New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Sunday, August 4 2002 Volume 02 : Number 135
Re[2]: [NTCP] Re: So, what's an apostle look like? (fwd)
Re[2]: [NTCP] rise of Apostles in other countries?
Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?

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Date: Sat, 03 Aug 2002 20:14:00 +0000
From: ScogginsTravel * ccmail.lfa
Subject: Re[2]: [NTCP] Re: So, what's an apostle look like? (fwd)

Great response, Link. Just a couple of comments. DS will preface mine.
One common idea about apostleship these days is that apostles are heads of
denominations. I don't see this in scripture. For one, thing, Paul the
apostle was vehemently opposed to the body of Christ being divided into
denominations. Early on in a church's development, he would help lead
churches. He would write letters to encourage. But, eventually, he would
appoint elders, and as time went on, hopefully, churches would be less and
less dependant on him.

DS: ACtually not so much Paul as Paul's team. Quite a dynamic group of
aposltes who modeled team leadership and mutual submission so that when
they appointed an eldership they could carry on in the same spirit. Paul
was no more a CEO than any of the elders he appointed.

omething interesting to notice in the NT is that the Bible does not say
that the apostles appointed '5-fold ministers' to watch over the churches.
It does say that they appointed _elders_ in the churches. The elders to be
appointed had to meet certain requirements, listed in scripture.

DS: Amen. When Paul calls the leaders of the church of Ephesus he does
not call the 5 fold ministers (remember they only appear that way in
his letter to this church), but he calls the elders (Acts 20:17).

I believe one of the major errors of the Pentecostal and Charismatic
movements is to see spiritual giftedness as the nearly exclusive
qualification for being an overseer in the church. Paul gave Titus and
Timothy long lists, and only few qualifications directly relate to gifts.
Only one comes to mind right now- 'apt to teach.' There is a lot more
emphasis on lifestyle and character.

DS: Amen! We in the west often look to talent rather than charcter.
Seems like Paul and his team did the opposite. Some of the best elders
my team has ever appointed were very average, or below average talent
wise (includig a few who were semi-literate). But the all had good
characther.
Dick Scoggins
High Wycombe, UK


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Date: Sat, 03 Aug 2002 20:19:00 +0000
From: ScogginsTravel * ccmail.lfa
Subject: Re[2]: [NTCP] rise of Apostles in other countries?

I'm sorry if that sounds a bit hard, but in my estimation only about 10% of
the missionaries that I know, seem to be doing anything useful.

DS: I like you Keith. But you could be a bit over the top! I also never
refer to myself as an apostle or a missionary. I do acknowledge being a
church planter and also a business consultant (I am bi-vocational).

Dick Scoggins
High Wycombe, UK


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Date: Sun, 04 Aug 2002 17:24:46 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?

Continuing with trying to get a handle on what The Scriptures reveal
concerning apostles, I would like to take another look at the
differences between the Jerusalem apostleship and that of Paul, and
those who were with him.

There are a number of schools of theology which are based on the idea
that there was really no conflict between the Jerusalem gospel and that
of Paul, that there were two gospels and they were meant to coexist, one
for the Jews, the "Kingdom of God" gospel for the Jews, the earthly
people of God, and the "Kingdom of Heaven" Gospel for the Gentiles, the
stars of the sky or the heavenly people of God.

My feeling is that in order to sort this kind of understanding out, you
have to be a rocket scientist, and I believe that the Word of God is
given to, and understood best, by babes, Matthew 11:25.

Nor do I believe that the Jerusalem gospel was in error, rather, I
believe that it was in transition, ultimately to become what Paul
called, "his gospel" The transition was not a pretty picture, it is the
history of the conflict between Paul and the "circumcision".

By now, I hope it's clear that, when stated this way, I am speaking
about outer circumcision, circumcision that is still preoccupied with
the plumbing. Paul saw, and, I believe, increasingly understood that the
real circumcision, as distinct from the shadow circumcision, was
accomplished at the cross, and had to do with "the cutting off of the
old man". As a Keith Green song put it, this is a circumcision that
makes us "...alive to God, but dead to ourselves." Need I say that it is
finished, and yet on going. In fact it needs to be appropriated by faith
every day, so that the Life of Christ might be revealed in our mortal
bodies.

All this to say, that the understanding of the gospel that Paul had by
the end of his race, was much clearer than it had been at the beginning
of his own conversion, and much clearer than the gospel that the
Jerusalem apostles were working with, before Paul began to get in their
face, (you should pardon the expression, Galatians 2:11).

I would like to suggest or, perhaps better said, it is my understanding
that Mark represents the fruit or influence of the Jerusalem culture,
gospel, and apostleship. That exposure had not been adequate to prepare
him to be part of Paul's apostolic team. Later on, when Paul went head
to head with Peter, we are told that even Barnabas had been lead astray.
Barnabas came out of that same Jerusalem paradigm. Not even traveling
apostolically with Paul had been enough to get it out of his system.

These experiences were part of the learning environment which continued
to perfect even Paul's understanding. I am not saying by this, that Paul
was preaching a false gospel while his understanding was being fine
tuned. What I am saying is that, anyone of us is capable of saying the
right things, while still having a very imperfectly formed understanding
of the implications of what we are saying. Then, as now, that kind of
understanding is hammered out over time, as we are doers, and not just
hearers of the message we have been given to carry to others.

One thing that all of them seemed to understand, however, and that was
that "Hear O Israel, The Lord is One", and the fruit of His influence
ought also to be one. Christ is not divided in fact, and ought not to be
divided in expression or representation. In any given old creation
geography, there ought to be only one new creation embassy. There may be
more than one embasador, but they shoud be reachable at the same
spiritual embassy.

Where the fivefold gifting is concerned, the main thing about an apostle
is that he contains in his perspective and understanding the genetic
information necessary for authentic reproduction or, better said, the
reproduction of the authentic. Jesus gives gifts which are received
according to the measure of faith. The Apostle should be capable of
preaching a word which can and does supply the raw material necessary
for that measure of faith to work. And, by the way, it ought to work by
love.

In our offendedness over the abuse of authority, we have tended to
understand everything as gifting rather than office, but I believe we
need to get beyond our offendedness, and begin to understand and honor
office as well as gifting. An apostle may function in one or more of the
other four gifts, but there is no gift of apostolic, it is a calling and
an office. Hopefully it is equipped with the gifting necessary to make
it fruitful. The same can be said for elders. These are both positions
or offices, and need to be honored as such. Without honor, nothing
works, not even in Jesus earthly ministry, Matthew 13:57,58.

Where ordination of elders is concerned, my very strong impression is
that, once in place in an authentic Church, they are legally able, and
ought to ordain those additional elders who are raised up in that place.
Keep in mind that elders are the supply of heaven, not of programs or men.

In our day, authentic eldership is as confused or unclear as authentic
apostleship. It is not yet clear how authenticity is going to be
restored, but we know from God's Word that the glory of the latter house
will exceed that of the former. All we need to do is have ears to hear,
eyes to see, and turn from the work of our own hands. As it was in the
beginning, Jesus will build His Church.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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