Apostles today? No way, jose! They died out a long time ago, with the passing of John.
I’ve written plenty in the past on the ministry of the apostle, but it’s been quite some time. So I thought I might revisit a few things. I adamantly believe this ministry is necessary today. Of course, God doesn’t need our appointing of apostles (or prophets) to get the work done. Many of folk have never been appointed direct pastoral or teaching ministries, yet they’ve still practically functioned in these roles, for the building up of Christ’s body. And I’d say the same is true with apostles (and prophets).
You see, when most people think of apostles, I believe they only envision the 12 and Paul. Some might remember that the word apostle sits next to both Barnabas’s and James’s names in the New Testament. But they were exceptional cases.
I think this is because we can easily identify an apostle as a writer of New Testament Scripture. Of course, we know that not all of the New Testament was penned by apostles. But we are at least ok with it because we, then, identify them as associates of those first apostles. Their source was one of the 12 that walked with Jesus himself. Continue reading
Many people who have spent time studying pneumatology (theology of the Holy Spirit) and the gifts of the Spirit will probably be aware of Wayne Grudem’s works on the said topic. Especially our reformed brothers and sisters. Grudem believes the charismata gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 still exist today. He is one of many ‘theologically-minded’ and scholarly Christians advocating these particular gifts of the Spirit. Others are Sam Storms, John Piper, Gordon Fee, Mark Driscoll, Jack Deere, etc.
Though one can get a taster of his theological stance on the gifts of the Spirit in his Systematic Theology (pgs1016-1088), another of his writings, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, gives a much more in-depth treatment to the gift of prophecy, as you would expect from such a title.
Though the book can be viewed as an evangelical stalwart for study on the gift of prophecy, I believe his work fails on a few accounts, which includes the nature of apostles and prophets. In short, I think Grudem offers a faulty exegesis on Eph 2:20 and 3:5. You can see his discussions in chapter 2 of the book (pgs45-47), as well as in his Appendix 6 (pgs329-436). [As a side note, this is in the revised edition from 2000. I don’t believe earlier copies have Appendix 6.] Continue reading
Over at From Distant Quarters, blog of my friend, John Lietzel, an update is given on the work that is taking place in Zambia and Zimbabwe. John writes:
For the final week of the Hope College May-June Term, Global Horizons sent Alan Scotland, Barry Fitzpatrick, and Ian Rawley [part of the core team] here to Lusaka at the same time. They taught the Diploma students, then on the weekend we hosted a Leadership Summit for about fifty pastors from Zambia and Zimbabwe. This Summit represented the coming together of six different church networks, expressing a desire for a greater relationship with one another. As we’re seeking to strengthen our brothers and sisters in leadership in Southern Africa, this Summit was a significant step–and a powerful time together.
If you know African culture, or planet earth culture in general, you know it is hard for groups to come together, to form team. Especially men! But God has been opening the doors for us to see the leaders of these African church networks come together to form a more connected and strengthened core team, that the evangel of the kingdom might be better proclaimed in southern Africa.
This is Africa’s time! It’s exciting news!
I recently posted about a new book I have begun reading, a book on the modern-day ministry of apostles authored by British church leader, David Devenish – Fathering Leaders, Motivating Mission: Restoring the Role of Apostle in Today’s Church. Remember, I am one of those guys (not the only one) who believes this role (along with all ministries spoken of in Eph 4:11-13) to be very important in seeing the people of God equipped for works of ministry and preparing them to move towards maturity. At least that’s how Paul articulates it in Eph 4.
I’ve spent plenty of time laying out why I believe this ministry (yes, ministry, not so much ‘office’ or ‘position’) is still active today, as well as what this ministry would entail today (here is the link to my detailed PDF document).
But as I was reading Devenish’s book, he brought out two points that I never really considered before as to why apostles would exist today, or post-first century. They are not major, eye-openers as to solve the debate that might exist for some Christians. Nevertheless, I thought I would share those two points below, and then encourage you to read more of my thoughts if you would like. Continue reading
Yes, I am the nut case who believes apostles still exist today. I’m even posting a series over at my co-authored blog, To Be Continued, of which I am about half-way through. I recently posted considering the apostles that actually existed in New Testament times (there were more than we think!).
In the near future, I am writing a paper for the churches I work with, and one major point I will consider is the nature of apostolic ministry today. And so I was specifically made aware of a new book that came out this past summer entitled Fathering Leaders, Motivating Mission: Restoring the Role of Apostle in Today’s Church. Continue reading