Front Page Article
"The Lenses of Reformation Concerning Ekklesia and Apostolic Alliances"
by Dr. Patti Amsden
In Matthew 16:19, Jesus declared that he would build his church (ekkesia in the Greek). The literal definition of ekklesia is called out. The term has references from both the Old Covenant and from the time frame in which Jesus was speaking. The called out in the Old Testament period were the Israelites, who were called from Egypt and called into the promised land where they were appointed to govern their land in compliance with heaven’s will. In Jesus day, an ekklesia was a civil ruling body called out (elected) from the populace and called into a legislative council to govern the territory.
Reformation lens #1 – Ekklesia is a term that primarily references a people called out or separated from other people for the distinct purpose of forming a governmental body.
In Matthew 16:19, Jesus commissioned His disciples to govern. He gave them kingdom keys of authority in order that they could bind and loose on earth in harmony with heaven’s will. The concept of binding, or not allowing, and loosing, or giving permission to, is the concept of setting the rules or laws. Jesus appointed his disciples to be a governing ekklesia who had been called out of the kingdom of darkness and called into the kingdom of Christ.
Reformation lens #2 – Jesus’ ekklesia was to govern the earth after the pattern of heaven.
A governing Ekklesia council is God’s pattern for releasing the government of the Kingdom upon the earth. Ekklesia is primarily a governmental body. Another aspect of ekklesia or church government is revealed in Paul’s explanation of the five-fold ministry where he places a special emphasis upon the role of the apostle. Jesus’ Matthew 16:19 mandate was expressed to his apostles. Although binding and loosing is a privilege in which all believers may partake, a functioning ekklesia council is particularly structured from the perspective of apostolic governance.
Reformation lens #3 – I Corinthians 12:28, “And God has placed in the church first of all
Apostles are granted headship authority within the church and territorial authority in the earth. Apostles and the other five-fold leadership gifts mature the saints inside the church house to equip the believers to advance the kingdom in the labors in the culture. Apostles and mature believers are called to sit as a governing council over the territories in which they work and have authority. From the ekklesia council, apostolically-facilitated binding and loosing occurs.
Reformation lens #4 – The earth is managed and Kingdom government is advanced out of apostolically-facilitated ekklesia councils.
As reformers, we should broaden our view of the meaning of the word church. The local church, which provides ministry services to the saints, is a viable entity to instruct, mature, and strengthen the believer. The local church, which provides charity ministries to the needy of society, is an important facet of the mercy and love of God in demonstration to the world. Without a doubt, these well-known and regularly-practiced parts of the church should be honored. But the church – the ekklesia – should also embrace the concept of a governing assembly that rules the spiritual atmosphere over a region with the keys of binding and loosing. Outside of the boundaries of the local house but within the boundaries of the local territories, apostolically-led councils should gather for jurisdictional governance.
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