12 Biblical Values (Part 2)

Continuing from my previous post on 12 biblical values, here are the second six from John Hosier.

7. The ministries of apostles and prophets
The church has never had an issue with the ongoing ministries of evangelists, pastors and teachers, butapostles and prophets are a different matter. He cautioned against the use of the phrase “Ephesians 4 ministries” and especially labelling someone as an “Ephesians 4 teacher” (I have always felt that sounded like a description of someone who always preaches on the same chapter of the Bible).

The main thrust of the argument is that Eph 4:11 speaks of gifts that the ascended Christ gave. But the 12 were appointed before the ascension, so who does Paul have in mind? Just himself? John Hosier then argues for four categories of apostles:
1) The Apostle – Jesus, sent by the Father
2) The 12 apostles, chosen by Jesus to be with him. They saw the risen Christ and were uniquely placed to be witnesses to the resurrection. Matthias was chosen according to the same criteria – he had been with Christ and witnessed the resurrection.
3) Paul – a unique “transitional” apostle. He could say that he too had seen the risen Christ, but he was appointed by the “ascended Christ”. Placing Paul in a category by himself is I think a diplomatic move to appease those who think it intollerably arrogant to consider anyone as sharing his minsitry. I think his uniqueness came more from his place in church history as the first apostle to the Gentiles and his being used to write Scripture, rather than his role as apostle.
4) All other apostles, appointed by the ascended Christ, including Timothy and Barnabas. There have been many through church history, even if they have not been known as “apostles” – Hosier suggests Wesley, Carey and Booth as examples. The point being, newfrontiers does not consider the gift of apostleship to have died out and only come back recently with Terry Virgo. These apostles may lead churches, but will typically do so only for a short time – their gifting leads them to regions beyond (c.f. Paul in Ephesus).

8. The government of the local church is to be exercised by elders
The church is not to be a democracy, where everyone has a vote. He argues that people who want democracy really just want their own way – they will still complain if they are out-voted. Having said that, a wise eldership will not be a dictatorship – it will seek to keep in touch with the views of the whole church.

9. A comittment to pastoral care
Seeking to bring individual believers to maturity.

10. Training of leadership from within the local church
Leaders may sometimes be “imported”, but the normal pattern should be training them up locally. If the newfrontiers vision of 1000 churches in the UK is to be realised, a significant comittment to training is necessary.

11. Recognising we are only part of the body of Christ
“We recognise we are only part of the body of Christ and seek real fellowship with all true believers”. Here John Hosier sought to address criticism of an aloof or separatist attitude within newfrontiers. He pointed out that the speakers and newfrontiers conferences have always included a number from other groups. He also mentioned small steps at the local level towards a greater working unity with other churches.

12. Avoid inflexible church structures and traditions
Newfrontiers has reacted against some of the legalism that was developing in traditional evangelical churches. However, he warned that there is a danger of “reverse legalism”, where (for example) those who are teetotal or dress smartly for church are treated as second class citizens. There may also need to be greater flexibility in the future with regards to issues such as
meeting times.

I’ll add a few thoughts of my own in a third post soon, about what has been left out of this list.

1 thought on “12 Biblical Values (Part 2)

  1. Thanks for the reminder of those lectures Mark, and Hosier’s awesome book. I’m taking it to bed with me tonight! It is a good reminder of the value of Systematic Theology – to revisit systematically what we believe and why.

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