Tuesday, February 22, 2011

#225-Not the 21st Century

(Picture of Egyptian Revolution)
Here is "Judas" by Depeche Mode...it's so apt for a good listen right now. (Also when is someone going to put 2 and 2 together and realize the album "Songs of Faith and Devotion" by Depeche Mode is stock full of songs worthy of being turned into worship songs)...

I heard about a church service Sunday wherein the preacher preached that the revolution that occurred in Egypt was described as a result of the curse of Pharaoh as described in the book of Exodus. The sermon apparentely went on to talk about what happened in Egypt was at the heart of the ever emerging New World Order because the newly democratic Egypt was allowing Iranian ships into it's canals. Obviously I am missing some gaps in information, but at one point the preacher did rail on the new government which came about from the revolution. And allegedy the "new democracy" was against God's Will. The bottom line of the message seemed to be the tying in of the event of Egypt with the End Times.

I don't even know.

I'm just glad i wasn't there. Had I been, it would not have been out of the realm of possibility to leave the sanctuary, get in my car, and drive it headlong through the church walls to interrupt the sermon in the name of the Egyptian Revolution.

But isn't it just like us to take a revolutionary act of freedom, overthrowing a fascist dictator, as they did in Egypt and put some End Times spin on it?

Instead of celebrating one of the first wars ever in the middle East that had nothing to do with religion, and rather was simply over the freedom of the people themselves (kinda like the American Revolution), we Biblicized the event to something that will make us live in more anxiety as the preacher pointed to the revolution and presence of Iranian ships in the canal as evidence of the Last Days.

And yet more, instead of living in the present and engaging it, we find ourselves twisting the present events (such as the Egyptian Struggle) as an indicator of the future coming doom of Revelation if one is not saved?

Is this not the state of many Apostolics who want to ignore the commands of acting now in the state of things as they are and trying to militantly overthrow the powers of evil that Paul talked about in Ephesians and instead choose to "maintain and conserve" as the holy people we are in order to be prepared for when God comes back?

In other words, in our inability to fully be "in this world but not of this world" we choose to resign ourselves and opt to look forward to some horrible time in the future where 1/3 of mankind will die according to the book of Revelation.

So what Being Apostolic has come to mean in some sense is "look at the past for our Identity" and look to the future where "we will be proven right," and in the mean time preach against anything that tries to do anything in the name of God outside of preaching holiness, the Oneness of God, going door knocking to witness, reading your bible, and praying?

Yes, I am exaggerating this point, but is it not a bid odd that to Be Apostolic means looking ahead to an Apocalypse, and looking backwards to the early 20th century, but hesitantly looks to what we are doing now (of course, we do have missionaries abroad, but that says nothing about us here in America)?

How much do we have to hate people outside our "Full Truth" to prefer to "preserve" ourselves for the rapture that could come at any moment than risk our lives for the people in need right now?

Let me restate that: I will grow out my hair, and wear a skirt, and willingly go to hell if it would somehow save 5 people for heaven. Of couse that is not realistic, but my point is, if holiness standards are keeping people from believing the Acts 2:38 message, then i will forsake my own Identity of holiness standards for the sake of others. This is what I mean when I say An Apostolic Identity should be Identityless: We should be more hungry to redeem that which is broken and lost than we should be to "maintain" our Identity and the distinctions that implies. It's not that I am saying we need to lose standards at all, but rather if our distinctions are causing us to "be saved" but at the same time are putting us in a state of complacency to which our witness is not acting with urgency to recover the Lost during this "time that remains" then I would argue forsaking that which causes us to be complacent in our proclamations of the Full Truth is entirely what it means to be Apostolic.

As one teacher I highly respect remarked, "Being holy does not mean simply to be taken out of the trash of sin and made clean and then to remain clean until judgment day. Rather, being holy means to be taken out of the trash of sin and made clean then to go right back into the Garbage Dump to pull others out of the same trash heap you came from."

Being Apostolic to me then is not about who we are. But rather what are we doing. This is where it may get uncomfortable. But if someone says they have the "Full Truth" and Jesus inside their soul, then the active urgency to redeem and save that such a declaration implies ought to be present.

This is why Christmas Card pictures of smiling preachers with their smiling familes in lavish homes makes me nauseaus. Their example of being Apostolic is that one can make a nice living being holy, and running around the country preaching to other APostolics about us being Apostolic. Because if their identity is defined by the Apostolic Movement's past, and Acts 2:38 says we can be saved later on in the future for eternity, we mind as well enjoy ourselves here on earth in the present with no worries other than having some good messages to preach and some good anointing along with it...

But I will take the drunkard who finds himself at the altar twice a month on his knees crying out to God with tears rolling down his face, knowing he isn't good enough yet before I will take such an Apostolic Evangelist.

Give me the Acts 2:38 man in the midst of the mess finding himself amidst controversy for his "compromises" as he tries to witness than a man with a nice, freshly mowed lawn studying the book of Psalms for his message on Sunday.

We aren't in Kansas anymore. This is a certainty. So how dare some of us live in a miniature Kansas amidst such chaos?

Prov. 14:4-"Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox."

As this rant ends, let's go back to my original point....how much of our message is focused on the past and the future, and doesn't look to the "Now" and the world around us (so much so that present day news events are only paid attention to if we can fit it into some awful interpretation of Revelation)....

Is not such past/future mentalities a symptom of our inability to keep up with today's world? So much so that we have to live out a sci-fi fantasy or live in the tombs of those who have died before us in order to cope with ourselves and the world around us.
This scene is eerily similar to an episode of the old Twilight Zone, called "Walking Distance" wherein a salesman is down on his luck and can only find his escape of joy in the nostalgia of his past. In this episode the main character is somehow transported back to the time when he was a child, but he himself remains the adult. While he takes joy in this miraculous opportunity to live in the age of his innocense, the "past" is not so ready to accept him. Simply put, the man doesn't fit in and causes disturbances amongst his family and the townspeople (and even his own childhood self that he encounters).

The following scene is the conclusion of the episode where we will see the dad talk to his son as an adult encouraging him to leave the land of "cotton candy and merry go rounds." I think it is very apt representation of what I think we should take to be the voice of our Apostolic Pioneers (the Dad) talking to us Apostolics who are transfixed on maintaing the Identity of a time and culture that has passed us for several decades now (you only need to watch the first two minutes)-

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#224-Apostolics who preach to themselves about what we want to tell ourselves about history

Okay Okay...I know what you are thinking...Because I am thinking it too...With my recent posts about Apostolic Identity, Heritage, and now history, I am trying to once again tear down the UPC and am trying to destroy something because it does not fit my desires for the denomination i grew up in. In short, the accusations that I would be accusing me of right now is that I am back to my old Apostolic Diva ways that does what he wants when he wants and says what he wants to say whenever he pleases because this is his blog and the Lord is on his side...

In short i am kinda like the guy that shows up towards the end of this clip, and every other Apostolic is the guy saying "Don't!"

Naturally, I'm going to say it's a little more complicated than that..

Simply because, if I wanted this movement to fail, I would not have this blog whatsoever. I would remain silent. I am fully convinced the best plan of action for those who have a righteous gripe with any movement or church and want to see the organization fail...they should do nothing or at least vacate the premises quietly. For without an enemy to project the problems of the movement/church (which we all have since no organization is perfect) against, the organization/church would go into itself and realize it's own inconsistencies and fall apart within. This is not a problem unique to the UPC, but is true regarding every organization or party within the world (if there is no bad guy from the "outside" to preach as the source of the problems, then the only answer would be to look in the mirror and see that the source of the problems was not "the world," "culture," "Satan," or "emergents" but rather from within itself). But since I am not for such destruction, I am speaking up. I do have hope for us yet and even hope for myself....It's a bright and shiny day....So I do not mind being thought of as "the problem" or "the enemy" in my critiques...and perhaps in the process, help renovate the inner-piping of our movement if you will...


Going with the same current of the last two posts (and a slight reminder of what i am arguing):

Paul (whose name literally means "small") claims that he will only boast in the Cross alone and not in religious distinction, etc...If being Apostolic means to not be defined by history or culture, then it is not to be defined apart from Christ himself. And this is precisely the Apostolic Identity I will boast in.

Our Past:
This is why I find our pioneers entirely Apostolic in their nature. They aren't concerned with legitimizing their beliefs before the judges of history via prooftexting. Andrew Urshan did not try to justify the Oneness position (which he called the this position a "TriUnity") against history via rhetorical games, but counted it as revelation from God alone. Of course I think the Oneness position is found within the Bible, but when all of Christian history has proclaimed the trinity, what grounds did Urshan and his peers have to base their claims when they saw the revelation of Jesus Name? They were simply without a home to which they could base their claim in the first quarter of the twentieth century. And this became all the more pertinent when the Assemblies of God cast out all Oneness ministers from their organization in 1916 (or 1917, i can't recall). How can one defend themselves when their own brothers in the Assemblies of God fellowship (the only fellowship most of the Oneness ministers had known) have expelled them from their midst?

Was not the position (which was positionless) of our first Oneness Apostolic Pioneers such as Howard Goss, G.t. Haywood, and Andrew Urshan the same kind of position of the Biblical Apostles continually prosecuted against by the first century Jews (without the violence of course)? This is Apostolic Identity. And it was entirely sad, but also entirely revolutionary. Because when one is not focused on reaffirming creeds, reestablishing dogma, and taking pride in a sub-culture, then it is HERE that the Holy Ghost Can work freely because the believer has cast all premonitions aside and said "Thy will be done."

This is why I argue that if we are to recapture the Apostolic Identity of our Apostolic Pioneers, we need not be focused on maintaining the exact doctrine of those in the early 20th century century whose own beliefs were cultivated for their own culture in their own time not cognizant of history (because that would be unApostolic) to which we unfairly pick and choose that which we want to keep and want to throw away, but rather, shaking off Christian history's centuries "progressed" ritualized history (e.g. baptism at 8 days old, the trinity, etc...), an Apostolic Identity recaptures the urgency of now.

Not only is it wrong to reference the authority of the Apostolic pioneers by definition of what being Apostolic means ("to not listen to the haunting whispers of history"), but the proper question of honoring our Apostolic pioneers then is not "what of their Apostolic faith still works today and what can be thrown out?" But rather, the proper question is "what would our Apostolic Pioneers be saying to us if they lived with us today?"

This is why I am appalled at a few instances I have observed where people become disappointed in the "liberal compromising" of some of the sons of past UPC heavyweights who have passed away. Typically what goes on is some fundementalist Apostolic speaks of the "rebellious son" as disappointing their father who was firm on their holiness standards, etc....

I am not kidding, i have seen this or heard of such rhetoric several times! I seriously want to take such fundamentalist Apostolics by their ear like I am a 50 year old mother hearing her teenage son swear and walk them right into the bathroom and wash their mouth out with soap....

Because when people are telling "liberal Apostolics" that they're dad would be disappointed in them, they are not only being UnApostolic by trying to use history as a means of persuasion, but they are also admitting how stupid they were to confuse the rhetoric of the dead Preacher that was shaped by their own unique culture and time as who the Preacher was in his essence. When a Liberal Apostolic says they are working in honor of their father, and do so with some doctrinal alterations, they may not be lying. Because they may have understood something about their father and his personality that other people had missed. The son saw daddy at home. The Fundamentalist Christian saw a man doing a professional job over the pulpit so that he could put food on the table for his son.

Now go back and read that last paragraph and where I refer to "Liberal Apostolic/ son" replace that with "CHristian" and where I mentioned Father, replace that with God. And where i mentioned "fundementalist apostolic," think "first century Sadducee/Pharisseee" and you will see what i am getting at.

And no i am not doing the typical "all apostolics are legalists and pharissees" rhetoric.

A true Apostolic Identity doesn't tell itself stories about itself to itself. Nor is it concerned with preservation and a few church invites along the way. Most importantly, it is not concerned with history. Because, if Paul became so caught up in showing that Jews that Christianity was entirely Jewish and the proper fulfillment of Jewish history, he would never have forgotten about witnessing to the Gentiles. Rather an Apostolic Identity is concerned only with the present since the history of man has been turned on it's head at the cross where God died.

Perhaps a better idea of what I think an Apostolic Identity should be thought of (and it's Identity without an Identity), look to a quote from Rosenzweig about his description of the identity of a Jew today, "In Judaism, man is always somehow a survivor, an inner something, whose exterior was seized by the current of the world and carried off while he himself, what is left of him, remains standing on the shore. Something
within him is waiting."

In this regard, the Apostolic separation from the world is two-fold: 1) Separation From one's world (e.g. being a foreigner without a home here on earth), but also a 2) Separation from one's self ("the exterior was seized by the current of the world and carried off while he himself, what is left of him remains standing on the shore").

This is where an Apostolic Identity is identityless: Since we have been buried in Christ with baptism, the pride in one's "Christianity" or "Apostolicness" is completely unwelcome within our midst, since Christianity is no longer about us in who we are or tell ourselves we are, and the "Full Truth" we possess, but rather we have no claim to such nonsense since all the redemption is not in and of ourselves but it is God's business....

Don't take my words out of context. I am not saying that we need to get rid of the various doctrines within our movement from an antinomian stance. Rather our doctrines MUST be biblically based and also mindful that even the Biblical writers wrote within their own culture and thus had some of their own adaptations that were not meant to be universal (e.g. Paul twice mentioning that women are to be silent in church and they cannot teach). Whether or not our past ministers of our movement wore tutus or suits to church should have no bearing on our Apostolic Identity today, since of course to argue otherwise would be to argue for tradition instead of the Bible.

Example: Beard-
Many will point to the time in history when facial hair was considered rebellious and thus the movement rightfully added the "no facial hair" clause in the 1960's (similar to Paul adding "women shouldn't talk in church" clause because it would have offended non-believers if they ever visited church)...and then within the same breadth the same people who talk of the time when facial hair was rightfully banned will say they don't think it's a sin today.

So here an Apostolic Identity should instinctively say that since it implies that we are not bound by history, facial hair should be freely allowed, and if people get offended then it is because they have misidentified a temporal cultural ethic (no facial hair) as being dogmatic law.....

WE CANNOT EVEN BE IN CONVERSATION WITH THIS MINDSET...WE CANNOT TOLERATE IT. IF ANYONE REFERS TO ROMANS 14, show them a picture of bearded Jesus. And then mention Bearded Jesus died for that person's sins so they be free from the Law of Sin and in return we are to love our brother as ourselves and such love shouldn't have anything against Jesus' beard or a brother who wants to play the drums and also maintain his gender distinction as a male by having facial hair....

Again, the common response to facial hair is "it may not be wrong in itself, but it will offend the congregation so we shouldn't..."

In other words: "well this is a man-made law that really doesn't matter, but it still matters..and after all Paul said not to offend your brother...so we're sorry, but we're going to have to impose this law which we all know really isn't a law."

And thus loving your neighbor really means "sacrifice yourself young ones and lay down your will to have beards (or to wear shorts, etc...) so you can demonstrate that you love your neighbor and your brothers in church is greater than yourself. But as for those who would get offended by facial hair...well they have been in church a really long time and...you haven't...*cough*...well for the love of God please don't find out that General Conference approved of facial hair on the platform two years ago..."

(I would have tried ending this on a happy, lest angry note, but it would have been a deceit on my part and thus disloyal to you the reader....)

Coming Friday- Apostolic Nostalgia complete with a clip from the Old Twilight Zone

Friday, February 11, 2011

#223-Apostolic Heritage (and a course in semi-bad logic)...

To continue with a well intentioned critique of our movement and what Apostolic Identity has come to represent which began in the previous post, let us look now at the History of Our Movement in the Twentieth Century and it's impact on our Identity...

I would need more than two hands to count the number of services that have defended the need for conservation of the Apostolic Tradition via those who have led us here (e.g. "We keep the tradition because it's part of our Identity which was slaved over by those who paved the way for us. Thus we cannot vacate this Hard-Earned Identity Now!")....Generally then, those who preach the need of "carrying the mantle" and "staying the course" preach as if they are certain the history of our movement is on their side....sometimes speaking right in line with the pioneers of our movement, and sometimes butchering the message of those who spoke before us who are rolling over in their grave because their message is being taken out of context....

I love our heritage. I really do. I could lecture at a given instant for a good 15 minutes or so upon request about what I admire about our "Apostolic Pioneers" and how I am in awe at times as I read about their struggles with grasping the revelation of our Truth.

However, I can't help but wonder how these Apostolic Giants from our past would reply to their identities being talked of by us as a Catholic would talk about a Saint. Would it be something similar to Paul's "Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you" response in ACts 14 to the crowds declaring him and Barnabas, "gods?"

But I may be overstating it here....

What I cringe about though is a Pastor's sermons regarding the need to carry the tradition of our past when our very movement was not based on tradition, but rather going directly against Tradition itself. The rise of Pentecostalism in the early 20th century was revolution in it's own right that warred against the fundamentalist tendencies of the time which believed miracles and gifts of the spirit (such as tongues) were no longer available today.

But an even more rebellious stand was made by the Oneness Pentecostals (e.g. Urshan, Ewart, etc...), as they rejected the Trinity, which kind of had upwards of 1650 years of tradition behind it.
I can recall being in a few sessions about doctrine and the person leading the session would quote books from the 1800's of other movements such as the Methodists reading about the modesty of dress and the need for separation of gender and what not, and the session leader was saying that we as Apostolics are more in line with the traditions of doctrine in other movements than the movements themselves currently are....And on the same note the session leader would say our doctrine has centuries of evidence of it's acceptance behind it...longer than our movement had been around...

Every time I hear such logic i want to slam my forehead against a cactus and let the blood from the damage of the cactus needles drip down my forehead as the session leader continues to speak...just to...you know...change things up a little....

Because the reason we are Apostolic is because we are not Methodist....and history....or evidence of traditions through the centuries speaks nothing to us....Because more importantly, while the Methodists of the 1800's may have had similar standards that we do that they have since lost, there is a canyon of difference in our core theologies outside the standards: Primarily, they believed in the Trinity. We do not. We believe in Baptism in Jesus Name. They do not.

So if one wants to demonstrate the power of tradition as a source of argumentation, they cannot logically do so by picking and choosing which points of similarity they will source for their argument, when our entire theological core contradicts at other points, and further once again, to be Apostolic means the loss of power to the voices of history.....So why would we try playing that game?

I know i am being harsh, and I prayed about these past two posts believe you me. But if our movement is going to maintain and even grow, some inconsistencies have to find the exit door now or within the next 15 minutes (I'm looking at you "argument against facial hair").
The other difficulty is the obvious statement that we are in a different culture now than we were 50 years ago and we must adjust our methods accordingly without compromising the Message itself. And we do so...

-Back then, bowling alleys were a no no. Bowling Alleys are generally accepted these days within our movement (though you will never find me in one because I have a personal conviction against them which really means I personally hate the sport of bowling and was looking for a good excuse not to have to go them).

-Movie theaters, while generally not allowed, are becoming more and more popular as acceptable venues for some churches to allow their congregation to attend as a point of relaxation, etc... (and the realization that Make outs don't happen there ever)....

-Shorts are about as acceptable as movie theaters (maybe even more acceptable)...

-Somehow pajama pants for ladies have slipped in the back door as permissible even though the argument for them is entirely self-contradictory and more problematic than any of the above objects of debate listed above.

What I am getting at...is if we are preserving the Apostolic Identity as much as we say....but at the same time allowing some freedoms via cultural expectations, etc... Are we not just dictating what the definition of the Apostolic Identity of our Heritage is according to how it fits our own lifestyles/church cultures, etc...To clarify, if I was a Pastor and I said "Maintain distinctions because that is what we are asked to do by our movements forefathers," what those distinctions are is completely up to my discretion. Thus I can say "men wear pants because that's part of our identity" and at the same time say "I don't think there is anything wrong with our youth going to a bowling alley or someone having facial hair on the platform" even though facial hair and bowling alleys were not allowed in past generations by our movement's forefathers. I hope you see the contradiction at this point: History as an authority to our distinctions (as problematic as it is for us to use such rhetoric) does not determine Apostolic Identity, but we are simply determining Apostolic Identity in the Name of history since we are picking and choosing what is and is not taboo in our culture.
Come Back On Tuesday for more...Yes, it's already written....I promise it will be there...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#222-Apostolic Identity

I have nothing new to say. That is why I have stopped writing for the most part.

I ventured to and fro in my mind recently, and read many books, and yet never thought much about this blog. I felt like in some sense it had run it's course. And I think in many ways it has....

But this volume is far from complete, and with that, I will attempt to comment on one of those many Apostolic Projects which will not let me lay down peacefully and forget about this blog. Specifically, the recent and ongoing proclamation of the necessity of having an Apostolic Identity. (Warning: I will not be partaking in the usual comedy routine that has become so ingrained in this blog. Instead you will get a rant. Apologies.).

From what I have gathered in my years in the UPC, the neat thing about us, is that we are A-historical in our Christianity. That is, we reject the history of the Church and it's influence on the interpretation

I have no problem of our proclamation for an Apostolic Identity. My difficulty is how we define Apostolic Identity. If being Apostolic is that of living the Christianity of the Apostles, then it is an Identity that does not look to history nor tradition. We reject the claim of the Church Fathers such as Justin, Origin, and Tertullian as they dogmatically ritualized the Christian Faith, and our rejection is rightfully so. It was the Church fathers after all that defined the trinitarian formula.

If anyone is trying to live out the definition of Luther's protestant proclamation of sola scriptura ("By Scripture Alone"), it is us. But yet somehow, A.I. (Apostolic Identity) has become a tradition of it's own looking to our own movement's pioneers as a resource for our faith. In other words, our definition of Apostolic Identity is one that looks to our 20th century Apostolic heritage. Is this not the same as what the Catholics and most other protestants have done with the early church fathers (whereby religious pioneers are preached as a reference point for authoritative theology)?

And to this idea of an Apostolic Identity that looks to an Apostolic Heritage, I loudly say NO! If to be APostoilc is to reject history, even if that means our own recent history. The Apostles quickly learned in the book of Acts to reject their own Jewish tradition as authoritative for Christianity. It is not that Paul or Peter stopped living the Jewish tradition, for surely they did keep on observing the law past Christianity. But as Paul said, he counted all authority via tradition of the Law dung. To be Apostolic for Peter and Paul meant not imposing tradition itself on non-Jews.

How was a Greek to convert to Christianity if the Apostolic Identity was fully embedded within the Bible and not solely through the cross whereby the Bible was to be believed in past conversion? The Bible was not a source of authority for the Greek, but rather the salvation experience and the message of Christ crucified & resurrected was the basis for faith. Only after conversion was a believer to believe in the authority of the Bible. This is the blessed opportunity of our time for our movement: In the past the Bible was assumed to be true throughout culture and thus the Apostolic Truth could be displayed through the Bible. However, for secular culture, the Bible is not authoritative. Most people see this as a sad state of reality, but I say it is entirely good as it allows us to live more similarly the world of the Apostles whereby the only message that may be believed is the Love for each human being by God based on God dying on the cross.

Thus for me, an Apostolic Identity is precisely an identity without an identity. When I see someone say they are "proud of their Apostolic Identity" then they are completely contradicting the words of the Apostle Paul who said, ""As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world's interest in me has also died." Galatians 6:14"

Or to put it in other words, the means of defining ourselves through any labeling outside of the Cross is a compromising of the foreign nature we now possess (I like the idea that once we become Christians we are more so aliens from out of this world living as foreigners in a world that is valueless). To say I am Irish, Jewish, white, middle-class, etc....are shortcuts that define me as if I am something. But all of these imply that I am something with an identity. To be Apostolic like Paul is something entirely different, wherein a label or shortcut to who i am stops the pressing on towards the cross that we are to live out on earth....We are never Sufficient or enough in our Christianity here on earth. We must press on as Paul says, "I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead." (and many Apostolics do indeed live this insufficiency in ourselves out)

To pride ourselves in an identity outside of Christ or the Cross then, is entirely unApostolic. This is especially true if it looks to an Apostolic Heritage or Apostolic Culture as a point of pride as well. How dare we try to set up an identity based on the Apostles when the Apostles themselves wouldn't do so.

Don't get me wrong, I am not doing some anti-legalist, liberal hodge-podge about the Grace of God, as surely in coming weeks i will show how much of what liberal Apostolic is entirely deplorable. But what i am arguing that in our preaching of Apostolic Identity, we are treading on dangerous ground that seeks to build a neo-Judaism that isolates it's people from the world and in the process builds it's own Tower of Babel that proclaims a people above the Cross.

Here is the question...in function, what is the value of the Cross for many of us other than the means of a point of bribery, whereby if we do as the Bible instructs (Acts 2:38, holiness, etc...), we don't go to hell and instead go to heaven. Thus the cross is the point whereby we can be bribed into being Christian as to avoid eternal damnation. But yet is this what the Cross is proclaiming? Is this what being Apostolic is about?

To be Apostolic isn't scary. It is wonderful. It is a chance to live out the love of Christ for us on the cross. But it also says we won't pride ourselves in label of being Apostolic. But I would argue Apostolic Identity as we know it in our movement is traditionally an escape to not live in the never ceasing work of making ourselves servants to the forgotten of the world. Rather for those who boast of possessing an Apostolic Identity, and proclaim the need of holiness with such an identity, they do such boasting as a means to do nothing other than displaying a certain attire in public, thinking about witnessing, praying, and reading the Bible.

The reality is the Apostolic Identity as it's traditionally defined is the EASY THING. Standards are not difficult. Praying can be done here, there and everywhere. Bible reading is the best place to Find God's message to us, and telling people about Acts 2:38 maybe slightly embarrassing for some, but it is not impossible.

Professing the Cross and trying to somehow display it's seemingly impossible message through love, living without an identity and never stopping short of this reality is the entirely Apostolic thing and we cannot stop short and act like it is something that we have a firm grasp of. In summary, being Apostolic is acting like we don't "have it" and thus since we don't "have it" we work endlessly trying to "get it" by means of reaching out to others to invite them into such a loving struggle.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

#221-Going through a Trial

Please Watch...

Discuss amongst yourselves...

Or in the comments below...