 2, No. 46 Jane Sellers Hancock, Editor January 2009
Thoughts from the Editor
Jane S. Hancock
When the Lord said in Matthew 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build My church,” what definition of church was He thinking of?
Main Entry: church
1: a building for public and especially Christian worship
2: the clergy or officialdom of a religious body
3: often capitalized: a body or organization of religious believers: as a: the whole body of Christians b: denomination <the Presbyterian church> c: congregation
4: a public divine worship <goes to church every Sunday>
5: the clerical profession <considered the church as a possible career>
(From Merriam-Webster OnLine Search.)
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” (Lewis Carroll: Alice In Wonderland.) My dad, Otis Q. Sellers, called church a Humpty-Dumpty word. He also called it a chameleon word because a chameleon changes its color to suit its environment.
When I tell my friends I can’t join them on a Sunday morning outing because I go to church, I do it because it’s a word they understand. Or they think they understand. What they probably are seeing is a building built in a style defined by the word church, not a room in a one-story office complex. They probably see pews and a robed choir and a robed preacher or priest, not just a few chairs, a piano, and a plainly dressed speaker.
So how did the word church come into our vocabulary? And why is it in the Bible? Why did the King James translators choose that word to replace the Greek word ekklesia? Because the translators wanted to get their religious organizations into the Bible. (The same way Easter got into the Bible!)
Since no word in the English language (or apparently any other language) fits the true meaning of the Greek word ekklesia, one idea would have been to transliterate it, adopt that word into our language. When we at The Word of Truth Ministry read out loud from the Bible and come across the word church, that’s what we do. We say ekklesia because we know what that word means.
Sellers says in Chapter 20 (Issue No. 20) of Seed & Bread, “My findings . . . have convinced me that the ekklesia of the first century was totally different in every respect from that which is called ‘the church’ in both the Roman and Protestant camps today. Certainly in the Roman church and in the Protestant churches we see something that men have built, and it borders on blasphemy to say that this is what the Lord meant when He promised to build of Himself His ekklesia (Matt. 16:18).”
He continues: “An untranslatable word should be brought into our own language; that is, it should be transposed, and a meaning based upon its usage should be attached to it. And since the word ecclesiastical has long had a place in English, we should have no trouble making a place for ekklesia. This word means ‘out-positioned,’ and is used to describe individuals, companies, or nations which have a position out of another. Its highest use is when used of one who has a position out of God.”
In looking at the etymology of the Greek word ekklesia, we find that it comes from the Greek verb kaleo which means to name, to designate, to position, to appoint, or to establish. In government this amounted to an appointment which could not be refused. Kletos is the descriptive adjective which describes the person or persons named to a position. The prefix ek added to kletos gives us ekklesia, out-called ones—ones called out from a group that has already been called.
No one today can say that. We are living in the Dispensation of Grace and no one mediates between God and man except Jesus Christ.
So when the translators took the word ekklesia in the New Testament and translated it as church, they muddied the waters, making it more difficult for readers of the Bible to understand the true meaning of the word. Look again at the dictionary definitions of church. Certainly none of these was meant when the Lord said in Matthew 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build My ekklesia.”
When I say, “I am going to church,” I am going to a building (such as it is) for public worship, for Bible study, for delving into the book to find out what words like ekklesia really mean. That is what the Lord would want me to do. Study to show myself approved unto God.
For further information about the words church and ekklesia, see Seed & Bread Nos. 87, 97, 115, 120, 131, 141, 158, 198.
From the Director
David R. Hettema
Special greetings to everyone as the calendar turns. May God grant to all earth’s dwellers the privilege of experiencing “our blessed hope even the glorious (epiphaneia) blazing forth of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” What a wonderful expectation God has given to us, even in a sick and troubled world! We also are admonished to live upright and Godly lives while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:12-13).
As this New Year begins, I would like to echo that precious greeting that Otis Sellers’ repeated whenever he began to record a time of Bible study: “I greet you in the faith and fellowship of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, whom we love and whom we serve.” It is true that it is the Lord Jesus Christ that our eyes and ears and our hearts be centered upon. He is our Lord and Savior.
We had hoped to announce the availability of our two new Seed & Bread volumes that are being printed in a new format. There are some problems and delays with the production of the covers that we hope to work out with the Book Publisher and be able to soon announce that we are taking orders.
We have ordered both volumes in soft cover that will be priced at $16.00 each, plus mailing, or you can order the two volumes for $30.00 plus mailing. We will also offer both volumes in hard cover priced at $25.00 per volume, plus mailing, or you can order both hard cover volumes for $44.00, plus mailing. Mailing costs will be $4.50 per package.
The new book size is 6 x 9 inches. The new format of the books makes for easy reading. Our prayer is that every one of these 199 studies in Biblical truth will continue to open up the Word of God to those who are hungry for the truth of God’s Word.
Are you working on a Bible study that you would like to share with others?
We welcome the opportunity to hear from you. Submit your typed article or manuscript in 12 point New Times Roman (or any regular font, nothing fancy), preferably by email. Articles for Seed & Bread run about 1800 words. We can edit down if you go over. Bulletin articles can be any length as long as they don’t exceed 1000 words.
Express yourself in the Truth you have learned. Email manuscripts to Editorial Group, The Word of Truth Ministry, at email@example.com or mail to Editorial Group, 228 N. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.
Milton Hammond’s Wife, Betty Ann Hammond Dies At Home
Beloved wife, mother and grandmother, Betty Ann Hammond, died quietly in her home on January 11, 2009. She was 79 years old. She had battled Parkinson’s disease for 12 years before passing away. She was a long-time and faithful associate of The Word of Truth Ministry. She was preceeded in death by her oldest daughter, Dianne. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Milton B. Hammond, one daughter, Joanne Johnson; three sons, David Hammond, Mark Hammond, and Paul Hammond; two sisters and four grandchildren.
Betty loved people and their stories. She loved good Bible studies. She and Milton used to read together their Bibles every morning at 9 a.m. for years. She was an avid listener and was very attentive. She also had a very funny sense of humor. She laughed at good jokes. She will be missed by many people for her winning smile and kind words. Her hope and expectation was for resurrection in the Kingdom of God. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Word of Truth Ministry, 228, N. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101-1675. The family wishes to thank all those that have already donated to the Ministry.
BIBLE STUDY AUDIO TAPES
By Otis Q. Sellers, Bible Teacher
The entire Tape Library (TL) series, consisting of numbers TL-1 to TL-570, is available on MP3 compact disks. A complete subjects list may be obtained from our Web site, www.seedandbread.org, or the home office in Pasadena, CA, or writing/e-mailing: