“The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles.”
Nothing much has changed, there is still division. People are still taking sides but from within the Church. You see though we look at this verse and see a city divided, it actually reveals something new and it is the new that causes division today. This is the first time that Paul and his team are called apostles. Apostleship has caused walls of division for generations. By the second century the title Apostle had been replaced by Popes, Archbishops, bishops and other hierarchical titles. Interestingly it was in that century that mission began to wane.
In the early church apostles: had witnessed the resurrection of Christ and were sent by Him into the world.
- Some say there were only 12 apostles. The only apostle gifting we have today are their writings.
- Some say that there were more than 12 in fact the Bible would certainly indicate this with names not well known stated as holding the title, Andronicus and Junias in Romans 16 and even Jesus is given the title in Hebrews 3 because he was sent by the Father.
- Some like my friend in Cote D’Ivoire hold the title apostle within his denomination because he has been a pioneer planting many churches.
- Some say the apostles today possess exactly the same authority as those of Paul and the like.
- Some say apostles exist but the Apostle doesn’t, meaning the gift but not the authority of the office.What do I say? I just think people like to take sides. They like to debate and argue. I would much prefer we got on with the mission at hand.
- What do you say?
- Let us initiate new works to bring people to Jesus.
- Let us keep going to places where there is no church and plant one.
- Let us release the pioneers again, to blaze a trail that all the gifts of the church can then follow.
- Let us continue to raise up new leaders and new gifts within the church.
- Let us see more spiritual fathers building strong relational churches.
- Let us see church structures support callings and not the other way round.
If these things are done then we will continue to benefit from apostleship no matter what side we sit on.