Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

The Church at ephesus



After I returned from an overseas trip which included a visit to the ancient city of Ephesus, a friend asked me if I saw the church there, the one mentioned in the Bible. The question prompted me to consider how programmed we are to consider the church of the New Testament as mirroring what we have experienced in our time, an institution with real estate holdings, paid ministers, and defined liturgy.


I highly suspect that the early church that we read about in the Bible had none of these items. Certainly there is nothing in the words of Jesus to suggest He anticipated such a thing.


However the church of the New Testament existed and operated, there is also little reason to conclude that it was intended as a perpetual instrument of God in all subsequent ages. As noted before, the focus of Jesus was on the establishment of an invisible, internal kingdom, not the re-constitution of something similar to the Old Testament Jewish Temple with all its trappings. It is much more natural to conclude that the church was merely the precursor to the kingdom, which Jesus promised was imminent in His day. The fact that the Apostle Paul worked in and through local churches, such as the one at Ephesus, does not mean that what we see today as the church bears God's continuing stamp of approval.


No, I did not see the church at Ephesus when I visited there, nor did I expect to. The church at Ephesus was a group of believers who happened to live in Ephesus, not some building where self appointed leaders defined right doctrine and practice for others.