I just wrote an article for the CTS SEYPHER Winter Newsletter, if you’re not on that list here is the article and link to join.
Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being in one spirit and purpose. Philippians 2:1-2 NASB
The Greek word used here is koinonia. You might be surprised to know that the word itself simply meant “what we have in common.” In fact, in an ancient context, it even took on the connotation of those things that “what had little value.” It’s strange to think of the original definition in this way for a word we have translated as the modern day “church” and have elevated to such a pedestal! The idea of using this word (instead of more prominent word ekklesia -which should be translated “assembly,” not “church”) was that we are all on common footing or equal in God’s eyes as the functioning body of Christ’s kingdom by our gifts. It also was a fellowship of the ordinary that could become extraordinary when humbly offered to the service of the Lord. In this fellowship there is no hierarchy of economic status or social position or hypothesized authority. It is leading from beneath in the upside-down Kingdom of Jesus. The underlying idea is based on the Royal Law of holding others in higher regard than yourselves, in a society where what we have is given up for the benefit of others. That explains why the early church continued to sell what they had to support those that newly joined their fellowship. We don’t really think that way anymore in terms of the church, but we should! That was one of Jesus’ primary messages to us that seems to have been lost in our modern rendition of “church.”
CTS is a major part of the church kingdom. In Christ’s church your best is offered to the King for the benefit of the kingdom and community. Unfortunately, the world and even most evangelical churches have lost or forgotten this and have done exactly the opposite in elevating the “positions” of the church to look more like rulers, CEOs, and kings rather than servants. This is why what CTS is doing is so important. We aren’t just training how to be devout or exhibit a better exegesis; although we do that, what we are doing is cultivating or nurturing a better worldview for the discipleship culture that Jesus laid the foundations for. There is only one King, and his name is Jesus. CTS is committed to returning to a better theological mindset of training kingdom communion.
Koinonia is about changing our view of community. It’s about removing the natural instinct for self-promotion and leading from a heart of submission and servanthood like the Master gave by living example and teaching. The heart of discipleship is in relationships and that is what this season is about. If you are new to CTS, welcome to the fellowship, we are super excited to have you in our community and are looking forward to your gifting and the fellowship of believers.
Will Ryan, Th.D -CTS PRESIDENT