THE FULLY FOUNDATIONAL CHURCH:
INTEGRATING THE PARTS OF CHRIST'S COMPLETENESS

by Bill Click
Part 1

RATIONALE

Although most receiving this Email are very aware of the teachings about Apostles, Prophets and becoming a Church of Christ's unshakeable foundation, there is a tendency for all of us over time to get caught up in the organizational and administrative framework of the ministry, or the day-to-day of living out of the Gospel, and even the bewildering circumstances and situations we at times face. Bit by bit surrendering the essential revelations and experiences which originally rooted, grounded, and then propelled us forward, we can all too easily find ourselves unable to connect the ongoing purpose of God with where we're "at." This series calls us to hear and receive these afresh in order to stand strongly on them in the day we now find ourselves- the time and season when it is essential that we walk with these foundations firmly in place.

At first, the Scriptural study may be slow reading and require you to take time with it. I do believe you will find it beneficial, however.

INTRODUCTION

Some 20+ years ago, those who wanted "more" were ready for the Prophetic Movement that began blossoming in the 1980's and continues to be felt to this day. Still, however, there was (& is) more. True to forecast the 90's saw the beginning of the acceleration of the revelation and manifestation of Apostolic ministry and leadership in its initial, contemporary form. Although there have always been Apostles, during that time the orchestration of the Lord was seen as He began to bring them more out of the various "closets" of isolation, fear, reluctance and denial and into open fellowship with one another while they also began to receive recognition en masse. Albeit in infant form with many, manifested as a toddler through some, and struggling in its adolescence with a few, those called as Apostles continue the endeavor of becoming all God has intended. The result will be– if the Prophetic will continue to mature with and come more alongside it– a valid opportunity for authentic foundation to be laid so Christ can build the Church He came to establish (Mt.16:16-18; Eph.2:19-22).

The teaching on these matters has saturated arenas of the church which were hungry and open, and has been somewhat more exposed to an even greater segment, and therefore has become increasingly familiar. However, we are still only at the beginning of seeing churches make shifts into actual Apostolic/Prophetic function, priority and form (i.e., foundation). While you may want to disagree, let me suggest that the true condition of anything "built" can only be rightfully observed when it is under stress, which makes for our application of what Jesus so clearly decreed:

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell and great was its fall. When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes"(Mt.7:24-29 NASB).

Anything that proposes itself to be Apostolic or Apostolically related must past muster when it comes to authenticity, discernment and methodology. And recent events will not only have to (also) submit to such scrutiny, but the degree of Apostolic discernment and leadership development present among us must also be continually subjected to the following examination (see underlined below):

"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way" . . . (Eph.4:11-20 NASB).

Keeping our failures before us, we must find the grace that has already been given: the Holy DNA of God's own Spirit and Christ's own nature and authority for intentionally allowing Him to reform what "is" that really "isn't," resulting in its becoming true foundation. And that which "isn't" is so very often our understanding and application of how these so very often taught Apostolic and Prophetic revelations are intended to actually cause us to be, think and do differently than what is now widely accepted as well as what currently prevails.

Therefore, the purpose we are going to explore will be to illustrate the path of moving from either the Prophetic or the Apostolic into the Apostolic/Prophetic– the actual image of Christ (Ro.8:29) and design of Jesus for the Church (Mt.16:16-18). Although great battles have been fought and won by those who have established one or the other to a degree, the Apostolic and the Prophetic must function, prioritize and execute its leadership as Christ intends and Scripture teaches if we are to move forward with an advance into restoration of true, full body function that proves to be anything more than just temporary.

Over the course we will emphasize how Apostles and Prophets share in the same source and function of ministry. We will also demonstrate how they are consecutive in priority and authority, and how that authority originates (& is to function, prioritize & execute). We then will outline what the church's role is in furthering the Apostolic and Prophetic, concluding by noting some hinges of mutual dependence for Apostolic and Prophetic ministers in relationship with one another. This will be emphasized by way of comparing and contrasting how they should enhance each other and must draw from one another's anointings. Later, we will address some issues of mind renewal and outline some new paradigms for the church that must be developed if we are going to see the church fully restored to Apostolic and Prophetic function and form.

I. APOSTOLIC & PROPHETIC MINISTRY SHARES THE SAME SOURCE
All "ministers" are such because they have received the "gifts" (domata) of Christ (Eph.4:8/Ps.68:18). These "gifts" are specific attributes of character and supernatural abilities of Christ Himself, enablements which reveal His compassion and release His presence as they manifest (doreas– Eph.4:7). Furthermore, they are rooted in Christ's choice and ability to bestow them, and are not dependant on the recipient's work or worthiness (charis– Eph.4:7).

Unfortunately, when considering these gifts of Christ written of in Ephesians 4:7-16, many focus on the listing of the five graces (or four graces according to some, including myself, see * at the close), failing to first regard the two specific mentions of "apostles and prophets" previously in the letter. A solid principle for Biblical interpretation is that Scriptures build from beginning to end, that you use earlier references to any topic mentioned in that letter or book in order to understand the one you are reading (which is later). So in order to rightfully understand "apostles and Prophets" in Eph.4:11, we must begin with the first mention (2:20), then go to the second (3:5), and then, arriving at 4:11, we will be able to differentiate between them and "evangelists, pastors and teachers."

II. APOSTOLIC AND PROPHETIC MINISTRY SHARES THE SAME FUNCTION
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit" (Eph.2:19-22 NIV, my emphasis).

The Apostolic and Prophetic dimension of Christ's nature and ability work together to provide "foundation" (themelio) for the church. During Jesus' earthly ministry He made it clear that intimacy with His Word and ways would produce foundation, that what was lacking in attempts to conform through the law would be fulfilled by fully receiving Him and then following His Word. At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount we read His charge that "everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Mt.7:24 NASB). And the continual theme of the New Testament made clear it was not enough just to accept Him and His new message. Scripture reveals His nature must be fully received within so that His way can be found to have reshaped our daily lives (Ro.8:29). Why? In order to produce the God-desired effect: foundation.

Later in Christ's ministry He provided what could be called "the Apostolic condition" for that strength in effectiveness and consistency of unrelenting perspective. When giving a 'pop quiz' in the Spirit to the Apostles in training, the Apostolic intimacy that was developing within Peter became evident when He responded "thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God" (Mt.16:16 KJV). Jesus acknowledged the source of that insight– revelation from the Father. Peter had received revelation which the Spirit through Paul termed "the mystery of Christ" (Eph.3:5). And this "revelation" provided the basis for the foundation that Christ declared Peter had received and was becoming (petron "rock" Mt.16:17; 7:24). And due to the extent of Peter's participation with that foundational revelation, the Lord made it clear that he would later become empowered to establish that same foundation within others (Mt.16:18).

Today, when Apostles and Prophets minister from their unique call, gifting, preparation and experience, they relay that which has been transferred and activated within them by Christ through that same "mystery." And when they impart this revelation as a result of the Spirit's leading and power, the result is foundation for the church. But it is not enough to receive from one or the other, from Apostles or from Prophets. God has designed two, specific, revelational building materials for standing with God together on the assurances of Christ and His Word, a composite which not only strengthens the inner man but provides His own Supernatural footing for continuing the walk: the Apostolic and the Prophetic.

To that end, here is the second mention of "Apostles and Prophets:"

"Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy Apostles and Prophets" (Eph. 3:2-5 NIV, my emphasis).

Paul makes it clear that through Apostolic and Prophetic participation with "the mystery of Christ," revelation of God's eternal purposes are received and applied. It is the Apostles and Prophets who are the recipients of this divine disclosure. And revelation of this "mystery" is very important to Paul's Apostleship in relaying the Word of God to those of his "sphere." Paul uses the term "mystery" (mysterion) 6 times in Ephesians, and a total of 17 times throughout his writings. Included in disclosure of this "mystery" are revelational understandings of Christ, the purposes and plan of salvation, the function and position of the Church, and also God's providence, foreknowledge, and predestination in overcoming man's sinful state for providing unique intimacy with the Spirit of God through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Simply put, what Apostles and Prophets are to receive revelationally is indispensable to the Church's source of life and function with one another in the fellowship (koinonia) of the Spirit of God. The one called as an Apostle or Prophet should expect (& settle for) nothing less than direct encounter and clear

Supernatural experience which is neither the usual nor the norm. This is a call to those called in this manner to "look to the rock from which you were hewn," "for such a time as this" (Isa.51:1; Est.4:14).

III. APOSTOLIC & PROPHETIC MINISTRY SHARES THE SAME AUTHORITY

"The mystery of Christ" is a distinct realm of specific foundational revelation, consisting of insights, understandings, directions, applications and strategies received only by the Apostles and Prophets, revelations which enable them to declare, demonstrate and establish God's eternal purposes in Christ. In this way the Apostle and Prophet fulfill their unique roles in the Body of Christ. Therefore, we see that Apostles and Prophets are not only two of the "gifts" of Christ (domata– Eph.4:8), they are also set apart from the others as well. How? By their participation with "the mystery of Christ," which provides this uniqueness. This foundationally revelational gifting– which is the specific choice and measure of Christ's ability, character, and worthiness– is the source of their indispensable ministry, and although the other ministry gifts share in the "grace" (charis) of the "gifts" (domata) of Christ's ministry (doreas), they do not share in "the mystery of Christ," which "has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit" (Eph.3:5, KJV).

Apostles and Prophets are endowed with unique revelation coming from Christ through the Spirit of God, insights that none other in the Church directly share in. And these revelations always come from Christ through the Spirit, they are always centered in Him, and are always identical in quality and equivocal with His perspective in the Gospels. In other words, the content of "the mystery" takes the form of Divinely Activated, inspired interpretations and applications of who Christ is, What He is now doing, its significance for His Kingdom, and the benefit for the Body as well. Simply, if Jesus would not have said it or did it then, He is not saying it or doing it now. (This alone should have provided a clear boundary for those who erred in days past). By keeping central the unique connection of Christ's Apostolic and Prophetic nature and ability with those He has called, gifted and prepared to be Apostles and Prophets, it becomes clear how incomplete it is downgrade the Church into expressions of our culture, only "Christianized."

Also, this requires us to not interpret Ephesians 4:7-16 on its own. We must see it as part of the whole, the result of also considering Ephesians 2:19-22, 3:2-5 and the passage next to be considered as well.

_________________________

* My interpretation of Ephesians 4:11 is actually "apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors-- all of whom (kai) are teachers." This is not only based on the use of the conjunction kai in the sentence structure, but also the clear context which renders all of these minister as equippers of the body for the ministry. One cannot equip (reproduce) without teaching. Therefore, we actually teach a "four-fold ministry." This will be further supported in Part 2 when looking at another passage.