Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I love "just thinking"... the notion of exploring theology, ecclesiology, sociology, anthropology... is a joy. Somewhere in this exploration the God moment comes when the light switches on, and then we understand. Few subjects have grabbed me more than 'apostles into the third generation'. History is so unkind to this conversation. What first generation apostles have invested their lives into, invariably institutionalize or implodes. I am just not convinced that this is what needs to happen. So every now and again you will read my reflections on this most worthy matter... here are some recent bullet points:


“Partnership around the Gospel…”

This is a conversation centered on the evolution of apo ministry into the third generation. The proposal is that Strategic Churches will be the hubs around which the future will be built. These bases are not to be headquarters but servants of the plants and pastors, enabling them to succeed but never creating dependence, empowering them to belong but never requiring allegiance… The matter still remains that we do not want to become a denomination, nor do we want to be without any shape or substance that folks can buy into. Here are some thoughts:

  • We believe in:
    • The power and centrality of the Gospel, Rom 1:1 + 15
    • The weight and power of the scriptures as the final authority for all doctrine, direction, discipline, design of church life, 2 Tim 4:1 – 3,
    • As lovers of Word and Spirit, we passionately embrace the partnership with the Holy Spirit, as we seek to be led by him, full of him, empowered by him, gifted by him… Jn 3, Acts 2,
    • The autonomy & self goverance of the Local Church, Acts20
    • The essential and foundational role of the Ephesians 4 fivefold ministry to these local churches, Eph 4: 11 - 16
    • Kingdom advancing, is seen through maturity of the believers, churches planted and the discipling of all nations… Col 1:6; 4:11 + 12
    • Jesus is coming back to a bride without spot, wrinkle or blemish… Eph 5
  • We see in scripture:
    • Elders work in plurality. Acts 20, 1 Pet 5,
    • Elders are the highest human authority of the local church, Acts 20,
    • There is no layer of authority between the local elders and God, Acts 20,
    • Apostles and prophets lay foundations, Eph 2:20, Acts 14,
    • Apostles partner with the local churches, Phil 1:4,
    • Strategic / base churches are the way in which these churches are served, Acts 13:1-3, Acts 14:21 – 28,
    • No organization / institution was formed, Luke 5:36 – 39 [new wineskins are continually needed] just apo spheres…
    • The letters written in Revelation were not sent to movements, or organizations – they were written to local churches – still the apple of His eye, Rev 2, 3,
  • Jesus as our apostle model,
    • He was the first apostle, Heb 3:1
    • He multiplied himself in the lives of 12 men, Mark 3:13 – 19,
    • He handed over his mantle and authority as an apostle to 11 men, not one only [no apo succession], so they could get to all nations, Matt 28:16 – 20
    • Jesus did not require them to remain one entity / organization/ institution other than “the bride”,
    • The 12 added 1 more before the Father added several more to the growing band of apo brothers, Acts 1:20 – 26, Gal 2,
    • Apostles were not the top / head of organizations or institutions. They are “first of all”, not “over all”, 1 Cor 12
    • There was no one apostle over all nations: Paul to the Gentiles, Peter to the Jews Gal 2,
    • There were more recorded apostles than any other Eph 4 giftings – they were quite ordinary but very essential, 1 Thess 1:1, 2:6,
    • They laid foundations, Eph 2:20,
    • They were masterbuilders, 1 Cor 3:10,
    • They partner with the other Eph 4 gifts in ever organic and fluid partnerships as the occasion required, Acts 11,
  • The strategic “base churches”
    • Great case studies in Jerusalem, Ephesus, and Antioch [our primary case study], Acts 11,
    • The risen Christ had lampstands in his hand for the churches in the book of Revelation. It seems that Christ gives specific churches that weighty responsibility, in his kind sovereignty- Rev 1 – 3,
    • Established in major, key cities that affect regions, Planted by apostles [or it seems they were very involved]
    • More than one apo involved - other Eph 4 gifts joined them,
    • Much attention, affection, instruction given to them,
    • Leadership seems to be given in plurality,
    • They resourced the new plants with leadership, finance, prayers, leadership training and ordination, Acts 14:21 – 28
    • They were compelled by the love of Christ and love for all the churches, 2 Cor 5:14, 6:12,
    • See the partnership of apos and prophets, Acts 11:25 + 27,
    • They facilitate key events – Acts 13, 15,
    • Base from which the Eph 4 ministries launched out, Acts 13:1- 4,
    • These gifts returned to the base and continued to play a very key role in the community, Acts 14: 26 – 28, 15:35,
    • It was a safe place to return to rest up, refresh, recalibrate, Acts 14:28,
    • These leadership forums offered desired not demanded accountability, Acts 15, Gal 1 + 2,
    • Their feedback to the base was essential, substantial and mobilizing, Acts 14:26 – 28,
    • They recognized and endorsed the new emerging apo gifts, Gal 2:9
    • Everywhere they went they impacted the marketplace Acts 19, and the poor Gal 2:10,
    • Not one organization was established that simply grew bigger, - that happened with the Catholic Church and every denomination since then… biblically many apo “households / spheres” were continuously being expanded, 2 Cor 10:13,
    • Churches they worked into were not required to singularly be attached to one of the apo’s, 1 Cor 3:1-8, 21 – 23, Gal 2, in fact Paul seriously challenged that notion – Not of Paul, Apollos, Cephas…
    • There was continuous commitment to plant new communities as well as partner with new churches, Col 1, [Paul planted Corinth but he never went to Colossae – yet in both churches he played a vital and essential role],
    • From the case studies, it is clear that there is not just one way/ model / pattern. Continuous conversations must facilitate the great trilogy of text, context and culture,
    • Unreached nations ever lay before them, 2 Cor 10:15 – 18,
    • I really like the following notions, yet I understand they are scaffolding that will require ongoing monitoring as they will evolve / change in the future:
      • “Fellowship of apostles” – a informal forum for apos to connect, hang out, dream together, journey together,
      • “Partnership of peers” – there is no need for apos to have someone over them nor even in front of them, more essential is that they choose those around them, so there are no mavericks…with all that brings.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I have loved my study over the last few months, around the Colossian Conversation. It has been fascinating to see how Paul, trapped in prison, writes this loving, affectionate apostolic letter to this fragile church that is being ruptured by 'false teaching'. What makes it more amazing is that he does not fully list what these are but he is so passionate about Jesus that the book is the most Christological text in the scriptures. Fifteen times alone, Paul speaks about being "in Christ". No other subject in this book carries more emphasis than the "this gospel that bears fruit and grows all over the world".

With this notion that if we present the authentic strongly enough, then the false, fragile, vulnerable will be clearly identifiable.

In R.C. Lucas' commentary on the book of Colossians, he lists seven fruit that these kinds of teachers produce:

1. ... they offered a spiritual 'fullness' not previously experienced..."what you have is quite alright... now let us finish it off for you and you will really be Christians..."...

2. ... the visitors spoke of a new spiritual 'freedom' which those who followed them would enjoy. They may offer 'deliverance' of some kind...

3 ... the visitors appear to have claimed particular insight into the powers of evil and to be able to give believers special protection from them...

4 ... the visitors were known for their impressive asceticism: fasting... have a poor track record of of combating self-indulgence...

5 ... the visitors offered a further initiation into a deeper 'knowledge' of God and a greater experience of His power...

6 ... the visitors were inclined to be superior to, even critical of, 'ordinary' believers...

7 ... the visitors were, unhappily, divisive in their influence. Disruption in the fellowship must be part of the cost of listening to them...

If there ever is a time when apostles need to be at the gates of theology to provide fatherly affection in times of uncertainty, it is now... so too, if ever there is a time for elders to be at the city gates to guard their community with rich sound theology, it is now...

Just thinking...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Just wondering - why was the healing in the atonement in the stripes?

Friday, March 5, 2010


OK all you clever people... this is your moment...

We are exploring the wonder of healing. The medical community have done so much good in bringing a quality of life to us, previously thought improbable. The understanding of healthier diets continue to empower us with knowledge, that allows for adjustments to better living.

However, I am seeking the magnificence of supernatural healing as seen in the bible, as recorded over the years in church history and is still available today. Many questions still prevail in this conversation. Any person who believes they have this one all wrapped up is guilty of simplistic, intellectual arrogance. It would seem God gives grace to the humble and that is what is needed right now-tons of humility with heaps of grace.

Here are some questions:
1. When did sickness and disease enter the world?
2. How did it do so?
3. Why does God even want to heal? Where did He begin to heal?
4. What are the causes of sickness?
5. What is the difference between Old Covenant and New Covenant healing?
6. What is the link between demons and disease?
7. What amazes you about Jesus' healing style?
8. Why are all not healed immediately?
9. What are the classic mistakes made in praying for the sick?

I would love to hear from you...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Healing intrigues me, delights me, amazes me, and the lack thereof, sometimes downright confuses and angers me.

There is something very extraordinary about Jesus and healing. What I do not believe is that Jesus is done with healing at the end of the apo era. Not only is it poor exegesis but it also reflects so poorly on the Jesus that I love and trust-the one whose mercies are new every morning-whose kindnesses can be shouted from the roof tops-who heals so many simply because of his compassion... and whose healing is so sweet in the atonement.

Nor can I live in the guilt producing dishonesty that is hidden under the pseudo-faith tag. This position rarely allows us to acknowledge sickness or if we have been prayed for, we are to walk around pretending we are well under the misguided notion that that is faith. Oh dear then to add heartache to pain, one then has to declare that if there was just enough faith, sickness or death could have been prevented. Jesus wants to heal everyone, now-this is what they say-is that true-is that true? If there is no healing it is the fault of those who are not in faith-is that true? Oh dear, such poor, tragic 'theology'...

For this month, we will explore this most glorious matter from the gospel of Mark primarily. This does require some honest reflection hopefully limiting our predetermined prejudice to a humble, teachable heart. Your thoughts, texts, stories are welcome. If it was a simple matter, we would have wrapped it up years ago. It requires enormous grace, patience and biblical honesty, even if it hurts. Come Lord Jesus and reveal your glory to us...