Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New Apostolic Reformation

Len, over at, has been writing an interesting series over the past couple of days about the 'New Apostolic Reformation'. I've read with interest as I've been around certain groups of people that place extreme emphasis on labeling certain people with the title 'apostle' or 'prophet'. I think people exercise prophetic and apostolic gifts from time to time, and some more than others, but the second we put a label/title on them and place them in a hierarchy power structure, I start having problems. Here's a few of Len's thoughts:
I have argued that apostles and prophets never really disappeared, and that they have been among us somewhat hidden. This shouldn't be too surprising since it was Jesus own way of being among us. There is cause for concern that NAR movement links the gifts of Jesus to a particular eschatology and to a global administrative structure. Jesus, the ultimate apostle, ran away from political agendas. Paul, the apostle who gave us most of the New Testament letters, declined to accept any office or stipend, and continued to support himself with the work of his hands. One wonders why a modern apostle would pursue any other agenda or why any central apostolic network is needed in the world?

Apostles are best unseen, quietly doing the work God has given them. We need to concern ourselves when someone identifies themselves as an apostle. We can legitimately inquire as to their agenda. The purpose of power and authority is to give it away.. to use it to empower and equip others.. to serve. Jesus was God, veiled in flesh, yet His ministry was mostly unspectacular. He avoided prominence, and when they tried to crown Him as king he snuck away. Apostolic ministry will often be like leaven in a lump; it's effects will be slow but pervasive, and may only be measured effectively in hindsight. How appropriate when the goal is to glorify Someone else. 3 of series... 2 of series... 1 of series...


Anonymous Daniel Zylstra said...

I too share a concern with regards to people claiming or being given the title "apostle" or "prophet". While it is true that many have seen these gifts as having passed away from the church after the first generation or so of Christianity, it is also true that the scriptures make it very clear that being an apostle is primarily manifested in acts of service--sometimes extreme acts of service (note the martyrdom of pretty much all of the original apostles, and, as the writer of the article says, the humble ways in which two of our "greatest" apostles lived. Why anyone would want to claim this title is a bit of a mystery to me--and, like the writer of the article, I suspect it has a bit more to do with acquiring power and influence over people than with genuine service.

3:07 p.m.  

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