What is an Apostle? Answer by Dr. Naoman Serosh of Pakistan

What is an apostle? This has been an interesting video series so far – each apostle that we interviewed has a little bit different take on what exactly is the definition of what an apostle is and what characteristics should be present in his life. Several themes emerge clearly however, and Dr. Naoman Serosh keeps his answer mostly in expected territory. My father challenges him on whether he has seen the Lord personally, and Dr. Serosh answers without hesitation. He has seen the Lord.

Definition of an Apostle, or, The Apostolic Actions of a Mother and Child

Howard Jackson answers the question, “What is the definition of an apostle?”

His answer surprised me, and taught me something about the true  nature of a calling from God. To be a “sent one” means, at its root, to simply be obedient to the God who is doing the sending, much like a child obeys his mother when she tells him to do something. It’s not as grandiose a thing as some make it out to be. Rather it is an act of simple, humble obedience to a grandiose God.

I’ve heard it so many times, “An apostle is a ‘sent one’, but never saw that angle before. This helps me see apostles in a fresh way.

—Ethan

Thankful for Salvation

Living our lives as believers, it’s easy to forget how life-changing and fabulous salvation is! It’s so refreshing to hear people express when they are thankful for salvation.

Recently I was reading an email that I was CC’d on from an old friend to my father Mark, one phrase stuck out in my mind.

I will never be able to thank you enough for leading me to the Lord.

I want people to say that to me! I want people to think that when they think of me! I want to play a part of people’s spiritual journeys!

Inspired,
Ethan

What are the signs of a true apostle? Part I

What are the signs of a true apostle?

What are the signs of a true apostle? B Mark Anderson interviews Jim McCracken

It’s one thing to ask “What is an apostle?”  You get a definition-type answer to that question as people try to narrow down and define what it really means to be an apostle. But it’s another thing to ask “What are the signs of an apostle?” To this question you get a wide variety of thought provoking answers as people delve into the actual things that an apostle does.

We have more videos to share, and this clip is Jim McCracken’s answer to “What are the signs of a true apostle?”

Jim McCracken is the leader of TrueBridge — A Family of Churches.

See Jim’s answer to the question “What is an apostle?” in this previous post.

I think it’s agreed that one sign of an apostle is they they are someone who moves in the supernatural. But in this clip, Jim adds some unique thoughts about signs of an apostle–that he is “one who builds”.

I also really like something that Jim says just in passing towards the end of the clip, “[an apostle is] one who is in touch with the design of the church.” That speaks to how an apostle has to be a big-picture thinker, a visionary, who sees God’s plan for the church from a different perspective than the local pastor.

What are the signs of a true apostle?

What would you say are the signs of a true apostle? Comments welcome!

What Can An Apostle Contribute to a Local Church?

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In Local Churches Global Apostles, Mark (that’s my father), focuses in on the relationship between local churches and apostolic leadership. It’s worth examining: just what can an apostle contribute to a local church? Steve Fatow offers his answers.

I recorded this interview between Dad and Steve. Steve talks with such passion that his voice distorts a bit on the recording. I didn’t have the audio settings adjusted quite right to be prepared for his enthusiasm! Fiery guy. He is an apostolic minister and leader of a ministry that holds crusades around the world called Evangelism of Earth.

Modern Day Apostles? Do They Exist Today?

 

Are modern day apostles legitimate?

Do modern day apostles exist?

Modern Day Apostles? Do They Exist Today?

Or are all who currently claim to be an apostle imposters?

To get started, let’s expand our thinking on the subject. How many people are specifically designated as apostles in the New Testament? To many it comes as a surprise that 25 individuals are mentioned as apostles in the pages of the New Testament! Imagine—twenty five apostles! This eye-opener paves the way for the acceptance and recognition of modern day apostles. It shows there were more apostles after the original twelve that Jesus designated.

Yes, modern day apostles and prophets exist and function in churches today. We will see extensive Biblical evidence for this in a moment. But first, it might be good to dispel the most common reasons used to deny the fact that  modern day apostles and prophets do exist.  Click here for a definition and understanding of  “What is an apostle?”

Reasons Why Some Deny the Existence of Modern Day Apostles

One fellow wrote that there are no modern day apostles. He repeated the tired, worn-out arguments of the traditional deniers who say modern day apostles cannot exist. He claimed since Christ had died no one could any longer “see the Lord.” He also stated that we don’t need modern day apostles any more because the Scriptures have been written and the canon is closed. He believed that all modern day apostles are imposters, false leaders of the blind.

Let’s examine one of these arguments–the thought that no modern day apostles exist because of the “requirement” that every apostle must see the Lord.

This false concept is based on 1 Cor 9:1 where Paul asks, “Am I not an apostle?” and “Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” While Paul is clearly attempting to furbish his credentials, he is not laying out a qualification that every apostle must see the Lord. If that were the case, Timothy could not be an apostle. Paul hooked up with Timothy in Galatia in about 49 or 50 AD. Christ was crucified in Jerusalem sometime around 30 AD. Young Timothy may not have even been born by the time Christ was crucified! Yet he is named as an apostle in First Thessalonians 1:1 when coupled with 2:6. Obviously, when Paul spoke of “seeing the Lord,” he was not laying out a requirement or saying that every apostle must have seen Jesus in the flesh.

Further, what does it mean to “see the Lord?” There is no time in the Bible where Paul physically saw Jesus in the flesh. Yet Christ did appear to Paul in visions or a trance on four occasions. Does “see the Lord” include visions and revelatory experiences? Apparently so, and if this is the case, the bar is rather low. I have seen the Lord in a vision, yet I am certainly not an apostle.

Here’s another reason some leaders deny the existence of modern day apostles. This reason is at least partially legitimate. God began restoring modern day apostles to the church about the time World War Two ended. A few of these early pioneers got into excesses and errors so badly that stable church leaders thought, “This can’t be of God!” And so they denied even the legitimate existence  of  apostles that the ascended Christ appointed (Eph 4:11-13).

Biblical Evidence for the Existence of Modern Day Apostles

Now let’s look at a number of Biblical references that show God’s plan is for  modern day apostles and prophets to continue to function  in the church.

Christ gave gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) after he ascended into heaven (Eph 4:11-13). These gifted people could not have been among the original twelve of Peter, James, and John! Rather, they are ascension-gift ministers given to the Church Age. They are members of the five fold ministry and include modern day apostles.

Apostles are given by Christ for the equipping of the saints for the work of service. Are the saints (Christians) fully equipped? No way. Have we all attained to the unity of the faith? Not yet! We still need modern day apostles to equip and unify church members. See a one minute video on the subject by one of the modern day apostles  that I have interviewed.

In Ephesians 2:20-22 the Scripture declares the church is built upon “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.” Christ was the cornerstone then just as He is today. Apostles and prophets were the foundation then, just as modern day apostles and prophets are today.

This truth is underscored by the fact that God has given a primary (foundational) place in the church to apostles and prophets. Paul states that God has appointed in the church “first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” (I Cor 12:28). While some want apostles to disappear, there is never a call for teachers or administrators to cease to exist. Apostles remain in God’s plan until He comes again.

Paul wrote I Corinthians about 55 or 56 AD, at least 20 years after the crucifixion and resurrection. This could in no way refer to the original twelve apostles. There needs to be no doubt for anyone with an open mind that the gift of modern day apostles is given to the Church Age.

Paul offers further insight. “By referring to this, when you read, you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets (Eph 3:4-5).” Paul is saying there is a revelation that has been given now to his generation that was not given to earlier generations. It was not given to men of the Old Testament Era. Rather, it was a fresh revelation and was received by men in the current New Testament Church Age.

(What was the insight to which Paul referred? It was the startling, even unthinkable idea to Jews that Gentiles would become part and parcel of the Body of Christ and become equal heirs of the kingdom.)

I’m thankful to Dr. Jim Feeney, the gifted Pentecostal Bible teacher, who showed me insight in Ephesians 3:4-5. Dr. Feeney offers more evidence for the ministry of modern day apostles and prophets at http://www.jimfeeney.org/apostlesandprophets.html

My book Local Churches Global Apostles: How Churches Related to Apostles in the New Testament Era and Why it Matters Now addresses a wide range of issues for both early and modern day apostles.

Local Churches Global Apostles

Local Churches Global Apostles

Here’s what ministers are saying about the book.

In an age where true apostolic fathers are being restored to the church, Mark Anderson hits the nail on the head. Mark’s work is historical, theological and very pastoral. A must read in this hour. –Mike Giordano (Mike Giordano is recognized by many as a modern day apostle).

“Get ready for a paradigm shift in how you view New Testament church life!  Mark’s work may delightfully shatter your presuppositions as he brings fresh insight to how the first century apostles related to local churches. Thoughtfully researched and humbly written, Mark blends both Biblical insight and many years of pastoral experience to bring us this valuable book!”

R. Sonny Misar

Journey Ministries, LLC

Author of Journey to Authenticity

Grab a copy at www. ChurchesandApostles.com.

 

 

What Is An Apostle? Introducing a Video Interview Series

Apostle? What do you mean? How do you define “apostle”?

My father has been delving into this topic for years, and his book Local Churches Global Apostles is the result of that research.

Recently Dad and I traveled to a conference where we interviewed several apostolic leaders about the ministry of apostles and their relationships with local churches. We’re cutting these interviews into single-question bite sized pieces, and  will be publishing them here periodically.

In this clip, R. Sonny Misar of Journey Ministries and author of Journey to Authenticity, gives some insight into the question, “What is an apostle?”

My favorite bit is where he says, “We’re not there yet!”

 

Curious Evangelism

Recently I came home to our apartment building to find my neighbor Tanner sitting on the steps having a cigarette. I stopped to talk for a few minutes. I had been thinking that it would be nice to talk with Tanner about his faith, but I never knew quite how to start that conversation (a pretty common feeling for most of us, I think).

That night was different, though. I realized that my motivation for wanting to talk with him about faith was not because I should. I really wanted to know about his spiritual life.

In a word, I was curious.

“Do you have any spiritual beliefs? I’m a Christian, and I find that I’m really curious about other peoples’ faith journeys.”

He answered candidly about his past experiences in church, and talked at length about the reasons why he stopped being involved several years back.

As this conversation was happening, I realized that I had just stumbled across a breakthrough in my own ability to talk about spiritual things with people.

If I am genuinely curious about people, if I am interested in their lives, then naturally (since I am a spiritual person) that will mean I am curious about their spiritual lives.

That has led to some really great spiritual conversations with people.

Curiosity is powerful.

When I’m curious about something, I’m motivated to learn about it.

I’m willing to expend energy, or maybe even money, on it.

I spend time thinking about it.

I try to get other people thinking and talking about it.

I’ve found that when I’m curious about a person, that is a big motivator to encourage me to talk with them and figure out where they are in life and where they are spiritually.

So often we hear teaching that we should share our faith with other people, because it’s the right thing to do. Because it’s what we’re supposed to do. Of course that’s true. But I’ve found that the most authentic and meaningful conversations I’ve had about faith were the result of me simply being curious about that person’s life and spirituality.

Most people like to talk about themselves, and a few honest questions about their life can really deepen a casual friendship and open the door to hear their spiritual story.

Who are you curious about?