An Analysis of the Apostles

The information in this post was taken from the first chapter of my book Truly the Signs of an Apostle.  The book is available at www.CreateSpace.com/3600280 and Amazon.com.

The importance of taking an honest look at a serious subject:

Does It Take Getting Hit On the Head?

Many years ago an acquaintance related how he and some others were in the backyard of a fellow charismatic believer.Several folks had gathered there to worship. During the course of the activities a lady in the group experienced what is sometimes called being “slain in the Spirit” and fell backward. Unknown to her and to the other worshipers, there was a rock hidden in the grass. When she swooned under the “anointing” the woman tumbled backward, her head hitting the heretofore undisclosed rock. The result was a nasty gash requiring medical treatment. There was also a substantial amount of blood!

The impact of the incident, especially the blood, was not lost upon my acquaintance’s young son who witnessed the event.  “Daddy, why did God make that woman fall down and hit her head on a rock?” It was an innocent question of a little boy. But it was the first time his father had taken an objective look at what he was involved in.

Was this of God? It was a legitimate question and one that ought to be asked frequently in these days of religious confusion.  One would think that such reflective analysis would be the norm given the numbers of people who have claimed healing at the hands of those claiming apostolic gifts and then subsequently dying of the illnesses and maladies that they were “healed” of. One would think that the many instances of miraculous claims gone sour would cause at least one eyebrow to be raised (if not two). The fact that faith healers who teach that healing is the inalienable right of  believers through the atonement of Christ get sick and die ought to cause at least a twitch.

Remarkably, events that would give pause and prompt questions from little boys seem to pass like water off a duck’s back from people caught up in the emotion and the religious passion of the moment. The contents of this book will have little effect upon someone that refuses to “…try the spirits whether they are of God…”(I John 4:1) and to rightly divide “…the word of truth.” (II Tim 2:15)

If you are someone with at least one raised eyebrow who would rather not wait to be hit on the head before examining a very crucial biblical issue related to the working of the Spirit of God, then this book is for you. In this volume you will find some clarity to the mass confusion that exists in a religious world claiming mystical insights, supernatural power and even apostolic authority. There are many who are claiming the title of Apostle and assert that they are endowed with the same calling, ability and authority as the Apostles of old. They also maintain that miraculous occurrences typical of the apostolic age are supposed to be normal for today.

It is the thesis of this book that apostolic authority of the kind that existed in the New Testament church and which was characterized by powerful miraculous displays is long gone. It is the contention of this book that the existence and ministry of the Twelve Apostles and the miraculous demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit were inseparably linked.

To some folks that acknowledgment may seem to be a sad or even a faithless assertion. On the contrary, it is a very good thing. If true (and it is true), then much of what is going on in the Christian religious world — an abundance of which borders on the bizarre — is at best “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (I Cor. 13:1)

In this book you will learn about the very special individuals given to the church by the Lord Jesus Christ. They were called the Twelve. You will also learn about the criteria for these special apostles -what facts must be true for anyone to claim that they were one of this elite group known as the Twelve. We will find out that these men received a special promise from Jesus that was given to them alone. That promise was fulfilled to them alone and gave them a special ability to impart a unique endowment of miraculous power that was typical of the early years of the church. This ability that was the venue of the twelve Apostles alone has not been given to anyone else since!

What will knowing these things do for you, dear Reader? So glad that you asked! What the contents of this book will do for you is enable you to truly walk by faith, trusting in what is revealed in God’s Word, the Bible. It is a fact that many who say they are living by faith are really living in doubt and looking for proof. They are seeking spiritual experiences and miraculous occurrences to give validation to their wavering faith and seem to be on an endless quest for the next spiritual “high.”

Many believers are like surfers, endlessly looking to ride the perfect wave. That wave either never comes or they wipe out on the wave they thought was perfect. Then they start the process all over again. For many it is  disappointing. It is frequently an emotional process that does not end well. All too often the end result is depression, defeat and disenchantment with the things of God.

Understanding the truths contained in this small volume will free confused believers from competing authorities in their lives. As a pastor of over 30 years I have found that many believers trust the Bible and….something else. They trust in the Bible and  impressions, the Bible and experiences or the Bible and the pronouncements of the many self-appointed apostles and self-styled prophets who inhabit the religious world today. The result of these competing authorities has largely been chaos, confusion, heresy and disillusionment among  believers. It has also increased skepticism among unbelievers.

It is the position of this writer that our New Testament faith was begun by the Savior Jesus Christ and conveyed by Him to those apostolic witnesses to the resurrected Christ appointed by Him for that purpose (I Cor. 15:1 -11). It is the author’s belief that we have an inspired record of that transmission in the Bible.  As such, sincere believers should  be satisfied with Christ and the Bible without seeking some esoteric or ecstatic experience being touted by some religious teacher or leader.

I would encourage you to approach the contents of this book as objectively as you can. That might be extremely difficult for those who tend to see biblical truth through an experiential or mystical grid. However, I would encourage you to ask the Lord to give you guidance and then plunge ahead. It is not difficult reading. It is not written for scholars and intellectuals. However, neither is it “bathtub” reading.  I guarantee, though, that it will be a lot less painful than a crack on the head!

(c) 2011, Frank I. Snyder, Truly the Signs of an Apostle

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