On this edition of the White Horse Inn we're continuing our series on sustainable churches, and in this program we're looking at the challenge of super apostles, what kind of pressure is being put on pastors to not be ordinary, to be something extraordinary and what is that doing not only to them but to us, those of us who were expecting them to be spectacles.
Clustering around favorite teachers was a big danger even in the era of the apostles. Disagreement and division over basic doctrine is always tragic but often necessary. Most divisions, then and ever since, are provoked by ambitious people who sow discord in order to draw disciples after themselves.
Well, Paul was wrestling with this even in the churches that he planted. Some of those who at first embraced his gospel with joy became bored by its simplicity. Surely there's got to be more to it than that, and that's exactly where the super apostles came into the picture. These persuasive speakers claim to know secrets far greater than the apostles, especially Paul. Just look at him, Paul is weak and unappealing, without flowery oratory. Paul hardly looked the part of a divine ambassador and how easy it is for us still today to draw people away from the simplicity of the gospel with smooth talk.
Paul said about these super apostles, “for if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus, then the one we proclaimed or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super apostles, even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge. Indeed in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.”
And yet, Paul isn't deterred from his message or his mission, he says, "What I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission, they work on the same terms as we do, for such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles for Christ." Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we look at what an ordinary shepherd is, as someone who knows and cares for the sheep, who faithfully leads them to the waters of life.