Apostolic Note Vol 4 No 4
During my time of practice, occasionally, there would be a patient who would come in exasperated or frustrated and say, “Just do something.” I would explain that to help them, we needed to undergo a diagnostic process to determine WHAT was the true SOURCE of their problem. In the church today, many pastors and leaders are like these patients. They know something is wrong and they are frustrated. They look to do something, by grasping the latest church growth program, big name evangelist or that one special conference. I know, I have been there. It is my desire to help us walk in apostolic authority. This Apostolic Note is a diagnostic process to assist us in determining WHAT the true source of our problem could be.
In the Christianity of today, we find that many of man’s ideas have become a hindrance to the operation of the Spirit, limiting the church’s ability to operate in apostolic authority. Jesus said, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men,” (Mark 7:7-8). Jesus further spoke of the result of holding the traditions of man in verse 13, “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered:” According to Thayer’s “Making of none effect” is one word and it means “deprive of force and authority.”
The greatest hindrance to apostolic authority that is faced in this day is the tradition of men and the resulting structure of traditional churches. (PLEASE NOTE: not all tradition is bad, only the traditions of men that make the word of God of none effect) Traditions create a biased paradigm that is used to filter scripture. This tainted view of scripture affects the individual’s faith and ability to walk in apostolic authority. Centuries of man’s tradition have created an organization that is far from the original apostolic church.
In the New Testament, the Greek word paradosis is translated as tradition 13 times, 11 times in a negative context and the two times it is used positive it must have a qualifying statement to make it positive. According to Thayer’s it means: “a giving over, giving up. 1. the act of giving up, the surrender: 2. a giving over which is done by word of mouth or in writing.” Most online English dictionaries that I have looked at include for the modern word tradition a component of a “handing down or over.” Furthermore, paradosis is derived from paradidoomi which, according to Thayer’s, means: “to give into the hands (of another) or to give over into (one’s) power.” So we can see the essence of tradition is to surrender something over into the hands or power of another.
Also, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary; tradition’s etymology is Middle English tradicioun, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French tradition, from Latin tradition-, tradition and is the action of handing over. It is from the same root word as treason.
Once again, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary; the etymology of treason is Middle English tresoun, from Old French traison, from Latin tradition-, traditio act of handing over, from tradere to hand over, betray.
Man’s traditions affect our faith by creating predetermined paradigms that hinder our ability to walk in apostolic authority. A paradigm is: “A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them.” American Heritage Dictionary (Dictionary.com). These traditional paradigms create a filter we view the Lord, His purpose and our spiritual lives through.
A review of the modern church reveals some of the developed characteristics of man’s traditions. Along with these traditions I have also given food for thought about an apostolic approach.
A traditional church is a church that….
…preaches a “bless me” gospel
This gospel and its message is an attempt to alleviate man’s discomfort and pain. The Bible is seen as a cookbook with recipes to fix our current problem. This is a “self” focused gospel. Much of modern preaching is about how we are to be “healthy, wealthy and wise.”
The apostolic church is a church that…
….preaches the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven
Jesus’ first message and that of the disciples was the gospel of the kingdom of heaven (Matt 4:17, 4:23, 9:35; Lk 9:60, 10:9). He did not come preaching how wonderful we are, He came declaring the reality of a Spiritual Kingdom. We are to be ambassadors of this kingdom. Our blessings are a by-product of obedience to His purpose.
A traditional church
…has most of its ministries inward focused
Due to the “bless me” gospel, most of the resources must be allocated to programs that make the individual feel good about themselves. This focus does not promote a transformation of the believer. There is a constant need to change the program to deliver the necessary stimulus to the people.
An apostolic church
…focus on outward ministries
Our focus should not be on self, but on others. Jesus commanded His church to go and make disciples – followers. (Matthew 28:19 AMP, Darby, NKJV). The focus of the church should be outside the four walls of the building.
A traditional church
…is built upon man’s ideas, structure and programs
Therefore, the result is only what man/flesh can produce. If a program is successful in attracting a crowd, it’s duplication is attempted by others hoping for the same results, producing the latest “fad” of church growth. Unfortunately, the success is not always duplicated, and frustration results.
An apostolic church
…is built based on the spiritual gifting in the body
The church should be structured around the giftings that the Lord has placed in the body. This would be the outcome of the ascension gifts (governing gifts) identifying, instructing, empowering and supporting the individual member’s gifts.
This list of comparison been presented to challenge our paradigm of church, not to condemn. When I pastored, I sought to address these issues, seeking the Lord’s direction as to how to lead a local assembly in a paradigm shift. The Lord will do this, because the church is His chosen vessel today. As we seek to align ourselves with the way He wants to build the church, we will find a flow of apostolic authority to accomplish His purpose.
The purpose of the apostolic church is to demonstrate and reveal our King and His kingdom.