Toward a Biblical Understanding and Application of Apostolic Fathering and Alignment

The Divine Revelation of Fathering and Apostolic Alignment

The Philippian conversation on representation is inerrant, eternal Truth inspired by Holy Spirit revealing the thinking of God on apostles, inheritors, fathering, and alignment.

If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy soon to you. What I learn from him will encourage me, giving me a report I can trust.  I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare in Christ [as it relates to His kingdom assignment upon us all]. All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. But you know how Timothy passed the tests that authenticated him. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Gospel. 

Philippians 2:19-22

Paul, the spiritual father by inerrant inspired communication, reveals the conclusions of Father’s presuppositions about spiritual fathering in the Bible:

“If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along.”

Timothy represents Paul as an apostle so that sending in the apostolic sense of representation expands Paul because sending Timothy is like Paul arriving to assess the ekklesia. Representation is the very definition of an apostle, not the simpler sense of sending or sent one or the even more meager “the sent one who sends.”

This idea that sons pass through a training center so they can be sent out to plant churches is a church-growthism interpretation. Timothy sent out means Timothy representing Paul until he is mature enough to represent Christ in the same estate of Pauline assignment. Christ sends Paul who sends Timothy so that by the time we arrive at the Roaring 2020s, the original sending of Christ is the greater scope of representing His initial assignments. The idea that sons bounce off fathers who become unneeded and unnecessary ignores the fact that the only reason Paul isn’t still fathering Timothy for the rest of his life is that his life is so short–yet, Paul still fathers Timothy for the rest of Paul’s life.

Paul carries on the ministry of Jesus in assignment, suffering, and Divine alignment. Timothy does this as well. This is the original concept of apostolic succession that has been completely lost. There is no apostolic succession now, and Luther made us all protest the concept into oblivion because we dismiss the authentic with our destruction of the false. The succession is apostolic through fathering so that what is happening now fulfills the purposes of the Father in cultures worldwide by the same spiritual designs established by Christ.

The issue of succession–that does not exist and shouldn’t–is that we do not produce successors but inheritors.

Fathers will have inheritors working the estate or assignment in all stages of spiritual maturity. Paul isn’t dismissing the rest of the inheritors. He is saying Timothy reveals the authentic while I work on the motivations of those still receiving discipline for the Father to avoid becoming Esaus.

The Fathering Discipline Turns the Hearts

“I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare in Christ [as it relates to His kingdom assignment upon us all].”

The word references and meaning point us back to Paul’s thinking: Timothy discerns and discovers what Christ wants for the ekklesia in Phillipi and each of you, just as I, apostle Paul, would, so the report I get from him is like me being there to discern and discover your condition myself. The others I could send are incapable of this level of representation because they remain infantile in their spiritual motivations.

In other words, turned hearts refocus those in alignment on the assignment. Instead of the prodigal, Judas, “what’ in this for me?” motivations, we mature inheritors to the point at which they look after the claims of the King upon His estate. This is the sense of representation that qualifies apostles, fathers, and inheritors, and this runs through all the leaders of the kingdom to touch every citizen. Without it, the citizens work to produce something “other than” with good intentions but inadequate leadership.

The circuit operating preachers and celebrities fly in to do their latest message and collect a big check to maintain the machinery of the ministry and the image they build. When they leave, nothing much is improved but a great sucking sound of tens of thousands of dollars and the implication that the existing leaders are far inferior. They possess no blueprints or battleplans, just a new “God wants you to get your stuff” distraction equal to their own “looking after themselves and their ministries” motivation that saddens Paul. The invested resources are circular in nature: money need for TV requires the money received on the fund-raising tour. The thing is self-perpetuating. People want to be near them for what can be personally gained, not what can fulfill the assignments of the King.

Fathering to Maturity

You will father all kinds of leaders as a kingdom fathering leader. You will note the motivations that move their hearts as the key indicator of their authenticity as representatives.

This is the Biblical sense of alignment: an apostle representing Christ fathers leaders who represent that apostle’s assignment by coming into alignment and agreement with the assignment given by the King to that apostle.

Yes, apostolic fathering uniquely aligns all the other leaders in apostolic order because apostles represent Jesus in a special way: The King gives them blueprints and battleplans. No blueprints or battleplans? You are not an apostle no matter how many miracles you perform or how big your ministry or down-lined network expansion. Big ministry does not equal apostle.

If you cannot articulate the purpose of god for the scope of your assignment, you are not an apostle and need to find the apostles assigned and come into alignment with a blueprint leader. Until then, you are an accumulator.

Fathering the Unauthenticated to Authenticity

Here is the meaning of Hebrews 12: authenticity requires a discipling process led by Father in Heaven with partnering and representative fathers, natural and spiritual. The chapter is addressed to spiritual fathers who build the strength of will for enduring submission into i9nheritors being processed by Heavenly Father. Spiritual fathers are responsible to rid the kingdom’s citizens of the influence of Esaus. Paul identifies the heart change required to be a matured representative and fathering leader in the joined spiritual generations.

“All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News.”

Paul is referencing his inheritors. The fact that we have legitimately called apostles who look out for themselves instead of producing blueprinted outcomes has always been the issue with kingdom alignment. Paul reveals the expected norm in Timothy.

Paul says, “Timothy served with me in preaching.” Served with me is different from “served me.” This is as clear as day in the original language. Serving with the apostle in the assignment expands the estate through inheritors: inheritors do not change the vision; they expand it.

Paul says “like a son with a father” to set the norm and reveal the presuppositions of Heaven in the design of fathering inheritors. “This is how sons and fathers relate by God’s design and the King’s assignment.”

Paul the representative reared representatives who represented him as the blueprint and battleplan leader. Sending one of his inheritors was like sending Paul, but sending Timothy was uniquely like the design of sons and fathers because Timothy had “a turned heart” toward his spiritual father.

Alignment, Assignment, Agreement, and Authority

To assume there is no leader between God and emerging leaders is to tell Paul he has written Scripture from faulty presuppositions. If you refuse to submit to the apostolic order because you can find several apostles who look after themselves more than Christ, you merely reveal your willingness to tell Christ His original designs don’t work.

Several things we assume about fathering are inconsistent with what Father thinks about gathering. Read the revelation of God’s presuppositions and discern the design of inheritor preparation that turns the heart. Removing the “what’s in this for me?” syndrome deals with the Judas spirit.

Having inheritors who look after themselves will happen but will not be consistent with the design of the Father. Maturing inheritors to look after the estate will happen but the prodigal will rip the inheritance portions right out of your hands and rip your heart while they run off to find a stranger and bed some whores–which means they will not produce any legitimate, covenant-based inheritors.

We should not hammer this passage into some church-growth or traditional infrastructure. We would be mighty careful about dismissing the alignment Paul reveals here as the presuppositions of his fathering ekklesiae and sons. We should be careful that we do not look for the dysfunction to justify dismissing what Paul says.

That is, declaring that fathering doesn’t work or isn’t a Biblical idea when Paul makes it so, and Jesus embodies right now sitting next to His Father, means we intend to offer an inferior alternative that will not fit the presuppositions of this passage. Or, we simply dismiss Paul, the apostle, and leader, for his comments on fathering while using the same revelation source to preach the Gospel.

We end up discrediting God’s Word and the King’s authority as King when we dismiss the revelation of Scripture.

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Dr. Don

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