Gloria Gaither reviewed “Beyond Church”

homecoming beyond church

In the current issue of Homecoming Magazine, Gloria Gaither reviewed Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible — Ekklesia. Here are some excerpts from Gloria’s Library column:

“The way we worship and get our souls fed is changing. Oh, I don’t mean ‘church worship styles’ are changing. No, it’s much deeper than that, and in a way the deconstruction culture is the best climate for God to do a new thing, a new thing that is very old–as old as the New Testament and the book of Acts, as old as the way God spoke to people before people insisted on a king and a temple of stone in which God was expected to come and ‘dwell.'”

“In his book Beyond Church Steve Simms talks about his discovery that ‘church’ as the word chosen to translate the original Greek word ἐκκλησία in the King James translation was unfortunate because it came ‘from the Middle English chirche from the Old English cirice, both of which meant ‘a religious building or religious place or the Lord’s house and often referred to pagan worship circles.’ This was a far cry from ‘the called-out ones’ or as Simms says ‘people who have been invited to gather together. Everyone was considered an equal in the Greek ἐκκλησία and any citizen present in the assembly could participate and share his ideas opinions and concerns . . . However, Jesus’ ἐκκλησία, unlike the Greek ones, is made up of all His followers both male and female.'”

“With this distinction Simms begins to share the story of his own personal search for the kind of no-hierarchal model so beautifully and organically powerful in the fellowship of the fresh gatherings in Acts and beyond. This kind of ecclesia was (and is) immediately responsive to needs, a place where everyone listens to Christ himself and then speaks her/his insights to the ‘body gathered.’ Citing the historical examples of the pure but often messy model, Simms encourages this simple church practice in our own contexts.”

“Shedding engrained forms, authoritarian hierarchies and power structures, followers of Jesus have taken to heart and practice Paul’s 1 Corinthians 14:26 insturction: ‘What shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.'”

“. . . perhaps God is preparing us in the West for a season of persecution that drives us underground and to each other–back to the raw, real, messy and organic ἐκκλησία, an assembly of free, ‘called-out’ citizens of a Kingdom, gathered for the strengthening of a government that is not of this world.”

(Beyond Church is available at this link.)

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences in non-traditional church, called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia." If you need encouragement, search for: Elephants Encouraging The Room and/or check out my Amazon author page. Thank you!
This entry was posted in 1 Corinthians 14:26, Acts, Because He Lives, body of Christ, book of Acts, church, church meetings, family of God, Gospel, Gospel music, Greek New Testament, Greek word, I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God, kingdom of God, music, organic church, participatory church, persecution, simple church, Southern Gospel, Sweet Sweet Spirit, Uncategorized, Western Christianity, Western culture, Western society, When you come together and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Gloria Gaither reviewed “Beyond Church”

  1. david harper says:

    Great review Steve! Really excited about this 🙂

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