You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.—Revelation 5:10
So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done. The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’—Luke 19:12-19
I have said for decades that when the church catches a cold, the world is susceptible to come down with pneumonia. As God’s emissary on the earth, our mistakes are spiritually magnified and cost us all more than we know. We are the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14-16) whether we act like it or not. Indeed, Jesus gave us a very sobering admonition when He said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (Matthew 5:13).
What these verses clearly say is this: If we are not functioning as a light to the world, darkness falls upon us all, and if we are not functioning as salt, the world system will trample us under their feet and relate to us as trash. “Gentle Jesus” has an interesting way of reminding us of what He expects of us. He gives us over to His enemies to let pressure and persecution have their way with us. Look at what He did with ancient Israel as they went through one attack after another ending in dispersion and captivity.
We are holding the Transforum 2019 conference later this month (March 28-30 in Santa Rosa, CA) to do two main things: 1) examine in detail how the church over the last several centuries has largely capitulated its kingly functions, flapping about the earth like a large, one-winged bird, and 2) discuss what we must now begin to do to push back the ominous threats at our doorstep that seek to remove freedom of speech and religion from the church and everyone else. Everyone suffers when the church (Ekklesia) knows neither who it is nor what it is supposed to do. Some of you are very clear on how our stunning ignorance of the true nature of the Ekklesia and its disconnection from both the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and the apostolic-prophetic ministries have taken us to God’s “healing precipice” of judgement. Selah.
Generally, the church has done much better with the priestly side of our identity and its inherent outworkings. We have frequently functioned as mediators of God’s grace and love to His world. We have opened countless hospitals, schools, food programs, and care facilities around the world. We have certainly ministered the sacramental services to both the redeemed community and to those from the secular world who sought us out. We have served as peacemakers in multiple historic situations and even championed social movements of compassion (energized by the 1860s abolitionist movement against slavery here in the US as well as significant parts of the church that served similarly in the 1960-70s civil rights movements). The problem is not with our priestly mediatorial side; it is with the absence of our “second wing,” our kingly functions. This takes us back several hundred years to “the deal” we made with the surrounding culture.
The “deal”… yes, the infamous deal. Making it simple, here is what happened… Because spiritual energy surrounding the church is the most powerful force on the earth, when the church is engaged in an historic leap forward toward Christ’s purpose for her, that released energy shakes both the church and the world surrounding it. To the point, when the Reformation began to release the seismic shift it brought in the later 1500s through the 1600s, it didn’t just splinter the Roman Catholic church; it released and fomented the so-called Peasant Wars, chaos in France, Cromwell in England, the Inquisition in Spain, the formation of multiple lasting denominations, and most cosmically jump-started the colonization of America leading to the War of Independence and all that came out of it. By analogy, if the world is a lake, when the church is thrown into it like a rock, it creates a very, very large set of ripples. Simply put, the Reformation energy spilled over into the secular world, starting political/military chaos in Europe, including the Hundred Years’ War. Hear this please, when religious or theological issues are improperly injected into the world of politics, they spawn civil unrest and, frequently, violence.
As a result of all this turmoil in the belly of Western civilization (Europe), a “deal” was cut, though not explicitly stated. The deal was essentially this: The church would give itself to “heavenly” things and the future, and the secular world would concern itself with the management of the earth and the real things of the now. Christianity had shown itself too immature to be trusted with primary political things. Once the deal was accepted but never explicitly declared, the kingly dimension of the church atrophied and postponed the emergence of the Ekklesia identity of the church until the late 20th century. A fuller story would then put all the wars of the 1900s on the secular world’s incompetencies. The responsibility for World Wars I & II and the Vietnam War clearly rests at the feet of the secular world. However, few people want to talk about that and its current implications.
This brings us to the kingly-priestly imbalance and what we begin to do about it. This discussion, once it catches on, will upset many of us who are captured in the crossfire between the current church and the Ekklesia folks, as well as the negative secular effects on all our social freedoms.
Many say they want a Reformation. Really? Do you know enough about the challenges of the last one? It’s going to happen anyway because the Kingdom of God is ever-expanding. Nevertheless, you might want to join us at Transforum 2019 and get a head start on the ripple effect of the stone thrown into the lake. Its circles are already expanding, and that is…
The Bottom Line