I began this series speaking of the Church as a “spiritual organism” which is governed by the law of the “organic.” As with all living organisms, the most essential element that determines its unique form, features, and functions is its “DNA”.
The world has made immense and even daunting strides in breaking the code of the human genome (to the point of being able to now “edit” it, and even create synthetic DNA.) The Church, on the other hand, appears to be far behind in discovering God’s living blueprint for the Ekklesia, her “spiritual DNA”, which governs her full development from conception to maturity.
In the realm of natural DNA, the basic building blocks are profoundly simple: four amino acids. In the realm of “spiritual DNA”, the basic building blocks are, likewise, profoundly simple. I believe they can be distilled down to four Christ-centered principles:
- Christ, the ekklesia’s unrivaled Center.
- Christ, the ekklesia’s unifying Identity.
- Christ, the ekklesia’s sole Foundation.
- Christ, the ekklesia’s uncontested Head.
If this is indeed so, then when these constitute the basic building blocks of the ekklesia, informing all that grows and develops from conception to maturity, they will produce a spiritual organism that is fully according to God’s heavenly pattern in all of its distinctive form, features, and functions.
If we take a careful look at the New Testament, I believe we will see that these four core principles were, in essence, central and primary emphases of the apostles as they labored to establish local expressions of the ekklesia.
- The apostles preached the preeminence and greatness of Christ so that the churches would be gathered to and form around God’s unrivaled Center for the Church.
- The apostles preached the inclusiveness and unity of Christ so that all who are baptized into His Person and Name would possess God’s unifying Identity for the Church.
- The apostles preached the essentiality and all-sufficiency of Christ so that the local assemblies would be established, unified, and defined on and by God’s sole Foundation for the Church.
- The apostles preached the indwelling presence and functional supremacy of Christ so that the practical expressions of the Body would gather in, through, and under God’s unrivaled Head of the Church.
In this, they established the local churches around Christ, in Christ, on Christ, and under Christ. He, and He alone constituted the spiritual DNA of the ekklesia in every respect, center to circumference, top to bottom, beginning to end. The result was a living, organic, organismic expression of Christ, according to the heavenly Pattern, uncorrupted by man’s tinkering or tampering with its Divine DNA.
Man in his ignorance and pride, however, often assumes that he can take matters into his own hands and in some way manipulate God’s design to achieve his own “spiritually pragmatic” ends. He leans on his own understanding and follows his own expediencies instead of apprehending God’s impeccable Design and trusting His supernatural agency to bring it to pass. Even as with Abraham sleeping with his Egyptian handmaiden Hagar in order to bring forth the promised “seed”, there may be a measure of blessing upon the outcome, but the fruit is never in keeping with God’s original and highest purpose. In the end, it brings forth an enemy and persecutor of that purpose. That is the history of much of the Church throughout the ages, beginning from very early on.
It wasn’t long after the original apostles moved off the scene, in fact, that the Church began substituting lesser spiritual elements into the essential constitution of the ekklesia’s “DNA”. By the middle of the second century, the monarchical bishop had risen to a status comparable to “unrivaled Center” and “uncontested Head” of the local ekklesiae in Christ’s stead. Consequently, the corporate entity that developed began to become a mutated, hybrid, “Genetically Modified Organism” (GMO), as it were. The “genetic alterations” that were incorporated were then passed on from generation to generation. These continued to be further tinkered and tampered with in order to compensate for the deformities that naturally developed. Those changes rarely if ever addressed the root problem and so the aberrations continued to metastasize and multiply into many divergent strains of the Ekklesia. As in nature, once such genetic mutations are introduced into a living strain, they are unlikely to ever reverse themselves. They also rarely produce an improved variant of the species. What we see in the earth today, therefore, are many expressions of “church” that are aberrant, and very little that exists according to the original DNA of the Ekklesia as it came forth purely from the Lord Jesus Christ through His holy apostles and prophets in the first century.
The question remains, then, what is God’s solution to this immense dilemma at the end of the age? Although God’s grace is extended to all of His children across the spectrum of the Ekklesia through faith in Jesus Christ alone, He ultimately desires to restore a testimony to His original pattern and purpose for the Church in these last days through an overcoming remnant. He is desiring those who will return to Him with all their heart, and in their corporate gatherings, collectively seek to recover His living blueprint for the Church. Such remnant testimonies, even if they be but a few believers in number, must begin with a new “conception” so that their “genetics” from the very beginning are pure and “according to pattern.” In profound simplicity, Christ must become their “all in all.” In specific, and of utmost priority, Christ must become their unrivaled Center, their unifying Identity, their sole Foundation, and their uncontested Head, without supplement or substitute. Everything else will naturally and livingly spring from this fundamental “genetic encoding.”
The DNA of man in its essential components is not complicated. The DNA of the “new man” in its essential components is, likewise, not complicated. If God could find a people who would give themselves to live and gather together according to just these four, fundamental, Christ-centered principles, I believe He would have the seed-bed of the restoration that He desires. That is what I am personally committed to and hope to have communicated simply and succinctly through this series of “Affirmations.”
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Now that this series is completed, I would like to invite and encourage you to take some time and reconsider it afresh as a unified whole. There is much that stands behind these simple statements and their inter-relatedness to each other. I believe it will take some prayerful consideration and contemplation for these truths to become internalized and personalized. To help facilitate that, I’ve created a permanent “Affirmations” page that may be accessed here, or from the header bar/menu tab at any time. My prayer is that the Lord may give you spiritual understanding and a renewed commitment to these essential truths as you meditate on them. I believe they lie at the very center of His Heart for you and I as His people in these last days! May He find us faithful!