Were The Twelve Wrong?
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
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.