Tissot depicts Jesus as He chooses the 12 to be with Him in the fellowship of the apostles as part of His apostolic ministry. This fellowship or communion of apostles was the foundation of the Church’s unity in the very beginning of the Apostolic movement.
1. The Communion of Apostolic Churches is a global communion of apostles and elders or bishops (ruling pastors) and the networks or jurisdictions of ministers and churches they represent. It is a jurisdiction of jurisdictions within the One Holy Apostolic and Global Church of Jesus Christ the King.
(Please note: the terms elder, pastor, and bishop, were used interchangeably by the apostles and elders of the Apostolic Church, Acts 20:17,28 and I Peter 5:1-3, and are therefore used in this same way by the CAC. We do not use the terms elder or bishop in an episcopal sense.)
2. Historically, the word “communion” used as a noun, has been understood to mean a governmental body or jurisdiction of ministers and churches joined together with one another in the Lord to share His resurrection life and partner with Him in fulfilling the purpose of His present administration of the Kingdom of heaven to bring civil governments, cities, and the nations under the government of God. The CAC understands the word “communion” in this way and intends that it be understood as synonymous with covenant relationships and the New Covenant Community.
According to the New Testament, all who obeyed the Gospel of the King by repenting and getting themselves baptized, were baptized by the Spirit into Christ’s death, raised up into His resurrection life, and seated with him in places of authority in His heavenly Kingdom. They were added to His Church, the general assembly enrolled in heaven (Hebrews 12:23) and each believer was placed by the Holy Spirit under the oversight or care of a particular apostle, elder or ruling pastor as part of a specific allotment of believers or father’s household, and as a member of the one body of Christ. The Apostle Paul declared to the Corinthians, “The Lord puts (places) us in the body as it pleases Him.” Luke tells us in Acts 2:42 that the believers, “continued in the apostles’ teaching and in fellowship...” And John writes, “...what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also,so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
Today it is important to remember that in the first century these allotments or congregations were not independent local churches. They were related or connected to each other spiritually, doctrinally, and governmentally to form the Lord’s Church throughout the Roman Empire because the apostles or elders over them in the Lord were functioning members of the fellowship or communion of apostles that Jesus Himself established in the very beginning of His own ministry. (See brief explanation on “About Us” page.)
3. The CAC uses the word apostolic to refer to everything belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ (the Chief Apostle). And this of course includes the special revelation of the mysteries of Christ, His Kingdom, and His Church entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles of the Lamb and the first ascension-gift apostles like Paul, and imparted by them to the early or apostolic Church. This rich Kingdom heritage has been providentially preserved for us in the Canon of the New Testament and is in the process of being revealed and restored to Christ’s servants and to His Church today by the Holy Spirit. Thus, the CAC is a communion of apostolic churches in the sense that we are a communion of ministers and churches unapologetically committed to the recovery and restoration of apostolic Christianity, the Christianity of Jesus Christ and His original apostles.
While we appreciate the vast heritage that is ours as Christians and the many diverse movements raised up by the Lord throughout the history of the Church, we believe the early church was first and foremost an apostolic church with an apostolic faith (the revelation of the Christ and His Kingdom that Jesus entrusted to the apostles to impart to the saints), an apostolic experience (the baptism by the Holy Spirit into Jesus Christ, the gift of the Spirit’s indwelling presence for power to live godly lives and to work Kingdom miracles, and placement in an allotment or congregation of believers under apostolic or pastoral oversight), an apostolic structure or governmental order (the fellowship of the apostles or the apostolate by which the congregations or churches where joined together to function as one Church in the earth), an apostolic mission (to fulfill the Great Commission and make disciples of all nations), and an apostolic destiny to grow up into the head in all things filling all things with the glory of the sons and daughters of the Kingdom of God!
Finally, the CAC does not claim to be the whole Church, but only a jurisdiction of ministers and churches within the Lord’s One, Holy, Apostolic, and Universal Church. Nor do we claim to have a monopoly on apostolic truth, but confess that we are hungry to know Him more fully who is the truth and to see His Church revived, restored, and reformed, so that it might function as one and succeed in it’s Kingdom purpose to disciple the nations and fill the earth with the glory of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Tissot’s painting depicts the original fellowship or communion of the Apostles of the Lamb with Jesus Christ, the Apostle and High Priest of His One Holy Apostolic Church serving the covenant meal. On this occasion in the upper room in Jerusalem Jesus prayed His High Priestly prayer for the unity of His Church, “I do ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that you sent Me.”
The highest form of evangelism is demonstration evangelism, a demonstration of the love of God and unity that the world can actually see. If the modern Church is ever to be one in doctrine, experience, government, and thus demonstrate the government of the King, it must recover the foundation of the Church’s unity in the beginning, the fellowship or communion of the apostles that Jesus Himself established.