"Apostolic order without apostolic power is to be questioned. Order based on biblical principle that is lacking biblical power is tragic at best, and deceptive at worst. Order does not exist unto itself. The wineskin exists for the wine. The wine is the focus. All order exists to house God Himself – not to restrict Him, but to accurately express Him.
Wineskins need to flex in order to be useful, because of the expanding nature of the wine in the fermenting process. The Holy Spirit brings constant change, and to house Him means to embrace flexibility as a way of life. The goal is not to create a perfect structure or government. It is to create one that recognizes Him, and flexes with His changes".
I think great strides have been made in the evangelical church in recognising that apostolic ministries do exist - even if the more conservative types don't want to use the word. But the question must be asked - are most modern-day "apostles", apostles of order and not power? If so according to Bill Johnson they must be questioned. "The wine is the focus"! David Holden was speaking at Brighton a few years ago about Ephesians 4 Ministries and he said;
"Apostolic ministry is far more to do with impartation than administration".
So I have taken a stand and expressed my concern about Terry inviting a man like Mark Driscoll to Brighton. (As did Scott). Some people have taken that concern to speculate that I have written Terry off in my mind. I've done no such thing. But what is he upto this year? Is his schedule more to do with "order" than "power"? Terry has graciously become quite transparent on his website and lets us see his diary.
1. Terry began the year by ending a three part series on Elijah at his home base church CCK in Brighton. That series is available here for download. I wrote up the notes of the last session that we attended.
2. On the 29th and 30th January (about right now) Terry is speaking at the FIEC Council Conference. Now this speaks to me of power! Because I grew up in an FIEC church all my life and they were - let me put it nicely - never that enthusiastic about the Holy Spirit. I don't know what he is going to speak about and I don't know whether the sessions will be available. But the fact he is there is a miracle enough. Or is it? Has his ministry suddenly become not a threat to conservative evangelicals now?
3. April 7-10 sees Terry going to speak at New Word Alive Pwllheli accompanying John Piper and Don Carson. My comments remain as above. Is it a miracle? Are the conservatives softening and opening to the fact that things can be learned from charismatics? Or are the charismatics they are welcoming becoming "acceptable"?
4. July of course sees "Together on A Mission" and Mark Driscoll. Power? Or a "feast of the Word"? Or both?
5. But it was the month of October that really caught my eye. Terry leaves the UK for South Africa on the 1st and goes from there to Sydney Australia where he will be based until December. I am guessing (because I don't know) that he will be there to help and assist Peter Brookes and the Newfrontiers push into the South Pacific rim.
That really excites me! What an upheaval but what a commitment to the Great Commission! Many men around Terry's age would or are thinking about retirement, peace, tranquility and "calming down". But the fact that he is so called to his role as a father that he is prepared to go and live on the other side of the world for three months is a real challenge to me. What am I doing to contribute to the Great Mission we are on?
There are many other apostles I could have mentioned and spoken about and I am sure come to your mind.
But in closing let me say again - are you in a position to have apostles over you and benefiting your churches? But are they guilty of apostolic order without apostolic power? Do they exercise and enjoy a form of authority without a father's heart and a father's love? In that case are they really anointed by the Holy Spirit or simply self-appointed and self-exalted? Let's NEVER settle for second best! If God has restored the Ephesians 4 Ministries to the church for the "for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ" then let us be absolutely sure we are relating to men and women of God!