Ray’s preface: Tim provided this article in the form of a comment to the article that I published about a year ago titled, “The Office of Apostle.” I felt that it deserved a more prominent display so I have published it here as an article under Tim’s name. I believe that you will find great value in Tim’s thoughts….
Scripturally there are only two offices in the New Testament Church… The Deacon and the Bishop/Apostle.
A mans work defines him… not a title, education or self-proclamation.
Deacons provided care and oversight of the local congregations as well as facilitating meeting, baptisms, evangelism and other essential ministry.
In keeping with strict Scriptural standard, the Apostle gives himself to the study of the Word and establishing the work, recruiting and empowering deacons, training and appointing those deacons, establishing bishops to the local churches as well as several other clearly identified responsibilities.
In contrast to contemporary teaching on “Five-Fold Ministry,” the work would better be defined as “Five-Fold Relationships.”
Jesus never embraced “positional relationship” outside of “teacher” and “disciple” and even emphasized that responsibility at his parting in Matthew 28.
Paul directed our attention to five essential relationships that God uses “within the Church” to grow and equip believers for successful service in the Kingdom of God. These relationships should never be misconstrued as positions held in organized religion. They are easily identified within the parameters of “two” New Testament offices established in the church.
The “True Follower” of Christ can identify by name the “person” who fills these relationship needs in their life.
- Apostle – establishes the work/has “appointed you to your service” (No man may be self-appointed and be in harmony with the kingdom of God”.) He is the person to whom you are accountable. (There should be only one)
- Prophet – provides guidance for service. He/She is that person through whom you seek or hear God’s direct word and divine purpose. (Most people have several)
- Evangelist – That person whom God uses to reach out to you when you stray from the path or direction for your life. (God may use anyone at any time, even without their knowing, to influence your path)
- Pastor – That person who cares for you and watches over you regardless of your actions or preferences. (Godly Mothers are Perfect Pastors to their children and provide an excellent model of what a pastor really is) (Most people have more than one)
- Teacher – That person whom you have empowered to teach you and train you in the area of your specific service to the Kingdom. (To use this relationship in some generic or general way demeans the measure of importance that Paul gave it by establishing it as ESSENTIAL to the maturity of the disciple.) (You may have MANY)
If you cannot put a name to the man who provides Apostolic relationship for you as well as the others God has placed in your life, I encourage you to seek the Lord until you can.
There is much more here than can be told in a few small paragraphs… I hope that I have stirred the thought of those who read this.