There is not a month that passes wherein I don’t meet some individual or group that expresses their dissatisfaction with the ‘church as we know it’. More and more, people are searching for something beyond the programs, events and endless fundraisers.
Some common themes I hear people say is, “I am tired of the same old thing”, or “I want to do something different”, or “There must be more”. The laments are usually followed by the individual resigning themselves to the fact that they are stuck in a religious system they don’t like.
This dilemma reminds me the relationship between David, Jonathan and Saul. Their relationship is similar to what is happening in the ‘church world’ today. For the sake of clarity, allow me to portray them as representatives of the traditional church system (Saul), the current move of God in the earth (David), and those who love what God is doing, but remain connected to the traditional system (Jonathan).
Saul represents the traditional church system
Saul represents the traditional church system. He is a reflection of ‘church as we know it’. From the onset, his very anoint-
ing was man made. The bible states that Samuel used a flask of oil to anoint Saul. A flask is a shallow bowl type utensil. Basically, it is a bottle. The point is that Saul was anointed from desires of people, not from the will of God.
The contemporary church system cannot be found in scripture. It is a system that placates the desires of men (1Samuel 8:4-22). It is hierarchal and self-serving (1Samuel 13:8-14). It blames the people for areas of its dysfunction (1Samuel 15:20-21, 24). And regardless of its ineffectiveness, the church system desires to be touted and honored (1Samuel 15:30).
David represents the present move of God in His people
Let’s look at David. He comes on the scene when Samuel anoints him to be king. He was the unconsidered
son of Jesse, and the youngest of seven sons. He was actually Saul’s replacement, even though Saul was oblivious to what was taking place (1Samuel 16:1). David represents the present move of God in His people.
Unlike Saul, David was anointed with a ‘horn of oil’. The horn was most likely from a sacrificed ram. David’s anointing came through the shedding of blood. His anointing had the seal of heaven upon it. David was God’s choice, not man’s.
David represents a shift in the spirit. The moment he was anointed, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and simultaneously left Saul (1Samuel 16:13-14). This is significant. I believe a similar shift is taking place today. I believe God is shifting the body of Christ back to his original intent. This goes far beyond the church becoming ekklesia, it is God’s people fulfilling the mandate He gave them in the Garden of Eden to be fruitful, to multiply, replenish and subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28). It then becomes the ekklesia Jesus declared He would build (Matthew 16:18).
David’s rise to the throne was anything but normal. He went from serving as Saul’s personal musician and armor bearer (1Samuel 16:15-23) to killing Goliath (1Samuel 17:48-21). He then scarcely avoided being killed by Saul (1Samuel 18:10), and spent years running from Saul and his assassins (1Samuel 19:15, 18; 20:1).
Space will not permit me to cover the see-saw relationship that existed between Saul and David. But I did find it interesting that the bible said the Saul feared David because the Lord was with him (1Samuel 18:12, 29). I am beginning to see glimpse of similar traits today. Some in the traditional church system are challenged by the advent of ekklesia. As we gain more insight to this word, it will demand that we realign ourselves with scripture to live out the Lord’s command.
This brings us to Jonathan. He was Saul’s son (1Samuel 13:16), but David’s covenant friend (1Samuel 18:1). He represents those who see and love what God is doing, but don’t have the courage to disconnect from where they are. They want the fresh move of God in their life, but cannot bring themselves to disconnect from their religious tradition.
[Jonathan] represents those who see and love what God is doing, but don’t have the courage to disconnect from where they are
Each morning I do a 20-minute teaching on Facebook Live. I am amazed to find so many people watching from all around the world. It is truly humbling. I am also ama-
zed at some of the people who have contacted me privately. Each have indicated how much they enjoy each broadcast, but they also made it clear that they cannot make their feelings known publicly for fear of repercussions from the ‘church’ they attend.
This is The Jonathan Church. They love what God is doing, but are so attached to their current religious system that they are paralyzed and unable to move. The tragedy of the ‘Jonathans’ is that when Saul died, Jonathan died with him (1Samuel 31:6). This, I fear will be the fate of many today. They are so vested in their current traditional church system, that when it falls, they will fall with it.
At one point, David was followed by a gang of men who were distressed, in debt and discontented (1Samuel 22:2). This sounds like many church members I’ve encountered. They are dissatisfied and disillusioned with where they are. They too need to follow David (the current move of God). Those who do, will become known as David’s mighty men with power and might. (1Chronicles 11:10-11).
Jesus is still building His ekklesia. He is building with those who have the revelation that He is the Christ, Son of the Living God. He is not building with the wavering, or double-minded.
I believe there will be a line of demarcation set in the earth. Malachi prophesied of a season when those who serve God, and those who don’t will be clearly identified (Malachi 3:16-18). My question to you is, where do you stand? It is time for you to align yourself with either Saul (the traditional church system), or David (the current move of God). I challenge you not to be a ‘Jonathan’. Decide which where you stand.
Tim Kurtz is the founder of The Ekklesia Center. He has served in numerous capacities in the 'church system' including being a Pastor for over 25 years. He now serves believers desiring to form New Testament gatherings. He is the author of The Ekklesia Blog and host of the Ekklesia Podcasts. In both the blog and the podcasts, he addresses topics relating to the transition from church to ekklesia. Tim is also the host of Good Morning Ekklesia, seen weekdays at 7 a,m. on Facebook. He and his wife, Carolyn have been married 44 years and live in Michigan. They have two adult children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.