Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Looking Back

Apostles exercise authority looking back.

Paul and his colleagues founded many churches by preaching the gospel in a new town, and then moving on to repeat the process once elders had emerged who could care for the new church.

The elders in each of these churches had a strong link with Paul. They were either his spiritual children or spiritual grandchildren. Therefore, they respect him and acknowledged his wisdom. They had been submitted to him when he was an elder and they were new Christians, so they would still respect him, although he had moved on and they have become elders.

The authority of an apostle comes out of relationships. Paul demonstrated this type of authority in his letters. He was able to give direction to the churches because he had a relationship with the people in them. He was the apostle who had established their church. He knew them well and they trusted him.

This authority is completely different from the worldly pyramid model. It does not depend on legal power or position. In contrast, the authority of a bishop comes with an appointment to a position in a legal organisation.

We should note that the Twelve Apostles of Jesus were not a select group, with a special role; they were just the first of many apostles who were sent out to start new churches.

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