Tuesday, 9 May 2017

I Cor.12:28

1. Barnabas was named an apostle, yet we don't know for sure that he saw the Lord. 

The criteria for being one of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, was more than just seeing the Lord. It required accompanying the Lord during His entire ministry beginning at His baptism by John until He ascended up into heaven. 

Paul did see the Lord, he said - but we don't know that Paul met the other criteria. Yet he was named an apostle. 

So even in the early Church, there were different categories of apostles. 

a) Jesus Christ is named the Apostle and high priest of our profession. Obviously He stood in a class of His own, sent by the Father. 

b) The Twelve Apostles of the Lamb stood in a class of their own - they were to be eyewitnesses of Jesus' entire ministry, including of His resurrection and ascension. No-one today qualifies for that class of apostleship. 

c) Others in the New Testament were named as apostles, even though they weren't one of the Twelve. For example, Paul. He saw the Lord, he said. He was used to write part of the New Testament. But it wasn't his role to bear witness to the entire ministry of Jesus, like the Twelve. No-one today stands in quite that class of apostleship either. 

d) The New Testament names others as apostles, we don't know whether they saw the Lord or not, and they didn't write anything that's in the New Testament canon. For example Barnabas. 

So there were apostles even in New Testament times who were in a lesser category of apostleship - and there are still apostles today in that same category, but not in the other categories. But still they are apostles.

2. Prophesying is distinct from preaching and teaching - but still "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". So New Testament prophesying was in connection with the Gospel - and still is.

Like apostleship, there were different classes of prophets in New Testament times.

a) foundational prophets. "The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets..." The foundation has now already been laid, so there are no prophets today in that foundational category. 

b) But the NT also mentioned other prophets whose prophesying needed to be judged by others; 

There still are non-foundational prophets today. And their role is intrinsic to the spread of the Gospel and the planting of new churches. 

3. Yes salvation is a miracle of spiritual healing. But the Bible always meant miracles in a physical sense - OT and NT. The Bible didn't change its own definition.

Physical healing and miracles aid and assist the spread of the Gospel; they follow the Gospel; confirm the Gospel.

4. Yes, explaining the Gospel is something everyone can do, not only apostles and teachers. But still, God set apostles and teachers in the Church. Then, and now. Their role is to equip the saints; for the work of the ministry.

5. You may not have seen tongues follow, but I have - and multitudes others have. 

Jesus Himself wasn't able to do many mighty works in some place. And there were reasons for that. So just because it doesn't happen somewhere, doesn't mean it isn't happening somewhere else. 

But even if neither you nor I are seeing it, that wouldn't change the meaning of Scripture - because our experience (or lack of experience) doesn't dictate the intent of Scripture. Scripture intends what Scripture says.

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