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Author Topic: Qualifications for Apostleship  (Read 32012 times)
EverAStudent
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« on: January 31, 2009, 12:17:51 pm »

My sincere apologies for sounding like a broken record, or more contemporaneously, an audio file accidentally set to loop continuously, by bringing up this topic again.  Yet, apostleship was important to the early church and to the Lord, as seen in the number of times Jesus spoke to and about His apostles.

What teachers like Jim McCotter and Dennis Clark have done is taken our eyes off the Bible accounts and created an entire mythology about apostleship ( http://gcxweb.org/Books/Leadership/ ) that never existed.  How does one combat the mythology that McCotter and Clark created?  By returning to the truth of the Word.

At the heart of any discussion on whether there are apostles today, one must grapple with this fundamental: how were apostles “made”?  As we all know, Jesus, while He was a human, personally appointed the Twelve and sent them on their first preaching “mission” (Luke 9:1-5).  What we often forget is that when Jesus was a human He appointed 70 other apostles and sent them out on the same preaching mission as He had just done with the Twelve (Luke 10:1-24).  There are no more accounts anywhere in Scripture of Jesus appointing any more men as apostles, except for that one man born as if in the wrong time, Paul.

When the Eleven apostles were gathered (Acts 1:1-25), they determined that Judas’ ministry office should be filled by someone.  But Jesus was no longer appointing new apostles since He was no longer on Earth.  So the Eleven cited what they understood to be the three qualifications of apostleship:  1) having been with Jesus (presumably this refers to being involved in hearing His teachings day in and day out) for the three years that He ministered and taught on Earth, 2) being an eyewitness that Jesus rose bodily from the grave and was still alive, and, 3) that the twelfth man should ALREADY have been chosen by Jesus as an apostle (see Acts 1:24, Greek tense indicates a choosing that has already occurred in the past).  At least two men “qualified,” Matthias and Justus, though possibly many more qualified.

How could Justus and Matthias have been previously chosen by Jesus as apostles if they were not part of the Twelve already?  Jesus appointed 70 other apostles from that group of between 200 and 500 that were constantly with Him.  If we had the name list, we would not be surprised to read that Barnabas, Andronicus, and others were possibly among them.  All these men, the Eleven, Justus, Matthias, the 70, and between 200 and 500 more heard all that Jesus had to teach for three years and were eyewitnesses that He arose from the grave. 

Since the Eleven felt these three criteria (hearing Jesus teach for 3 years, being an eyewitness of the resurrection, and having been previously appointed as an apostle by Jesus) were the necessary elements to take on the title of apostle, we should be silly to dismiss them.

Paul, of course, tells us twice (using the Greek term for “to commission as an apostle”) that Jesus appeared to Him and “sent” him (Greek: apostello) as an apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21, 26:15-18).  Thus Paul fulfilled qualifications 2 and 3.  But what about qualification 1?  Did Paul get three years of training by Jesus?  That is exactly what Paul claims for himself in Galatians 1:11, 12, 16-18, and 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, 7. 

To my knowledge, there is no man alive who can fulfill the three criteria / qualifications that the Twelve, the 70, and Paul all fulfilled to be allowed to be called an apostle.  And these three criteria were identified by the very band of apostles that everyone wishes to join.  Well, join them if you can, but you better join up by meeting the criteria they themselves established, else you are a hollow and false claimant, in fact, a false apostle. 

For more study, particularly of Acts 13, please read the following online book: http://thefaithfulword.org/apostlepageone.html

What other biblical qualifications should be added to the Big Three?

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anonymoustoday
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2009, 09:56:26 pm »

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So the Eleven cited what they understood to be the three qualifications of apostleship:  1) having been with Jesus (presumably this refers to being involved in hearing His teachings day in and day out) for the three years that He ministered and taught on Earth, 2) being an eyewitness that Jesus rose bodily from the grave and was still alive, and, 3) that the twelfth man should ALREADY have been chosen by Jesus as an apostle (see Acts 1:24, Greek tense indicates a choosing that has already occurred in the past).

Very good bro.

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For more study, particularly of Acts 13, please read the following online book: http://thefaithfulword.org/apostlepageone.html

That webzine article just yanks the plug out of Jim McCotter's 2.5 hour ramble on the video.  Jim really did make it all up as he went along, didn't he?  He was passionate all right, just not about accurate Bible teaching. 

I don't get it, though.  Why didn't the churches excommunicate him for teaching heresy??  Not a joke.  Why didn't they??  He says a lot of stuff that was way wrong, like apostles did not have to actually see Christ resurrected, or be appointed by Jesus, and so on.  So why wasn't he excommunicated?  Or was he excommunicated secretly for having taught this and the rest of us just weren't told the truth? 
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theresearchpersona
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2009, 10:40:06 pm »

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So the Eleven cited what they understood to be the three qualifications of apostleship:  1) having been with Jesus (presumably this refers to being involved in hearing His teachings day in and day out) for the three years that He ministered and taught on Earth, 2) being an eyewitness that Jesus rose bodily from the grave and was still alive, and, 3) that the twelfth man should ALREADY have been chosen by Jesus as an apostle (see Acts 1:24, Greek tense indicates a choosing that has already occurred in the past).

Very good bro.

Quote
For more study, particularly of Acts 13, please read the following online book: http://thefaithfulword.org/apostlepageone.html

That webzine article just yanks the plug out of Jim McCotter's 2.5 hour ramble on the video.  Jim really did make it all up as he went along, didn't he?  He was passionate all right, just not about accurate Bible teaching. 

I don't get it, though.  Why didn't the churches excommunicate him for teaching heresy??  Not a joke.  Why didn't they??  He says a lot of stuff that was way wrong, like apostles did not have to actually see Christ resurrected, or be appointed by Jesus, and so on.  So why wasn't he excommunicated?  Or was he excommunicated secretly for having taught this and the rest of us just weren't told the truth? 

Current GC leadership regurgitates a lot of the same, refuses to be subject to the word, destroys anyone who dares bring criticism, barfs-up similar if not worse rambling, and has a practically utter lack of care for any accurate handling of the word: and the few that have it, at the point GC's dogmas collide with the Bible's, GC's will usually win (else that teacher will suddenly be leaving for some odd reason). Oh the things I've seen...
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Genevieve
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2009, 02:59:34 pm »

Does anyone know when they stopped teaching this (they have, haven't they?)? Do they give any kind of explanation for this teaching and why it's not around anymore or just pretend it didn't happen?

I would assume he wasn't excommunicated because either they still believed him or "knew his heart" and didn't care. Only "slanderers" were ever excommunicated as far as I've heard.
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anonymoustoday
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2009, 08:02:38 am »

Quote from: DesiringTruth
At the time that the Leadership book was written, there were only two "apostles" that I can recall: Jim McCotter and Dennis Clark.  After withdrawing the Leadership book from circulation within the churches, the identification of apostles seemed to go away.  However, the concept or function still remained (and still remains) under the title of Regional or National Director.  Thus, Rick Whitney and John Hopler probably are the most prominent national "apostle-like" and regional directors while Dennis Clark has seemed to have "stepped down" from that role.  Other individuals are being groomed for that sort of role and are now, in some cases, regional directors, such as Brent Knox.  The idea is that apostles pastored pastors and had authority over groups of churches or regions.  All of them had demonstrated ability to plant churches, although, according to Dr. Sam, John Hopler has not actually planted churches or at least effectively.  There's more to apostles, but this sort of person is embodied in the role of regional/national director, with Rick and John being the most prominent.

It seems the reason GC did not add the apostleship heresy to their letter of "errors" is that they do not think the concept or the teaching of Jim McCotter was in any way an error, only that the title of "apostle" was embarrassing.  So they dumped the title and kept the doctrine and practice. 

So, the national leaders are actually apostles, but they are just not called apostles because it makes GC look too cult-like.

I wonder how many of the national leaders were appointed by Jesus in a personal visitation?  How many studied with Jesus in heaven?  How many became eyeball witnesses that Jesus resurrected bodily?  Seems they got some explainin' to do.
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Anthony
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2010, 03:16:04 pm »

The 11 apostles when choosing matthias, said that one must be chosen who accompanied jesus ministry. They where only specificly searching for someone to forfill there inner circle of apostles. It not to say that, those where the qualifications for all apostles. We see Barnabas, Paul, and James where all apostles. James was the brother of Jesus, but didn't accompany Jesus ministry from beggining to end. If we look close at the role of an apostle we will see the Titus and Timothy where apostles. Only apostle had the authority to ordain elders and deacons. No where does the bible indicate that elders, or pastors, nor prophets had the authority to do so. The ministry of an apostle is a role that must be revealed.
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Linda
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2010, 03:42:40 pm »

Not sure exactly what your point is, but I believe that in order to be an "apostle" apostle (as opposed to a "McCotter" apostle which means "sent one") you also had to be an eye witness to the resurrected Christ.

What you have with GC is a situation where a man (Jim McCotter) or two men (McCotter & Clark) or three men (McCotter, Clark, and Martindale), depending upon the version told, had it "revealed" to them in or around 1970 that they were apostles. This in turn gave them right to start a church, made them the only people able to appoint elders, meant that they now had the right to demand obedience from all who came to their church, gave them the power to excommunicate anyone who disagreed with their theology,  and gave them the right to demand lifetime commitment to them and any elders they appoint in the future.

If you are a GC elder, you can trace your position to a couple of guys in the 1970's who bucked the authority of the churches they grew up in. Your spiritual position and authority can be directly traced to some guys who basically appointed themselves to positions of authority by saying that somehow God revealed this to them. People, put on your thinking caps, please.


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EverAStudent
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2010, 09:01:30 am »

Dear Anthony,

You made a number of incorrect statements regarding the content of Scripture on the subject of apostles.  I will briefly list those biblical errors I found in your posting and will point you to online materials where the error is more fully analyzed:

Erroneous Statements

Many churches throughout history were never started by or taught by any apostle.  Paul wrote to the large church in Rome to apologize that he had never visited them (see the Book of Romans).  They elected their own deacons and elders, as most churches have done ever since).  The purpose in having apostles only when Jesus was bodily on the planet is discussed here: http://craigwbooth.xanga.com/719344136/is-every-spiritual-gift-given-continuously-even-to-this-day/

All the apostles (the Twelve and the Seventy) were dead by A.D. 100 yet the church continued on for another 2000 years without any apostles.  Even so the church is entirely founded on and indebted to the teachings of those original apostles.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 09:45:46 am by EverAStudent » Logged
Tony
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2010, 07:36:34 pm »

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Apostles were once necessary to equip the Christian church with doctrines (teachings) of Christ and to provide eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ resurrection.  Apostles were the foundation for all Christian dogma and belief. 

But did God stop giving out apostle-ships when Jesus ascended into heaven, as Ephesians 4 seems to imply?  There are numerous passages that indicate that this is exactly what happened.  Among the most persuasive is that Paul, who was not made an apostle while Jesus was on earth, said he was commissioned to be an apostle “out of the proper time for apostles to be made” or “untimely born” (1 Corinthians 15:Cool.  In other words, there was an appointed or recognized time for apostles to be commissioned--while Jesus was preaching on earth--but Paul, the “last man to whom Jesus appeared” and the last to made an apostle, was uniquely commissioned outside of that appointed time.

Paul later writes that every man who attempts to imitate Paul’s apostolic commissioning is a false apostle (2 Corinthians 11:13).  Surely that is an odd thing to write if new apostles were being made all the time.

Equally importantly, Jesus called every “new” apostle a false apostle in His letter to the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:2).  Here, Jesus does not even say that “some” are genuine, rather that every single one “who call themselves apostles” are in fact found to be false when tested.  Every one. 

Never thought about Ephs. 4 like that before.
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