Q. On the Christian Forum I belong to, this statement was made: “Forget Matthew Henry commentaries and don’t force the bible say something it doesn’t say. There is, in truth, no such thing as “the church” (as defined since the 2nd century) mentioned in the bible whatsoever. That is a post-biblical (and quite intentional) error of translation that causes all kinds of contradictions of interpretation.”
This person went on to say that the word “Church” as translated in the all versions of Scripture is a deliberate attempt to separate Jews and Gentiles by the Catholic Church? Is this true?
A. This is why I avoid forums. There are too many people saying things that have no foundation as if they were the truth. Often they justify their claims by saying the Bible has been corrupted. The Greek word translated “church” is ekklesia. It was first used by Jesus in Matt. 16:18 and appears 118 times in the New Testament. 115 of those times it’s translated church. Thousands of early copies of the New Testament (pre-dating the Catholic Church) can verify this. Paul clearly distinguished the church from Israel in 1 Cor. 10:32, and his statement that Israel has been hardened in part until the full number of gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25) is another indication that he viewed them separately.
Some reformed theologians try to deny this separation in an effort to justify their view that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan, but such a view is inconsistent with God’s promises to Israel.