What Relevance the Church?

When God introduced himself as the “I am that I am” he contemporised himself for all generations. The Hebrew phrase for “I am that I am” is “Ehyer asher ehyer”. It literally translates, “I will be what I will be”. God is a generational God. It’s why he defined himself as the God of three successive generations: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Generations are biological time partitions.

There are two orders of priesthood in the Bible: the Levitical order (named after Levi) and the Melchizedek order. (This Levi is the third son of Jacob and Leah, not Levi Strauss the Levi jeans purveyor whose adverts say, “I believe!”) The Levitical order came into being after the Melchizedek order. The Melchizedek order is superior. Abraham paid tithe to Melchizedek, a priest of the Most High God and a king. In essence, Levi in the loins of Abraham paid tithe to Melchizedek. Hebrews 7:9. Tithing started before the Law. It’s a faith proposition. Abraham the father of faith paid tithe (Genesis 14: 17-20). And yes, tithing is in the New Testament. Read Hebrews 7:1-10.

Believers in Christ belong to the Order of Melchizedek. It is the order of Jesus Christ. Every believer in Christ is a priest of the Most High. We are a holy nation, a royal priesthood. 1 Peter 2:9. Unlike the Levitical order, the Order of Melchizedek allows for “secular priests” and non full-time priests. The conceptual format of the Melchizedek order is why professionals and entrepreneurs can be pastors. It’s why Jesus appointed entrepreneurs, professionals, activists and civil servants to become apostles.

Jesus changed the order of priesthood. In the Old Testament priesthood was based on biological progeny. Hebrews 7:11,12. In the New Testament, priesthood is based on spiritual progeny. You’re a priest because you are in Christ.

This generation of believers cannot realize its full potential without understanding the dynamics of Melchizedek order. Unlike the Levitical order, the Melchizedek order is a double-sided order. It’s a priest-king equation. In effect, there is no separation of Church and State in the Order of Melchizedek. They are hyphenated. It’s why Jesus kept talking about his kingdom. The political and the spiritual are merged in Jesus. The Old Testament Levitical priesthood was a one-sided order of just priests. The Order of Melchizedek is thus a correspondence of the spiritual and the secular.

An exclusive reliance on priestly resources without correspondence with kingly resources is a Levitical equation. The “kingship” of the Melchizedek equation are the secular resources of the Church. The “secular” resources of the Church include intellectual, governmental and commercial assets in the Church. We’ve not fully grasped the import of this Order. It’s why some think intellectual rigour is anti-Spirit of God. A condemnation of churches engaged in leadership training is a betrayal of lack of understanding of Melchizedek order. As is condemnation of churches engaged in enterprise training. Under the dispensation of the Order of Melchizedek, God wants us to combine the spiritual and secular.

In today’s world the Church requires a strategic skill set. We live in a very sophisticated world. Genders are now splintered. Even Facebook gives so many options. Now we have Heterosexual, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Transexual Queer, Intersex, Intergender, Asexual, Ally, Androsexual, Binary Gender, Cisgender, Cis-Man, Cis-Woman, Salzikrum. The old way of doing things cannot evangelise this sophisticated world with its attendant complications. We need to be open to the Spirit of God to give us fresh ideas, direction and instructions.

Strategy is not anti-Spirit. God is the most strategic personage you’ll ever meet. The Lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world, not when the Pharisees and Roman authorities decided. The problem is, the Church is more reactionary than strategic. Yet if we must work with God dispensationally, we must seek to peer into his strategic intent. And Satan the enemy is strategic, though sometimes prone to strategic blunder. Had they known, they would not have crucified Jesus the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:8. Satan made a strategic blunder. The spilled blood of Jesus seeded the new world order – the New Testament. But that Satan made a strategic blunder tells us he plays strategically. Without strategic focus the Church will always play catch up.

Here’s a strategic idea the Church must pursue if she wants to change the nation: Set up schools of government. The Church has concentrated on setting up bible schools and theological institutes, and that’s okay. But that’s only one side of the Melchizedek equation. A seminary is an HR development institution for the Church. A school of government focuses on the development of nations. If you want to define your environment you must control and influence government, not just governance. You don’t define a political environment by setting up seminaries, schools of ministry or schools of theology. The curricula of bible schools are not designed for governance of a nation. The Church can’t keep talking “dominion” without strategic correspondent action. Dominion is a political term. The Bible says government ministers are also ministers of God. Government is God’s servant. Romans 13:4. We have concentrated on training one set of ministers to the detriment of the other type of ministers.

Our nation needs institutional capacity. Without institutional capacity nations suffer. Yale, Princeton, Oxford and Harvard were Bible proclaiming schools. Harvard was Puritan, Princeton was Presbyterian. Indeed Harvard was named after a Christian minister. Yale was started by clergymen. Princeton’s crest still reads “Dei sub numine viget” – “Under God she flourishes.” Oxford was established by various Christian religious orders. Cambridge was established by Christian leaders. Our worldview must expand. We must think beyond the four walls of a church.

The work is not in church, the work is outside the church. We are trained in church to function on the outside. We are priest-kings, not just priests. A Church that does not pay attention to governance risks persecution and obliteration. Apostle Paul asked us to pray for those in authority because the socio-political environment impacts on the work of God. Without peace in a nation the gospel of peace cannot be preached. The Church must have strategic relevance. Without relevance we’re just doing our thing.

© Leke Alder | talk2me@lekealder.com