THE APOSTLES "PLANTED CHURCHES" or THE "ESTABLISHED" CHURCH

 

1. Is it in the Bible?

No.

2. What do we believe it means?

The early church largely consisted of apostolic ministry--the purpose of which was to plant churches. Once the apostles planted a church, they left and there was no more need of apostolic ministry. A "planted church" or "established church" is then operated thru pastoral authority and within the established church, the major ministry is teaching.

3. What does it really mean?

This concept is simply an intellectual plan to support the concept of the traditional authoritarian church and pastoral authority, by eliminating apostolic ministry.

It is an incredibly ridiculous concept in many ways. For one, it virtually eliminates a huge portion of the new testament (including most of Jesus' ministry example!). The word "apostle" is used over 200 times in the new testament--the word "pastor" is translated once!! Certainly no church eliminates the principles of apostleship since nearly all the teaching of Jesus was toward apostles and outlined the functions that apostles were to carry out.

It is clear that the "established" church in the Bible was taught to continue in apostleship...

5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: (Romans 1:5)

 

28 "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers....." (1corinthians 12:28)

1Co 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
1Co 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
(says Paul the apostle)

The concept of the "established" church is also foolish, if one considered what the new covenant church is replaced with--namely old covenant Israel (the "house of God--congregation--offerings--tithe--pastor/Levitical priest/authoritarian ministry)

Many teach that the example of apostleship was the "way god operated in the 1st century" in order to establish the church in the earth. Now, today, we are the "glorious end-time church."

What we need to do is look in the mirror honestly.

Yes, we are not the 1st century church--no argument there! they met in small groups, in homes--praying in the Spirit and receiving and carrying out Christ's instructions to further the Gospel. "Ministry" was in all--the functional plan of the church--and Christ therefore was the authority of the church.

We certainly do not do that!

But what do we do? Where does it come from? Is there any Bible backing to the format of "church"?

Yes, although many will resist the truth. What we resemble in a much greater way is old covenant Israel.

Why?

Simply because those old covenant principles have been placed in the church for centuries and become our tradition--our expectation. These principles are common--they are all around us, they are familiar. And part of the tradition, is the demand for a repetitive, cult form. Outwardly, these principles build a pretty building, and serve up just the kind of elaborate worship and teaching that we expect. Furthermore, the principles of the traditional church are not very demanding on the average believer--only expecting a monetary contribution.

We give to ourselves to build for ourselves.

The Bible does not eliminate apostolic ministry--our tradition does.

How is it that great scholars of the church have interpreted the Bible in this way? As always, we point out the experience that is and has been common to Christians for centuries. This experience makes even the scholar blind. Yes, part of the ministry of apostles was to "start churches"--but the churches they started met in homes. there was continuing need for church starting as the church grew in an area. New believers were quickly integrated into this simple church system. the church was continually "starting" in many many homes as the church grew. this is why Paul, writing to the already "established" church in Corinth, reminds them that their 1st priority was apostolic ministry..

"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles...."

 

If we look at these verse in context we will understand the message of the Bible...

4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5 ¶ Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 ¶ For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1Corinthians 2: 4-11)

Simly reading the entire message here clears up the miss-statement of tradition. Yes, Paul says he planted this particular church, but notice that Apollos "watered" and in fact it is God who "gives the increase". Paul is humbly stating that he did his part--which was NOT everything, and in fact it is God who, when we all do our part properly, will make increase in His kingdom. We are all meant to be one....

8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

Since in God's eyes we are all one, all part of one Body, and therefore all equals--brothers and sisters in Him--no one part is meant to rule--and "every man" is meant to "labor" (and will receive reward for this Gospel labor). In other wrods we all have a minsitry to do, no one ministry is meant to be greater than another, and the apostolic ministry is the minstry we are to imitate.