My Apostolic Apology Vol 2 – Leadership Issues

Apologetics is that branch of Theology that deals with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith. Therefore, my Apostolic Apology is in defense of the ongoing development of and the redefining of the episcopacy considering scriptural, biblical, and careful exegetical analysis. I use the term apostolic in its’ root form to refer to the teachings and practices of the early Christian Apostles and their disciples, who we later refer to as Church Fathers.

The continual task we have before us is to define, redefine, and evaluate where we are concerning our position and our commission, considering, scripture, church history, culture, and tradition. So, when we seek to become critical of practices, traditions, and order in the Church, we need a measuring rod (canon) to regulate our discussion. Therefore, I have decided to continue to expound on issues on the complexity of episcopal leadership in the Church today.   

Patriarch

One of the repeated confusing discussions is how church leadership advanced over time in the Early Church. There are those who think the early Apostles ruled as a governing board through the five-fold ministry gifts we see in Eph 4:11, and that a return to that order will fix the issues of the Church world today. But in truth, the office of the episcopacy developed over time as a disenfranchised Church struggled to survive amidst mounting persecution and unpopularity from a corrupt worldview. While others saw a pluralistic board of elders as the answer to the rising corruption of the episcopacy in The Medieval Church period; or maybe either trustees, deacons, or local congregations as the ruling authority in a Church culture for an ongoing solution in Modern times.

The truth is the Early Church was birthed with the power and majesty of The Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Blanketed in a culture of Jewish worship seasons, The Holy Spirit engineered an outpouring during the greatest attendance of Jews to one of their most important major feasts in the 1st century. Amidst the shallow of Pentecost, the Church was birthed along cultural, historical, and traditional religious Jewish customs and rituals of the day. Out of the shadow of Old Testament prophetic announcements, the New Testament Church became a source of spiritual fulfillment of global magnitude. So, Luke records the early struggle of the Church to find identity and purpose while being rejected both within Jewish society and Roman dominance. 

As the Church expanded, so did the need to structure a new leadership model. It was not mandated by any organized vote; it grew out of necessity and complexity as many were being martyred for their Faith. What started in Palestine as small house gatherings was now expanding to large groups in cities all over the Roman empire.

With the deaths of the Apostles and the age of miracles, and the diminishing season of signs and wonders closing, a new leadership mandate in the form of “teachers” began to take root and establish new voices for a shattered Church. From these voices was mandated a new leadership structure. But within the development of the major styles of the episcopal office in the Institutionalized Church since the 3nd century, it has become painfully impossible to have a single code of ethics governing for all episcopates.

However, most of what we see today as episcopal is unfortunately not established along doctrinal truths and true liturgical practices to make them relevant. Whether we are talking about Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican styles or methods, it is really the doctrinal emphasis behind the pomp and circumstances of the literary of worship, not just the performance or traditional practices. As a result. leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ is complex today.

So, where do we go from here? Healing the divisions that divide the church through prayer is a start. I suggest looking for a place called there while we get our attention off the glitter and focus on the substance of the office. Because instead of the “Church” becoming the “Light” it was intended to represent, it became known as a dysfunctional system of what not to do instead of a system of what to do. Maybe a Church-wide overall is in order.

Unity – The Clairon Call

417457_10151051139758349_543927233_nThe mandate for unity and harmony in the body of Christ intensifies more today than ever before. It should be the mandate of leaders on the front line to focus on magnifying the charge for a counter-reformation of holiness and doctrinal soundness in the church for clarity and harmony. We all claim to have the same Holy Spirit but seldom agree on doctrine, fellowship, worship, or qualified leadership. Teaching diversity is not easy when so many of us are judging the book by its cover and not by its’ contents. The problem is we can’t all agree on how to interpret the foundation because we keep looking at 1st century examples through 21st century interpretations.

Since the quest for returning to foundational Christianity has been a distant memory throughout the ages, a cry for the true church of Jesus Christ is a dream instead of a reality. The Western church especially, is bathing in its’ own self success statements to build empires and have forgotten its’ mission call to spread the Gospel into the world, not market the Gospel in its own created spheres of influence.

The question is – “Can we overcome the prejudice and bitterness and misunderstandings that divide us?” Yes, we can. With God, all things are possible, and we know that unity is God’s will for His body. The real question is not, can we? The real question is, will we? That must be answered by each of us as leaders. What is your answer?

So while the level of spiritual warfare has changed to spread demonic activity in our churches through entertainment instead of true worship; and while corruption, deception, and selfishness pollute our worship week after week; what can be done to initiate change and restore the fire back in the church of Jesus Christ today?

Here are some suggested steps.

1. REDEDICATED LEADERS – Every great revival has been initiated by someone acting on their burden for holiness and walking against the grain, isolating       themselves for the infilling of The Holy Spirit without measure. Creating a flame of passion for God, not just a touch from God. Let’s strip the image of a preacher and embrace the character of a servant-leader. Let’s abandon the need for recognition and embrace the yoke of compassion and strength to speak a “BOLD” word from the LORD.

2. REFOCUS ON PURPOSE INSTEAD OF PERSONALITIES – Let’s face it! We all have our opinions on who is or who is not qualified to be in charge or lead some movement. But at the end of the day, none of us have a “Divine” opinion. We need to stop worrying about what leaders call themselves and focus on the message they bring. That’s the judgment call. Is the message not just controversial, but is it transformational? Jesus did not fit the persona of any known leaders of his day, but he led a counter-religious movement that turned the world upside down. We can unite on the message, even if we can’t perceive the messenger is who we would chose.

3. REDICATION OF THE LORD’S HOUSE OF WORSHIP – Simply a reorientation of our vision and mission statements to reflect who we are and what our real purpose is. People will follow what you feed them. The sanctuary is not any pastor’s personal family business; nor your personal retirement program; nor your inheritage to leave. It is The Lord’s safe haven for the people of God. Contaminated use will lessen the power and weaken the structure.

Finally, We need to drop our pride and commit to a sacrifice of “Praise and Purpose.” The pattern is that true intercession comes from strong leadership and true power from unity in purpose and not in competition. The authority of the words of Christ is resting on the credibility of genuine representatives of the Gospel today, not cheap imitators of fashion and fame.