Friday, August 10, 2007

Ern Baxter's Notes on Apostles

From Dr Ern Baxter's Personal Notes Archive

A. Apostles

1. A subject so evidently far removed from modern matters must at first seem unimportant.
2. However while the word itself seems "dated" it has modern assumed equivalents which make the subject extremely important to all who are interested in Christian things.

  • The Pope claims to be Peter's successor and the Church's chief apostle on earth.

  • The Episcopal system claims Apostolic succession and the Bishops, while called by a different name, assume apostolic prerogative.

  • Mormons have their apostles.

  • Pentecostalism from the days of Irving, in modern times, have had various outbursts of apostolic claims.

3. Note: All of the above forms of apostolic claim carry with them an authoritarianism (all the way from organized system to charismatic disorder) which is opposed to what we feel the Scriptures teach, and out of which has developed most, if not all our religious ills.

4. Important: If the claims of Rome, Episcopacy or Mormanism are correct, then thousands of professing Christians stand in soul damning delusion, or at least are outside of the "true church".

B. Meaning of the Word "Apostle".

a. "Apostolos" - "One sent forth" - "A delegate, messenger".

b. 79 times in the New Testament (68 in Luke, Acts and Paul).

C. Use of the Word.

1. Applied to Jesus (Hebrews 3:1) - Note how often Jesus spoke of being "sent" from God into the world.

2. Applied to "The Twelve" (Matt 10:1-4, Luke 6:12-16, 22:14, Acts 1:2, 26, 2:37, 42, 43, 4:33, 35-37 - Latter Rain practice - 5:12, 29, 8:1, 14, 9:26, 27, Revelation 21:14).

3. Applied to Paul (Romans 1:1, 11:13, 1 Corinthians 1:1, 9:1, 2, 15:8, 9, 2 Cor 1:1, 12:12, Gal 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Col 1:1, 1 Tim 1:1, 2:7, 2 Tim 1:1, 11, Tit 1:1).

4. Applied to Barnabus (Acts 14:14).

5. Applied to others.

  • Titus (2 Cor 8:23) - Messengers of the Churches.

  • James (Galatians 1:19)

  • Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25)

  • Adronicus and Junia (Romans 16:7)

  • Sylvanus and Timothy (1 Thess 2:6)

6. Applied to Anyone who is "Sent" - John 13:16 - "The servant is not greater than his Lords, neither is HE THAT IS SENT (the apostle) greater than he that sent him".

D. The Official Apostles - "The Twelve".

1. Chosen from Other Disciples.

  • Matt 10:1-4 - "And when He had CALLED unto Him His TWELVE DISCIPLES, He gave THEM power ... Now the names of the twelve apostles are these ...

  • Mark 3:13-19 - " ... He ORDAINED TWELVE, that THEY should be with Him and that He might send THEM forth to preach ...".

  • Luke 6:12-16 - "... of His disciples He chose TWELVE, whom also He named APOSTLES ...".

  • Acts 1:2 - " ... the apostles He had chosen".

2. Qualified for their Special Work.

  • Acts 1:22 - "One must be a WITNESS of His resurrection".

  • Acts 5:31, 32 - "Jesus hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and Saviour ... and WE are His WITNESSES of these things".

  • Acts 10:40, 41 - "Him God raised up the third day and shewed Him openly; NOT TO ALL THE PEOPLE but unto WITNESSES CHOSEN BEFORE OF GOD, even to us who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead".

  • Acts 13:30, 31 - "But God raised Him from the dead; and He was SEEN ... who are His WITNESSES unto the people".

  • Acts 22:14-15 - "And Ananias said "The God of our fathers hath CHOSEN thee".

  • Acts 26:16 - "I HAVE APPEARED UNTO THEE for this purpose, to MAKE THEE a minister and a WITNESS".

  • Corinthians 15:8-10 - "And last of all HE WAS SEEN OF ME also as of one born out of due time".

  • 1 Corinthians 9:1 - "Am I not an apostle? ... Have I not SEEN JESUS?".
3. Specially Authorised and Inspired.


"The concept of authority has become one of the most controversial notions of modern times. Authoritarianism in religion and oppressive authoritarianism in fascitisic and communistic states have contributed largely to a distaste for authority. YET THE INFORMED MAN KNOWS THAT ANARCHISM IS AN EMPTY DREAM AND THAT UNCHECKED INDIVIDUALISM IS BUT INVERTED SLAVERY ... Liberty to determine one's own life is considered one's own life is considered a precious heritage but liberty carried to license evokes disgust. EVERY SOCIETY IS CAUGHT IN THE ANTINOMY OF AUTHORITY AND LIBERTY" - Bernard Ramm.

a. Defining Authority - "That right or power to command action or compliances or to determine belief or custom, expecting obedience from those under authority, and in turn giving responsible account for the claim to right or power" - Ramm.

b. Kinds of Authority.

  • Imperial - "That power possessed by persons or ruling bodies by reason of superior position such as that of a king, the general of an army, the president of a firm ... the right to rule and prescribe because of the superior position of the ruling person or group" - Ramm.

  • Delegated - "Imperial authority must chop up its power into smaller pieces and hand them down to other men and other bodies. Delegated authority is the authority to act in virtue of right granted by imperial authority".

  • Veracious - "The authority of veracity or truth".
c. The Authority of Jesus Christ.

  • His Authority - Imperial and Veracious. "It is imperial because of the position, excellence and rank of His Person as the Son. It is veracious because He is the Truth, for being the Truth He is an absolutely veracious Person" - Ramm.

  • His Authority - Universal and Final. "All power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth ... I am with you ALWAYS even unto the END of the age".

  • His Authority - Delegated and Defined - "Go ye therefore and teach all nations ... all things whatsoever I have commanded you".

  • His Authority - Recognized and Defended - "If we keep His commandments ... ".
d. The Authority of the Apostles.

  • Stated by our Lord - (Matthew 16:19) - "I will give unto thee the KEYS OF THE KINGDOM".
  • Claimed by the Apostles - (1 John 1:1-4) - We can only know Christ through the witness of the Apostles as that "witness" is recorded for us in Scripture.

  • Other Scriptures - (1 Corinthians 2:12, 13) - "But which the Holy Ghost teacheth". (1 Cor 2:16) - "the MIND OF CHRIST".
"The apostles exercised authority by virtue of a power they conciously possessed in themselves, independent of any church or church council. The power and authority to command, to ordain and to judge in the churches, they derived not from the church, nor from church council nor from the apostolate but DIRECTLY FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT" - Kuyper.

"I am not obliged to obey Paul because he is clever or exceptionally clever but I must submit to Paul because HE HAS DIVINE AUTHORITY" - Klerkegaard.

e. The Signs of an Apostle.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:12 - "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in SIGNS and wonders, and mighty deeds".

  • J B Phillips Translation - "You have had an exhaustive demonstration of the power God gives a genuine Messenger in the miracles, signs and works of spiritual power that you saw with your own eyes".
Note: If a sign is an "event" in which faith sees spiritual significance then Paul is referring to these things which were wrought through him which signified his true apostleship in the highest terms. The "signs, wonders and powers" which were wrought by him would be of such kind and scope as to point to his right to claim that "in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostle".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's a very helpful broader picture to the whole Apostles issue. Far better than the comment Ali Mclauclan left just taking the traditional view. However I do wish that Ern had moved on to apply the truths to the question as to whether apostles have a ministry today and what that entails. Does he do that?

Dr S A J B