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Were The Twelve Wrong?

September 21, 2015

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 for you to buy or order anything.

However, 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 that we have been “studying” the book of
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 instructions 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
hierarchical, institutional “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 church’s young history.

It is pretty pious and hierarchical 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,
blood bought 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 Paul’s conversion. In fact they didn’t want
to receive 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 then 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 the Voice of The Spirit 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 !

p.s. The bible contains many messages of God’s people getting into error.  So perhaps the 12 apostles got this wrong too?  The bible speaks of every member ministry and the Priesthood of every believer.  I contend that the 12 may have thought too highly of themselves.  Because the example Jesus gave them was that of a servant that washed feet and waited on tables.  For the twelve to so quickly abandon common serving as Christ did in favor of exclusive “Special” ministry totally flies in the face of the example Jesus lived out before their very eyes for over three years.  True followers of Christ will always serve and wait on tables, and also give themselves fully to the Word and prayer.  After all feeding the hungry is pretty “Special” too…in Christ’s eyes.  Jesus fed the 5000 while also sharing the Word.

p.s.s.  I know that this is the mother of all re-blogs with a few revisions, but it felt right to re-post it here today.  I hope it is worthy of consideration and further dialogue.

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7 Comments
  1. daryl permalink

    Great food for thought. I’m not of the opinion that the twelve did wrong…Jesus did specifically tell THEM to go and make disciples of all nations…an impossible task if they were to stay put and help meet needs all around them.They would never make it out of town. I do feel that men today do wrong,who use the great commission Christ gave the disciples,as well as Acts chapter 6,as justification for them to devote all their time to study and preaching of the word(especially as a paid occupation), while leaving the difficult things to others(unpaid),even obligating them to do so…as long as it doesn’t keep them from giving to the church! I certainly could be wrong about the twelve and I do think we see error sometimes in them,even though the scripture doesn’t specifically state that they were.in error.For instance even Paul in Ephesians 2,speaking of Gentiles says that they were without hope and without God in the world. To me,that is a bit of Pauls Judaism and Jewish arrogance shining through,where God’s promise to Abraham that ALL people on earth,would be blessed through him….seems to be forgotten.While I am sure the gentiles at the time were not Godly,I don’t think they were completely without God or without hope. Another thought I had from the article was what do you think the money being laid at the apostles feet was being used for? Salaries?Christian literature?Building expenses and cost of operations? We are clearly told it was distributed to anyone that had need(Acts 4:35) and i believe the fact that there even WAS a daily distribution of food is proof that the twelve were definitely attempting to do the right thing,and they wanted to see it continue. I also don’t see them asking for “support” in their ministering of the word,as is so common today.I’m such a “homebody”…I still have great admiration for those first disciples that just left and did the things they did.

  2. Rich Chamberlin permalink

    Here is one of many great church system myths- that we should copy everything – even mistakes! Truth – it is mostly HISTORY, that we can learn from, not a damn blueprint to crank out Jesus robots.

  3. Rich Chamberlin permalink

    Now I can get on here, look at issue of leadership- central leadership. Note, in tiny bit of history we have, how leadership EVOLVED, from original headquarters to pretty much, where ever Paul happened to be! Is our view skewed? Where there more records of Peter and Johns work that were not included in official record? ( which really this collection is) Who knows? All I know, I have to work with what I have. What I see is mostly about Pauls endless, tireless efforts to keep church from falling into complete chaos- and confusion To me greatest weakness in HC is lack of connection to greater body.

  4. "BK" permalink

    I used to think the apostles ‘went wrong’ but I feel a little tempered by the Spirit (I hope it’s Him!) in the past years. As one reads through Paul’s writings, and Peter’s it is very apparant they did, indeed, fellowship together. I believe elders need the input of varied members of the ekklesia as much as anyone…and the apostles were no exception. This was a young church, learning to follow the leading of the newly given Spirit; learning what that looked like as they came out of STRONG religious teaching of tradition. Sure, they made mistakes and I’m glad for that. But I don’t think they just started heading the church off into Babylon. Paul rebuked Peter…it doesn’t say whether he received the rebuke or not but I choose to believe he did; Peter spoke of Paul’s writings; Paul submitted to Annanias’ laying hands on him; Philip’s daughters prophesied….on and on the interaction went. So I just don’t see it all ‘went to hell in a hand basket’ but changed and grew….and then as the fellowship of the PRIESTHOOD OF BELIEVERS faded, men crept in ‘unawares’ as Paul said and by 325ad we see the blending of paganism with followers of Jesus. So,I guess I’m somewhere in the middle between the early church being the ‘ideal’ or the ‘villain’.
    And, Rich, I have fellowshipped with and as a house church for many years and I feel VERY connected to my brothers and sisters across the country and in the world. May we all continue to join in Spirit more and more. Love, “BK”

  5. Excellent comments! I hear you BK and understand that the 12 only got some things wrong, but not enough to shipwreck the true Body of Christ. Thanks for sharing Daryl and welcome to you Rich.

  6. Ashley permalink

    First, let me say I really enjoy reading your blog. I find it interesting that two people can read the same passage yet come away with a different impression. I find a different story here in Acts 6. First, it starts off by saying that the number of disciples were increasing. This problem arose from the fact the church was already growing. I don’t see the disciples being full of themselves at all. In fact, this is what I see with what they did.

    They took the complaint seriously. They took time out preaching of the Word to find a solution for the problem. They gathered the multitude of the disciples together. I assume this took some time and effort.

    I don’t see anywhere where they claimed this was a “lesser” ministry. They simply said it wasn’t right for “them” to stop preaching to do this. I think they are right. No one person or one group of people are called to do everything. I don’t believe we are all called to the same sphere of ministry. That sometimes mean we have to say no to something to say yes to what God wants us to do. Like Paul says, we are not all the same body part. If we were, where would the hearing or seeing be? I look at it like this, the mouth is saying we can’t stop talking to serve tables so, where are the hands? That doesn’t mean the mouth or its job is more important to the body than the hands and its job. We are all one. At the end of the day, the body is still doing what it’s called to do. The body is still preaching and serving.

    They didn’t just pass this off to any old Joe or Mary in the congregation. The requirements for this ministry were you had to be full of the Spirit and wisdom plus have a good reputation.
    God’s people all agreed on this. They were of the same mind regarding this issue. There were no voices saying this wasn’t right or accusing the apostles of being proud. Instead, all these spirit filled believers were in agreement with this. It makes me think it was the right decision.

    They didn’t just send them out. They prayed and laid hands on them. Again, the apostles took this seriously.

    The word of God spread. Why? I believe it’s because the twelve continued to do what God had called them to do. I believe Stephen had such an awesome ministry because he was obedient to what he was asked to do. Nor do I see that anyone in the congregation had any problem with his stepping out in faith.

    In conclusion, I think this shows the 12 weren’t control freaks. They didn’t insist all doing every aspect of ministry themselves. They didn’t even pick the 7 men. They left it up to the disciples and submitted to their choices. I think in order for the 12 to have waited on the tables they would have had to stop preaching the Word. I think it was an either/or situation. Because they couldn’t do both they had to pick what God had told them to do and yet at the same time they made sure the other ministry was covered. They didn’t get it wrong; they delegated. But that’s just my take on things. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing Ashley. I love hearing everyone’s portion of the truth in love.

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