Our President made some off-the-cuff remarks that have become the entree of the day for political analysis. Part of the game, of course, but still a telling remark in the context of our American condition. The remarks, when taken as a starting point for dialogue, can open up our understanding of the deeper assumptions he has about our culture and economy. They can be stretched too far either way; and politics is built with stretching assumptions into perceptions.
However, it seems to me that he was pressing his own thinking that people with money should pay more taxes so “the wealth can be shared” because there is a “fair share” of the whole economic pie for each person. This is the very basis of socialism that attacks personal property to gain “shared ownership” principles. He was saying that the infrastructure is paid for with tax money, and those that make more should pay more. They already do, of course, and he knows that. The discussion point is being made, however, to drive a bigger wedge between the perceptions of “rich and poor” for political advantage. All politicians do this in the political game. I strongly disagree with his presuppositions and conclusions but I’m not willing to hang that conclusion upon one phrase.
However, I thought this remark made a great starting point for my own assumptions about how things get done and who benefits in the process. Taken to the extreme, President Obama would be saying that nothing you build belongs to you or provides you with personal benefit above anyone else. I certainly hope that isn’t his presupposition since that would be opposite the presuppositions of liberty. To some extent, I am certain that his presuppositions about how things get done and who benefits in the process are much different from mine. That means we disagree which is not a surprise – I mean, that politicians and I would disagree is no surprise!
I Will Build My Ecclesia
I couldn’t help but relate our President’s comments about building something with those of Jesus. I am making a big jump from politics to kingdom, of course, and you should understand that I am not comparing his comments with Jesus, nor assuming our President should be talking about his political platform as if it is a kingdom platform since he isn’t a king. I am not using this discussion to criticize him or debate his politics. I am relating the comment, out of context, to the statement of Jesus, in context.
Jesus builds the Ecclesia within the infrastructure of the kingdom in which it grows, matures, and functions. Jesus builds the Ecclesia. We establish the kingdom. The strength, integrity, and function of the kingdom, as infrastructure for the Ecclesia Jesus is building, comes from the work kingdom people do with the resources God provides.
God believes in property ownership. We cannot make a sacrifice of our resources unless they belong to us. There is no sense of socialism or communism in the kingdom of God. The resources of the kingdom do not belong to everyone so that they do not belong to anyone. They are personally, specifically, and strategically assigned so that they belong to individual people who are accountable personally, specifically, and strategically for what is done with them. God provides resources, design, and freedom for individuals to establish His purposes.
Without this presupposition, God wouldn’t hold us accountable individually for what we do with the resources of the kingdom. Without this presupposition, judgment would come to everyone equally because resources were equally shared. This kind of thinking has definitely crept into the kingdom: every one has an equal share of God’s grace, power, and authority. Not. Jesus makes it perfectly clear that individuals have different shares, roles, responsibilities, gifts, and functions of power and authority. All our efforts to prove that any believer at any time can do anything just don’t match Scripture and functionality. It is contrary to how things work in the spirit.
There are different levels of function and authority, power and expertise, operation and expression. They are varied and consistent with God’s design and strategy. Paul rhetorically asks, ” Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all have the same gifts or gift mix? To him, nothing could be more obvious. To him, this is a basis for understanding how each Body member must be positioned to produce as well as weaponed and tooled for the task.
In the end, Jesus built that. However, the kingdom establishing that we are called to do is all about getting God’s people positioned in proper alignment with His strategies. To avoid divisions that fragment the Body. To avoid confusions that freeze the Body in hesitation. To dispel false reports and information that distracts the Body. Paul makes his own defense of apostolic authority in 1 Corinthians 4 and continues to function with apostolical authority because of his assignment. He is standing in that special office when he sets order to the Body and points out why and how the Body functions as she does.
For those who remove the apostolic and prophetic foundations from underneath the Ecclesia, what Paul says is left to history and no function like his remains for us today. They leave most of what Paul says to set order in the Ecclesia to history as well. So, the empty places are filled with maintenance ministry. Sheep are being protected and provided for. Warriors are on their own. In other words, modern schematics of the Ecclesia leave out the kingdom aspect of the church and make it something Jesus never meant for it to be. Their “you didn’t build that” becomes “Jesus built that” and our job is to maintain it until He returns. Shepherds lead. All warfare is personal: there is not corporate or kingdom warfare going on because we are taking care of sheep, not preparing and weaponing warriors.
Church becomes a hospital to heal people wounded by hell, not a kingdom establishing army conquering hell as Jesus said it would. Church becomes “Jesus built that” so “Jesus can do something about the gates of hell.” This would reinterpret Jesus’ words to say, “I will build My Ecclesia, and the gates of hell will not be able to withstand Me” instead of “the gates of hell will not be able to withstand the Church I am building.” I hope you see the difference.
The Ecclesia is called together from within the kingdom to function as an expansion vanguard of the kingdom of God. “Jesus built that” so He could give Ecclesia kingdom assignments. The Ecclesia Jesus builds is a kingdom expansion strategy, not a kingdom maintenance strategy.