JohnSWilson3 Blog


Response to “Ekklesia as Escapism” by Jim Wright
December 19, 2011, 9:08 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes

This is a response to a brothers comments from a facebook discussion (http://www.facebook.com/wright.jim) and his blog (http://crossroadjunction.com/2011/12/19/escapism/). Thought that others might be interested in reading. I am grateful for Jim as a brother in Christ who helps to spur one another on to love and good deeds.

My thought is sometimes we can get stuck believing a season in the life of the ekklesia is the only season in the life of the ekklesia. I and my fellow brothers and sisters here in Sugar Land/Houston are still learning this by the way. Blessings. 🙂

Jim comment on facebook: “…ekklesia” is becoming a theology of ecclesiastical retreat, defeat and escape.”
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Jim, I agree to a certain extent, my thought is that Christ grows and spreads as much as the quality of the life of the ekklesia grows and spreads. The increase of the life of Christ is God’s desire. Think some on either side react versus seeing the big picture of Christ’s eternal purpose. Each are still my brother and sister and each have a measure of faith and gift of Christ. Thinking some ekklesia’s can grow quicker than others but thinking also that growth is seasonal, times where God is forming His people, preparing them to more fully express their Lord. Thinking many leaving institutional church have much to detox from. I think also that sometimes when we are in certain seasons with our Lord we want to camp out in that season, thinking that season is only God’s purpose. some thoughts.

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Jim’s response: “There have been a growing number of blogs that reject the validity of the Great Commission, and even say it no longer applies, because it conflicts with their views on what the church (“ekklesia”) must be. Too many are saying “amen” in response. It is driven by a reaction to those who want the church to be only about mission, and not Jesus. But often, our reaction to a problem can be just as problematic.”

my additional facebook comment:
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thanks Jim for sharing, I guess I’m not really seeing that, I think I am seeing a focus on Christ, learning to live by His life together, so that the ekklesia can more fully express her Lord in love with faith. I came from the SBC so I can see your thoughts of evangelism, being mission minded, making disciples, and focused on the Great Commandments. But this was institutionally based, focused on one thing, planting churches. The problem though was the churches that are planted are institutional churches focused on making converts, using programs to make disciples, not learning to express Christ together and to live by His life. I am thankful that I am free of the religious bondage to now learn to live by His life in love and faith with my brothers and sisters.

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Comments to Jim’s blog:
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interesting read brother, I guess I just can’t quite get my arms around your thought “The Kingdom of God – which is the Father’s will being done where ever and whenever Jesus places us or sends us – is not limited to ekklesia.” Christ is the Kingdom of God and it is He whose life spread and grew in and to and through His people, His ekklesia, which means “assembly,” incorrectly translated “church.” The spread and growth, the increase of Christ is the increase of His life in His ekklesia. From the first couple chapters of Genesis to the last couple chapters of Revelation, it’s all about Christ and His Bride. The kingdom cannot be separated from the ekklesia, because Christ is our life. Christ desires to be expressed corporately through His people, love, grace, and truth. When we live by His life by His Spirit His glory, His life, His kingdom is expressed. The problem is that learning to live by His life has all but been forgotten because of the institutional church, its religion, its programs, its hierarchies of control, etc, but thankfully there are those, like Paul, who have counted the cost and have paid the price to help the body of Christ learn to live organically by the life of Christ, to hear Him, believe Him, and follow Him, expressing His life of love, grace, and truth together with brothers and sisters and to family, friends, and neighbors. Just some thoughts.

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4 Comments so far
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Thanks John. I understand what you are saying. I respect that view, and I use to hold similar views by equating the Kingdom of God with the Church (as we both properly agree in understanding the church!).

My study of church history and my realization that the Kingdom of God is defined – in its most basic terms – in the Lord’s Prayer (thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven), made me start moving way from the Kingdom = Church theology about six years ago.

As I say in my blog, the will of the Father is not limited to the Church. Thus the Kingdom of God is more than just the Church. That is most fundamental to my understanding.

Regarding church history, whenever Kingdom = Church has been applied, it has been a disaster. There are only two logical extensions of that linkage. Fortunately, most do not go this far themselves, but ideas have consequences and eventually an idea is going to fully express itself.

One of those two logical extensions is that the church should run everything, because we are God’s Kingdom and after all, God’s rule is comprehensive. This gives the Church, in effect, jurisdiction over everything. It resulted in some of the worse repression and atrocities in human history. Again, men of good faith did not start out that way, but that was the eventual result.

The second extension by others was total retreat – after all, they reasoned, if the Church is the Kingdom we should not pollute ourselves with the evils of this world. That, too, resulted in great atrocities as Christians surrendered their culture to evil people with evil motives.

If, however, the Church is simply part of the Kingdom of God because it has a proper domain of jurisdiction within God’s overall intended order, and if we as believers are called into those other jurisdictions under the Great Commission to express God’s will in all spheres of life and as we are equipped to do so within the Church (and elsewhere), then I think we have a more comprehensive, balanced, and fruitful view of God’s redemptive plan.

Comment by Jim Wright

thanks for commenting Jim. I understand the comments on church history have read plenty in that area myself. I actually equated the kingdom of God with Christ, He is the kingdom of God. When Christ is expressed by His body then His love, grace, and truth is manifested through the measure of faith and gift Christ has given to each member. As we live by His life, “the kingdom of God is within you,” who is our life, then we will not lord it over others, we will sacrificially love one another by faith.

Comment by John Wilson

I’M SO GRATEFUL 4 THE DIALOGUE. IT HELPS.

Comment by SYBIL WOOD (@sybilwonders)

appreciate you commenting Sybil, you are a blessing sister, 🙂

Comment by John Wilson




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