Greetings to all of you in the Name above all names, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
I wish to share something that is in my thoughts and spirit today.
It seems at times to me that the word “apostolic” has become a word that is used frequently, intending to denote that a particular group or person believes and acts in accordance with the Apostles of the New Testament.
It’s used for churches, organizations and even for folks who truly feel they are following the teachings and doctrines of the New Testament Church.
Is it possible that people are using this term much too loosely? Can we ask ourselves, “Just how Apostolic are we?”
I come to you in peace, not with criticism or harsh words, but with a burden. There’s no doubt that much of what we do and say, we believe is patterned after what we were told and taught in our church history of the past.
Everywhere you turn, people are calling and claiming themselves to be apostolic. We shout loudly that we believe in the Gifts of the Spirit, that the power that resided in those men also resides in us today and is for whomever asks for it.
We hedge that with a declaration that we also fully accept and believe in the five-fold ministry, that it is and should be, operational in modern Pentecost.
One thing stands out clearly. Those elders and pioneers of the Holiness Church in this country proclaimed the same precepts. Some lived up to their declarations, I’m afraid many did not.
It’s one thing to say you believe in the Apostolic way and quote tons of scripture accordingly. It is another thing entirely to be able to actually demonstrate the same power and results that those men did.
To say you believe in something is not enough. Can you truly Operate the gifts of the Spirit and administer them as the scripture really teaches.
All of you are aware that Paul said that he did not come with great enticing words of men’s wisdom, but he came in the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost.
Our Pentecostal forefathers here, each reached some level of actual demonstration. There were healings and miracles, tongues and interpretations and prophecies.
As the Churches matured and grew, a pulling away from such demonstration began.
Part of this was in an attempt to become more accepted and “cultured” by other members of our society.
Another more sad and critical reason, was because many of the Gifts of the Spirit had been misused.
Our people did not want to be labeled as fanatics e.g. those specializing in “the filling of teeth.” There were indeed such ministries, but I’m not saying they were fanatical.
Many said it happened, and maybe it did, but it did not set well in most circles. There were great revivals across this country, many large crusade tents and there were truly miracles done.
Perhaps money, perhaps questionable conduct by those performing such acts, caused many saints and sinners to wonder about validity.
The other reason for pulling away from true apostolic demonstration was the forming of man-made organizations which had political offices that required approval and votes from other ministers.
Somehow, rules and regulations, doctrinal issues and standards became more important than what the apostles actually participated in.
How one was baptised was more important than the first test and basis of being a real Christian and that is, how much you love one another.
Many began to throw off some the teachings of Christ and declare they were apostolic, even though the same true statements were taught by both He and the apostles and were not being followed as number one.
The concrete foundation of both ministries stated clearly that if you did not have love for one another, the rest was pointless and you were nothing.
Without going into lengthy detail, many became something we clearly thought would not or could not ever apply to us, that what we really were was “a form of godliness,” denying the full power thereof.
There were mighty moves of the Spirit among us in all the organizations, some so powerful and mighty that many of us could never forget it.
Doctrinal issues caused division between parties who had both been filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
We said and did awful things to one another. We still do. Modern medicine allowed more to become dependent on doctors and hospitals, than operating the Gifts of Healing.
Prophets became frowned upon and people stopped wanting to hear what they had to say. Almost no one could say they truly had the signs, miracles and wonders that follow an Apostle.
Since we could not perform in absolute full power and demonstration, we resorted to man’s way of operation.
Failure to actually perform what we claimed to be, led to a warping of true ministerial order and a terrible weakening of the Body in general.
To coin a phrase from a certain program, “you cannot give away something you do not have.”
The more we made excuses the more doubt arose, the less credibility we earned. Along with all of this failure to reach our potential as a true New Testament Church, came destructive attitudes and self-righteous beliefs that we had all of the Truth, and anyone who did not believe as we did was going to Hell.
We were the only ones in the Bride of Christ. Everyone of us who knew we were not truly apostolic felt less than.
You see, you either go forward in this or you go backward. There is no stopping in the middle while claiming to be full-fledged imitators of those who were martyred for what we lightly say we have.
The other catch to fully having these gifts and demonstration was the price. The suffering that goes along with being mightily used in these things is the same suffering the true Apostles went through, the same suffering our Christ endured, and few people want that, if they are honest with themselves.
Everyone who wishes to call themselves apostolic, needs to go back into the Word and read again what those men endured and how they were treated and what price they had to pay.
There are fakes everywhere today. We are quickly approaching a time when the powers of darkness will perform miracles and acts of wonder that could almost fool the very elect.
If you truly do not have certain gifts operating in your life and among your fellowships, you will be deceived and be led away into false men and precepts.
It’s already beginning. Our people were destroyed for lack of knowledge and they still are.
Your highly conceived programs will not bring about revival. This idea that loud preaching and the running of the aisles is the gauge of how Spiritual a church or people are is deceiving many.
The cranked up music and how well we perform, is simply not a well-rounded description of the deep moving of the Holy Ghost.
There is indeed a time to crank it up, but it must be balanced with just as much quiet, deep moving of the Spirit that washes and cleanses all who sit in His presence.
It’s the latter we seem to have lost, or have so little of — a time when even the leadership dares not take a step for fear of offending the very presence of the Holy Ghost.
The baptism of the Spirit is the beginning of our depth in this, not the fixed ending. We may be repeating the same error our predecessors did.
The full demonstration and power of the Holy Ghost is what will convince people that we have what we say we are.
With full administration and operation of that Power, people will be drawn to you from everywhere.
The Holy Ghost can do more in a moment, than all our schedules, our names and titles we love to pass out, or however many fellowships we think we have to organize.
People who are hungry and desperately in need of a miracle in their lives, do not care what you call yourself.
They are looking to see if you can perform the things you say you can, can you actually deliver what you are promising.
Fighting one another has already weakened our reputation. Too many of our own people hoped and dreamed that we would excel in the Spirit, that our love for one another would not lead us down the same misbegotten paths our counterparts followed, to become just another movement with only limited power, a repetition of the past.
I have watched and loved many of you from afar. You cannot know how I want you to succeed, how I want the promises of God we have reclaimed to be manifested in all of our lives.
Many of you will never know how the fighting among yourselves broke my heart. After everything we’ve been through over the years, trying to find a place in the Church, places to worship in honesty and integrity, without fear, and realize that we could have the same promises and experiences the Apostles had, and then to thwart that by our own selfish kingdom building.
I watched some destroy one of the mightiest moves of the Spirit I had ever known as a Pentecostal believer, by fighting one another and being envious and by their desire for power.
For some naive reason, I thought we would know better, that we would love beyond anything else and stick together and support one another.
I never imagined that jealousy and envy would do to us, what it did to so many others. We will pay a dear price if we keep claiming something we don’t have.
We are encouraging some young ministers and laity to proclaim they are apostolic, who don’t even have a clue what real apostolic anointing and demonstration is even about.
They have no experience. Many are repeating what we are telling them, just as we repeated what was told to us, whether we had the evidence to back it up, or not.
The answer, is to become the real thing!
Lay aside all bias, all respecter of persons, BE apostolic in practice and in ministerial operation.
Loose our Prophets, the real ones and allow them to minister to the Body as they were intended.
Prophets are known by their fruit. Apostles have “signs following.” Signs, wonders and mighty deeds follow a true apostle, or they did in the early church and again it’s about whether we claim to have the same power and demonstration they did.
If we copy so much of what has gone on before us, we will get exactly what they got. A watered down version of the real thing.
If you have a mighty move of God in your town, everybody’s gonna know it. All our Churches should have hundreds and even thousands in attendance by now, they would have if we had pulled together.
Don’t tell me we can’t get along — I refuse to believe that. The true apostles knew how to repent.
I’m repenting. I’m searching myself more than I ever thought I could. Some of you are still young. You have not made the mistakes or miscalculations many of us have.
Get a hold of real Power, real anointing and go all the way. Much that is being called “anointed” in so-called spirit-filled churches today, is not the anointing of the Holy Spirit, it is nothing more than mere flesh.
If you do not know that, perhaps you are already headed down the wrong path. The hoopla, the fanfare, the light shows, all the media technology, praise demonstrators, countless programs, are most often distractions to “cover up” the absence of the true, genuine moving of the Holy Ghost and the Gifts that go with it.
God may use some of us old gray heads mightily even yet, if we once and for all decide we are going all the way this time and not turn back.
I love you. This is my heart. Do what you want with it. I have delivered my soul as I have been instructed. Let me hear from you. I need your prayers and your love.
First published: August 11, 2011.
~ Robert Blackburn