Sunday, February 12, 2006
The Glorious Ascension Gifts.
I mentioned yesterday that any Reformed Charismatic Systematic Theology will (or should) have a high view of the validity of the "Ascension Gifts" (John Hosier doesn't like the more commonly used 'Ephesians 4 Ministries' remember) and their essential contribution towards the fact that we are essentially a "Family on a Mission". I think that the role of Apostle and Prophet have generally been made much of in the Christian press, maybe due to only a recent restoration of the use of the term, but this has had the disadvantage of relegating the Evangelist and the Pastor/Teacher to that of second place.
I was walking back from work and had a useful mental image of the Ascension Gifts and how they could be seen as being useful. It was quite unoriginal but it was basically that of building a group of houses and the roles of individuals in building them - bearing in mind it is important to bear in mind the useful understanding that this blogger had concerning them.
1. An Apostle. (Loves the Church) He is the Architect of these houses that are being built. His mentality is unquestionably mobile - therefore he will not get tied down to a particular house, but maintains a deep love for the group of houses he is designing. It is important to get his role correct (something like putting the first buttonhole in a shirt) because get his role wrong, and the others will not be in place properly.
2. A Prophet. (Loves God) He is the Designer of these houses. His passions and feelings are quite subjective and based on the fact that he just "knows" such and such a way looks "right". He will most probably find it most difficult to work on a local level with the pastor/teacher, as both may frustrate the other - therefore if he is to be based (as he must) in a local church context, it is advisable that he is based with an apostle. The apostle understands his "mobility" desires the most, but has the ability to put his creative and prophetic qualities to work on to the broader global benefit of the wider church.
3. An Evangelist. (Loves Non-Christians) He quite simply has the primary job of going to the quarries and blasting out the rocks and shaping them into bricks - nothing more, nothing less! Vital at a beginning level. He too therefore may get frustrated by the business meetings and intricacies of local church life.
4. The Pastor/Teacher. (Loves Christians and Books) He is the brick layer. His passion is to carefully and delicately place one brick on top of the other and see the local house rise - beautifully built and supporting itself well. He may be tempted not to understand why it is important that the houses around him are designed well, and built well. He may also be in danger of bothering the Architect the most, but knows that he needs him desperately.
That picture helped me somewhat to understand that each and every one of the Ascension Gifts were given to the church by the Risen and Ascended Lord for an excellent reason and we need them all! So my prayer is that we see more and more of these released into the church as we look for the growth and accelaration of the Gospel and the glorious Church of Jesus Christ!