- The judgment of God is upon the church as never before. The millennials are abandoning the ‘church system’ in record numbers. If this was true in 1963, it is more so today. We live in a politically dysfunctional, racially charged, socially inept and morally deficient world. Rather than being a voice of righteousness, the contemporary ‘church’ has taken sides with world groups on critical issues. As Dr. King concluded then, today it is considered as an irrelevant social club, with no meaning for the 21st century.
- …organized religion [is] too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world…, wrote Dr. King. The church is more focused on survival than it is serving. They fight each other to preserve their doctrinal distinctions. They invest in huge buildings, that only serve to contain people. What is considered evangelism has the unspoken goal of filling the pews more than empowering God’s people. Even the modern catch phrase of ‘equipping the saints’ is little more than training people to serve within the system.
- …the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. Even though he seemed to equate ekklesia as ‘the inner spiritual church, and, the church within the church’, it was clear that he recognized a different level of power resident in it. He wrote of the true ekklesia being the hope of the world. As the Holy Spirit is bringing more insight into the Lord’s ekklesia, I too believe that He will use the ekklesia to bring hope to the world.
Five years and eight days after writing this letter, Dr. Martin Luther King would be assassinated while standing on the balcony at the Lorrain Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama. His letter from the Birmingham jail was in many ways prophetic. His insight regarding ekklesia was appropriate for the time, but it serves to alert us that there was, and is a difference between ekklesia and church.