Important Oct. 2006 update:Please see the amazon description of this published book: Authority, Accountability, and the Apostolic Movement by Stephen Crosby This is the only printed book on this subject that I recommend. It is useful for all groups. See my amazon review of it!
About Wagner's Apostles
Below is a reproduction of the GI Newsletter,
Jan/Feb. 2000, which was once published at:
http://www.generals.org/news_main_1.htm on the Generals of Intercession site.
Cindy Jacobs is well-known to be closely connected with C. Peter Wagner. They hold many conferences together (A 'sample' of Wagner and group's conference content is seen at About Apostolic Summits page). At the Light The Nation conference of 1998, I have witnessed her publicly stating her submission to Wagner . She also stated her appreciation for his involvement in the starting of her Generals of Intercession, because he "allowed" (quoting) her to start that ministry. Quoting also from the Generals of Intercession site of "Get to Know Us (Faqs)" part of website: "Mike and Cindy Jacobs co-founded Generals of Intercession in 1985 with a mission of developing intercessory prayer strategies to unlock harvest throughout the nations of the world...Additionally, Cindy serves as the United States coordinator of the Spiritual Warfare Network, headed globally by C. Peter Wagner...Mike and Cindy are active members of Springs Harvest Fellowship, pastored by Dutch Sheets."
This interview between "Generals of Intercession"
(Jacobs) and C. Peter Wagner is reproduced in full. The highlighted portions
(in brown) were not originally highlighted on the web publication at GI, but are my own
highlights. Brief comments are below this reproduced newsletter. These
contain a very
brief synopsis of concerns to watch for.
Joining Forces, Blazing Trails:
In the woods behind the Wagner homestead runs an old stagecoach trail that, a century ago, brought countless pioneers to newfound destinations. Most of the trail is so overgrown that it remains virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the forest-except for the portion that runs through the Wagner property.
In sharing on the role of apostolic and prophetic ministry, one gets the feeling of being on a similar trail-a fresh discovery of an ancient path, overgrown with thorns and brush, but leading to new horizons and fresh promise for the pioneering church of this new millennium. Much of Peter Wagner's life work is focused on clearing the trail. In the interview that follows, he shares discoveries made along the way.
GI: You've just finished writing a book on how the apostolic and prophetic ministries relate to each other...
CPW: We have had good literature on apostles and on prophets over the past few years. What I found is that in a number of books on prophets, apostles are mentioned; and in a number of books on apostles, prophets are mentioned. But none of the literature has any kind of grappling on how apostles and prophets are to relate to each other in ongoing ministry. And so because all who are in this field agree we need to apply Ephesians 2:20, which says that apostles and prophets lay the foundation of the church, it's very important that we understand what apostles are, what prophets are, and also understand how apostles and prophets relate to each other.
GI: How, in a nutshell, do you define these ministry offices?
CPW: Apostles are anointed by God to set the things of the body of Christ and the kingdom of God in order. For them to accomplish that, and for the rest of the church to accept their work, they need an incredible amount of authority. But that authority can only be an authority that God gives-not self-produced. Prophets are the members of the body of Christ who hear the voice of God more than average, and who communicate messages from God to the body of Christ... That doesn't mean that apostles don't hear from God. But apostles who attempt to hear from God only by themselves without bringing prophets into their ongoing ministry sphere are at a disadvantage. Because that's what the prophets do-they hear the voice of God and communicate these messages to the apostle.
GI: There sometimes seems to be some confusion about the borders of these giftings...
CPW: Prophets hardly ever go out-side the lines and try to set things in order. Prophets are not known for setting things in order, so they usually don't infringe on the territory of the apostle. But the apostle sometimes neglects the ministry of the prophet. This is one of the problems I've found when I first began associating with prophets and apostles. I began to understand they're the ones making up the new wineskin for the body of Christ, which I call the New Apostolic Reformation. Yet I was very surprised to find that many prophets don't even trust or like apostles around; and vice versa, many apostles don't trust or like prophets around.
GI: Have you discovered why? Or what actually works?
CPW: I thought I would simply analyze the relationships that are now in place, but I found very few existing positive relationships. What I discovered is that in terms of the prophets, the way they relate to apostles is that first they must submit to apostles. When I found that many prophets didn't want to submit to any apostle, I began asking why, and most of the responses I got had roots in the discipling movement. A lot of the prophets were very deeply wounded by some of the controlling spirits that had entered that movement, and because of those wounds they had chosen not to submit at all, rather than change the way they submitted. I would say that is the major factor inhibiting prophets from relating to apostles.
GI: And the apostolic?
CPW: My conclusion is that apostles simply haven't understood the role of prophets. It's not that they have under-stood it well and rejected it, it's that they just haven't understood it. Some of them, true, have been burned by flaky prophecy. Some of the things Dr. Bill Hamon warns about in his book Prophets Pitfalls and Principals have wounded a lot of apostles. And so rather than saying 'this is a mistake and we need to correct it,' they've just generalized it and said 'this is the way all prophets must be' and have therefore not desired to relate very closely to prophets.
GI: Not a surprise then that the barriers are up. So how do you get apostles and prophets together? Has the Lord given you a strategy?
CPW: First of all, I try to give a positive interpretation to different streams and different styles of implementing the apostolic and prophetic movement rather than setting a standard and criticizing all those who don't meet the standard that I have set. That in itself gives me a rapport with various different streams that others don't have. Furthermore, the way I've been proceeding is to get apostles together with each other as peers. Once they begin to get together in a meaningful way as peers, then the issue of how we relate to prophets will come up. And I'm prepared to give guidance to the way that issue is handled.
GI: So your gifting is also your strategy-to bring peers together.
CPW: I have the advantage of being a horizontal apostle, and a horizontal apostle is one who can bring together vertical apostles, whereas it is very difficult for vertical apostles to call other vertical apostles together (note: vertical apostles are leaders of apostolic networks, whereas horizontal apostles are graced by God to give apostolic leadership and direction to certain spheres of the body of Christ as a whole). But if apostles don't first have relationships with each other, it's going to be very difficult to communicate broadly about relationships with prophets.
GI: Now the same principles probably apply to prophets.. .
CPW: As an apostle, I have naturally begun to develop relationships between apostles. Since I'm not a prophet, that never entered my mind until Cindy (Jacobs) started saying that she as a prophet saw the need for prophets to relate to each other. She began to push the gathering of prophets and brought me into it as an apostle. And finally the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders took shape.
GI: Which is...
CPW: The Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders is a peer-level group of prophets, now under my apostolic leader-ship. This to me is an example of how prophets relate to apostles on the broader scale. (At a recent prayer conference), six of the prophets were on the platform sharing, and an apostle led the meeting. (note: see the prophetic word issued by the ACPE, read by Peter Wagner at the recent conference, following this article). As to how they relate to each other in different apostolic networks... the jury is still out on that.
GI: You're hoping that what you're modeling will eventually catch on.
CPW: There are many apostolic net-works where prophets and intercessors do not have the position to exercise the role that God has given them. This is what will be changed as we continue to move these different groups forward. I think these are the proper first steps on a broader scale-apostles getting together, prophets getting together, and intercessors getting together as well. From meeting together will come relationships, and from relationships emerges mutual accountability.
GI: In that regard, you're starting a global council of apostles...
CPW: This year, we're starting the International Coalition of Apostles. John Kelly is the administrative apostle, Chuck Pierce is the prophetic voice, and I am the presiding apostle. We just sent out 200 invitations to selected people around the world to become charter members of this coalition.
GI: Is part of your goal in this to help the body of Christ to identify true apostles?
CPW: Absolutely. The goal is to raise the integrity of apostolic ministry around the world. And part of doing that is to exercise some sort of mutually agreeable "quality control." That's part of what we're doing.
GI: How do you see apostles and intercessors relating together? I know you have a book...
CPW: Prayer Shield is a manual that apostles need to use, and whenever they see the word "pastor," fill in the word "apostle." I would hope that every prophet and every apostle has a group of intercessors who are mutually known, who have the gift of intercession, and who are committed to pray for these individuals.
GI: And if they don't...
CPW: Apostles who do not have a team of personal intercessors-I don't believe they can fulfill everything God wants to do in their lives. Because the higher a person goes in the leadership of the body of Christ, the higher they go on satan's hit list. And the intercessors are the ones who stand in the gap!
GI: You have concentrated so much of your focus and effort on establishing
the integrity of the apostolic, the integrity of the
CPW: I think one of the hindrances to God's sending the revival we've been praying for has been that the government of the church has not been properly in place. And now that the government of the church is coming into place, we're already seeing God trusting the body of Christ with things we were totally unaware of previous to this. Once the government comes into place, then God can do what He wants with the body of Christ, and one of the things most of us agree on is that He wants to send the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we would call the worldwide revival.So my commitment for the rest of my career is to use the gifts God has given me to help the development of the worldwide New Apostolic Reformation. And this (linking of apostles and prophets) is an essential part!
Comments regarding the interview above:
(Note: the following is not meant to accuse Wagner of intentionally contradicting himself. However, the results of double-talking or contradictions are the same, whether intentional or not.)
Apostles are anointed by God to set the things of the body of Christ and the kingdom of God in order. For them to accomplish that, and for the rest of the church to accept their work, they need an incredible amount of authority. But that authority can only be an authority that God gives-not self-produced....I have the advantage of being a horizontal apostle,....Reminder: C. Jacobs is "under" Wagner, AND, regarding the International Coalition of Apostles, Wager is the "presiding apostle."
It could be said that Wagner has just self-produced his role over others, while denying the extent of that role, while also admitting to it. He has just called for "apostles" to have an "incredible amount of authority", while shortly thereafter introducing himself as a "presiding apostle" or an organization that he has just sent out 200 invitations for others to come under him as such. Earlier introductions of being a "horizontal apostle" (an extra-Biblical term that implies less authority), is contradictory to himself as a "presiding" apostle.
From meeting together will come relationships, and from relationships emerges mutual accountability...GI: In that regard, you're starting a global council of apostles...CPW: This year, we're starting the International Coalition of Apostles. John Kelly is the administrative apostle, Chuck Pierce is the prophetic voice, and I am the presiding apostle. We just sent out 200 invitations to selected people around the world to become charter members of this coalition.If Wagner has a close relationship of trust and mutual accountability with over 200 "selected" people, he is a miracle worker. Charter members and an organization of hundreds of people under his apostolic presidingship could be seen as an anti-thesis to relationship based upon mutual accountability.
Playing fast and loose with the word "apostles":
(Note: the following is not meant to accuse Wagner of intentionally playing "fast and loose." However, the results of such a thing would be the same, whether intentional or not.)
...and a horizontal apostle is one who can bring together vertical apostles, whereas it is very difficult for vertical apostles to call other vertical apostles together (note: vertical apostles are leaders of apostolic networks, whereas horizontal apostles are graced by God to give apostolic leadership and direction to certain spheres of the body of Christ as a whole)."Horizontal apostles" and "vertical apostles" are extra-Biblical, man-made terms which were created in an attempt to describe "Biblical" practices. "Horizontal" implies a mutual-accountability or "horizontal" relationship with other apostles, yet as Wagner describes, they give "apostolic leadership and direction to certain spheres of the body of Christ," and, if they are C. Peter Wagner, they "preside" over these "vertical apostles" who are "leaders of apostolic networks" --the very thing Wagner just began (International Coalition of Apostles). So, Wagner is apparently the most "vertical apostle" of all---over all the other "vertical apostles" --In the end we have a hierarchy of Wagner over all others..
CPW: Prayer Shield is a manual that apostles need to use, and whenever they see the word "pastor," fill in the word "apostle." I would hope that every prophet and every apostle has a group of intercessors who are mutually known, who have the gift of intercession, and who are committed to pray for these individuals.
Discounting of Shepherding Movement concerns:
In this GI interview, Wagner states that he believes that the barriers of 'prophets' relating to 'apostles' as he proposes is solely due to the 'prophets' themselves, and not due to his teachings or presentations. He proposes they 'miss it' because they are suspicious due to woundings from the Discipleship or Shepherding movement. He also mentions they need to "change the way they submit" as the 'solution' to relating to 'apostles' ("how" they are to submit is not defined in this short interview, but may be defined by Tedd Haggard's local protocol and Wagner's own description of submitting all "words" to the apostle for total discernment and execution at the National School of the Prophets: January 28 -30, 1999, in Colorado).
Wagner attempts to define the role of the apostle and just how important it is to submit to them. There are also phrases mentioned like 'horizontal apostle' and 'vertical apostle', with an emphasis on 'spheres' of control these leaders have (the 'prophet' is consigned as usually not setting anything in order-- presumably because they have little or no leadership role/gifting as an 'apostle' would have, and therefore wouldn't ordinarily "infringe" on the apostle's 'territory')
After all of this, suddenly the semantics change and it seems that 'apostles' can really mean, in effect, local pastors. (If 'apostles' were really that different than a local pastor, then they would have their OWN 'prayer manual'), which are "shepherds". The result of this is that for a few years now (as of year 2000), Wagner and his group have promised a "restoration" of apostles. Yet at the close of that, he simply says that pastors are apostles. This is like playing a shell game, because the word "apostles" goes all around the block just to end up being a Pastor or Sr. Pastor again.
In the context of 1) confusing semantics and practices like this, 2) what is being taught or promoted at conferences, 3) the complaints I have heard from shocked older Christians who have read recent books by Wagner and C. Jacob and say they sound like rehashed 'Shepherding Movement' doctrines, and the quotes from the books in some book reviews, and 4) my own reading of one of the books that Wagner has enthusiastically endorsed (See also: Quick quotes and review of the book, "The Last Apostles on Earth" -- a book C. Peter Wagner is quoted as endorsing, and a page on Wagner's own Churchquake book reviews and NAR (New Apostolic Reformation)), I cannot agree with him that the 'prophet's' concerns are unwarranted or should be dismissed as being based on 'woundings.'
(On a related side note, I was directly familiar with a friend of the original leaders of the discipleship movement, Jamie Buckingham, now deceased. He was my pastor for 5 years at his church. During that time and afterwards, nothing of the discipleship movement heresies ever harmed me or mine. In fact, I attended two churches total that were directly 'related' to these teachers. Many were harmed by the Discipleship movement, but I was not, because I never belonged to a group or church that employed 'Shepherding Movement' teachings in a way that other, abusive churches or fellowships did. Even so, I am concerned by the content of Wagner and company's teachings and practice. The main teachers of the Discipleship Movement as I knew them did NOT announce themselves as head of an international coalition of "selected" people. And, they were far more careful with their use of the scriptures than Wagner and company are, as I have observed.)
Even if one were 'wounded' in the Discipleship Movement, no one should take on this accusation of being 'wounded' as the sole reason for their concern. Learning wisdom from the past is not the same as being permanently crippled. Phrases such as "mutual accountability" aside, C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation teachings and practices need to be carefully evaluated for scriptural integrity and the end results.
Promises of what will happen if you obey:
The 'promise' of a world-wide revival, (now that the 'real' Church government is coming into place, which is apparently themselves), should definitely be taken note of! (See our Revival and Reformation pages for many links regarding the subjects of both revival, and reformation)
WHY WAS "ICA" CREATED?This ICA FAQ proclaims an exclusiveness in membership, and yet also denies and justifies it by saying (quoting) of ICA:
Given the worldwide multiplication of individuals recognized by other Christian leaders as apostles, a strong desire has been expressed by many of them to be able to relate, in some structured way, to peer-level apostles in their own nations and internationally. Since autonomy is a high value for members of differing apostolic networks, the apostolic leaders of these networks, who technically are "vertical" apostles, had little access to mechanisms designed to fulfill that lingering "horizontal" desire to meet with their peers in anything other than a casual way....
WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR MEMBERSHIP?
Membership in ICA is restricted to individuals who have been recognized by a significant segment of the church, including peer-level apostles, to have the gift and office of apostle and who have been ministering through this gift for a period of time. It is not intended to be a training ground for would-be apostles, but rather it should be seen as a professional society in which confirmed apostles are able to relate to each other...
HOW DOES ONE JOIN ICA?
Membership is attained only by official invitation from ICA leadership. Nominations may be received through any active ICA member. They are then processed through the Colorado Springs ICA office and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis as to whether official invitations will be extended.
It is not an exclusive organization since other similar groups are forming in different parts of the world, much to the delight of ICA, as a response to what the Spirit currently seems to be saying to the churches of the 21st Century.Many Christians would not accept the formation of other exclusive groups as justification to form yet another "club." It can also not be assumed that this exclusiveness is led by the Spirit or as even being necessary for fellowship. Apostles of the early church interrelated without being a "professional society". In the same way, Christians today, including leaders of any type, can interrelate and fellowship without the baggage of exclusiveness. In other words, an exclusive group edict is not necessary to find fellowship, and an organization can connect up others without forcing people to apply for membership and acceptance and entrance into the "club" before they can fellowship. Therefore, it is my contention that the formation of exclusive groups of 'apostles' are not necessarily an example of wisdom at all, but rather could serve as an example of the fact that 'Charismatic' Protestantism, even "post-modernistic" Protestantism, can find themselves carelessly repeating the same elitist mentality they usually denounce the restrictive Roman Catholic priesthood for.
These, "Random Notes by C. Peter Wagner (Revised March 16, 2001)" were published at: http://www.globalharvestminist
|Understanding How Apostles Minister in Different Spheres
Definition of apostle:
An apostle is a Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church.
What I have excluded in this definition: There are three biblical characteristics of apostles which some include in their definition of apostle, but which I have chosen not to include: (1) signs and wonders (2 Cor. 12:12), (2) seeing Jesus personally (1 Cor. 9:1), and (3) planting churches (1 Cor. 3:10). My reason for this is that I do not understand these three qualities to be non-negotiables. They characterize many, perhaps most, apostles. But if a given individual lacks the anointing for one or more of them, this, in my opinion, would not exclude that individual from being a legitimate apostle.
Hyphenated apostles: Before considering the different ways that apostles minister in different spheres, it is important to recognize that many apostles are “hyphenated apostles.” They are frequently hyphenated with other government offices, such as Apostle-Prophet or Pastor-Apostle or Apostle-Evangelist, etc. They can also be hyphenated within the different ministry categories pertaining to apostles, such as horizontal apostle- vertical apostle or convening apostle-mobilizing apostle, etc....
...Among practicing apostles, I have found a relatively low level of practical understanding of apostolic spheres. All apostles recognize that they have divine authority, but not all are aware that this authority is only activated within a divinely-appointed sphere. Once apostles get outside of their sphere, they have no more authority than any other member of the body of Christ. Paul relates spheres to authority in 2 Cor. 10. In verse 8 he “boasts” of his authority, leading to verses 13-16 in which he deals with spheres. He says, for example, “We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you” (2 Cor. 10:13). This reflects Paul’s remarkable statement in 1 Cor. 9:2: “If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you.”
Toward a useful terminology. The current apostolic movement is
so new, and it is developing at such a dizzying speed, that a considerable
amount of confusion has arisen. Who is an apostle? Are all apostles
the same? How do bona fide apostles minister? I believe that
the answers to these and other similar questions will emerge through a
phenomenological approach. This is the methodology that I have used
to arrive at a continually-developing set of conclusions. Terminology that
accurately describes current apostolic phenomena will greatly help dispel
the confusion. Here is a terminology that seems to me to be helpful,
Ecclesiastical apostles. Apostles who are given authority over a sphere which includes a number of churches, presumably in an apostolic network headed up by the apostle.
Functional apostles. Apostles who are given authority over those who have an ongoing ministry in a certain specific sphere of service which has defined boundaries of participation.
Apostolic Team Members. Apostles whose apostolic ministry functions in conjunction with an apostle who is seen as the leader of a team of one or more other peer-level vertical apostles. They may be assigned specific spheres by the leading apostle. These are more than administrators or assistants or armor-bearers.
Congregational apostles. Apostles functioning as senior pastors of dynamic, growing churches of more than 700-800.
Convening apostles. Apostles who have authority to call together on a regular basis peer-level leaders who minister in a defined field.
Ambassadorial apostles. Apostles who have itinerant, frequently international, ministries of catalyzing and nurturing apostolic movements on a broad scale.
Mobilizing apostles. Apostles who have the authority to take leadership in bringing together qualified leaders in the body of Christ for a specific cause or project.
Territorial apostles. Apostles who have been given authority for leading a certain segment of the body of Christ in a given territorial sphere such as a city or state.
Marketplace Apostles It seems clear that some marketplace apostles would be vertical (perhaps within a large company) while others would be horizontal (bringing together peer-level marketplace apostles). The more we work with marketplace apostles, the more clarity will come in due time.
These "random notes" by C. Peter Wagner are also quite possibly published in one of his book. His book, Apostles and Prophets : The Foundation of the Church, has this as part of the book description at Amazon:
... C. Peter Wagner, who has studied the restoration of apostles and prophets to the Church in recent years, now takes a closer look at how the people called to these crucial roles are meant to function in order to fulfill their divine purpose.The index at Amazon of this book shows subjects such as:
|Apostolic Council of Educational Accountability, 50-52
Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders, 122-127,136-139
International Coalition of Apostles, 53, 66-67
New Apostolic Reformation, 21-24, 40-43, 53, 57, 64-67, 69, 114, 117, 136
New Apostolic Roundtable, 69-70, 82
Wagner Leadership Institute, 55,115-120
|apostle, vertical: pp. 42-45,65, 82, 130, 137-138
apostle, horizontal pp 42, 45-52,65, 82, 130, 137-138
apostle, sphere of pp.25,38-40
You may notice that many of the pages in the above subjects overlap. However, since I do not have a copy of the book, I do not know what is said in it.
Here's a list of the names most prominently mentioned, which are of course similar or same names as those that run with Wagner at his conferences: Bickle, Paul Cain, Jack Deere, John Paul Jackson, Chuck Pierce, Bill Hamon, John Kelly, Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Sheets.
John Wimber and the Vineyard, and Kansas City Fellowship and Kansas City Prophets are also mentioned rather prominently in the index of the book. Discipleship movement or Shepherding Movement are only mentioned on pp. 93-95
Scriptural commentary on Wagner's "Random" Notes (above):
The first and second letter to the Corinth church, written by the apostle Paul, must be taken in their contexts. Over all, the apostle is introducing or reintroducing concepts and wisdom that the Corinth church has missed along the way. He must deal with their pride, immaturity, and divisiveness throughout. For instance, he complains about the factions they have created as they claim allegiance to various people other than Christ. He also addresses their misunderstandings regarding the gifts of the Spirit and their unfortunate treatment of the gifts as compared to love and their initial complacency to a false brother in sin. Eventually, he thoroughly rebukes their nonsupport of himself as an apostle, and finally, he reveals the presence of false apostles in their midst.
In the context of both epistles, and in the context of the particular chapters mentioned by C. Peter Wagner, it is clear that 1 Corinthians 9 is one of the complaints by the apostle Paul that his apostleship is unrecognized. There is no proof of "spheres" there, because he is defending his apostleship as a fact, and not as a particular fact within a "sphere". In other words, some people (probably the false apostles and anyone who listened to them), did not recognize Paul as an apostle AT ALL. Therefore it was not about "spheres."
2 Corinthians 10 seems to be a stronger argument toward "spheres," yet again it must be taken in its context, as well as in the Biblical context as a whole. Paul is still speaking to a people who have listened to false apostles as they attacked his apostleship. He uses the results of his ministry there at Corinth, as proof positive of the fact that he is an apostle. He could have used his ministry to other regions or people as proof also (and in fact he did), but he is speaking to a stubborn audience of some amount of spiritual blindness (for they can't even recognize a false apostle), so he starts there. He is chiding them and even shaming them somewhat, for rejecting their 'father' in the Lord. By the time he reaches his particular crescendo over false apostles in 2 Corinthians chapter 11, he has become extremely sarcastic. He is telling them that basically, they are so foolish as to force him to speak to them about all of these things (to boast).
The fact is, Paul did not speak as though he is only an apostle to the believers in Corinth. Furthermore, he spoke of "apostolic" sufferings in many regions as he served Christ (see 2 Corinth. 23-32). He traveled a lot and often does not stay in one place for long, yet still he was an apostle. Indeed, the book of Acts shows that Paul is an apostle everywhere he goes. He was a "marketplace" apostle when he preached in the marketplace, he was a "Gentile apostle" (Acts 13:47) when he preached to the gentiles, and yet he was a "Jewish apostle" when the converted Jews were listening to his exhortations (Acts 13:42), as well when he went got expelled from their region thanks to the unconverted Jews (14:50). But before that (or, at the same time), he was an "apostle of miracles" when he healed the crippled man (14:9-11), and an "Elder appointing apostle" when he choose elders with prayer and fasting (14:23). Then he really graduated in his apostleship to a "functional" apostle when he got in such sharp debate with Barnabas over John Mark, so much so that they parted (15:37-41), and he traveled with Silas instead.
And this is all within the space of a few chapters! Didn't the apostle Paul know where his "sphere" was? Yet it seems as though Paul lived out these "spheres" for us in a very mixed up, over-lapping way, if indeed we were to strain to come up with such definitions. Didn't he go past his "territory" as "territorial apostle"? Why, he went all over the map! Or should we find yet another definition for that practice (traveling apostle?). Or should Paul have listened to Agabus and the weeping congregation, and stayed out of Jerusalem instead (Acts 21: 10-14)? Wasn't that the 'territory' of the apostle James anyhow? And when did the apostle James have to hit the 700-800 mark for the number of people in his congregation, so that he could finally apply for apostleship as a "Congregational Apostle"?
All kidding aside, according to the historical account of Paul's own words, Christ called Paul to be an Apostle to the Gentiles (see Galatians 1:11-24). Why did he not stick with the Gentiles in his ministry, then? Yet, C. Peter Wagner clearly implies it was wrong of Paul to cross over to other spheres. Certainly, an "Ecclesiastical Apostle" (Pope, according to the Catholic Church) would have saved Paul from his own "sphere-crossing" mania! Paul himself would have been spared some hardship if he had only known better! He would have been short a few beatings and maybe even an execution, by not traveling to Jerusalem. Or, perhaps whenever he traveled to Jerusalem, he was led by the Spirit of God (Galatians 2:1-2). Perhaps Paul, because he was led by the Spirit, needed no one's permission and no one's definitions of limitations or expansions, not even according to man's understanding or previous callings or directions.
If being Spirit-led is not good enough, then we would have to conclude that Paul is offensive to these wiser, smarter, 'horizontal' or 'verticle' apostles of today. Why, the book of Acts testifies that he violated his own self-proclaimed ministry!
Indeed, if we were to take this 'offense' all that seriously, then we would have to conclude that certain epistles authored by this rogue apostle should be cut out and not even read. Surely, we would have to conclude that we need to learn or take direction from those who are so much smarter than he, and from those with so much more revelation than he regarding apostleship.
Or, we could solve the problem as C. Peter Wagner might, by hyphenating! As he stated,
They can also be hyphenated within the different ministry categories pertaining to apostles, such as horizontal apostle- vertical apostle or convening apostle-mobilizing apostle, etc....Therefore, Paul could have been a "horizontal - vertical, convening - ambassadorial - mobilizing apostle, called- by- God- to- the- Gentiles- yet- also- to- the- Jews- and- anyone- else, an evangelist-prophet-teacher wherever he preached and churchplanted"
The Problems with definitions:
C. Peter Wagner's critique of the AOG's paper, “Endtime Revival—Spirit-Led and Spirit-Controlled: A Response Paper to Resolution 16, included this quote from that paper:
Under a subsection, “Deviant Teachings Disapproved,” one of what is referred to as a departure from scripture which threatens the life and stability of local churches is “The problematic teaching that present-day offices of apostles and prophets should govern church ministries at all levels.” This teaching is attributed to “persons with an independent spirit and an exaggerated estimate of their importance to the kingdom of God.” Such persons are “wrongly interpreting 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 2:20 and 4:11.” This paper argues that “The leadership of the local church, according to the Pastoral Epistles, is in the hands of elders/presbyters and deacons. There is no indication in these last writings of continuing offices of apostles and prophets, though the ministry functions still continue.” The section ends by arguing for the adjective, not the noun: “We affirm that there are, and ought to be, apostolic- and prophetic-type ministries in the Church, without individuals being identified as filling such an office.”Wagner objects to this and the whole idea of just keeping to an adjective as opposed to a 'title'. To be fair, it is well known that those who occupy the present-day 'office' of Pastor are the ones most often to "govern church ministries at all levels.” Therefore, it could be said that they most of all are prone to having “an independent spirit and an exaggerated estimate of their importance to the kingdom of God.” Yet, the AOG does not mention Pastors, and instead they write as if only those who are prophets and apostles believe this or might practice it, which is simply not true.
To suggest that rejecting only a few titles while keeping more common titles (Pastor) saves us from those who would 'Lording-it-over' with false teachings and superior attitude, is in my opinion, quite naive. By their logic, the only way to avoid having people who would "exaggerated estimate of their importance to the kingdom of God," would be to get rid of ALL biblically-bases 'titles' or descriptive adjectives: Apostles, Prophets, and most of all --since they are the ones who very often teach and the governance of all church ministries at all levels as a one-man rule -- Pastors and teachers. Truly anyone can have the superior attitude they complain of, regardless of which sheep's clothing they wear.
Presently, we have a problem in today's Christianity. The Church today fusses over Biblical titles as if that will solve the problem. It attacks the simplicity of the transliterated word, "apostle" with extra additions that are not found in Scripture. It strains and sputters and in the end coughs up the results of what it missed. It missed the fact that authority and spiritual authority itself needs to be defined and understood, so that we know what should be accepted or rejected as what represents Christ or does not.
Self-promotion and other forms of pride and competition certainly do not represent the Christ-like spirit. Without an understanding of how authority should be practiced in the Body of Christ, we will end up practicing the same type of hierarchy system that we promise others we are not a part of.
According to the Bible, a true Christian leader gives up all in order to love and serve. They follow Christ and are despised and dismissed and not featured in the "who's who" of popularized Christendom of the Hollywood style. They minister to the poor and the dispossessed and even the ungrateful, yet they know who they are and know there is a heavy cost to them, and not to their charges.
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