Church changes its name to be more representative of beliefs

For 55 years, it was known as the Lubbock Bible Church.

But the church located at 66th Street and Iola Avenue is now operating under a new name: Ecclesia Church Without Religion.

Pastor Andrew Farley said the church has been considering a name change for the past four or five years, because church members did not feel they had much in common with other churches named Bible Church throughout the nation.

“We really didn’t feel we are the same,” he said. “The last four or five years, we’ve been looking for a name that would represent us.”

Ecclesia, Farley said, is the Greek word for church.

“If you’re in Christ, you’re welcome here. If you’re interested in being in Christ, you’re welcome here,” said Farley.

He said since the name change, people have been just pulling into the parking lot and asking how it’s possible to have a church without religion.

Farley said it’s not a matter of telling people they can just wear blue jeans and listen to rock music while at church. He doesn’t care what people wear, and they listen to all sorts of music as long as the message of the music fits, he said.

“What we sing is more important than how we sing it,” he said.

The point is that there are no rules or requirements to earn to be with Christ, he said.

Most members of Ecclesia are coming out of a church background that disillusioned them, said Farley.

“We speak out openly against religion,” he said. “Religion is trying to climb up to God. What we’re saying is, God reached down to us.”

Many churches continue to teach Jewish legalism, or rules such as the Ten Commandments, but Farley said the new covenant of the New Testament frees Christians from trying to live up to all of the rules and regulations of the Old Testament.

“We’re saying, don’t live by rules,” said Farley, noting the Old Testament is still relevant but the rules such as observing the Sabbath do not have to be followed. In the book of Colossians, he said, it says that rules have the appearance of religion, but lack value.

“We’re punching legal religion in the nose,” he said.

The members of Ecclesia believe that a relationship with Jesus is not based on anything that you might do, such as the amount of money you give or the sins that you reflect upon.

“It’s not what you do, period. It’s what Jesus did,” he said.

Farley is the author of “The Naked Gospel,” which will be published by Zondervan in September. He said the message of his book is what is taught at the church.

Ecclesia Church Without Religion has services at 10:30 a.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Wednesday during the school year. The Web site is www. ecclesiaonline com.

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