Updated: Apr 8, 2021
THE 24 AXIOMS OF EKKLESIA by Doug Krieger
WITH SOME HESITATION I APPROACH THIS FINAL CHAPTER BECAUSE OF ITS APPARENT LEGALISTIC TONE—I MEAN, REALLY, A BIT OVER THE top to conclude this final chapter with my own Ten Commandments concerning: So, You want to do Ekklesia? Therefore, to avoid this appearance, I have, instead, sought to frame these summations using mathematical or scientific/logical terms. You’d think such conclusions should be reached only by the Lord Himself—i.e., He doesn’t need my help; since He said: “I will build My Ekklesia”!
Know this about an Axiom:
Basically, anything declared to be true and accepted, but does not have any proof or has some practical way of proving it, is an axiom. It is also sometimes referred to as a postulate, or an assumption. A theorem, by definition, is a statement proven based on axioms, other theorems, and some set of logical connectives. (Definitions/Google search)
Therefore, an axiom may or may not have proof—it can be proven that its “proof” is either invalid or valid. Either way the “negative” or “positive” is legitimate whose action corollaries evolve into sundry theorems which are expressed in “some set of logical connectives.” The axiom is taken as overtly true.
The “set of logical connectives” (viz., theorems) are what we’re talking about derived from the stated axioms converted as they are by this author into tangible proofs—in other words, the “proof is in the pudding”. . . that’s how we know these postulates are workable, tangible, convincing, and as close to absolute as the word indicates. Simply put: If you stand out in the rain you will get wet (axiom)—you stood out in the rain and, sure enough, you got wet (theorem).
Translated: If you grasp the vision and general practice of Ekklesia as presented in these inscriptions, you will manifest the essence of Ekklesia which, hopefully, will resemble the fullness of the meaning of our Lord’s assertion and confirmed by His high priestly prayer; to wit: “I will build my Ekklesia and the Gates of Hades will not prevail against it . . . AND . . . “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent me . . . I in them, and You in Me; that they may be perfected into one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (Matt. 16:18; John 17:21, 23)
Thus, Jesus’ statement that He would build His Ekklesia (the verbal objective) results in the Gates of Hades being thwarted (a classical theorem). Moreover, such a simple register of these fourteen chapters (originally presented as blog articles), thus far, augers for some kind of a conclusion—perhaps, if you’re like me—in which you go to the back of the book feverishly looking for “What’s this book all about?” thereby making an immediate judgment if it’s worth reading, then you just might proceed to read the whole text.
Could I be a bit presumptuous as Paul regarding his recommendations regarding marriage when he concluded his remarks on the topic: “And I think I also have the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 7:40)? I know, one can read this as somewhat equivocating or Paul’s identification with Christ was profoundly substantial, he could relay his convictions on matters considered socially consequential by announcing his conclusions in terms of the Spirit’s validation.
The purpose of this writing is simply the view of an author whose attention to this topic is both theological (viz., ecclesiology) and pragmatic over the course of over sixty years of Christian experience. My obvious prejudices must be weighed in the context of the “arguments” raised herein which I feel honor the Lord’s quest to answer His Own prayer in John 17 . . . I have attempted to interpret the Scripture with appropriate hermeneutic in securing both the “spiritual sense” and any cultural implications of the text and how these two integrate into the vision and practice of His Ekklesia.
Again, my deep appreciations to those listed in the ACKNOWLEDGEMENT section of this tome—this writing is severely colored by their influence. It’s within this framework that our focus upon the words of our Lord—“I will build My EKKLESIA”—is open-ended . . . what does Ekklesia look like? We are not here to suggest we precisely know just how He is about doing that. We can account what we do know, framing our interpretations in “spiritual hyperbole” but when the dust clears—only He, along with the other writings of the apostles based upon the “prophetic Scriptures” (Rom. 16:26), knows how He’s going about building His Ekklesia. I’ve tried to give a composite of what it does and does not look like. “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5).
With that background (i.e., justification for writing these conclusions), let me be perfectly clear. The authors of the testaments have given us both prophetic and in real time descriptions depicting God’s eternal plan and purpose—i.e., why humanity was created in the first place. These include, the One New Man, the Body (of Messiah/Christ), the Bride, the Dwelling Place, the Father’s House, the Temple of the LORD, the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, the Holy District, the New Creation, the Commonwealth of Israel, the United Kingdom of David/Tabernacle of David, The Two Olive Trees/One Olive Tree, the Two Sticks/One Stick, the Household of God/Faith, the Elect of God, the Mystery of Messiah/Christ, the Woman of Revelation 12, the Mighty Army/Army of God, the Kingdom of our God, the Image of Christ—and many more.
The advantage we have in the New Testament is limited to the rather concise accounts primarily from the Ekklesia in Corinth and sundry writings scattered throughout the remainder of the NT but most vividly in Romans; and that ensconced within the final eight chapters of Paul’s letter—predicated upon Jesus’ original statement in Matthew 16:18 and, of course, His prayer in John 17, but as well, the extrapolation of the prophecy made by John concerning the high priest Caiaphas:
“Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad” (John 11:51-52).
All the aforementioned disclosures or descriptions must yield their amplifications to His goal: My EKKLESIA—for without this ultimate reflection both as a noun and as a verb—we are missing the imperative of His original statement. Yes, He is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God—it is upon this revelation of His Person and Work that He can, through the pinnacle of His creation, humanity, build His Ekklesia and thereby crush . . . utterly defeat His enemy—the very Gates of Hades and all it entails.
This is all the more reinforced by Paul’s finality in Romans 16:20 that it would be through the saints who follow the injunctions set forth in the first fifteen and, most definitely, the “meet and greet” final chapter sixteen that “The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”
AXIOMS & THEOREMS
THE 24 AXIOMS & THEOREMS OF EKKLESIA (Note: If it works—then it’s a Theorem—not in order of priority)
1. The EKKLESIA is not an organization or “religious institution”—it is based upon the Spirit’s revelation of the Person and Work of the Messiah, the Son of the Living God (Matt. 16:15-18; John 1:47-51; Rom. 16:25-26) and comprised of living witnesses to that revelation; therefore, it is at its core: organic, spiritual, yet revealed to “spiritual powers” (Eph. 6:10-18) and “earthly kingdoms” as His Kingdom on this earth . . . the “Centrality of Christ/the Messiah” is at the nexus of any Ekklesia.
2. The EKKLESIA is the very “Kingdom of God”—This statement summarizes the Kingdom of God juxtaposed to the “kingdoms of this world.” For the EKKLESIA to manifest the Kingdom of God (Acts 28:31) she must be “teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence.” She is the Life of Jesus reflecting His Image through the power of the Indwelling Spirit of God as His EKKLESIA—she is literally the very Body of Christ on visible display to the heavens and to the earth. Regarding earthly authorities, in Romans 13 we are enjoined not to “resist the authorities” lest we be found resisting the ordinance of God, bringing judgment on ourselves (Rom 13:2) and to “render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor” —regarding these matters Paul eventually found himself in Rome under Nero’s rule (having cir. 56 A.D. written his epistle to the Christians in Rome during Nero’s reign) and in 68 A.D. was beheaded perhaps in the same month (June) in which Nero committed suicide. The Ekklesia is “salt and light” and “a city set on a hill”—she cannot be hid! (Matt. 5:13-16).
3. The EKKLESIA is comprised by all (her membership) who “Call upon the Name of the Lord”—both Jew and Gentile (Rom. 10:6-13); entry into this reality is wrought by the Holy Spirit of Promise, NOT by man’s manipulation nor human criteria.
4. Exclusion from the EKKLESIA: Reasons for dis-fellowship of a believer from any Ekklesia assembly is not casual but persistent and unrepentant sinful behavior toward others, obvious and incriminating division coupled with refusal to accept the discipline of entreating brethren—a divisive spirit left unchecked or a “controlling-style spirit” akin to that of a ‘Jezebel/Ahab spirit’, witchcraft, drunkenness, and fornication/adultery directly impacting the Ekklesia—these are grounds for exclusion; likewise we are enjoined to do the following: “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them . . . For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly” (Rom. 16:17-18).
5. The EKKLESIA enjoins its members to resolve offenses/sins or “faults” between one another by addressing such issues directly between one another—“go and tell him his fault between you and him” (Matt. 18:15); then if “he will not hear, take with you one or two more” (Matt. 18:16); and if “he refuses to hear them, tell it to the Ekklesia” and then, stage four, if he fails to hear the Ekklesia—“let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector” (Matt. 18:17). However, regarding disputes/contentions within any given ministry (see below) the resolution of these issues is committed to the operation of that particular ministry and does not directly involve the Ekklesia—although, those in such ministries are part of the Ekklesia (Acts 15:36-41).
6. The EKKLESIA is best expressed through “brethren” who consistently assemble (Heb. 10:24-25) to uplift the Lord Jesus Christ through manifold expressions based on biblical text found primarily in the books of the Acts, Romans, the Corinthians and the Epistles—writings of Paul, Peter, James and John and confirmed by the gospels, while substantiated by the “prophetic Scriptures” (Rom. 16:26)—in other words: The “whole counsel of God.”
7. The EKKLESIA’s members are all essential with deference given to those who appear “less significant”—its members are all equal in significance—all are needed and all loved without prejudice nor discretion—the New Commandment, the expression of the New Covenant—is at the heart of Ekklesia expression (We love one another as He loved us.). Its membership is “heavenly” and bears no prejudice (Gal. 3:28-29; Eph. 2:11-22; Col. 3:10-11) and it is diverse on many levels—each member has a “portion of Christ” to be shared with others of His One Body (1 Cor. 12:12-27). Each member’s portion is his/her “produce of the Good Land”—having entered His rest (Hebrews 4:1-11). The main expression of the EKKLESIA is testifying/prophesying (1 Cor. 14:29-32, 39).
8. EKKLESIA is NOT under anyone’s control. No one person or group of people should in appearance or practice attempt to “control” any manifestation of the Ekklesia—nor should its members tolerate anyone manifesting such control (overt, overbearing in time and space)—“control” can be manifested in monopolizing time or technique in any gathering. “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as HE WILLS.” (Ref. 1 Cor. 12:4-11)
9. EKKLESIA “meeting and greeting”—Romans 16 is given by Paul as a command to practice the integration of the One Body, His Ekklesia. Such “house to house” visitation by the saints is NOT optional or a simple suggestion as a “good idea” but a prerequisite for qualifying as a viable and vibrant EKKLESIA as a verb form! It is the antithesis of exclusivity, isolation and prideful activity. Such “meeting and greeting” of the saints is the anecdote for avoiding division within His One Body.
10. EKKLESIA and Ministers: Ministers or gifted members of His Body do not leave their gift at the door of a gathering; however, they should “tone it down” to allow others to manifest their portion, gifts and ministry. Clearly, 1 Cor. 11-14 does NOT exclude the participation of such gifted members (1 Cor. 12:27-31) but in the affirmative leads us to the expression of “the more excellent way”—LOVE—1 Corinthians 13 to be manifested among all the brethren so gathered for the expression of the EKKLESIA. This “love chapter” is not random—it is specifically related to the inter-relationships within the EKKLESIA.
11. The EKKLESIA is a “corporate offering” unto the Lord. Just as Romans 12 in reference to the “mercies of God” is related to the previous chapters in Romans 9-11 regarding the “inclusion” of us all in “disobedience that He might have mercy on us all” (Rom. 11:31); even so, by these same mercies of God we should present our bodies to be His One Body, a singular sacrifice, “holy, acceptable to God” not conformed to the religious systems of this world with their divisive and factious spirit and practice (Rom. 12:1-2).
12. EKKLESIA is constituted by “diversities of gifts”—“differences of ministries”—and “diversities of activities”—“but the same Spirit/Lord/God” (1 Cor. 12:4-7). The overarching expression of any Ekklesia-style gathering is “each of you has” and “one by one” (1 Cor. 14:26, 31) wherein “Let all things be done for building up/edification”—the propensity to “control a gathering” is wrong . . . for “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets”—not to any one prophet or cabal of brethren (1 Cor. 14:32).
13. EKKLESIA “time environments”—Avoid manipulating “time” or “technique” so that “all may prophesy one by one . . . that all may be edified” (1 Cor. 14:31). Finally, such gatherings are not “out of control” participation but are done “decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40). Grace, mercy and love must be the practice of the Ekklesia—Romans 14 allows for a wide-variety of practice and “manifested grace”—“Let each be fully convinced in his own mind” (Rom. 14:6).
14. There are “gifted ones” in the EKKLESIA—Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers (1 Cor. 12:27-31; Eph. 4:11-13)—their primary “ministry” is to “equip” the saints for the “work of the ministry”—not to build up their own ministry (only) but to release others to replicate their own in the building up of the Ekklesia.
15. EKKLESIA leadership: “Leadership” in any Ekklesia is most benign and is NOT formal nor is it under the gifted members of His One Body (the so-called “five-fold ministry”) . . . 1 Corinthians 11:18-19; 1 Peter 5:1-4 depicts “elders” as mature brethren who “serve willingly, not for dishonest gain” and are “examples to the flock”—none of which appears as an expression of “overlords” (1 Peter 5:3). Such “approved ones” manifest within the Ekklesia on an “as needed” basis—in particular, when the unity within the Ekklesia is put at risk.
16. Within the EKKLESIA there is the “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). This endeavoring is maintained by those brethren who are “genuine” or “approved”—Ekklesia must have various factions who are not factious or divisive; if so, then those who are genuine/approved will manifest (1 Cor. 11:19; 11:28).
17. Each member of an EKKLESIA at the Lord’s Table is called to “examine” himself (same word for “approve” as found in 1 Cor. 11:19 is found in 1 Cor. 11:28) at the Lord’s Supper whereby “discerning the Lord’s Body” is in view and is the responsibility of everyone attending the assembly to contend for the One Body—to be at peace with all members of the Ekklesia, locally and throughout the world and to encourage all in the assembly to do the same.
18. EKKLESIA is not someone’s “ministry.” There is a distinction between the Ministry on behalf of the Ekklesia and the Ekklesia itself—neither should “control” and/or “administer” the other. Disputes/contentions within a ministry should be resolved by that ministry—it does not concern the diversity within an Ekklesia. John-Mark (who wrote the Gospel of Mark) became unprofitable for the ministry of Paul but was not disfellowshipped from the Ekklesia and later became profitable for Paul’s ministry—none of these affiliations/issues were “brought to the Ekklesia” (Matt. 18:15-20; Acts 15:36-41; 2 Tim. 4:11).
19. The EKKLESIA’s Communion Table is open to all who call upon the Lord—it’s practice and meaning purposefully varies, as does baptism. It may take place during a “Love Feast” (an actual meal). Unbelievers or the uninformed may be found at such a gathering (1 Cor. 14:23-24).
20. The practice of EKKLESIA tends toward “traditionalized” Christian practice—this is inevitable; however, to avoid falling into a “rut” believers should be versatile and spontaneous in their practice but as “unto the Lord.” Likewise, they should welcome diversity (factions but not the factious) AND practice “meeting and greeting” (Romans 16) other brethren in their homes, places of business, education to discover the “riches of Christ” throughout the Ekklesia—keeping in mind and spirit: “You’re not the only game in town!”
21. “Doctrine” within the EKKLESIA—Keep in view that there is “eternal truth” (doctrine) that is well-founded and other doctrine which is available as “healthy teaching” but greatly varies in practice and conviction—doctrine should NOT divide the Body of Christ if the Person and Work of Christ is proclaimed in the Ekklesia—“We would see Jesus” (John 12:21). “The Word was made flesh” (John 1:14)—“full of grace and TRUTH” . . . “You pore over the Scriptures because you presume that by them you possess eternal life. These are the very words that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life” (John 5:39-40)—it is in this sense that the Scriptures in and of themselves do not constitute truth—only when mixed with grace can the Word of Life (Christ) be considered eternal truth.
22. A true Minister or Work of the Lord will seek to collaborate/team-up with other Ministers and/or Works building up the EKKLESIA (Phil. 1:27). Equippers/ministers of sundry ministries who cannot collaborate with other ministries dedicated to the building up of the Ekklesia run the risk of going solo and are apt to find themselves with an overweening sense of their own propriety—it should be encouraged to “team-up” with one’s peers—not federate via ever-expanding organizational systems but seek to “strive together for the faith of the gospel.”
23. The EKKLESIA should not be federated aside from the “spiritual definition” wherein Christ is Head of His One Body (Eph. 1:22; 4:15); neither should sundry ministries for the equipping of the saints be federated aside from the mutuality of the fellowship and “teaming up” for the faith of the gospel. (See the differences among the seven ekklesia of Asia in Revelation 2-3.) and the differentiation of the various workers (1 Cor. 1:12-17; 3:5-10). No federation but visitation and fellowship (meeting and greeting other brethren outside our immediate Ekklesia experience) should be the practice of all Ekklesia; however, it goes beyond “meeting and greeting” insofar as ministries concern—ministries should team up with other ministries which advances the victorious Christian experience; to wit: “Not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God” (Phil. 1:28).
24. The “Gospel” preached/shared by the EKKLESIA: The gospel is comprised of the “Gospel of the Grace of God” unto salvation (Acts 20:24) and the “Gospel of Peace” between peoples (Rom. 10:11-15)—together they constitute the Completion Gospel of Christ (Rom. 15:29) which is the Kingdom of God concerning those things pertaining to “the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31). Peace with God (personal) must be coupled by “the other side of the same coin”—Peace with others (corporate)—Salvation is personal but “peace through the blood of the cross” involves “He is our peace, Who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation . . . so as to create in Himself One New Man from the two, thus making peace . . . He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross” (Eph. 2:14-18).
May the Lord use these feeble efforts to encourage God’s people to both see the vision and the practice of His Ekklesia.