Bill Johnson, another members of the radical right of the Charismatic movement, brings us this ‘insight’. Let’s see what he has to say, shall we?
For centuries the people of God have gathered together around specific truths. Denominations and organizations have been formed to unite these groups of Believers. Having common belief systems (see footnote 1 at bottom) has helped to build unity within particular groups and define their purpose. Historically these groups were formed from people who were usually newly saved, or were asked to leave whatever denomination they were previously a part of.
Denominations are built on division – on ‘truths’ and doctrines that divide, yet he would make it seem as if denominations are a unifying force. Contrary to what Bill says, denominations were made in opposition, sometimes forceful, against a larger denominational presence. The Reformation was a gentle and peaceful as asking someone to leave Rome. Remember the Anabaptists?
Unity based on common doctrines has a measure of success. But there is an inherent problem with this approach – unity of this nature is based upon uniformity. When God is saying something new (see footnote 2 at bottom), those who are listening are usually asked by their leaders to leave the group they were a part of (see footnote 3 at bottom). Their newfound convictions and beliefs are considered threatening and divisive.
Bill has fallen off his rocker. Now, he can say what he wants to, but even if you quote scripture, it can still be a new and thus perverted doctrine. Luther sought a return to the old ways; Calvin sought a return to the Augustine theology, while others still tried to reform Rome to a point where she was supposed to be holy. Rarely ever did they want to start something ‘new’, but attempt to return to the Apostle’s doctrine. Instead of that – no matter your distinctive theology, you have to admit that an attempted return to the Apostles was well worth the trip – these people (Dominionists, Joel’s Army, Charismatics of the political persuasion) only attempt something new, often times spoke to them by some ‘angel’ or another. What Bill is doing is to encourage you to leave those ‘dusty ole denominations’ to join him because God is talking to him.
Bill, that’s not the God talking, but the god of this world.
If the whole group doesn’t move in step with what God is saying, there will be a break in fellowship. When agreement in nonessential beliefs are considered necessary for fellowship, then division is natural and to be expected. While doctrine is vitally important it is not a strong enough foundation to bear the weight of His glory that is about to be revealed through true unity.
Change is in the Air
There are major changes in the “wind” right now. For the last several years people have started to gather around fathers instead of doctrine. In the natural, it would be easy to imagine a father with two very different children – one politically liberal and the other conservative. While discussions would probably be quite lively at the evening meal, they would not bring an end to the family.
Gathering around fathers gives a stability that enables people to endure differences in opinion without falling under the influence of the spirit of offense. Fathers bring an element of peace that is impossible without them.
Bill, Paul said to listen to his word and epistle, to believe the gospel and to hold to the doctrine that he and the Apostles taught. The only true Father that we have, is God Himself, not you, Bill. The only Mother that we have is the Church, not Patricia King.
Apostles are first and foremost fathers by nature. True fathers continually make choices for the well-being of their children with little thought to personal sacrifice. They are not jealous when their children succeed, but instead are overjoyed because of those successes. It is normal for a father to desire his children to surpass him in every way. Brothers compete, fathers do not.
In the same way that a father and mother are to bring stability to a home, so the apostles and prophets are the stability of the Church. The Apostle Paul calls them the Church’s foundation (see Ephesians 2:20). Good foundations bring stability. The concept of team ministry starts with these two. Stability is the primary fruit of the ministry of the apostolic team.
Yes, at least he is speaking the truth in only little area. Doesn’t make up for the great amount of lies elsewhere though.
Apostolic teams are not necessarily made up of just apostles and prophets. They are a group of people that carry the “family mission” without selfish agendas. They are sent by their leadership, and entrusted with delegated authority to establish God’s rule in their realm of experience and expertise. When they go with that heart, they carry an apostolic anointing because they function under the umbrella of the apostle’s authority.
Here we go….just a tad bit of truth and then a whole lotta leaven. There is no such thing as ‘apostolic teams’, as using the Granville-Sharpe rule, you will not that just like pastors and teachers, apostles and prophets, are the same people. Paul went out. Peter went out. Thomas went out. They went out under the authority of the Church and were generally sent out soley as leaders. Yes, Paul had those that traveled with him, but hardly under the banner of ‘apostolic teams’.
We can’t be co-missioned until we’re in sub-mission to the primary mission. This is true of every Believer before God. But it is especially true of apostolic teams. Setting aside personal agendas is a big part of the success of team ministry. Many teams have failed in their mission because of an individual who wanted his/her gift or opinion to be recognized.
Measure of Rule
A big misunderstanding occurs when apostles think they have the same measure of authority in every geographical location. When Paul went to Jerusalem to participate in the first Apostolic Council (see Acts 15), he submitted his experiences to the other apostles who had also gathered there. It wasn’t until James the apostle in Jerusalem spoke that there were any conclusions.
This is coded for you to begin to accept that each geographical area will have it’s own ‘apostle’ (The New Apostolic Reformation’ preaches that each state in the U.S. will have on). It was not based on geographical area. As a matter of fact, Paul covered a great deal, but was sent to only one people. And there has not been apostles have that. Instead, Bishops were given charge over the congregations. Bill is sadly mistaken about the apostolic council in Jerusalem. It was called to handle business, and it involved the Apostles and Elders. Paul did not suddenly arrive and submit to James, but was put on the agenda so to speak. It was James who was head of the Council – not just Jerusalem. Bill cannot even get history right – and you would trust him with doctrine?
A true apostle carries their apostolic authority wherever they go, but it is foolish for him to not recognize local authority. The same is true with apostolic teams. It is their respect for the local Church and the Biblical authority that helps them to serve effectively.
Authority, like favor, is for the benefit of others. It is not a title to help in building one’s own self-esteem, and is never for personal gain. For that reason, the Apostle is at the “bottom of the stack”…the “least of all.” The title simply recognizes function. And that function is to make others better and more complete in their walk with the Lord.
The Purpose of the Title
Throughout history, there have been many ordinary individuals who have become desperate for God in unusual ways and have sought God with reckless abandon. The encounters they had with God made them appear extraordinary. Their breakthrough made them household names with remarkable gifts and ministries. But when God gives someone an unusual gift, it is never for the purpose of acquiring admiration and fame, or even drawing big crowds. Those things are normal byproducts, but they are not the purpose.
The place of favor that one gets as a result of God’s unusual touch on their lives is a God-given position to equip others. It is God’s heart to take those high points of human experience in the man or woman of God and make them the new norm for the Believer. Equipping the saints becomes the focus of true fathers.
What title? Apostle? Apostle means sent one, Bill. Nothing more. Silly Bill, doctrine is for grown-ups.
The Spirit of Revelation
One of the things that helped to keep the early Church strong and healthy was their continual devotion to the apostles’ doctrine (see Acts 2:42). However, you’ll notice that there is no mention of a list of beliefs that the Bible declares to be the official record of important doctrines. It is safe to say the “apostles’ doctrine” is referring to something other than a specific list.
Peter understood this when he exhorted the Church concerning “present truth” (see 2 Peter 1:12). That phrase is to direct our attention to that which the Lord is emphasizing for this season. That is the apostle’s doctrine. The word coming from apostles is to bring clarification of the Father’s focus for the Church, and in turn strengthen our resolve to His purposes. Fresh revelation carries fresh fire, which helps us to maintain the much needed fire in our souls.
Apostles carry a blueprint in their hearts concerning the Church and God’s purposes on the earth. They are used to bring fresh revelation to the Church. Apostolic teams are sent to represent their spiritual father, and carry the word that has been entrusted to their “tribe.” They help bring an understanding and establish an order needed in the particular location they were sent to.
Uh? I thought Peter gave a pretty good set of doctrine during his sermon on Pentecost. Further, Paul laid some deep things as well, with this ‘spirit of revelation’.
‘Present truth’ – if only they had one straw to grasp…
“In the present truth” (the truth present to you), parousēi present active participle of pareimi, to be beside one. See Col_1:6 for this use of parōn. Firmly established in the truth, but all the same Peter is eager to make them stronger.
The Greek word means something near, i.e., Christ, the truth that is now present in them and to them, verses Christ the mystery in the Old Testament. Of course, why would I expect them to even get basic Greek right? The Truth of God does not change from generation to generations, which is why the faith is called the ‘once for all’ faith – it doesn’t change.
The Day of Power
One of the more notable prophets of our day recently told me that he wouldn’t be able to come into all that God had created him for until the apostles came forth to their appointed place. The apostles help release the prophets into their destiny, and vice versa. In a sense they complete each other.
You realize, don’t you, that the bible speaks against those sorts of things, right? Actually, God speaks about false prophets lining up, so maybe this ‘notable prophet’ is right.
Apostolic order without apostolic power is to be questioned. Order based on Biblical principle that is lacking Biblical power is tragic at best and deceptive at worst. Order does not exist unto itself. The wineskin exists for the wine. The wine is the focus. All order exists to house God Himself – not to restrict Him, but to accurately express Him.
What? Really? What exactly is Apostolic Order?
Wineskins need to flex in order to be useful, because of the expanding nature of the wine in the fermenting process. The Holy Spirit brings constant change and to house Him means to embrace flexibility as a way of life. The goal is not to create a perfect structure or government. It is to create one that recognizes Him, and flexes with His changes.
Last Days Assignment
All of this serves one purpose – Jesus is returning for a Bride. For this to happen, the harvest must be brought in and must be “cleaned.” He’s not returning for a Bride that He has to heal up and put together like a puzzle in Heaven. He is returning for a Bride whose body is in equal proportion to her head, and whose parts work together in coordination. It’s called a “glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle” (see Ephesians 5:27) in Scripture. Anything less is an illegitimate vision.
The Bride is to make herself ready for that day (see Revelation 19:7). As Larry Randolph puts it, “It is a perversion to think that Jesus will dress the Bride before the wedding.” Our assignment is clear, and the gifts are in place. And they are all expressions of Jesus Himself. But they are simple in purpose. Represent Jesus to the world!
The fire of God must rest in the souls of men. Christians without passion are almost as great a mystery as Christians without purpose. Apostolic teams carry fresh fire with divine purpose. They enlist men and women to God’s dream, and in the process the Church steps into her destiny.
Well, Bill, the Bride is actually given new robes, wedding garments, in heaven. (Revelation 19.8)
1. There are three basic levels of Biblical doctrine. 1. There are doctrines that are essential to the Christian faith – for example, Jesus is the eternal Son of God. 2. Then there are doctrines that are important, but not essential – for example, how we use the gifts of the Spirit in a church service. 3. And finally, there are doctrines that are good but not essential – for example, the exact nature and timing of Christ’s return.
2. This is never in addition to Scriptures, instead He unveils what is already there.
3. This is far from an absolute rule, as many leaders are in tune to what God is saying. However, some are more concerned with preserving past accomplishments over and above the advancement of the Kingdom. This creates a weakness that tends to miss God’s present word.