Front Page Article
"The Lenses of Reformation Concerning Building Local Ekklesia Alliances"
by Dr. Patti Amsden
Jesus commission His disciples as His Ekklesia (called-out ones/church) to steward His kingdom as a governmental and legislative body in Matthew 16:19. Whereas Moses, who was a prototype of Christ, lead a called-out Ekklesia of the nation of Israel for the purpose of management of God’s Kingdom in the Promise Land, Jesus was calling out His people in Matthew 16 for the purpose of management of His Kingdom in the whole earth.
Reformation lens #1 – God has always had a covenant man or people group to whom earthly management for God’s Kingdom was entrusted.
Because the earth is too large for one person or one group to manage, God divides the responsibility of Kingdom governmental stewardship into jurisdictions. Where God gives responsibility, He also grants authority. Matthew 16:19 was a responsibility-conferring, authority-granting commissioning. Christ’s Ekklesia, as a body of many members, was being called to govern the whole earth, 28:18-20). Authority to govern for the Kingdom is granted from the King and territory over which authority is exercised is appointed by the King.
Reformation lens #2 – Only the King rules over all jurisdiction; His subjects have limits to their jurisdictions.
Kingdom stewardship means governing the boundaries of one’s person and family first but is not limited to personal and private matters. The earth has been given to men for management from the Garden of Eden and on to the end of time. The process of maturation processes the child who must learn self-control into the adult who must co-labor with others in responsible management of the earth. Matthew 16:18 confirms the duty of the mature to manage the earth from the perspective on heaven’s will. Christ was assembling a governing body who would operate together to manage the earth.
Reformation lens #3 – An Ekklesia is a group with like-jurisdictional authority working together to oversee the earth with Kingdom principles.
Local governance is the pattern revealed in the Scriptures. Pyramid-style, top-down governmental systems such as found in Egypt were not duplicated in Israel. Moses appointed judges who would work in the small units. Only in the cases where those closest to the problem could not get resolution was a higher court or a more distant governing body engaged. Israel’s history reveals that the elders of the city collected at the city gates provided the government for the city. Local governance was the main model in scripture. Broader jurisdictional Ekklesia governing assemblies should serve only in conjunction with the local governing bodies. Top-down government tends toward abuse or totalitarianism.
Reformation lens #4 – Christ’s Ekklesia should model the pattern of elders at the gates and, thus, exercise spiritual governance first over local jurisdictions.
As Reformers, we should seek personal and earthly sanctification. The aligning of earth with heaven is the specific duty of believers. The first earth we align is our heart, soul, and mind. Personal sanctification equips and qualifies the mature believer to function in Ekklesia councils for the goal of unifying and harmonizing the earth with heaven. The believer whose only focus is on personal piety has either misunderstood or ignored Adam’s original mandate and Christ’s Great Commission. Ekklesia means a called-out body politic. Ekklesia means councils with joint-jurisdictional responsibility exercising joint-territorial authority. Ekklesia means local governance for the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ.
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