November 5, 2002, 10:14 am
Filed under: uncategorized

Apostolic Strategy . . . an oxymoron?

I was in a dialogue with some pastors this morning, and a comment was made about the churches in our area “being strategic” in our efforts toward unity and common purpose. At the same time, the word “apostolic” was being thrown around within the context of doing church like the book of Acts.

I raised the question there, as I do here – how strategic was the early church anyway? What we read in New Testament scripture is a historical record of the ministry of the early church. It was written after the fact, with the perspective of seeing how things played out. Luke did not report about Peter’s crazy vision with the unclean animals in real time. If he did, it would have read something like “Peter was upstairs in the house and had this crazy vision. We aren’t sure yet what that means.” As a historical record, we’re able to see that as the open door for the preaching of the gospel to Gentiles, so it all looks nice and clean and it makes sense to us. But to them, they trusted in the Holy Spirit, and went out and did what they were supposed to do. In a sense, whatever happened just happened. The most strategic thing they did was agree together that Jesus was the Messiah, that salvation was in his name, and that they were supposed to tell the world about it.

I realize that that’s an oversimplification of things, and they likely were thoughtful about spreading the gospel, but they were also very spontaneous and responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We lack that spontaneity today. We plan, strategize, and formulize. In so doing, do we place our faith in the plans, strategies, and formulas instead of the Holy Spirit within us?

Balance . . . Must find balance.


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