(Part 1 here)
(Part 2 here)
(Part 3 here)
(Part 5 here)
The demand of racial reconciliation or any kind of anthropological/left kingdom reconciliation actually establishes a shameful and gratuitous obstacle to our reconciliation as believers, in Christ. It impedes, if not prohibits, the full range of the practical realization and shared benefits of our spiritual reconciliation in Christ. No such conditions for ecclesiastical/spiritual fellowship are ever even implied in the Scriptures.
Ecclesiastical or Spiritual Camaraderie
When Paul wrote to the Philippians he cherished their fellowship or “koinonia” in the gospel. He, nor they, were fellowshipping or sharing together in the gospel on the basis of social or personal camaraderie. Theirs was a camaraderie or fellowship based on a shared spiritual identity and shared spiritual pursuit which was the gospel and all of its spiritual assets
God, nowhere, levies the demand of social compatibility with his people rather, we have revealed to us that our fellowship or “koinonia” - that is, our ecclesiastical/spiritual camaraderie - is the result of our being reconciled to Christ thus, reconciled to one another. 1 John 1:1-4 states:
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.What do you see glaringly absent, here? You see the necessity of racial, ethnic and cultural reconciliation, missing. Why? Because those human properties are for social fellowship and other constructs in the kingdom on the left and not in the kingdom on the right, the spiritual kingdom. The presence of the demand for something more than our reconciliation in Christ (which results in the fellowship of believers and the pursuit of the gospel of Christ, together) such as racial, ethnic, national and international reconciliation, is only the product of a theologically illusory mind. Such an imposition of human, social, or personal compatibility is a chimerical creation foreign to the new and phenomenal magnum opus, if you will, of the holy ethnicity or nation made up of those with spiritual DNA, those chosen in Christ, which is the basis or construct of fellowship between believers.
I do not believe it can be made any clearer than what John reveals. We share in the fellowship of Christ. Our genetics and ethnicity are spiritual, they are Christ’s. Our doctrine and practice emanate from Christ via his Word and we are all equally in possession of the Spirit of Christ, who makes us all equally believer priests with equal spiritual privilege and access to all spiritual assets.
To set one’s self apart, to segregate one’s self from other believers based on the human or anthropological properties of race, ethnicity and culture is to deny and depart from the context of the new foundation and pattern of genuine fellowship between believers, the only fellowship, instituted by God to his church as revealed by the writings of his Apostles.
The Mistaken Conclusion about Spiritual Camaraderie from Afar
If one is unaware of the principle of spiritual camaraderie as the essential blueprint for a local church in serving, loving, forgiving and all around functioning, they are very likely to believe that it is comprised of a group of people who are amazingly reconciled to one another on a personal level. And that is not surprising for a number of reasons, most of which are that from afar, few things can be rightly judged and secondly, it takes some spiritual discernment and doctrine before one can make such a distinction.
I am convinced that this is a mistake made by many Ministers, Bible teachers and theologians in attempting to induce social reconciliation among members within their ministries as some kind of ecclesiastical/spiritual virtue and obligation. Those trying to create such a dynamic are either ignorant of, circumventing or discarding for whatever reason, the basis for camaraderie among believers in a healthy church which is not social or personal compatibility but a shared spiritual identity and practice as our texts have shown.
The Interesting Example of Euodia and Synteche
In the fourth chapter of his letter to the Christians at Philippi, Paul addresses a conflict between what is commonly believed to be two women, Euodia and Synteche. I want to draw your attention to Paul’s counsel, he states, (NASV), “I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord.”
Paul does not demand personal reconciliation, that is, that they try to become personal friends or that they somehow attempt to reconcile their conflicting personalities rather, that they live in harmony (some translate it, “share the same mind”) in the Lord. Paul states the condition or context of the compatibility which is “in the Lord”. The significance of the setting for ecclesiastical and spiritual harmony between believers and particularly in this example, established by Paul and repeated by Paul, over and over again, as is by other New Testament authors, cannot be emphasized enough, particularly in light of the departure from the new ecclesiastical/spiritual paradigm established by God for our fellowship by so many Pastors and Bible teachers who have either replaced or mixed with the new model and its new and proprietary protocols, the unwarranted and injurious stipulation of left kingdom social/personal compatibility.
The kingdom on the left, the social and civil kingdom, isn’t comprised only of national governments. The kingdom on the left begins with the divine institution of the self, the simplest form of government instituted by God for mankind. And here we have two “selves” that are not socially compatible which is being permitted to express itself in the form of ecclesiastical/spiritual incompatibility.
Paul does not prescribe, to the leaders of the church, that they somehow facilitate the social or personal reconciliation of these two antagonists. Instead, he understands that while they may not be personally and socially compatible, in the Lord or with respect to ecclesiastical/spiritual endeavors, they can and should be thus, he instructs that they be brought to share the same doctrinal mind which is, of course, the mind of Christ.
In other words, they might remain socially incompatible but that really isn’t the problem. The problem they have is their need to be taught sound doctrine and spiritually mature so that they become spiritually and ecclesiastically compatible which is quite possible since it does not depend on personal compatibility but instead, the shared Spirit and doctrine of Christ.
The Problem of Christians in the Left Kingdom
What is so difficult for many believers is being a Christian in the kingdom on the left or the civil kingdom. Imagine, as was in the days of Paul, you own a slave who is born again. In the church, that slave might be gifted to fulfill the office of Pastor/Teacher therefore, in that office and in the kingdom on the right, you, the slave owner, would be subject to his ecclesiastical authority.
But, when you depart from that context and into the kingdom on the left, the civil kingdom, he, the slave, immediately is under your jurisdiction and authority. This dynamic is a very, very difficult reality and exercise for many believers.
They mistake the reconciliation, gifts and privileges that all believers have extended to them in the kingdom on the right, the spiritual kingdom, to be transferable, in some manner, to the kingdom on the left. Either they assume this or insist on this which usually is due to theological negligence regarding an understanding of the two kingdoms with their differing divine constructs and protocols. Therefore, such misguided believers are rendered essentially clueless as to the reality that there are fundamental dynamic changes in the paradigms of the two kingdoms which disallows any attempt to import one into or onto the other.
The Example of our Ecclesiastical/Spiritual Family vs. our Human Family
When we gather with fellow believers or act within the ecclesiastical/spiritual realm, we all see one another as brother, sister, son, daughter, mother and father, spiritually and care for them as such, sometimes even with physical needs. The basis of that fellowship is our reconciliation with Christ and our identifying others as reconciled with Christ, hence, sharing in the same fellowship with Christ which enables us to fellowship together. We are all adopted, together, and related by and in Christ. That is the kingdom on the right, the spiritual or ecclesiastical kingdom.
However, when we enter the context of our human family, which is part of the kingdom on the left and a divine institution which God gave to humanity for its perpetuity, and the time comes for locking our doors to protect our children, to buying clothes for our spouse or children, of caring for our parents with our money and for leaving an inheritance and so forth, to whom, generally, do we attend with such things? We do so toward our biological and/or legally adopted family. Why? We act in this manner because the context of the two kingdoms has change hence, the valid change in the Biblical protocols and subsequent actions. Though we have a spiritual family, we also have a human family (and in many cases our human family are also members of the spiritual family) and the two exist in different kingdoms, with two differing sets of protocols for relating, caring, and being a member and so forth.
Both of these have their own set of assigned values by God to which we must adhere. We cannot abide by these, however, if we do not recognize when we leave one context and enter the other. If we do not or cannot recognize the contexts of the two major kingdoms we are doomed, as are these purveyors of the new and libelous doctrine of social-human-personal camaraderie being necessitated within the body of Christ. Ours is and will forever be a spiritual compatibility based on the shared spiritual new birth with its new identity and all of its protocols and blessings.