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Were The Twelve Wrong?

February 5, 2017

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.

p.s.s.s.  I won’t be posting another blog post for awhile.  Thursday I am driving South to spend time with other relational housechurch folks in Georgia and Florida.  I will also be spending several days with my favorite person in the world my “Aunt” Marie who will soon turn 95 years old.  She was the only Godly influence in my life when I was young and I am quite certain I would not be the person I am today without her prayers and words of wisdom.

 

 

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21 Comments
  1. Hi Christopher,

    I’d not thought about this specific event, but I’ve wondered about some others in the same vein.

    1. Before Pentecost, the apostles cast lots to determine a replacement for Judas. The lot fell to Matthias and we never hear about or from him again. They quote a scripture saying something like “let his place be taken by another,” to justify this casting of lots, but, in reality, they were acting against Jesus’ command to “wait” until the Holy Spirit comes upon you. I think Saul/Paul was to have been the one to take Judas’ place and that came about by the Holy Spirit, not by casting lots which was a method used before Pentecost. It never again is used after Pentecost by anyone in the church.

    2. When Paul and Barnabas took the church’s request from Antioch to determine whether gentiles should be circumcised, the reply was in the negative for which the Gentiles rejoiced. But of the three prohibitions the Jerusalem group imposed on the Gentiles, Paul definitely speaks out against following one: the prohibition against eating meat offered to idols. He says something like, “idols are nothing. You aren’t worshiping the idol by eating meat offered to one, but, if it bothers you, if you think of it as meat offered to an idol and therefore are worshiping by eating, then don’t eat it.” This was in direct opposition to James’s directive in the letter. James reiterates the command somewhere in His letter, so apparently he never stopped believing that food offered to idols was a no-no.

    3. The apostles stayed in Jerusalem up until the destruction of Jerusalem, apparently. Jesus told them to go out to Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth, but, as you point out, they didn’t. They agreed to minister to the Jews while Paul agreed to go to the Gentiles.

    So, including your example of table-waiting, there are several things which I think the apostles did not do which they were commanded to do. So I have to agree with you and your fellowship’s conclusion. It adds a whole new dimension to the account of the early church and validates the priesthood of all believers “model” of fellowship.

    Win

    • Great points Win! Thank you for sharing with us. Everyone misses the mark at times, even apostles. Relationships matter and Jesus told us that we ALL ought to relate to others as a servant of all and not as Clergy obsessing on teaching, praying and preaching.

  2. Sue heumann permalink

    Ill be praying for your time away….sounds refreshing and invigorating! food for thought is all I have today on the blog!

    • Thanks for the prayers Sue, food for thought is a good thing. It is great to be provoked towards love and good thoughts.

  3. Rich Chamberlin permalink

    My dear friend, kit is common sense to expect that apostles continued to be screw ups , even after getting the gift of the divine spirit of God himself. i MEAN HEY, LOOK AT US TODAY! THEY REMAINED HUMAN, we should never regard their words and actions as being Gods. We have Jesus for that. OF course, the catch is, that also applies to picking out a line or two as the “official, authorized” way to do ( house) OR BE, THE CHURCH,

    • I hear you Rich! But “men” want their Pope, Pastor, and Scripture to be infallible and that is just not possible my friend. Because humans screw up at times no matter how righteous their walk may be.

  4. Dan permalink

    All scripture is inspired by God and is 100% infallible. It infalliably records the awesome acts as well as everything from the annoying inconsistencies to the massive blunders of the apostles. Good thing.

    • Thank you for sharing Dan. Scripture is inspired by God, but is fallible in the hands of “men”. Because everyone interprets. That is why we need every member of the Body to be active and vocal.

  5. Mercy fulgencio permalink

    Travelling mercies., and kind blessings to aunt and the housechurch you‘re visiting…

  6. Ben H permalink

    That was a great post – I love your alternative perspective.

  7. Judy Baker permalink

    I totally get it !!!
    We are all imperfect but we can still serve Jehovah by following JESUS in his command to go preach to all the world and I will be with you.
    In following this advise I have witnessed miracles.
    Too many to share now. A full time sister in the preaching work talking to an older lady at her door ..
    saw the vacuum cleaner in the middle of the floor and noticed how frail this senior lady was, asked her if she could finish vacuuming for her . The lady was so surprised and said ” please do as it is too hard for me.” She was needing help and my sister in truth saw it and did it. Like Jesus did to many people .
    Yes we will never be perfect in this world & we will. NEver stop learning but we can still obey Jesus and be part of his work on earth . The examples of Jesus & the apostles teach us many things..

    • Thank you for sharing Judy. Sometimes vacuuming for someone is more important than sharing the gospel, wait vacuuming in itself can be a way of sharing the gospel because it shows the heart of Jesus who was a servant to all.

      • Judy Baker permalink

        That is so true .. actions speak many words .
        We are all neighbors regardless of age race or religion. We are not above people.. who knows the heart or who will accept the truth ?
        Our elders are servants.. free of charge or pay. They bring people in wheelchairs in their cars to the meetings. They help vacuum and clean the bathrooms at the halls. (Churches) they also go door to door . They now the grass n trim the bushes. No one gets paid as it’s all volunteers from the congregation. It’s brotherly love at it’s best.
        Your teachings are the closest to the Bible. It’s a great example to all . I appreciate all you share Chris. Enjoy your vacation and hug Aunt Marie for me and Jackie Craig. She is the sweetest nicest Christian lady I’ve had the privilege of meeting years ago and is the best example of loving all people as Jesus said and not judging one person. Her smiles and hugs are genuine. She is so remarkable. I love her so much ! ❤️❤️❤️

      • Thank you for your affirmation Judy. It means a lot to me. “Aunt” Marie is my favorite person ever. So much love, grace and wisdom in her heart.

  8. James Walton permalink

    Interesting post Christopher. I need to ponder and study this further. I do know I spend a lot of time doing the necessary, work (leave house at 7 a.m., get home around 5:10 p.m.), and then decide how to use the rest of my time. It seems to make sense to free some to not have to do the necessary but have more time for the important. On the other hand, I love that Paul was a tentmaker and witnessed while working and after work. When Paul needed time to write, the state took care of him in prison and he had time to write. I like a fresh perspective and a challenge to follow Jesus as a true disciple. Have a good trip visiting others. I will be in Vero Beach Florida at the Acts2School in March from the 6th-10th. I have questions on “follow up” once one has ministered on the street. If someone is truly seeking Jesus, they will find Him; it is nice however when we have brothers and sisters who help us become disciples and walk with us. Thanks for your thoughts, it makes me think and I will look into this. Enjoy your trip and keep following Jesus. I want to finish life strong and truly get to know Father, not just know about Him.

    • James, thank you for taking the time to pray, ponder and consider what I have written here. It shows maturity not to automatically reject with a fleshly knee jerk reaction new ideas. I know you continually seek HIM and HIS Truth in Love. So be blessed my brother as you consider the implications of this post.

  9. James permalink

    I have had time to reflect, and I don’t think the 12 were wrong. I think that the body has many parts, and teachers who are truly gifted of God should spend their time training disciples to go out and do the work of the gospel, bring the good news of Jesus, pray for salvation and healing, baptizing and replicating disciples. All of us are called to every aspect of doctrine, but some are more gifted in areas than others. Elders are listed in Acts, 1 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, and Revelation. Deacons are mentioned in Phillipians and 1 Timothy. Jesus is the head of the church and everyone’s pastor, within the body there are many different gifts and each of us should walk in our giftings’. All of us are called to evangelize and disciple others. I do believe that we should all lead by example, so a leader should lead as Jesus did and give an example for others to go and do likewise. It is always good to examine scripture and question the actual meaning. I don’t think the apostles missed it here, but an argument can be made, such as you have done. We should all have the servant’s heart. I do see many, many things wrong with the established church, but I also see many, many things wrong in house churches, and even some who are in The Last Reformation that can be a little off. The whole body of Christ needs to come into unity under the Word of God and love each other without compromising and live holy, loving lives. These are just a few quick thoughts, what we can take away from this passage is that we need to always meet all physical needs when we are able as God provides and never only meet physical needs, but always do good works in Jesus name and never fail to proclaim Him as the reason for our good works.

    • If we are truly following Christ’s example we will do both Spiritual (teaching, praying, etc) and simple (washing feet, feeding others, table waiting) things and we NEVER out grow one or the other.

    • Unity happens when we are under Christ and no other person (Pastor’s etc) or thing (doctrine etc)

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