Demystifying Apostolic

Demystifying Apostolic

Posted on 23. Jun, 2009 by in Empowering, Re-Imaging Church, Kingdom Notes eZine

Apostolic Notes Vol 3 No 8

Perception is a powerful thing. Two individuals can look at the same thing, each seeing something different based on their experiences and belief’s  – or the fancy word is paradigm.  It is this uniqueness of individual perception that can lead to incomplete communications or misunderstandings. For instance, two individuals can be using the same terminology, yet they each have a different point they are attempting to communicate based on their meaning of the particular word. In my opinion, this is common in the church world: we use various words that are defined based on our backgrounds and traditions, which obviously may not be the same from group to group.

One reason we may have this challenge in the church could be the idea that we tend to focus on certain terminology solely from a church perspective, forgetting that many words had a common usage prior to the biblical usage. An example of this includes the word ekklesia, which is translated church (more details -AN Vol 3 No 1 The Real Church) and what I want to focus on for this Apostolic Note – the terminology of apostolic or apostle.

Now I use these two words together because apostolic is actually not in scripture. However, it is a modern adjective used by many regarding the office of an apostle. It is from their defining paradigm of an apostle, they transfer and assume a definition for apostolic.  Thus, they limit themselves from truly experiencing the liberating power that all born again believers are apostolic.

What am I saying here? Many in today’s church realm view the term apostle as an individual in an authoritative position. This person is one who appears to be in a high-ranking bureaucratic position: their responsibility is to take charge and “run” things. With this in mind, many transfer this understanding to the general usage of the term apostolic, referring to the ministry of this individual*. This has produced a very limited understanding of the original word, thus limiting its applications to the body of Christ.

Defining Apostolic
Apostle is translated from apostolos, meaning sent one. It is derived from apostello, which means to send. Thus, the apostolos is the one who has been apostello, really quite simple. According to Holman’s Bible Dictionary, “An apostle represents the one sending and has authority to represent the sender in business, political, or educational situations.” The idea of apostolos, being sent (apsotello), was common in the bible days and really did not have a unique spiritual application.

The following is a list of non-spiritual examples of those who were apostelloe as apostolos
•    Herod “sent forth” and slew the children (Matt 2:16)
•    While Jesus was at Gennesaret, they “sent out” for the diseased (Matt 14:35)
•    The Pharisees “sent out” their disciples to “entangle him in his words” (Matt 22:15)
•    Pilate’s wife “sent” to him advising to have nothing to do with Jesus (Matt 27:19)
•    John “sent” his disciples to Jesus (Lk 7:20)
•    Chief priests and scribes “sent” spies to trap Jesus (Lk 20:20)
•    Herod “sent” forth and laid hold of John (Mk 6:17)
•    Herod “sent” the executioner and beheaded John (Mk 6:27)

In all these instances, the individuals were apostello – sent: They were commissioned to act as representatives of the one sending

As you can see, the above instances did not include some supernatural demonstration of spiritual authority or dominion. They were simply someone carrying out the orders or commission from a higher authority. The key point to being apostello is the inherent power of the entity doing the sending, the greater their power, the greater the potential authority of the one sent.

Kingdom Application
Demystifying and correctly using apostolic and apostle should empower us to demonstrate His kingdom. This understanding should first and foremost, refocus us back on the One sending and not the one sent. Second, it should free us from the fear of some supernatural bureaucrat that will attempt to dictate to the local assembly. Third, it should empower each and every believer that they have been sent by Jesus as his representative to this world. Grasping that each of us has been sent to transact business in His name will propel our faith to new levels of demonstration.

*On a personal note, I have experienced this in regards to our book, Apostolic authority, Every Believer’s Privilege. Even though the subtitle speaks to every believer, many automatically assume I am referring to the ministry of an apostle in the traditional sense. This is far from the truth.

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7 Responses to “Demystifying Apostolic”

  1. […] the original post: Demystifying Apostolic AKPC_IDS += “734,”;Popularity: unranked […]

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  2. Buck

    23. Jun, 2009

    Well said, Marty!

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  3. Sara

    23. Jun, 2009

    Pretty cool post. I just found your blog and wanted to say
    that I have really enjoyed browsing your posts. Anyway
    I’ll be subscribing to your blog and I hope you post again soon!

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  4. Saurooon

    24. Jun, 2009

    Interesting, I`ll quote it on my site later.

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  5. Joshua

    28. Jun, 2009

    Hi Martin,

    I like how far you’ve come in refining and defining Apostello, opens my understanding up even more, I so appreciate it.

    “Demystifying”, hmm, interesting term used, hits the nail on the head I think. There has been in the Christian mind a mystical sense of attachment subconciously assigned to this word and other words alike. Now the downside of this is that the believer has the potenial to be easily influenced and/or manipulated more than others that don’t assign this mystifying quality to an Apostolos. Having said that, that is not to say that an Apostolos doesn’t have a mystifying quality, scripture clearly states their ministry and that of the Prophetes [prophet] are the only two ministries that have the ability to “reveal the mysteries” [Eph 3:3-5]. (Now I understand that by making that statement I just opened up a can of worms but for the sake of keeping my response as short as I can, I will not even attempt to give foundation to the previous statement, suffice to say that a quick reference check of G3466 “mysterion” would be helpful.)

    Just briefly though; What are the mysteries? The mysteries are a prophetic language [parables, symbolisms] that God uses to conceal intimate knowledge from the casual observer or part-time Christian. The intimate secrets are reserved for those that are serious about Him and are committed to Him [Mat 13:10-11; Mar 4:11; Luk 8:10]. In gospels mentioned previously, in all three occasions Jesus says “Unto you [the disciples] it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom but to them [the casual observer, not a disciple] that are without [outside of this intimate circle] to them I speak in parables.” Meaning the true intimates secrets are only reserved for those that are serious about Him but for those who just want to play church He speaks to them in a language that they can’t understand, because it is a spiritual language that is beyond their carnal minds. True Apostle and Prophets understand this prophetic language, if they don’t then they can’t reveal Christ.

    Finaly, an Apostolos is first and foremost a servant/messenger sent FROM the One who has given the commission and secondarily the servant/messenger TO the ones the message is for. Last time I checked a “servant” is “one who serves” [food for thought].



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  6. Cool post, just subscribed.

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  7. Paula

    03. Jul, 2009

    Thanks! Once again!

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