In recent years there have been attempts to recover the term ‘apostolic’ in contemporary church life. As always it’s essential to root yourself in the Biblical texts. Some time ago I heard Andrew Wilson give a talk on apostleship using 1 Corinthians 4:1-21.
5 markers of apostleship
- Apostles are judged by God (1-5)
- Apostles embody humility (6-7)
- Apostles live cross-shaped lives (8-13)
- Apostles father churches through the gospel (14-16) A comment on this one: fatherhood in Paul’s thinking is the one who preached the gospel and saw them saved. There’s no such thing as an apostle who isn’t travelling and preaching the gospel. Apostleship is bound up with reaching new places.
- Apostles have authority over people and churches (17-21) Has the authority to say to people where to go and what to do. Today we can apply that in 3 ways – the office has authority, apostles serve the elders or in the middle – apostles do have authority but it flows from relationship and gospel labour.