Apostles: John, Simon Peter, and Paul

Simon’s Life and Death

Simon Peter asks Jesus, gesturing toward John, “What is gonna happen with him?

Jesus answers, “What has that got to do with you? Follow Me.”

Follow means submit.

“Just get’r done, Simon. You and John are both apostles, but your ministries and lives look nothing alike. Is that going to be a problem for you?”

Jesus prophesied Simon’s elderly life and death. Simon Peter was worried about how John was going to end up. Jesus says, “Mind your own business, big boy. Whatever I want for John has nothing to do with what I want for you.”

First, Jesus sees that Simon is going to get old and die. Pretty much dispels some of the exaggerations of “I have a right to be healthy and live forever, or be raised from the dead if someone has enough faith” scenarios painted by the super saints.

In short, Simon ain’t gonna be a “manifested son” in terms of the erroneous spiritual X-men of the end times comic book endings for the present age.

Simon has a Providential pathway to walk that will lead him into old age and death. Jesus won’t kill him. Simon will die when he is old.

When Jesus avoids telling Simon what John is going to experience, an extremely odd rumor spreads through the early kingdom culture that John will not die at all!

Now, that is singular in its revelation of the mindset of superstition still available to Jewish believers even after coming to faith in Jesus Christ and the need for clear training about “How Things Really Work in the Spirit.” In other words, people starting creating doctrines from the silence of Jesus from the very start of the kingdom reset.

Apostolic Assignments

Jesus makes it very clear that apostles do not come in any particular size and shape with a set of promises that we are supposed to recognize by some gratuitous checklist.

He did not say, “Make a list of things Paul mentions in passing, act like Paul is the only valid apostle, ignore John and act as if he is a prophet, dismiss Barnabas and my half brother James, never call Jude an apostle, then measure every apostle by Paul. After that, hammer the entire weirdly odd scenario and definition of “apostle” you end up with into the new stretch pants of church-growthism.

An apostle has no mandate to plant churches. This modern myth is part of the blending of church-growthism with the apostolic reformation after downing several shots of stout whiskery poured by the “no more apostles” error of cessationism. To counter cessationism and “prove” we have apostles today, the apostolic restoration hammered apostles and the fivefold into modern church-anity and its incubation machine, church-growthism.

Apostles do precisely what the Bible says they do, and the Bible does not record one instance in which an apostle plants a church, since no one “plants” an Ecclesia in the first place. Apostles establish the kingdom of God where they are assigned to represent the King and train kingdom citizens to live the kingdom culture.

Nearly everything we now call “church,” is actually kingdom culture. We establish the kingdom. Jesus assembles His Ecclesia through the five aspects of His leadership available where the kingdom culture operates and matures. The Ecclesia has an apostolic order because the apostolic provides the blueprints that reveal the intentions fo the King for the region where the kingdom of God is established.

So, apostles do not do what moderns think they do. The prophets, teachers, evangels, and shepherds do not do what modern church-anity thinks they do. They all operate in kingdom, not modern church-anity.

Apostles all operate differently, personality intact, doing something very few moderns do not understand. An understood apostle is probably not acting very apostolic. An understood prophet is perhaps not acting very prophetic. The fivefold hammered into a church-growth model distorts them all to the point of making them dysfunctional.

The kingdom leadership dynamics do not operate as designed and defined in the Bible outside a kingdom context. They are leaders of Ecclesiae, but they are first and foremost eldering kingdom culture leaders.

As long as we insist upon laying the wrong foundation for the Ecclesia Jesus build by assembling the matured leaders prepared and positioned by the fivefold eldering leaders, we can expect increasing odd manifestations of apostolic dysfunction and malpractice, weird prophetic forays into mystic “realms,” and exercises in futility when teachers become coaches inserting humanism into the kingdom culture.

John, Simon Peter, and Paul

Forget the ridiculous assumption that Paul represents some improvement in the apostolic that John and Simon missed, to which other apostles fell short. What marks Paul in any singularity is that fact that he was assigned non-Jewish cultures as a metron and kanon.

Since church-growthism excuses us all from discipling cultures, so we find some relevant way to accumulate believers, Paul becomes an opportunity to distort the apostolic in a way that fits a manmade scenario for kingdom normal.

Suddenly, we find that we are supposed to ignore Jesus, John, and Simon Peter, diminish James to a big “how did this get into the New Testament,” and make Jude a side note.

“Rah, rah, Paul! He’s our man! Paul can do it like nobody can!”

Not really. Paul is a great guy but not necessarily the best model for an apostle. After all, his Providential pathway is unique. We miss the checklist parts we wish to ignore but put Paul up as the poster boy apostle.

Why do we not say, “Paul is single, and the best apostles are single?” Why do we not say, “Paul died young, and the best apostles die young?” Why do we not say, “Simon Peter was inferior for living to be an old man?” Why do we not say, “Paul ditched Barnabas, so all apostles should ditch at least one other apostle?” I mean we make a checklist with less logic than these questions require.

Jesus and John

John has a notably different viewpoint on everything. His Gospel is unique. His letters are unique. His Revelation is unique. John is as unlike Paul as possible, and no one wants to make John a “church planter model!” They wish to push him into some corner for the mystics sit. They act as if John’s letters to elders mean nearly nothing, they ignore Peter, the Eldering Apostle, for the most part with a dismissed wave of the back of the hand. “Jewish apostle” has so little to say to us now in the modern forms of church-anity.

Yet, John is an apostle. Luke doesn’t follow him around and record his life. We do see that Holy Spirit chose to include Paul’s experiences more than John’s. This Acts of Holy Spirit history is a strong consideration for making Paul more visible, but it is not an excuse to empty John of apostolic importance or remove his model from the dialogue about apostles.

How many John-like apostles do we have today? Can you name even one without putting him or her into a “prophet” or “mystic” subcategory? When have you ever heard anyone discuss the apostolic modeling of John in the discussion? Did it leave the pages of kingdom dialogue when Paul was chosen to be the model for church planting in the “church age?”

We have a lot of explaining to do! We have done a great disservice to the kingdom of God by our treacherous (at times), profane (for misrepresenting Jesus), and dysfunctional (no, it does not get Jesus what He wants) modern forms of church-anity. We have done so in such a way that the authority of the Bible was run over by a Mac Truck.

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Dr. Don

Dr. Don

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