Further to my last blog, I would read a book on Apostleship right to the end if it did not mention non-biblical clothes it wants to drape upon that word: “entrepreneurial, strategist, pioneering.” We need entrepreneurial, strategic and pioneering folk desperately but I think an Apostle in the bible’s terms is something other than that, and they may have or may not have some of the above mentioned abilities. Perhaps we need to learn from our brothers and sisters who officially recognise Apostles within their denominations from biblical conviction and have done so for decades before the rest of us caught up with them and muddied the waters with well meaning, but non biblical clutter and values. Sorry to offend, but it alarms me that in some Christian circles all sorts of folk are being called “Apostolic”, every Christian is being called a “leader”… I could make a list of such things but most of them have such a head of steam to them already…..the horse seems to have bolted.
I should say I have met people over the years and the only word I can use for them is “Apostolic.” These encounters have been very few and far between, and I could not even tell you what it is about them that makes me feel it is the right word to use about them. I wish I did. I have found that most books on the gift of being an Apostle tend to rely on other books on the same subject. The claimed authority seems to be a circular footnote in one book referring to a footnote in another book, but no authoritative source outside the world of footnotes to footnotes. I wish someone would tell me what the bible actually says about it, though as far as I can see there is probably not enough there to write a book or hold a conference me thinks…. but then that is probably true also of most of the things we turn into courses or conferences these days… what Jesus said about them would hardly fill a postage stamp…. but it’s Sunday night….
It seems to me in the clearest/most scary/most prophetic moments I experience in these days of not so good health and medication, that Jesus is no longer even allowed to be Teacher of His people and that the Word of God is no longer the supreme rule for faith and life and the source of true doctrine and practice, even in reformed/evangelical/charismatic circles…. but apparently Jesus laughs when we get it wrong and encourages us to laugh now instead of expressing extreme frustration and talking of our “little faith.” Despite being told by Jesus to “call no man ‘Father'” or whatever there seems to be a cult of greatly admired individuals arising especially in the charismatic scene, but all our idols have feet of clay. I have to say whenever in the past I heard my name being associated with something good that was happening, and heard that association being made too often, I knew it was time for me to move on for my sake and for the spiritual well being of others; I am not saying that needs to be a rule for everyone, but it was what the Lord required of me and I felt I had to share that with you! Today’s popular Jesus would certainly not say to error and those who make it, “Get thee behind me, Satan!”… but rather would laugh and say “Well done for trying.” By the way He most certainly does say, “Well done for trying” at the right time in the right circumstances, but we seem addicted to the teaching of men and women, so addicted that when it is in error people can get very angry when error is pointed out, the same way an addict would be if someone withheld their drugs or the so called replacement for their drugs, “methadone.”
Even though I once helped to lead conferences and spoke at them throughout the UK and in other lands for many years, I have not been to many lately… I might though, if it was about something that was a priority in the life and teaching of the Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and of the first Apostles and was more than words and claims…. I would even go to a postage sized one on the gift of “the Apostle” for then I would know it was probably going to be biblical.
By the way, I felt I was to write about this just the same way as I have felt with other blogs. If you want to know more of my way of operating over the years, well I wait for the butterfly wing of a thought from God from whatever the passage of scripture may be that I am looking at , and then prepare a framework for that one central thought by the Spirit’s grace and help. Sometimes I do not know the full reason why I have to write/speak about something, but sometimes I sense a troubling in the air that goes beyond something I may or may not be feeling strongly about….I take a leap of faith when that familiar thing happens that the Lord wants to speak. No doubt by the time what He wants to say is filtered through me it means there will be stuff for you to filter out, but my plea is that you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. I believe there is something of God in what I am writing, though probably postage stamp sized or less. That “something” may or may not be listened to…
Thank you for your helpful comments. This seems to a very live topic and one on which we could do with much more wisdom. Please keep sharing your insights Kenny.