“Do not let the world
Squeeze you into its mold.”
Romans 12:2 (JB Phillips translation)
NOTE: (If you are new to articles by me regarding the ‘apostolic’, it is essential for you to know that I use the word as a description of the behaviour and characteristics resulting from being influenced by an Apostle. In other words you don’t have to be an Apostle to be apostolic.)
It seems sometimes that I was asleep for a decade or two, and while I slept a secular mindset became the acceptable normal. As this occurred the Church came under increasing pressure to dial down its principles and either deny the supernatural or make it no different to the supernatural experiences or stories of our cultures. The pressure to stray from the ancient boundaries, principles and truths which are the bedrock of the Christian faith was accompanied with an attempt by the Church to be relevant to this changing world.
And here we are. Caught up in political correctness, christianity a minority group that is not given the same permission as other such groups, and the realisation that merely stating the basics of our faith can have us accused of being ‘against’, or ‘phobic’, or ‘anti’ some other group.
All of this has added up to hand us religion without relationship, word without power, government without principles, creation without creator, the created without guidance, beauty without purpose, and supernatural experiences lacking necessary discernment. The apostolic’s great opportunity is to put these back. This is almost a complete summary of the apostolic assignment. To restore what is lost we need a relationship with our heavenly Father, heaven’s principles for living life, and the power to bring heaven to earth.
The war on secularism is a subtle war. It is not as simple as finding the single source of the enemy and the direction of attack. It is about understanding the counter culture in which we live. I recently heard the definition of secularism given by Mark Sayers, Red Church Melbourne. It is the desire to have the kingdom’s benefits without the King. The truth of that is evident all around us. Deconstruction of the church carries this sentiment. The rejection of church as being a necessary part of our Christian lives and the arguments that we can do church in other ways. The examples of leaders walking away from their faith but declaring that we must still walk in love. The constant rejection of the principles and standards of the Christian walk, and the statement that we expand the truth of loving the sinner to embracing the sin as acceptable. This is the evidence of the desire for the kingdom benefits without the relationship with the King.
In the process we are encouraged that leadership and authority are an old way of leading. And in our round table, leadership accountability is unnecessary and is seen as just another tool used by controlling leadership.
Of course there are problems with the church. It is not perfect and some have lost their way. Not all leadership carries at its centre the heart of a son, that of a servant leader who lives to empower her people. And accountability has too often drawn its strength from enacting the law, rather than empowering people to be all that they can be.
This is where the apostolic must find its place. The apostolic is built around culture, and it is cultural transformation which we need, and which will be the result of revival. Our words without power have nothing extra to offer the world, although they may attain to a version of heaven on earth in its standards of life, by accessing the opportunities of this material and globally activated era they will never attain to the supernatural commission which we have been given.
Putting our relationship with a good father God at the core of what we build is apostolic. That one endeavour will change the culture around us. That too will give us the correct motive for purity and the application of principles in our lives. The desire to walk as closely as possible to our Father and to reveal His son Jesus to the world will correct our walk in the same way as loving my wife will ensure my walk of purity. As we do this, the evidence of the goodness of our creator Father is increased. We become aware that the principles of the Garden of Eden and the Law were not the restrictions of a harsh, mean-minded, despot god, but of a loving Father who knows the best for us, made us in His image, and gave us the ‘maker’s’ instructions.
In this relationship we get to walk in power. Not ours, but His, working through us for the benefit of mankind.
The kingdom without the King can only be temporary. It is rooted in selfishness and in the here and now. Its philosophical roots are not new; we have been here in different forms before throughout history. But this is our time, our generation, our stage. We are apostolic, sons and daughters of the King, assigned to expand His Kingdom in relationship with Him and the truths and principles which He gave us for life here and for all eternity.
Let’s put the plumb line back in place.