The church is a spiritual federation. The architecture of the church is similar to that of the internet. There’s no single point of failure. The gates of hell cannot prevail. Matthew 16:18. The brand architecture of the church is what we will call endorsed brand architecture in my line of work. There are various forms of brand architecture but the one employed by Jesus is endorsed architecture. It means Jesus endorses each ministry franchise with his brand name. Pastors are franchisees. The franchise model allows for local variations and adaptations; it also allows for the personality of the pastor.
There’s a gross misunderstanding of the nature of the church, even by Christians.
Some years back, I made an official trip to Sierra Leone. As we drove by the presidential villa I saw a group of amputees, probably numbering twelve. They were huddled together, waiting for the president to pass. He was known to be generous and understanding. The amputees reminded me of the invalids at the pool of Bethesda as they waited for an angel to stir the water. I wanted to understand this story and one day my driver told me the story. It’s the story of war. The central character was a villain called Charles Taylor.
Sierra Leone was founded by a coalition of anti-slavery interests who were mostly evangelical in persuasion. If you’ve ever heard of William Wilberforce or the Clapham Sect you will understand the history of Sierra Leone. They pushed through legislation in the British Parliament for the abolition of slave trade. The Clapham Sect were the brains behind the CMS brand. CMS is Church Missionary Society. There’s CMS Grammar School in Lagos. Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the first African bishop had landed in Sierra Leone after his slave ship was intercepted by the British naval squadron.
The Sierra Leone Civil War is a horrible story. That war lasted all of eleven years. It began March 23, 1991 and ended January 18, 2002. Over 50,000 souls perished. But the real horror of that war was generational. 10,000-14,000 children aged 8-14 were conscripted into the army by Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The RUF was backed by Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). Those kids constituted 50% of the army. To demonstrate their allegiance to RUF against their family some were asked to rape their mother in front of their father. They plied the children with drugs. The RUF specialised in a brand of brutality. They loved amputating limbs. They would end up amputating tens of thousands of people ostensibly to prevent them from working in diamond mines controlled by government. You had to choose between short sleeve or long sleeve, which means you either have your limb cut at the wrist or at the elbow. The same principle applied to legs. Their favourite surgical tool was a machete. You don’t need to be a mental health practitioner to know that whoever inspired that program is a psychopath. That war featured an extreme wave of looting, rape and murder. My stay in that country was a very sobering experience. It’s not something we can understand until we pick the Bible and do a proper study of Paul’s writing.
It often amazes me how Christians can pick their Bible, read the content and substitute what’s there for what is not there. It’s why many people cannot see the political dimension of the church. Yet it’s apparent in the Bible. One of the tragedies of Adam and Eve eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is that man began dimensioning everything along the spectrum of good and evil. It’s why people imagine they can be saved by doing good. They imagine the numeric proportion of good deeds over bad deeds will earn them a ticket to heaven. Many prominent religions teach this. There’s an inherent illogicality in such proposition. Sin is a capital offence it is not a civil liability. The wages of sin is death. Good deeds cannot answer to capital offence. Imagine someone arraigned for murder asking to be set free because he gave alms to the poor. That is an absurdity. The Christian faith says salvation is predicated on the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus; that because we’re genetically modified sinners salvation must necessarily lie outside of man, hence Jesus had to come into the equation. A sinner lacks essential qualification to save himself. His good deeds cannot save him.
The unfortunate thing is that the good versus evil paradigm is then extended to Satan. You can’t dimension Satan on a moral axis. He’s beyond morality. He’s a thoroughbred sociopath with a trinitarian objective: to kill, to steal and to destroy. John 10:10. All Satan has ever been interested in, all he’s ever wanted is political power. We can’t understand Satan or the stuff we read in the Bible outside this paradigm. He has never made allusions about his lust for power. He’s very direct about it. From the revolution he fermented in Heaven, to the political crisis in the Garden of Eden, to the temptation he placed before Jesus, one thing and only one thing is apparent – Satan wants political power. Wickedness is nothing but a tool of political subjugation.
When we take time to study the transcript of the encounter between Eve and the serpent it is obvious the serpent was channelling someone, and that someone is very familiar with God, has a long history with God. In that encounter the ideology of class warfare was introduced to earth – the idea the ruling class was oppressing the human class with ignorance. That ideology would eventually be modified into communist ideology. The central tenet of communism is class warfare. Satan’s organisational organogram is unbelievably political. The titles on that organogram are crudely political – Principalities, Powers, Rulers of Darkness, Spiritual Wickedness in High Places… There’s no subtlety whatsoever. What could be more political than labelling an executive “Ruler” or “Power”… “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12.
At the very top of Satan’s organogram are the principalities. The word, “principality” is the Greek word, “arche.” It means “cause.” The verb is “archo”. It means “first.” In other words the principalities occupy pride of place. They’re Satan’s inner circle. They have causative responsibility. They’re the strategists and program designers. Call them the brains. They’re the ones who come up with blueprints. Next in line are the Powers. The word “power” is the Greek word, “exousia.” It denotes executive power. The word is linked in meaning to governments. In order words the principalities create the blueprint, the powers execute at policy level. They influence government policy. Wars, coups, economic meltdowns, insurgencies and insurrections are coordinated by the Powers. Here’s how productive they are: between 258 BC and 1988 they executed 52 wars in Vietnam alone. Between 1220 AD and 1945 they executed 70 wars in Europe. Between 1006 AD and 1994 they executed 135 wars in North America. In Africa the number is 126, between 1868 AD and 2009. In total we’re talking approximately 717 wars all over the world. Think of the sheer carnage. The earth is constantly subjected to war. No respite.
Next in hierarchy are the Rulers of Darkness. The word “darkness” is the Greek word “skotos.” It means to stop or restrain as through an instrumentality. Sin, misery, ruin, unhappiness, ignorance and error are deeply associated with the Rulers of Darkness. The Rulers of Darkness create domestic and personal trauma. They’re the ones who trouble marriages. They’re also the ones responsible for errors and heresy. The last rung on Satan’s organogram are the Spiritual Wickednesses. The word “wickedness” is the Greek word, “ponerai.” It means a malicious person who is not only evil but expresses malice and so affects others.
There’s something to note however: there’s no mention of witches and wizards on Satan’s organogram. It means they’re of no strategic value, just local nuisances. In fact Paul categorises witchcraft as a work of the flesh, at par with sexual immorality. (Galatians 5:19-21). Unfortunately churches pay inordinate attention to witches and wizards. They succumb to the counterintelligence strategy by Satan. As long as you’re chasing after witches you can’t concentrate on the principalities and powers. And it’s the principalities and powers who define political context.
The church operates in a political sphere. The church is subject to political context. The manner in which Satan has constrained the church through the centuries is via the instrumentality of the state. As a Christian you ignore politics and governance at your peril. But the bigger reason Satan unleashes the state against the church is because Christianity is a political concept. Jesus repeatedly spoke about his kingdom. Kingdom is political. He didn’t talk about a religious commune.
Jesus is not a religious figure. Jesus is a political figure. The Bible calls him a King. The 7th century prophecy by Isaiah concerning Jesus dimensioned him politically: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the GOVERNMENT shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his GOVERNMENT and peace there shall be no end, upon the THRONE of David, and upon his KINGDOM, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 KJV.
The reason Jesus is called wonderful, everlasting and mighty is because he must be adulated. He is a king. Kings are adulated. His system of governance is a monarchy. It’s the reason we do praise worship in church. You praise a king, you worship a king, just as we praise and worship the Ooni of Ife or Oba of Benin, or any other monarch.
If God were a democratic president there will be no praise worship in church. All that will happen is that his presence will be announced as he steps into the auditorium. Then the order of business will commence.
To be continued next week…
If you’ll like to receive Jesus into your life please pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”
Theology Trivia: What is the biblical criteria for salvation? How does a sinner get saved?
The e-version of my new book, The Genesis Project is now available for purchase and download at www.genesisprojectonline.com.
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