Category Archives: Ekklēsia or Assembly (“Church”)

Part 2 : The Meetings of the Assembly

by Peter Ditzel

Part 1 of this series pointed out that the meetings of the first-century saints were called ekklēsia and discussed where and when they met. But besides the regular meetings of the ekklēsia that we will discuss in future installments, early Christians also ate the Lord's Supper together. This was so common and central to their lives that, before discussing the order of the meetings in general, I want in this article to teach how the Lord's Supper was eaten and who ate it.

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Part 1 : The Meetings of the Assembly

by Peter Ditzel

If you have read many of the articles on this site, you know that I frequently refer to the ekklēsia, the assembly of people whom God has called out of the darkness of this world into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). Naturally, readers frequently want to know what the meetings of the ekklēsia were like and how they can conduct meetings of the ekklēsia today. This article is the first in a series in which I will answer these questions.

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Is Speaking in Tongues for Today? Q. Do you believe that speaking in tongues continues today?

A. There are two common misconceptions people have about speaking in tongues: 1) Speaking in tongues in the Bible is speaking in the language of angels or some other language that no people on earth normally know, and 2) The same gift of speaking in tongues we read of in the Bible continues today.

The Bible reveals that these ideas are in error.

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The Invitation System and the Altar Call

by Peter Ditzel

I am going to ask you to come forward. Up there–down there–I want you to come. You come right now quickly. If you are with friends or relatives, they will wait for you. Don’t let distance keep you from Christ. It’s a long way, but Christ went all the way to the Cross because He loved you. Certainly you can come these few steps and give your life to Him . . .

The words above are Billy Graham’s as quoted by Iain H. Murray in The Invitation System (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1967) 3-4. Billy Graham was certainly famous for using such an invitation. But these words could just as well be those of thousands of other preachers who use basically the same formula week after week: the emotional music, and maybe asking everyone to sing Just as I Am. Then there is the invitation. A preacher may first ask people to bow their heads, close their eyes, and/or raise their hands. But always he will eventually tell them to come to Christ by coming up the aisle. Sometimes the preacher will also call those who want to rededicate their lives to Christ. It’s certainly common enough. But is it biblical? Should we be doing this?

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After more than twenty years, I’m admitting the truth: Hebrews 10:25: What Are We Not To Forsake?

by Peter Ditzel

Collins English Dictionary defines a “sacred cow” as “a person, institution, custom, etc, unreasonably held to be beyond criticism.” Among many Christians, there are sacred cow Bible passages. Hebrews 10:25 is one of them. It states, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

This verse is taken by virtually every church and every elder to mean that we should not stop attending church; that we should be in church every Sunday. Some even take the latter part of the verse to mean that, the closer we get in each week to Sunday, the more we should be exhorting one another to attend church. Many Bible scholars, who I must presume are afraid of upsetting the “sacred cow,” simply will not give an unbiased exposition of this verse.

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November 21, 2007: An Extraordinary Prison Ministry

by Peter Ditzel

Something that makes me thankful, as well as amazing and humbling me, is the way God continues to use our website and literature to help people. We have received letters and emails from people who have left cults after reading our articles, from Christians who have used our website as a learning resource before confronting unbelieving relatives, from missionaries who use our booklets to teach people in far-flung regions of the world, among many others. But the correspondence that stunned and humbled me the most this past year was from a Baptist pastor who is also an inmate in a state prison. In these letters, he tells of his pre-prison life of hypocrisy and sin, his incarceration, his conversion, and how God has now used him, with our publications, to build a church (presently consisting of fifty baptized members and expanding rapidly) that teaches the doctrines of grace in the prison, and the persecution he and the other members face. I found his letters so inspiring that I want to share some excerpts with you. To protect this servant of the Lord’s privacy, I have left out his name and edited out of the letters anything that might identify him, his specific crime, and the prison. I have also, for the sake of readability, made a very few grammatical changes and combined letters.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus,

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