A. I am sometimes asked to evaluate a specific membership policy or covenant, but the following answer really covers all church covenants and membership policies. First, let’s define our terms. Church covenants and membership policies list certain requirements for membership and/or describe the expected behavior of members. While membership policies might reference a confession or statement of faith as something members are to believe, what I am addressing here are not confessions of faith but policies or covenants that bind the behavior of members.
An argument I have been given when trying to explain to people that the Bible teaches that women are to wear a head covering in meetings of the ekklēsia (“church” in the King James Version–see the article, “The Head Covering“) is that, if this is true, then we must also wash feet and greet each other with a holy kiss. I have already addressed washing feet in the article “Did Jesus Institute Washing Feet as a Church Ordinance or Ceremony?” In the present article, I intend to show from the Bible why I believe the holy kiss is not an ordinance or tradition God expects Christians to practice and how the instructions Paul and Peter give concerning the holy kiss differ greatly in structure and intent from those Paul gives concerning the head covering.
In the New Testaments of most English Bibles, the words “church” and “churches” appear a total of over one hundred times. (From now on, I will use “church” to stand for both the singular and plural.) With one exception in the King James Version (found in Acts 19:37), all of these instances of “church” are mistranslated from the Greek word ekklēsia. (Unless I am quoting a portion of Greek text, I will use the lexical form ekklēsia.) That’s right, I said mistranslated. Not only that, they are a deliberate mistranslation of ekklēsia. The fact that this mistranslation is so widespread and that it is deliberate should cause us to suspect that it is important to know what ekklēsia really means. In this article, I am going to tell you the origins of the word “church” and its meaning, what ekklēsia means and how it was used in history and the Bible, what Jesus meant by His ekklēsia, why ekklēsia was deliberately mistranslated as “church”, and why all of this is important.