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Hi David, I'll make a comment while you're waiting for Oratio to respond.
My question is still that if there are no apostles now (or none known), how can elders be appointed in our churches today?
I think you answered this yourself very well in your earlier post. I think that the saints "know those who labour among them," and can come to a consensus as to who are the elders.
I would like to raise one point however; does not the bible specifically distinguish between pastors and elders? (as in you question)
I'm not sure that it does. I agree with you that the ministries the Lord sets in the church are intended for more than just the one local assembly in which they might be located. But I also think these ministries would also likely be (although perhaps not always) elders in that local assembly.
I recall Ron Bailey on a thread a while ago drawing attention to the passage in Acts 20 where Paul is speaking to the elders of Ephesus.
And I will quote it from my Interlinear: "Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock wherein the Holy Spirit did set you overseers, to shepherd the assembly of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20.28).
We see here that the elders are exhorted to shepherd, that is, to pastor, the flock of God... So the elders were shepherds, pastors. And at the same time, they were, as shepherds would be, watching over their flocks. So these elders were also overseers, the word usually translated "bishops."
The apostle Peter also called himself an elder in 1 Pt. 5.1. But perhaps here there is a sense in which he, as an apostle, was an elder not over just one local church-- I am treading on dangerous ground here-- but over many churches. But in the same breath, the word here is "fellowelders." In other words, one among many: he did not consider himself to be the chief elder.
The apostle John also called himself an elder. "The elder unto the elect lady..." (2 Jn. 1).
| 2010/11/13 19:11||Profile|
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I guess I did not catch it. Who said there are no Apostles today? There certainly are no Apostles that are writing new revelation of God's Word. That has been finished and delivered unto the Saints once and for all.
But, if Apostles are part of the 5-fold ministry, where does it say they "died out"? Does that mean that pastors, evangelist, prophets and teachers also died out?
When I think of and Apostle, I certainly don't think of the self-appointed guys on TV, or anyone that comes out of Kansas City, Toronto or Pensacola, etc., etc.
When I think of Apostles today, I think of people like Watchman Nee, Prem Pradhan, Richard Wurmbrand. People that suffered immensely for the Lord, raised up many elders and local churches and did not draw men to themselves or money to their bank account. They lived simply, spoke softly yet walked in the demonstrable power of the Holy Spirit.
America is the Laodicean church and this kind of church has thousands of false apostles. And just because we don't see or know them, does not mean that true Apostles are not existing and functioning in the Body of Christ.
I would venture to guess that of all the people that we have on Sermon Index, someone knows someone that knows about a self-effacing man of God who is quietly doing God's work in God's way. True Apostles don't advertise and don't have publicists. No marketing department and no CFO to handle the tons of greenbacks coming in.
An Apostle is the least of all men not the greatest. The false church will not give a true Apostle one minute of their time, because they aren't flashy, don't dress in nice suits or drive expensive cars and one of the most important prerequisites is to have the very important talent to FLATTER. They don't flatter and that right there will not get them invited to many functions.
Come to think of it, aren't normal christians suppose to be like this? Lord help us in the church of Laodicea.
Isa 1:9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
| 2010/11/13 19:32|
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Thanks adisciple for your full reply, very clear.
| 2010/11/13 19:33||Profile|
Whittier CA USA
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davidc, ADisciple gave the answers I would have given had I been online to see your questions. Thanks for covering for me ADisciple;)
pilgrim777 you make some convicting statements about advertising. But would you not agree that the Lord has used men who did some advertising in mighty ways to awaken His Church to vital truths that were almost lost? One brother who comes to mind is Ray Comfort. The Lord has clearly used him to bring back the biblical gospel that brings conviction of sin and true repentance. And he has done quite a bit of advertising on TV with his program. Is it really sinful to go on the airwaves like that to get the message across?
Also, with regard to Apostles, does not Scripture make it clear that there were certain criteria that had to be met to qualify, such as seeing the risen Lord? That's why I do not believe there are Apostles with a capital A today. But Scripture does seem to make it clear that there were other apostles with a lower case a in the first century, such as Barnabas and Silas.
| 2010/11/13 20:10||Profile|
Son Of Thunder i come from a land down under, due south at the bottom of your work globes
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I tell - it just as i see it! I dont get into the semantics of words and debating of (exact) definitions of words. However that said: Jots and tittles of the law though must never be compromised. I try not to answer people back or some critic ... or put energy into personal debates. I just dont see the point of it! For If what was written is sound and Bible it doesnt need to be defended! especially by me! personally i dont believe in debating the bible or the arguning of the scriptures per se. ( i have well documented this in the past) What (people do or dont do) with the word i submit is considered by me ... up to them (to judge) If therefore i lose "respect" and "honour" from you because of this...that is your call - my friend. You are under absolutely no obligation to read anything i say or write. Therefore If my lack of particapation offends you or gives rise to point of stuumbling. That is what i consider to be your problem (and not mine ) do pastors and preachers stand around after a service defending and debating with the congregation - what they just delivered? there might be some isolated incidences ...granted. But for the most part. like pilate said " what i have written - i have written " and he didnt succumb to mob pressure or group conformity on the day to change his wtitten words! From what ive observed few (if any) have the guts to confront a pastor face to face if they didnt appreciate or agree with what was said. Neither do i see them standing around to debate the pros and cons ...of that which he just delivered. On the internet you can say what you want and Not have to look the same person in the face. The other thing you should know is my wife is presently in hospital recovering from surgery. My time is limited in betwen visitations to hospital. So i would say to you "judge not after the appearance" or "after the flesh" You dont know all the reasons or circumstances that are often going on in a persons individual life. You could be judging harshly without knowing all the facts or knowledge of reasons why. We need to Be careful.. about this
Scripture cautions and warns against despising someone else that is a brother and also believes in Christ - just because we dont Do things the way we believe they ought too
| 2010/11/13 20:16||Profile|
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Yeah, that would be ridiculous to say advertising in itself is bad.
I am talking about men that lead men to themselves rather than the Lord. Men with selfish ambition building their own kingdoms. Advertising is a big part of their machine.
| 2010/11/13 20:17|
Whittier CA USA
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got it pilgrim. Also, I edited my last post and added something on "Apostles".
| 2010/11/13 20:20||Profile|
Whittier CA USA
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sonofthunder, if you notice in my post addressed to you, I did not state anything as a matter of fact about you for your lack of engagement. I was simply asking because it seemed a little odd that you did not reply at all in the last thread you posted. But either way I deeply apologize for even asking or almost assuming something that was not true about you. And my condolences go out to you in your situation with your wife. I will pray for you both.
In His grace,
| 2010/11/13 20:31||Profile|
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Yeah, I can go with apostles with a small "a".
Also, in a fellowship of believers, I believe "elders" are recognized organically. It seems when there is no apostle around with a small "a", that the Apostle and High Priest of our confession (Heb 3:1) has a way of appointing elders. That is the way it is in our fellowship. We know those that labor among us and those that are spiritually mature. When you are in close relationship with people, it is hard not to know who the "elders" are.
What I appreciate about the elders among us is that they are just regular brothers and they are so very, very approachable, just like a regular brother should be. They don't go for the prominent seats, or insist that they be heard, on the contrary they are always encouraging others to share what the Lord has deposited in them.
It is nothing different than a family. I always bring us back to that model, because that is what God's family is like, too.
As a father, I encourage my kids to speak and share their heart and I don't have them sit at attention while I speak. How much more should we encourage Believers who all have the Spirit of God, to share their portion of the Lord with His Body.
We shortchange and cheat one another when we leave it up to one man to lead and share and teach. What a travesty!!
What a perversion of headship!
| 2010/11/13 21:25|