Five-fold (2)

Much debate (more than I was aware of) is going on about the five-fold ministry, especially the apostolic and prophetic ministry. Take a look for example at the discussion around apostolic ministry at Marc’s Messages, the Super-apostle Detector (ironically meant, but with an awful lot of truth in it?) and the Orlando Statement. The sheer fact that such a statement is needed should tell us something is not right. The statement itself I find balanced and wise.
From a distance (not being very familiar with the pentecostal and charismatic movement) I recognise much of what is said in the introduction. I was raised in a ‘cessionalist’ church (the belief that the apostolic and prophetic ministry ceased to exist after New Testament times). In the exact same way as expressed in the Orlando Statement, I believe that those ministries still exist today and should be visible and recognised. But, from what I have observed personally and through others, I have questions about the way many pentecostal/charismatic churches tie the five-fold ministry to the formal leadership in a church. As I said in my previous post, there is a tendancy to think of these five ministries as the leadership framework for a church – if you’re the prophet, you should at least be an elder but probably someone with even more authority. If you’re the apostle, no doubt you’ll head up the whole church.
I’d be very reluctant to automatically link either of these ministries to position. They should be recognised based on their influence or rather their spirit, not on their power. For example: I have seen prophets at work (that is: ministering) in different churches, and I would say that, generally speaking, a prophet should not lead a church. It would end up in a total mess where only vision is being cast and nobody knows what to do today. A recognised ‘lay’ prophet can minister to the church and its leadership and be of great value and influence.
Thinking one step further: the whole point of re-finding the five-fold ministry (particularly the apostolic and prophetic) was to introduce a dynamically balanced leadership model for the church. (Yes, I know, sorry for the unspiritual phrasing – remember that dynamic comes from dunamis = strong wind = Holy Spirit :-)) Many said that there was an overstatement of the shepherding and teaching ministry. Now it seems many are overstating the apostolic and prophetic, thus falling into the same trap of unbalance.
Interestingly, I do not read much on the ministry of the evangelist. Maybe this ministry has been understated throughout the years, without anyone noticing 🙂

3 gedachten over “Five-fold (2)”

  1. i guess i must agree with you here. altough i am from a charismatic background i feel much the same. a possible explanation could be that many christians never develop to a level in their faith that enables them to take positions in church. what i’m saying is that the few that are prophets and such are possibly forced into leadership because of lack of other well developed christians that could take these positions…
    where do i find episode 1 of the five fold post, your archive is to large ‘om door te spitten’ 🙂

  2. Mark just wrote:

    Many said that there was an overstatement of the shepherding and teaching ministry. Now it seems many are overstating the apostolic and prophetic, thus falling into the same trap of unbalance.

    An excellent summary, indeed. These discussions have been going on in the house church circles for several years and your observation is also applicable there. May God teach us!

    Zane Anderson House Church Network

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