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Were The Twelve Wrong?

December 5, 2011

Hello fellow seekers of truth in love,

First off, I must say straight out that there should be no divisions in the church. Because through Jesus we are all priests and equals now. I also know that Jesus led by example by being a servant and washing the disciples feet .  Jesus also said “The greatest among you will be my servant.”

Remember, this is just how I feel and see. There is
no requirement to buy or order anything.

I would love your accountability and feedback in
continuing to sharpen one another though…

Some of this is recycled revelation for me that is hitting me fresh again now.

Just so happens we happened to be “studying”
Acts in our housechurch at the very time this pops up. I put studying in
quotes because we are going about it in an extremely
unstructured, disorganized way. We didn’t plan it.
God seems to have led us in this direction and we
are continuing until we get intructions otherwise.

Before I begin let me say that these are just
prayerful musings, or what ifs, at this point; but I am
becoming more and more convinced that they ring truthful.

I feel Acts Chapter 6 is very problematic. Some folks
might be right when they suggests the roots of the
heirarchical church may have grounding here. The
“apostles” may be getting too caught up in their own word of
mouth press by this time in the churches young history.

It is pretty pious and heirarchical to say they
shouldn’t do common mercy, get your hands dirty,
practical ministry, wait on tables type of  stuff;  so they could do
hyper-spiritual, prayer, and word stuff ain’t it?   And
then they assigned these non-attention getting “menial” tasks to others?  So much for Jesus’ cup of cold water teaching ehh? How ’bout “.you are not to be called teacher for you are all brothers (including sisters of course)”?

More troublesome than that to me is their reason. They
simply did this in response to a complaint. A complaint from the
Grecian Jews about fairness. Then they ASSUMED a need from this
complaint and REASONED a way to meet this supposed need.

No where does it say that they were led by God to do what
they did or organise at all. It even said it was a “proposal”.
I wonder was this Spirit led and God inspired or just a
reasonable fleshly response to a implied need? Did they use
rightgeous judgement in this matter, or did they judge by appearance
based on a complaint of a splinter group?

I also find it quite interesting that in the chapters
imediately following this “big idea” we find Stephen and
Philip doing wonders, miracles, and prayer and preaching stuff, instead of the menial tasks they had been assigned by the “apostles” in
this “big idea”.   Or like my friend Hal said “Stephen and company didn’t stay in the swim lane the 12 assigned them.”

Call me a hopelessly romantic heretic if you will, but
could it possibly be that Steve and Phil were the first relational
hc, buck the system types in church history? Seems they
wouldn’t let no apostolic decree keep them from their God-given
priesthood!

In fact Steve was so bold and full of grace (yes, the two
are compatible at times. Surprise!) that he was the one who
got the attention of the Sanhedrin; instead of the prayer and word
only,  special types. Of course they stoned him (Go figure?),
but not before he raised the relational church anthem of ”
The Spirit of The Lord does not dwell in temples made by human
endeavor or hands.”

And Steve also voiced one of my all time faves with,
“You stiff necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears…you
always resist the Holy Spirit.”

Anyhow, Because Steve was bold enough to practice his full
priesthood, perhaps in spite of the revered apostles, he
got done in. But before the very eyes of Saul, soon to be
Paul. I feel this event helped bring conviction unto Paul and lead him
unto the one true faith.

At this point, perhaps due to bloodguilt, Saul starts going
crazy on the church and literally persecuting it to death.
Interestingly enough it says, “Saul began to destroy the church.
Going from house to house ..he put men and women in
prison.” So, the church is the people- men and women- and he had to
find them house to house.   Why not in the temple or the temple
courts?  Perhaps it is because they no longer gathered there like
they did in the extreme infancy of the church. Perhaps they only did
so in the begining because of their jewish baggage and grew out of
that to discover just meeting house to house was better?

Anyway, in Acts 8 we see Phil being led by the
Spirit and an angel to baptize  somebody. Then
ordinary table waiter Phil even gets beamed up (Translated, moved?) God
style. Glad he didn’t take the place he’d been given by
the “big idea” Apostles and instead did the prayer and special word stuff too.
(Interesting sidenote: When Phil got Calgoned (God take
me away!)  The guy he had just baptized was left all alone. Guess God
thought His Spirit could do a great job of discipling this guy
without Phil or the “Big Ideas” guys help?

Then in Acts 9 Saul gets zapped into Paul by Jesus. And
ordinary, heck he ain’t even worthy of waiting tables, Ananias
hears directly from God (Gee, and he wasn’t even reading a bible at
the time. In fact they didn’t exist yet) and proceeds to lay hands
on Paul the former persecuter and get him healed of blindness (physical
and spiritual?) and filled with the Holy Spirit. Sure hope
Ananias was an elder, if not he just might have violated James 5 too!
😉 Please note: No special set apart for word and prayer, Big Idea
guys were involved in Pauls conversion. In fact they didn’t want
to recieve him when he did finally show up in their city.

“At once”  Paul starts the powerful prayer and
word thing, without apostolic permission even. The gall! Then when Paul
finally gets accepted in Jerusalem he debates the Jews and they tried
to kill him! Wonder if he called them out for inciting the Big
Idea thing with their complaints?

How do I tie this mess together before I close?
Well, I find it interesting that the church grew beyond
the realm of Jerusalem (like it was supposed to by Acts 1) by a
strange chain of events and people.
And it was mainly due to the non-Big Idea, original apostle people. Steve takes a stand in spite of the place given him by the Ford folks. This stand gets the scattering going, except the Ford execs stay in Detroit. Plain old “Idealess” Phil does  God’s deeds in Samaria.  Then Non-original, but rather ingrafted into the big idea guys, Paul gets the biggest missions territory.

Perhaps, just perhaps, Paul got the call because the Ford
Motor company was starting to blow it. And God proved that the
only thing special or set apart about folks is whether or not they
hear from God and obey!
Being an original apostle or Model T was not that big of a deal. It
is the Spirit led heart that matters and not the best laid plans
of mice and ANY men, including apostles.

Ford tried to incorporate and go assembly line, but God
forced the organic hands on planting and gardening once again?

Or am I dreaming? If I am it is sure sweet and not an
organizational nightmare at least!

And I just love Acts 9:31:  ” Then the church
throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was
strenghtened; and encouraged by the apostles…. …NO THAT’S NOT
IT…IT’S BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, it grew in numbers, living in awe of the
Lord”

But NO! God couldn’t have allowed an expression of
man’s error to teach us about Him and churchlife could HE?

Can anyone say “Golden Calf”? or John Mark?

Love and ……

Kirk Out !

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9 Comments
  1. Gary Graham permalink

    I don’t think the disciples were making the statement in a belittleing way. If the whole of the church is waiting on the 12 (Matthias) to meet all their needs there’d be alot of waiting and not many needs being met. I think it speaks to what you and others have said. It is up to the Priesthood of ALL Believers to minister to the needs of each other. I do believe, however, that some are called to equip the saints for action. This doesn’t negate their responsibility to serve, but washing feet or waiting tables, are not the only ways to serve either. I don’t think a “pastor” in the traditional sense is necessary, but order is, and I believe scripture bears that out. New Christians, infants in faith (so to speak) minister in a very different way than some one more mature in their faith.

  2. Martin Irwin permalink

    It’s pretty cool that a journalist was there to record all of this, especially Pauls prayers…

  3. Gary G. That was pretty good for your first comment here on my Blogs. Thanks for contributing!
    And Martin, I thought you stopped reading here long ago. Glad to see you are still on the fringe with your sarcasm in tact. Love, Chris

  4. Ruth Sapp permalink

    Really enjoyed what you wrote Chris, I think it is just as a legit thought as anything else I’ve read.Liked the way you brought it together………….honestly doubt I would add anything or take anything away.

    Awwww Martin’s sarcasm……………………..what would we do without it!!! Nice to see your back Chris and doing well. Been on my heart!

  5. I have wondered the same things. I see the early church even at this point floating off into worldly religious customs and practices. They had nothing to go on but the Spirit, yet they still failed on occasion.

    What about Acts 1:24 ff… they prayed about a replacement Apostle, then cast lots??? Screeching brakes!!! What the??? Really??? Sounds like typical Peter to me…good intentions but still off on the wrong track.

    Seems to me that Jesus himself later hand picks the twelfth Apostle – Paul! Notice…NOT one of the original disciples! Paul wasn’t even following Christ yet! But without Paul would the Gospel have gone to the Gentiles?

    I see Acts as a historical narrative. Nowhere does it state it as correct on every point of doctrine and/or especially practice. It is simply stating what happened…wrong or right.

    Good post!

  6. Chris,

    Praying for you re. your divorce, family, all!

    Re. this post (Acts 6), just a few thoughts:

    “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.”

    The apostles didn’t pick ’em the rest of the believers did.

    Good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom… sounds like the best sort of people to “appoint”.

    I think a Bible study on “appoint” and “appointed” (both via the Spirit and what is likely the Spirit via humans in context) might be a good idea.

    One thing’s certain: ain’t none of -us- infallible 🙂

    Love and prayers coming your way my friend,
    -Glenn

  7. I agree that the going off track of the so called “leadership” of men started early in the church.

    The ekklesia of God was conceived and birth by Him to walk in obedience to His Holy Spirit, not the directives of a special priest cast. This was one of the most striking differences between the New Covenant and the Old. In the old only a few special people had the anointing to lead and usually one at a time, i.e., high priests, kings, judges and so on. In the New Covenant we who walk after the Spirit are declared to be a “kingdom of priests.” We are ALL said to have the anointing of the Spirit and have no need that any other man teach us. In the Old the Spirit came upon the anointed leader. In the New He dwells IN each of us and together we make up the temple of God and don’t go running off to a special temple as in the Old to meet with Him.

    As we can see by the Book of Acts, those early Jewish church leaders in Jerusalem just didn’t get it. Peter has to be rebuked by God about his Jewish attitude toward God’s sanctified Gentile ekklesia and is later rebuke to his face by Paul (who DID get it) for the same thing. James, the half brother of Christ, was sending out Judizers to convert Gentile believers to Judaism and it seems that Peter was afraid of them. These leaders were making decrees as they saw fit for the church all through the book. It was because of this O.T. mindset among them that God finally sent Paul up to Jerusalem to confront the source. He went up there and met with them and of that meeting he said,

    And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them who were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: And because of false brethren brought in unawares, who came in secretly to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we yielded in subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But of these who seemed to be somebody, (whatsoever they were, it makes no matter to me: God accepts no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somebody in conference added nothing to me: (Gal 2:2-6, KJ2000)

    Notice that Paul went up to Jerusalem by the revelation of the Spirit, not by his own self will. He also equates yielding to this power club as disobeying God and His calling on his life. Finally, how he understood that God accepts no man’s person and that these Jerusalem leaders added nothing to Him that God had not already done. To Paul, Christ and His Spirit was his sufficiency and was meant to be all that the ekklesia need for its leadership as well. He did not respect the persons of the so-called apostles that were sitting there in the capital of Judaism as they disobeyed Jesus’ command to take the gospel out into the utter most ends of the earth.

    To sum it up, the church we see today is still living in an Old Testament paradigm. It is lead in thousands of different directions by the wills of men who think that THEY have the right to rule over the inheritance of Christ and as a result we see the corruption that riddles the whole mess and it all started in Jerusalem among those who should have known better.

    Lord Acton while speaking to an Anglican bishop (whatever that is) said, “It is not a question of who has the right to rule. Nobody had the right to rule! Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This even applies in top down so called house church or cell church organizations with one or two people at the top. You show me the power to lead in the hands of a few and I will show you corruption every time. Remember, “Walk after the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”

    To Infinity and beyond!

  8. Lynne Koen permalink

    i have to agree with you on this subject Cap’n. i see from previously posted comments that not everyone can see your point that Stephen was put into a ministry position that was berated, even though he was approved as being of suitable character–he was truly underestimated. or maybe this was just a case of a man who was faithful with a few things, and then given more. but i just can’t shake the feeling that feeding people is of the utmost importance, after all, people do get hungry, and even Jesus knew this and took the time out of His sermonizing to multiply fish and bread.

    when i was 15 years old, and began studying the Bible, this passage in Acts, regarding Stephen, made such an impression on me, i remember feeling that the apostles had treated Stephen unjustly, and it made me angry. when my first child was born, i remembered how i felt proud of Stephen when i would read about him, and i named my son after Stephen.(Stephen James). ironically, this child of mine was born severely disabled….and i am absolutely convinced that God thinks that these, who are unable to care for themselves, are of great importance, and that sending those who will meet their needs is a tremendous priority. maybe there was a purpose or a point that God was making in Stephen’s life and ministry, and in His strategic placing of Stephen in such a “menial task”.

  9. I remember one time I was sharing with a “pastor” how much Steven meant to me. Who else in the N.T. had a face that shown like that of an angel? Who else saw the truth among that leadership that God no longer lived in houses made by men. Even Solomon figured that out when he prayed at the dedication of his temple. Who else saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the father?

    Do you know what that pastor said to me? “Well if Stephen had stayed waiting on tables like he was told to, he wouldn’t have been stoned to death and wouldn’t have brought persecution on the Jerusalem church!” What a myopic kingdom view! That persecution had to come to get them out of their little bless me club in that city so that the gospel could be spread across the earth. But I guess pastors aren’t about anything that disturbs their carefully constructed nests. I am not sure that God feels the same way…

    For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the wasteland of the howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, flutters over its young, spreads abroad its wings, takes them, bears them on its wings: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. (Deut 32:9-12, KJ2000)

    It was time for the Jerusalem church to learn to fly.

    Kirk, can you see how God has dealt with you in the above passage? God does what He has to do to strip us of our idols in the wilderness so we can fly with Jesus in heavenly places with the Father. The wilderness is only one leg of our earthly journey. Better things are yet to come in Christ and as it was true of Him and Jacob, so it is to be with us, “So the Lord alone did lead him.”

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