Tissot’s depicts Jesus appearing to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. He upbraided them for being foolish and slow “to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!...” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” Jesus explanation of how He fulfilled the prophets of Israel in His death and resurrection became the basis of the apostles’ message and the faith of the apostolic Church.
Section 1. The Authority of Scripture:
1. The members of the CAC believe the Holy Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God for establishing doctrine, correction, and instruction in righteousness. We recognize the Canon of Holy Scripture as the final rule of faith and practice, and that it must be understood by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
2. Furthermore, while the entire Bible is profitable for instruction in the Christian life and the ordering of Church life, we believe the New Testament contains the testimony of the original apostles of the Lamb and the first ascension-gift apostles to Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is the ultimate measure, or canon of Apostolic faith and practice.
The Old Testament promises, shadows and types, and the prophets of Israel must be understood in light of their New Testament fulfillment in Christ Jesus the Lord. The revelation of the mysteries of Christ, the living Word of God, was entrusted by Jesus to His apostles, and through them to the Church throughout the ages as an everlasting foundation. That revelation has been preserved for the saints in the Canon of the New Testament. (Matthew 13:11, 16-17, 16:19, 28:19, 20, Luke 24:27, 44-45, Acts 1:3, 2:42, 1 Peter 1:10,--12, 2 Peter 1:16, John 1: 14, 21:24-25, 1 John 1:1-4, Luke 1:1-4, Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:1-4, Romans 16:25-26, 1 Corinthians 2:1-7, 10, 3:10-11, 4:1-2,15:1-11, 2 Corinthians 1:18-21, 11:4-6, Galatians 1:11-12, 2:2-10, Ephesians 2:20, 3:1-12)
The history of the Church and its present doctrines and practices must continually be evaluated and adjusted in the clear light of the testimony of Jesus given by the apostles and preserved in the New Testament Scriptures as the Canon of Apostolic faith and practice!
3. We believe the present condition of the body of Christ has changed dramatically from the Apostolic Era. The first century Church was truly, as the creeds declare, One Holy Catholic (Global) Apostolic Church. While there was diversity of expression and culture, all the believers in the early Church had the same faith, the same experience of the Holy Spirit, the same rule or instruction among them, and the same structure and governmental order.
Today, the faith of the apostles has been watered down and corrupted, the experience of the saints modified and distorted by religion, the instruction, the structure and the governmental order subverted and changed by the doctrines and traditions of men. As a result the Church has been fragmented and divided into thousands of different sects or denominations all in competition and conflict with each other. There are myriads of different doctrinal views, gospels, and governmental structures. Bishop Alexander Chisango of Zimbabwe has astutely observed, “Christ’s Kingdom has been hi-jacked by religion and His Church divided into a host of denominations.”
However, we believe God is pouring out His Spirit upon churches and nations. The Lord Jesus is reviving His work in the earth and restoring the foundations of His Church. We believe those foundations are apostolic foundations and are to be found in the pages of the New Testament as revealed and illuminated by the present work of the Holy Spirit. We believe the Church of the Twenty-first Century must rediscover the foundations of the Apostolic Church.
Tissot paints Jesus appearing suddenly to the 11 in the upper room. This is one of many appearances that took place over a period of 40 days in which Jesus showed Himself alive “with many infallible proofs” and opened the minds of the apostles enabling them to understand the things written about Him “in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms.” These explanations and revelations became the foundation of the apostles’ preaching and teaching, and the faith of the Apostolic Church.
Section 2. Church History,Significant Movements and Our Heritage:
Martin Luther nailing his 95 thesis on the Church door at Wittenburg, Germany. While studying Romans in the Greek text, the light broke on his soul and he wrote in the margin, “sola.” “The just shall live by faith...alone!”
Although it is essential and foundational, it is not enough for the Church of the Twenty-first Century to understand the New Testament. We must also understand two thousand years of Church history and doctrine in order to be able to deal with the present confused and divided situation in the Church. The members of the CAC are not primitivists. The early Church was in fact the infant Church that was deprived of many freedoms, privileges, benefits, and opportunities to express itself fully that are enjoyed by many Christians and churches in todays world.
It is our desire to see the whole Church grow up into our glorious Head, become fully mature, and fill all things; and it is our desire to be part of the truly victorious Church that conquers the kingdom of darkness, possesses cities and nations, and fills the earth with the glory of the sons of God. However, this will require that all of us in the various communions and streams that constitute the present subnormality of the Lord’s Church rediscover the once-for-all foundation of Messianic Kingdom laid by Jesus and His apostles in the beginning, and upon the basis of that foundation come together in the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.
But if we are going to relate meaningfully to the larger body of Christ and see the many different ministry spheres, ecclesiastical jurisdictions, communions, or streams of churches that comprise the Church ultimately flow together to form one great spiritual river and make glad the City of God, it will require that all of us re-examine the long history of the Church, including the history, good or bad, of our own particular movements, communions, and traditions in light of the once-for-all foundation of the Kingdom established by Jesus and the apostles in the first century and preserved for all of us in the Canon of the New Testament. Humbling ourselves before God and one another, we must not only recognize, but also acknowledge and correct the failures and mistakes within our own movements and the distortions or aberrations in our traditions. Finally, if we would see the Lord’s Church restored and reformed to function as one, we must learn to truly appreciate, accept, and honor the significant moves of the Spirit of God within the history of the Church and lay hold of our common heritage together.
The Apostle Paul declared to the Corinthians, “So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you” (1 Cor. 3:21). Everything that belonged to the Apostolic Church belongs to us all and is part of our foundation, our heritage. Also, everything that is valid in the Catholic or Orthodox churches belongs to the whole Church. Everything that is valid in Protestant churches belongs to the whole Church. Everything that is valid among Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic movements and churches belongs to us all in Christ. Everything that is valid in all the various movements and communions of ministers and churches belongs to the whole Church.
Throughout the history of the Church there have been many powerful movements of the Holy Spirit. While it is most certainly true that not everything that has been done in the name of Christ has been of God, the Church of Jesus Christ nevertheless has a rich and diverse heritage. Therefore, it is the sincere desire of the Communion of Apostolic Churches to accurately interpret Church history in light of the Apostolic Canon of the New Testament, understand what is truly valid and profitable in that heritage, and benefit from both the failures and the successes of those who have gone before us in the faith.
In May 1996, Dr. C. Peter Wagner convened, The National Symposium on the Post-Denominational Church at Fuller Seminary. The consensus of the panelists was that “there are still apostles and prophets in the Church,” and that “there is an emerging Apostolic Movement that will revolutionize the 21st-century Church.” Commenting on this historic meeting Dr. Bill Hamon observed in his book Apostles, Prophets, And The Coming Moves Of God, “It (the emerging Apostolic Movement) will ...bring revolutionary changes like those the Protestant Movement brought forth in its day. The Protestant Movement started the era of the great reformation of the Church. The new Apostolic Movement will accelerate the final restorational work of the Holy Spirit, causing it (the restoration of apostolic foundations) to be accomplished in one generation.”
While professor of Church Growth and Missions at Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. C. Peter Wagner wrote, “As a professional in the field of Church growth, it has become obvious to me that the fastest growing cutting edge of worldwide Christianity in our times is what I like to call the New Apostolic Reformation, previously referred to by some as independent churches or nondenominational churches or post-denominational churches or grass roots churches or other kinds of names. What ever the name, the fact of the matter is that we are seeing, before our very eyes, the most radical change in the way of doing Christianity since the Protestant Reformation.”
It is the deep conviction of the members of the CAC that as the apostolic movement emerges and matures, apostles, apostolic companies, and the networks or jurisdictions of churches that they represent must eventually rediscover the apostolic foundations of the Church’s faith contained in the Canon of the New Testament and come together in the fellowship or communion of the apostles as One Holy Apostolic Church in the earth with one faith, one common experience, and one governmental order. Only as this happens, and by the grace and power of God it will happen, will the whole body of Christ be fully reformed, and the governments, cities and nations of the earth come to the light of the Church’s rising.
Dore pictures David lifting head of Goliath, causing the army of the Philistines to scatter and the army of Israel to rally to the battle. Earlier David had declared to his older brothers, “Is there not a cause?” Today, there is a mighty cause, the cause of restoration and reformation. The Lord Jesus is pouring out His Spirit to restore foundations and reform His Church to enable it to function as One Holy Apostolic Church in the world, the army of God riding forth to conquer Satan’s kingdom and possess cities and nations!
Section 3. The Essentials of Apostolic Doctrine
Subsection 1. The Kingdom of God and His Christ:
This ancient painting depicts Jesus of Nazareth, risen from the dead and seated on the throne of His father David at the right hand of God in heaven, the place of all authority, power, and dominion, and ruling the governments and nations of the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. Peter, Paul, and all the early apostles boldly proclaimed to the Jews the good news that the promise God made to David to seat David’s Son on David’s throne had been fulfilled in the resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus. The faith of the Apostolic Church was the faith that the throne of David was no longer empty, but occupied by King Jesus. (See Acts 2:29-34 and Acts 13:32-34)
1. Like the prophets of Israel, the apostles and the Apostolic Church of the first century, the networks and jurisdictions of the CAC believe the Kingdom of God is an eternal Kingdom. We believe God the Father is the ultimate Lawgiver, Redeemer, Ruler and Judge of all. Before God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created anything that was created, they created the Heaven of the heavens and established the throne of the Father, the Ancient of Days, in heaven in order to ultimately deal with the problem of evil, accomplish redemption, and establish righteous judgment or government in the universe they would create. (Psalm 9:7-10, 16, 19-20, Daniel 7:9-10)
2. With Peter, Paul, and the early apostles we believe Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of David, the incarnate Son of God. In the fullness of time God the Father sent forth the Son, anointed Him with the power of the Holy Spirit and enabled Him to fulfill the predetermined council, plan, and foreknowledge of the Triune God to destroy the works of the Devil, redeem the world, and establish the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son, so that He might bring many sons and daughters into the experience of salvation and the glory of His Messianic Kingdom and establish righteous judgment (the government of God) in the cities and nations of the earth.
According to Peter, Paul, and all the apostles, in the death, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus of Nazareth the promise God made to David and the fathers of Israel has been fulfilled (Acts 2:29-36, 13:26-41). Today, Jesus of Nazareth is seated on the throne of David at the right hand of God in Heaven, the place of all authority, dominion, and power; He is judging or governing men and nations as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Today is Messiah’s Day, the day of His power. The Heavenly Father has given Jesus a Name that is far above every other name; the Holy Spirit is being poured out upon all flesh in His Name; in His Name is the forgiveness of sins and salvation from every oppression of evil. Today, God commands kings, rulers, and all men everywhere to renounce the Devil’s kingdom and get themselves baptized into the Name of Jesus the Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and so that they might receive the promise of the Holy Spirit to enable them fully obey the King in everything.(Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:38, 4:7-12, Romans 1:1-7, Ephesians 1:18-23, Psalm 2:8-12, 110:1-3, 6)
3. With Peter, Paul, and the apostles of the early Apostolic Church we believe the birth, life and ministry, death and resurrection, ascension and enthronement of Jesus the Christ, and the outpouring of the Spirit in His Name fulfilled the Law of Moses. According to all the apostles, the age of Moses ended legally at the cross, and Messiah’s Administration of the Kingdom began with Christ’s resurrection, His enthronement, and the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. However, Messiah’s Kingdom was not fully established or revealed until the Old Covenant Administration was abolished and ended in the destruction of the Temple and the burning of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. (Matthew 27:50-51, Romans 8:1-4, Hebrews 7:18-22, 8:1-13, 9:8-15, 10:1, 4-9)
In His life, death on the cross, descent into hell, and resurrection from the dead, Jesus triumphed gloriously over Satan, death and hell, redeemed mankind from the law of sin and death, and established the Covenant of Grace, whereby God can be just and yet justify sinners. The New Covenant established in the body and blood of Jesus is the foundation of Messiah’s Kingdom and salvation in His Name. According to Peter and Paul the blessings of the New Covenant are the promised blessings of Abraham and the mercies of David. (Acts 13:34)
4. With the ancient prophets of Israel and all the early apostles we believe the kingdoms of this world (unregenerate people, economies, governments, educational structures, cities and nations of the earth) have been purchased with the blood of the Jesus and belong to Him by right of redemption, as well as creation. They are the spoils of the victory of His cross and resurrection. Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God and Savior of all who believe and obey the Gospel, He is also heir of all things. Therefore, the cities and nations of the world belong to Him and to the members of His body, the Church, as their rightful inheritance.
God promised Abraham that his seed, the Christ, would possess the gates of his enemies (Genesis 22:17, Matthew 16:18). And Isaiah prophesied that the sons and daughters of the heavenly Zion (Christ’s Church) would spread out to the left and right and possess the cities and nations of the earth (Isaiah 54:3). The networks and jurisdictions of the CAC believe that these promises will yet be fulfilled, and that before the Lord Jesus comes again for His final appearing on the last day, Zion’s saints will possess the cites and nations of the earth. (Matthew 16:18, 28:19-20, Ephesians 4:10)
5. With the prophets, apostles and saints of old we believe the God-ordained purpose of the present reign of King Jesus is to destroy the works of the Devil, build His Church, and through His Church bring the governments and nations of the world under the government of His Kingdom and establish righteous judgment or justice in the earth. (See Psalm 2:8-12, 45:3-9, 110:1-6, Isaiah 2:2-4, 9:6-7, 53:12, 54:3, Matthew 12:29, Matthew 28:19-20, John 12:31, 1 Corinthians 15: 23-25, Daniel 7:9-14, Ephesians 1:18-23, 4:8-16, Revelation 5:5, 10, 12-13, 6:2, 19:11)
The Father has given His throne-chariot to His only begotten Son, and Jesus Christ is riding the clouds of heaven today as King of kings and Lord of lords, making war on the Devil’s kingdom and dealing with unregenerate people, civil governments, economies, educational systems, cities, and nations in order to establish justice in the earth. Having decisively defeated Satan by His death on the cross and His glorious resurrection, Jesus of Nazareth, Lion of Judah, is progressively riding forth out of Zion with His saints to plunder Satan’s kingdom and fill the earth with the glory of the sons and daughters of God. In union with His Church and by the power of the Holy Spirit the Lord Jesus is setting captives free from the oppression of evil and liberating planet earth (entire cities and nations. (Psalm 2:6-7, 8-12, 45:3-5, 104:3, Daniel 7:13, Matthew 12:29, 16:28, 24:30, Ephesians 4:8, Revelation 1:7)
He has given the saints apostolic strategies and mighty spiritual weapons to enable them to triumph in the warfare between the Kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of the Devil, the right to use the authority and power of the Name to work miracles of healing and deliverance, the heralding or proclamation of the Good News of the King’s dominion, the exercise of warfare praise and worship to administrate or release the righteous judgments of God, the declaration of prophetic decrees, the righteous deeds of the saints, and the governmental prayers of the saints, binding the power of the principalities and powers of darkness and releasing the supernatural power of God to deal with governments and nations. (Psalm 22:3, 25, 47:1-9, 110:3, Matthew 16:19, Mark 11:23-24, 16:17-18, John 14:12-14, Acts 1:8, Acts 10:32, 2 Corinthians 10:4-8, Ephesians 6:10-20, Revelation 8:3-5, 18:20)
6. With the ancient prophets of Israel and with Peter, Paul, and all the early apostles, the networks, ministry spheres, and jurisdictions of the CAC believe that the Gospel of Christ the King is God's decree, His Gospel command! The Father has sovereignly decreed, “I have set My King on My Holy mountain, obey Him!” As has already been emphasized, in the resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus of Nazareth, God the Father has forever established the government or Kingdom of His Son. He now commands kings and rulers and people of all nations to turn from their lawlessness and rebellion and obey His anointed King. (Psalm 2:6-12, 110:5, Acts 2:38, 4:12, 1 Peter 1:2, 14, Romans 1:5, 16:25-26)
In the Acts of the Apostles Peter and his fellow apostles of the Lamb proclaimed on the day of Pentecost, “God commands all men everywhere to repent, turn from their rebellion, and receive the heavenly government of Christ the King by getting themselves baptized into His Name and receiving as a result the forgiveness of
their sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Luke tells us that as many as obeyed the word of decree were baptized and added to Christ’s Church.” Later Peter proclaimed, “there is no other Name under Heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 2:38, 4:12)
According to Peter and Paul salvation is not an option, it is God’s command. Repentance is not an option, it is God’s command. Baptism is not an option, it is a command. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles and arch-type of all ascension-gift apostles, declared that the purpose of his apostleship was to bring the nations to the obedience of the faith. The apostles and saints of the early Apostolic Church understood the faith that brings salvation to be faith that obeys God’s decree. And the Lord gives the Spirit to all who obey the Gospel.
The networks and apostolic jurisdictions of the CAC believe that Jesus Christ is judging governments, cities, and nations today on the basis of their response of obedience or disobedience to God’s decree in exactly the same way He dealt with Old Covenant Israel and the Roman Empire in the first century (Psalm 2:8-12, 110:3, Daniel 7:13-14, John 12:31, Matthew 28:19, Ephesians 1:20-22, 1 Corinthians 15:25-26, Revelation 1:5, 5:12-13, 6:2, 19:11)
Today, the government and nation that obeys the Gospel, repenting and being baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, will receive Kingdom grace or salvation and receive the full blessings of the Messianic Kingdom (protection, provision, and an inheritance) in this present life and in the age to come eternal life. But the government and nation that refuses to repent of rebellion or to obey God’s anointed King will be destroyed in this present age, and in the age to come will face eternal destruction. Isaiah prophesied, “the government or nation that refuses to serve God’s Christ and His Church will perish from the face of the earth.” (Psalm 2:8-12, 45:3-4, Isaiah 42:13, 60:12)
Arnold Toynbee, the renowned historian, once observed that 23 civilizations have perished from off the face of the earth without scarcely leaving a trace.
This ancient mosaic pictures Christ being served by the rulers of the earth as the Prophet Isaiah envisioned. According to King David in Psalm 2:6 the Father has established the throne of His Son in heaven in response to the rebellion of the governments and nations of the earth to establish God’s righteous government and His judgments in the earth.
7. With the prophets of Israel and Peter, Paul and the early apostles, the networks and jurisdictions of the CAC believe the distinctive characteristic of Messiah's Day is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the miracle-working power of God. The ancient prophets prophesied that Messiah's Kingdom would be marked by the special anointing of the Spirit upon the Messiah, enabling Him to govern the nations in righteousness, and also by the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the nations in His Name to awaken them to righteousness, bring them to repentance and to the obedience of the faith, and raise up Messiah’s Church in the earth. (Isaiah 11:1-10, 42:1-13, 44:3, 61:11, Joel 3:28)
Messiah's Day would also be characterized by the special gift of the Spirit's indwelling presence and supernatural power (a special Kingdom anointing) upon God’s saints, enabling them to live righteously and godly in the present evil age and to work the same miracles that He worked, and even greater, in Jesus’ Name.
John the Baptist, whose mission it was to introduce the Messiah to the Jewish people, declared in the wilderness of the Jordan “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit...” After Christ’s ascension, the disciples waited in obedience just as Jesus had instructed them for “the promise of the Father” to be poured out upon them. As the Spirit was poured out on the disciples in the upper room, Peter boldly declared to the Jews who questioned what was happening, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel...I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh...” (Acts 2:16). And to all who would repent and obey the Gospel, he promised, “you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off.” (Acts 2:38-39). Later the Apostle Paul declared, “the Kingdom is...in the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 3:11-12, 16-17, John 14:16-17, 16:5-15, Acts 1: 4, 2:16-21, 33, 10:44-48, 19:2-3, Ephesians 1:13, Galatians 3:13-14, Hebrews 2:3)
The Scriptures tell us that everything Jesus did in His life and ministry, He did so that you and I might be baptized by the Spirit into Jesus Christ and receive the Spirit’s indwelling presence and power as a special Kingdom anointing to enable each believer to reign in life, spoil the Devil's kingdom and possess cities and nations. In addition to the general outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh to bring forth the New Creation there is also the promised gift of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence and power. This indwelling presence and anointing with power is the special gift or birthright of every person who obeys the Gospel. Receiving this gift, as a definite, demonstrable, and ongoing experience, is essential to empower the believer for victorious Christian living and to work the miracles of healing and deliverance that Jesus did in His ministry. (Luke 11:11-13, Acts 2:38-39, 8:14-17, 19:2, Ephesians 1:13, Galatians 4:4-7, 2 Corinthians 3:4-11)
As Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens where opened, and John saw the Spirit of God descending upon Him as a dove, and a voice out of heaven said, “this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Earlier John had proclaimed to the multitudes who came out to be baptized by him, “He who is coming after me is mightier than I...He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
According to John, everything Jesus did in His life and ministry was so that He could pour out the Holy Spirit upon the nations and bring forth the Kingdom of heaven. The gift of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence and power is the special birthright of everyone who obeys the Gospel of the King.
8. With the prophets of Israel and also with Peter, Paul, and the early apostles the networks and jurisdictions of the CAC believe in Kingdom initiation. We believe a person is initiated into the Kingdom of God by being baptized by the Holy Spirit’s power into Jesus Christ. Paul declared to the Corinthians, “By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body and made to drink of one Spirit." According to the New Testament, Jesus came to baptize the world with the Holy Spirit and fire. Whether we like it or not in this present evil age the whole world is going to be baptized by the Lord Jesus, either with the baptism of the Spirit, or with the fire of judgment! (Matthew 3:11-12, Luke 12:49, Acts 2:38-41, 1 Corinthians 12:13)
After He sat down on the right hand of God in Heaven, the Lord Jesus received the promised Holy Spirit and began to pour the Spirit out upon all flesh, starting with the disciples in the upper room. Properly understood, this outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ that began on the Day of Pentecost and continues throughout Messiah’s Day is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.(Acts 2:33, Ephesians 4:10)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit involves far more than merely receiving the gift of the Spirit, speaking in tongues, or prophesying. In the New Testament the phrase, “the baptism of the Holy Spirit,” refers to the comprehensive initiation into Christ’s Kingdom by which one is “transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son.” It is synonymous with a valid conversion experience. The full baptism of the Spirit includes the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting the sinner of sin, righteousness and judgment, bringing him to repentance from dead works, moving him not only to believe the message but also to obey the message by getting himself baptized in water as an outward symbol of ones baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection, enabling him to also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’s infilling and power, and helping the new convert to find placement in the Body of Christ (the Church) in an allotment of believers under valid apostolic and pastoral government.
The apostolic pattern for Kingdom initiation is given to us on the Day of Pentecost as Peter preaches the Gospel of the Kingdom and commands his fellow Israelites to repent and obey the Gospel of the King by getting themselves baptized upon the basis or by the authority of the Name of the King for the forgiveness of their sins; as a result they would be able to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Luke tells us about 3000 obeyed Peter’s word and were baptized and added to the Church. Sadly the modern Church has substituted the modern “Invitation System” for the “Peter Package.” Today many ministers and church groups would have us believe that on the day of Pentecost Peter said, “While John plays the organ and James dims the lights, I want every head bowed and every eye closed. If you would like to receive Jesus as your personal Savior, raise your hands, and pray the sinner’s prayer with me.” The modern church tries to ease people into the Kingdom. But Peter dynamited them out of the Kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of God. Having used the keys of Messiah’s Kingdom, he commanded, “repent, get yourself baptized upon the basis of the Name of Jesus the King for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The apostles, elders, ministers, and churches of the CAC believe the apostolic pattern has not changed. (John 14:2, 16:8-11, 1 Corinthians 12:13, 18, Acts 2:41-42, 1 Peter 5:1-3, Hebrews 12:22-24, 13:17)
The artist Dore depicts the promised outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost with the tongues of fire sitting on the heads of the disciples of Jesus. In response to the questions of his fellow Jews Peter proclaimed, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel...I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind and ...they shall prophesy and I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs in the earth below, blood and fire and smoke...” It is the prophesying of the saints that releases the supernatural power of the Kingdom to discipline and transform nations.
9. With Peter, Paul, and the early Apostolic Church the apostolic networks, ministry spheres, and ecclesiastical jurisdictions of the CAC believe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have established a particular governmental order or architectural structure of authority and dominion in Messiah’s Kingdom.
- a. The highest authority in the present administration of the Kingdom of heaven is Jesus Christ! Because of His obedience, suffering, and death, the Father has highly exalted His only begotten Son and given all authority in heaven, earth, and under the earth to Jesus of Nazareth enabling Him to reign as Lord and Christ. He is head over all things to the Church which is His body. Whatever is done by the Godhead today is done in the Name of Jesus Christ the King!
b. In the ecclesiastical realm the highest authority in the early Apostolic Church was the fellowship or communion of apostles established by the Lord Jesus Himself (See Matthew 10:1-4, 11-23, 40-42, Acts 1:1-8, 21-26, Acts 2:41-44, Galatians 2:10, 1 John 1:1-4) and the bodies of elders (ruling pastors or bishops) that were in proper relationship or communion with them (Acts 14:23, 15:6,23, 16:4, Acts 20:17, 28,-30, 1 Timothy 3:1, Titus 1:5, 1 Peter 5:1-3, Philippians 1:1).
Therefore the CAC believes that under Christ’s immediate headship and the direction of the Holy Spirit, apostles and elders are responsible to oversee and rule or govern the Lord’s Church in mutual recognition and submission one to another, according to their various measures of grace and geographic spheres of influence. We believe the Lord Jesus is in the process of restoring apostles, apostolic companies, the fellowship of the apostles, and raising up governmental bodies and councils of apostles and elders internationally, regionally, nationally, and municipally today. The Lord has not abdicated His immediate or direct governmental headship or oversight of His Church. As Chief Apostle, Bishop, and Shepherd of our souls, through the wisdom, guidance, power, and direction of the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus still calls, trains, commissions, ordains, and connects apostles and elders (ruling pastors and bishops) with one another and with the members of His body and enables them to govern, and care for His Church.
Some churches or communions believe that historic succession (having a bishop, who has had hands laid on him by a bishop, who has had hands laid on him by a bishop, and so on, all the way back to the original apostles) is the only reasonable or reliable guarantee of true apostolic succession. While we believe in the importance of valid ordination and governmental accountability, the squalid history of the Church clearly demonstrates that historic succession is no guarantee of true apostolic succession. Because of this, the networks and jurisdictions of the CAC believe in and depend upon the immediate succession of the Holy Spirit. We believe the Lord Himself anoints and appoints His servants by His Spirit. The Head of the Church places individuals and allotments of believers under the spiritual authority of apostles and elders. The Lord sovereignly joins apostles and elders together forming them into governmental bodies and councils locally, nationally, regionally, and globally for the sake of His Kingdom. (1 Corinthians 12:18, 28-31, Ephesians 4:1-11, 13-16)
c. In the family or domestic realm the husband is the head of his wife and of his household. As husband and father he is responsible under Christ to bring his family into the Kingdom and under the saving rule of King Jesus and release the full blessings and benefits of the Kingdom of God upon His wife and children. (1 Corinthians 7:1-5, Ephesians 5:22-33, 6:4)
d. In the realm of civil government or the state, civil magistrates (judges) or rulers are to function as servants of God. Under God and His Christ they are responsible to administrate the sword to protect human life and liberty, establish righteous judgment or justice, and maintain the peace and well being of cities and nations. (Psalm 2:8-12, Isaiah 60:10-12, Romans 13:1-14)
In this sketch Dore depicts Ezra restoring the foundations of the Temple destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Jesus and the first apostles laid the Kingdom foundations for the true Temple, the spiritual house of God, made with living stones. Paul later writes to the Corinthians, “ But each man must be careful how he builds on it (the foundation). For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus the Christ.” If we are going to see the governmental and functional unity of Christ’s Church in the 21st century, the apostles, prophets, and the elders (ruling pastors) must rediscover and honor the foundation of Christ’s Kingship laid once-for-all by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and by the apostles in the beginning of the apostolic movement.
Subsection 2. The Church of Jesus Christ:
1. We believe the Church is the body of the Messiah, the King of Heaven and earth and under the earth, the fullness of Him. As such it is to be a demonstration in the world of life under the government of the King, and the instrument of His Kingdom purpose to disciple the nations and fill the earth with the glory of God. (Isaiah 60:1-3, Matthew 5:14-16, John 17:20-21, 1 Corinthians 12:12, Ephesians 1:18-23, 3:10, Revelation 21:10-27)
2. We believe the Church is the New Covenant Israel, the Holy Nation, the Kingdom of Priests that God promised Abraham, David, and the fathers of Israel and that was envisioned by the prophets Israel.
Jesus said, “I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” The key word in this verse is, “My.” Jesus contrasts His Church with the only other man in the Bible who had a Church, Moses, the Apostles and High Priest of the Old Covenant. Moses had the Church in the wilderness, the Old Covenant Israel of God. Moses’ Church failed to fulfill God’s ultimate intention that Israel would dispel darkness, destroy the works of the Devil, and become the theocratic center of the kingdoms of the world to light and transform nations. But Jesus’ Church will not fail. He is building it upon the foundation of His Kingship, and out of a peculiar kind of material (the sons and daughters of His Kingdom), and He is structuring and ordering it governmentally (the oversight of apostles and elders) in such a way that the gates of hell (the governments of the cities and nations of the world) will not be able to resist His Church’s victorious march of conquest over the kingdom of the Devil.
Christ’s Church will ultimately possess cities and nations and fill the whole earth with the glory of God. It is important to for us to remember that the army of God comes out of the Church as Holy Nation and not out of independent local churches or independent networks of churches. A single troop might come out of a network or stream of churches, but the Lord’s army comes out of the whole Church or the Holy Nation. Jesus did not say, “I will build My churches,” plural referring to independent or autonomous local churches. Instead He declared, “I will build My Church,” singular, referring to the united community or the alternate society that King Jesus is building, One Global Messianic Community, the New Israel, the Holy Nation. It will take the Holy Nation and a great spiritual army that knows how to use it’s weapons of spiritual warfare and to move in rank and order to deal with Satan’s kingdom and the governments and nations of men.(Matthew 16:18, 1 Peter 2:9-12, Galatians 6:15-18)
3. We believe the Church is both the House of God and the House of David. Christ’s Church is the household of faith, the family of sons and daughters God promised David his Son would build for God, a spiritual house or temple, not made by human hands, but made of living stones, quickened and made alive and built together by the Spirit of God, a house of prayer for all nations. (Mark 11:17, John 14:1-3, 1 Peter 2:4-5, Hebrews 3:1-6, Ephesians 2:11-22, 1 Timothy 3:14-15)
Christ’s Church is not only the household of faith, it is also the house God promised to build for David, the restored tent of David or Zion, the New Jerusalem, the City of God. As Zion, Christ’s Church is to be a practical demonstration of the government of King Jesus in the earth, a heavenly city established on the heavenly Mount Zion to light the nations. It is also the instrument of His Kingdom purpose (His battle axe, or threshing instrument) to destroy the works of the Devil, possess cities and nations, and fill everything with the glory of the sons and daughters of God. The Lord’s heavenly army rides forth triumphantly out of Zion to execute the judgments that have already been written. The rod or scepter of Messiah’s Kingdom is stretched forth out of Zion every Lord’s day as the sons and daughters of Zion pray kingdom or governmental prayers and bind the powers of darkness and release the righteous judgments of God in the world. (Acts 15:14-18, 1 Peter 2:6-8, Hebrews 12:22-24, Galatians 4:21-31, Ephesians 3:1-7, Revelation 21:10-14, Psalm 2:6-7, 110:1-3, Matthew 16:16-19)
4. We believe the Church is the New Creation of the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts the sinner, regenerates or baptizes him into Jesus Christ, translating him out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son, and adding him to the Lord’s Church (the General Assembly described in Hebrews 12:23). It is the Holy Spirit who places each one in a specific allotment of believers under true apostolic or pastoral oversight. It is the Holy Spirit who joins or connects us in the Spirit with other believers as members of the body, and empowers us to relate to one another covenantally in the Lord and function together in cities, nations, regions, and globally, as the body of the Second Adam, the new creation, a new humanity, One New Man in the earth. (Isaiah 42:9, 43:18-19, John 3:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:12-18, 15:45-49, 2 Corinthians 5:16-19, Galatians 6:15-16, Ephesians 2:1-10, 4:4-16, Philippians 3:2-21)
In light of these things it is accurate to say that Christ’s Church is a “charismatic” Community. According to the Scriptures the Holy Spirit gives every believer a specific measure of grace or rule, a sphere of responsibility in Christ’s Kingdom. He distributes spiritual gifts (supernatural wisdom and power) and anoints us with a Kingdom anointing to empower us to live righteously and godly in this present evil age and to destroy the works of the Devil, healing the sick and casting out Devils. The Holy Spirit anoints us with a Kingdom anointing to empower us to reign in life, build marriages that work, families that function, businesses that prosper, schools that educate, civil governments that govern justly . (Matthew 16:20, Mark 9:1, 11:23-24, 16:17-19, John 14:12-14, Acts 1:8, Acts 10:32, Romans 5:17, 12:3, 15:18-19,29, 1 Corinthians 4:8, 20, 12:4-11, 14:1, 2 Corinthians 10:13-15, Ephesians 4:7, 13, 16, Revelation 5:10, 20:6, 22:5)
The Church of Jesus Christ is the creation of the Holy Spirit and the Word, the New Creation or the New Thing that the prophets of Israel proclaimed the Lord would bring forth by His Spirit to fill all things (Isaiah 42:9 and 43:18-21). Properly understood then, the Lord’s Church in a city is really the new city in the process of being built and revealed. The Church in a nation is really the new nation, and the Church throughout the earth is in reality a new world order or Kingdom civilization.
5. The Church of Jesus Christ is also an Apostolic Community (One Holy Apostolic Church) in the earth with an apostolic vision and message, apostolic lifestyle or culture, apostolic structure and governmental order, apostolic mission and destiny. (Matthew 16:16-20, Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:21-26, Acts 2:41-42, 1 John 1:1-4, Ephesians 2:20, Hebrews 11:10, Revelation 21:14)
(The many varied titles or designations of Christ’s Church used in Holy Scripture often overlap one another and are different ways of designating the body of the Messiah and identifying the Church’s Kingdom mission in the world. In addition to those designations already discussed, the Church is the “Bride” of Christ, another way of identifying the Church as His body, whose purpose is to give birth to His Kingdom purpose in history. It is also the true “Vine,” identifying the Church as the Israel of God that is to bring forth the fruit of Messiah’s Kingdom and fill the whole earth with the glory of the King. The Church is also called the “General Assembly,” the “Church of the Firstborn enrolled in heaven,” referring to Christ’s Church as Zion, the City of the living God. As General Assembly, the Church is His governmental body established in the heavens. On the Lord’s Day, the Church’s official day of worship, the “whole Church” is to assemble in the Spirit around the throne of the King in heaven to extend the scepter of His Kingdom, praying governmental or Kingdom prayers and binding the powers of the kingdom of darkness and releasing Christ’s righteous judgments in the earth.)
The CAC believes the global mission of Christ’s apostles and of His Apostolic Church today is to extend the scepter or government of King Jesus over the rulers and nations of the earth, offering to them the mercy and grace of God (Kingdom or apostolic grace), and bringing civil governments, marriages and family life, economies, and educational systems under the saving rule or discipline of God’s Messiah, transforming cultures and establishing His Kingdom in every place. (Matthew 28:19-20-this mission includes all kinds of evangelism, church planting and development, as well as the transformation of governments, cities, and nations.)
Paul declared to the saints at Ephesus, “He ascended to fill all things...” The purpose of the present administration of God’s anointed King is to fill all things. The Lord’s methodology or strategy is to give spiritual gifts to men, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to gather and equip the saints in every place with Kingdom or apostolic grace until they grow up into the head in all things and possess the cities and nations of the earth. (Ephesians 4:10-15)
In light of these declarations regarding the Lord’s Apostolic Church:
a. We believe in allotments of believers or local churches (1 Peter 5:3), and seek to strengthen local shepherds or pastors, serve their governmental spheres, and enable them to succeed in their God-given calling and mission. (It is important to remember the word “allotments” used by Peter comes from Joshua 11:23. When Joshua gave the land of Canaan to the tribes of Israel, it was divided to the fathers households, clans, and tribes according to their allotments.)
b. We believe in the Church of a city. Scholars agree that the expression, “local church,” is not used in the New Testament. Instead, the New Testament speaks of “the Church at” or “the Church in” a city or municipality, as in the case of the Church at Jerusalem or the Church at Corinth. More often the letters of the apostles were addressed “to the saints in” or “to the saints at” a certain city, such as “to the saints who are at Ephesus,” “to all the saints in Christ who are in Philippi, or “to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae,” referring to all the saints who were part of the Lord’s One Apostolic Church in those particular cities of the Roman Empire.
We also do not read about “elders of a local church,” in the manner it is used today in some circles. Instead the New Testament speaks of elders of the Church in a city, as in Ephesus. In Acts 20:1 Luke tells us that Paul, “sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders (the ruling fathers or heads of the allotments of believers) of the Church.” And in Acts 14:23 we read Paul and Barnabus, “ordained elders in every Church.” But a careful reading of the context makes it clear Luke is not speaking about local independent or autonomous churches.” According to Luke’s account, they actually ordained elders in the Apostolic Church that had been raised up in the cities where they had preached the Gospel of the King. One final example, Paul left Titus in Crete to, “set in order what remains and appoint (ordain) elders in every city,” where Paul and his team had previously planted the One Apostolic Church. (Titus 1:5)
In light of the clear teaching of the New Testament and the pattern of the first apostles, the CAC believes all those who are the recognized apostles and elders (spiritual fathers or heads) of the various allotments of believers in a municipality should submit to one another in the Lord, and function together as a presbytery or synod of elders (ruling pastors or bishops) of the Church in a city with one among them recognized as the presiding apostle or elder, as in the case of James, the recognized apostolic head of the Church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13-19) and the angels, the presiding apostles or elders of the Seven Churches of Asia (Revelation 1:4,11, 2:1, 2:8, 2:12, 2:18, 3:1, 3:7, and 3:14).
c. We believe in the Church in a region. While it is true that the New Testament speaks of the Churches in a region i.e., “the churches of Judea,” “the churches of Asia,” “the churches of Galatia,” and “the churches of Macedonia,” the context makes clear that these expressions speak of the One Church of Jesus the Christ in the cities and nations or kingdoms that made up these regions, and not “independent locals churches” in the sense that the expression “local church” is used today. This is made clear by Luke’s account in Acts 9:31, the sending away of Paul from Jerusalem to Tarsus. Luke writes that after Paul leaves the region, “So the Church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace...” Later in Romans 15:26 the Apostle Paul writes, “For Macedonia (a region) and Achaia (a region) have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.” The Church had been established by Peter and his company and Paul and his company in the various cities and nations throughout these regions. But while there were many cities and nations in these regions, there was only one Church, the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. It consisted of many allotments connected by the apostles and elders in the cities and nations to function as One Apostolic Church in these regions of the Roman Empire.
The CAC believes the many allotments (congregations or churches) that constitute the Church in the cities and nations of a region should ultimately be connected in the fellowship of the apostles established by Jesus and overseen or governed by regional councils or synods of regionally recognized apostles and elders with one among them elected to serve as the presiding apostle or elder (president), enabling the Church to function as one people in a region.
d. We believe in the Church in a nation. (For outlining purposes this point should precede the previous point dealing with regional church, because we are using “region” as it is used in the New Testament to refer to geographic areas that include nations, such as West Africa, East Africa, Southeast Asia, North America, and South America. As we have seen the region of Asia Minor not only included cities, but also small kingdoms (nations) that were all together under the dominion of the Roman Empire.) The CAC believes that the Church in the cities and states that constitute a nation should be connected together as part of the fellowship of the apostles under the leadership and general oversight of national councils or synods of nationally recognized apostles and elders with one among them chosen to function as the presiding apostle or elder thus enabling the churches to function as the Church in a nation.
e. We believe the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ is One Holy Nation, the New Covenant Israel of God. As has been observed already, Jesus did not say, “I will build My churches...” but rather, “I will build My Church” (My Israel, My Holy Nation) The writer of Hebrews (the Apostle Paul) boldly declares, “But you (all the saints in the earth) have come to Mount Zion and to the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem...to the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn who are enrolled in heaven...” (Hebrews 12:23).
(It is very important to remember that Scripturally in the Kingdom of God there is no such thing as an independent local church. If an allotment of believers is independent, it is because it is not a properly related to Christ the King or to His Church which is the body of His Messianic purpose in the world. The Church of Jesus Christ is in reality the General Assembly before it is a local assembly. When a person is born again and added to the Church, he is added to the General Assembly in heaven. After adding the new convert to the General Assembly, the Holy Spirit places the person in the Lord’s body in an allotment of believers (a local flock, congregation, or church) under valid apostolic and pastoral leadership.)
Therefore, in light of all that has been said and for the sake of doctrinal, experiential, governmental, and functional unity, national conferences of churches and the councils or synods that represent or govern them should be connected to each other in the fellowship or communion of the apostles, as part of the Lord’s General Assembly under the oversight of a general council or synod of internationally recognized apostles and elders with one among them chosen or elected to serve as the presiding apostle or elder thus enabling national churches to function together as One Holy Apostolic Church in the world.
The apostles, elders, ministers, and churches of the CAC recognize the present subnormality of a denominationally divided Church. However, we believe the Lord is in the process of reviving, restoring, and reforming His Church in order that it might become and function as one doctrinally, experientially, and governmentally and succeed in its mission to disciple the nations and fill the earth with the glory of God. It will take a Holy Nation, the whole Church of Jesus Christ, to conquer the Devil’s kingdom and possess cities and nations. We believe the 21st century will be an apostolic century. The foundations of the Kingdom will be restored, and Christ’s Church will be reformed and enabled not only to receive, but also to extend Kingdom or apostolic grace to the governments and nations of the world. The zeal of the Lord will bring it to pass.
The Artist Dore pictures Nehemiah surveying the ruins of Jerusalem before beginning the arduous apostolic work of restoring and rebuilding Jerusalem, the ancient City of David. Today, the walls of salvation and the foundations and gates of the heavenly City have been destroyed, burned by doctrinal error, sectarianism and denominational division and strife, and are in great disrepair. If the Church of the 21st century is going to see a true reformation, the apostles and prophets, and the elders of the heavenly City must rediscover the original apostolic foundations, restore the walls of salvation, and rebuild the governmental gates established by Jesus and the first apostles.
Subsection 3. The Church's Governmental Order:
Dore’s sketch portraying Peter and Paul sharing their revelation together in Jerusalem. Paul shares his account of this apostolic meeting in his letter to the Galatians, declaring he went up to Jerusalem at the Lord’s specific direction and submitted his revelation to those who were apostles before him. Peter, James, and John recognized Paul’s revelation as from the Lord Himself, and extended to Paul the right hand of fellowship, receiving him into the communion of the apostles (the apostolate).
Part 1. Introductory Overview:
We believe the greatest problem of the 21st century is the problem of a divided Church. The reason the Church is divided is because the Church’s leaders, the spiritual fathers are divided. Since form follows function, the great need of the Church of the 21st century is to rediscover the governmental order or architectural structure that was established by the Lord Jesus and the first apostles that can enable the Church to function as one Holy nation, a Kingdom of priests throughout the whole earth!
Christianity is an apostolic movement. It began and will be consummated as an apostolic movement. The Church of Jesus Christ is still in historical fact built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Church's Chief Cornerstone, is Himself the Chief Apostle. (Hebrews 3:1-6)
1. We believe apostles and elders (ruling pastors or bishops) should govern the Church as stewards of the grace of God and as overseers under the direction of Jesus Christ, the Church’s Chief Apostle, Elder, Shepherd, and Bishop. The Lord Jesus has not rescinded or changed the governmental order that He Himself established in the beginning. (Acts 15:6, 23, 16:4, 1 Peter 5:1-3, 1 Timothy 3:1, Titus 1:5)
(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. We believe the highest authority in the Lord’s Church is not a Senior Pastor and his body of elders, nor an Episcopal Bishop and his presbyters, nor a single Apostle with his network of churches. The highest governmental authority in the Apostolic Church is the Lord Himself and the fellowship of the apostles (the apostolate) which Jesus established and is currently in the process of restoring.
According to the Canon of the New Testament, the foundation of the early church’s governmental unity was the fellowship or communion of apostles that Jesus Himself established in the beginning of the Christian movement (the apostolate of Acts 1:14-26, Galatians 2:9, 1 John 1:1-4). This apostolate is the highest spiritual authority or governmental body in Christ’s Church and must once again be restored by the Lord if His Church is to function as one body in the earth and succeed in its Kingdom purpose.
The apostolate that Jesus established took the place of the Chief Priests of Israel in the early Apostolic Church. As the first apostles and their companies carried the Gospel of Christ the King and raised up His Church throughout the Roman Empire, they faithfully ordained pastors or ruling elders in every place (Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5). These elders (the fathers of the myriads of allotments of believers in cities, regions, and nations throughout the Roman Empire) joined with the first apostles to form governmental bodies or synods to oversee or govern the Lord’s Church throughout the Empire. These synods of apostles and elders in reality took the place in the New Covenant Israel of the General Council or Sanhedrin of Old Covenant Israel (their Senate, the highest governing body of the nation). (See Isaiah 22:15, 19, 22 [the replacement of Shebna by Eliakim as the steward over the House of David], Matthew 19:27-30, 21:40-45, 26:57, Luke 19:27, 47, 20:13-19, 22:66, Acts 15:6, 23, 16:4.)
3. The networks of ministers and churches that makeup the CAC believe that the Lord Himself is in the process of restoring apostles, the fellowship or communion of apostles, and councils or synods (senates) of apostles and elders. As they are restored, apostles must work together with the Lord and with one another globally to recover the fellowship of the apostles (the apostolate) and form a General Apostolic Council or Synod of internationally recognized apostles and elders to provide general oversight and global leadership to the Apostolic Church worldwide. (We are aware that with the present subnormality in the Church this is impossible unless the Lord brings it to pass by the power of His Holy Spirit.)
4. We further believe that apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers should work together in the nations to establish National Apostolic Conferences (Synods) of nationally recognized apostles and elders (ruling pastors or bishops) to represent and, in communion with the General Apostolic Council, oversee (bishop) the Church in their nation. (See Subsection 2.5 above on the Apostolic Church.)
5. We also believe apostles, other fivefold ministers, and elders should work together in their respective regions to form Regional Apostolic Councils (Synods) of regionally recognized apostles and elders (ruling pastors or bishops) to represent, and in communion with the General or International Council of apostles and elders (being responsible and accountable), oversee (bishop) the Church in the region they represent. (See Subsection 2.5 on the Apostolic Church.)
6. We believe apostles, other fivefold ministers, and elders in a city should work together with extra local apostles and elders to form a City Presbytery (Synod) of recognized apostles and elders, subject not only to one another, but also to the Regional Council of apostles and elders in their region, to represent and oversee (bishop) the Church in the city. (See Subsection 2.5 on the Apostolic Church.)
7. We believe the highest authority in a single allotment of believers or a local church is the ruling pastor (elder or bishop). However, we believe that he should be related governmentally (submitted to) in the Lord to the apostles and elders in his city for governmental accountability and support. In the absence of valid Apostolic Church government today, a pastor should seek relationship with an apostle or with mature pastors in his city who are themselves seeking the Kingdom and working towards the restoration of the foundations of the Lord’s Church.
Dore’s sketch portraying Peter using the keys (the testimony of Jesus Christ) to open the door of Messiah’s Kingdom to Cornelius and his household. Peter had used these same keys to open the door of Messiah’s Kingdom to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost. And Peter’s testimony about the outpouring of the Spirit upon Cornelius’ household was used by the Spirit to open the understanding of the “apostolate” and the “synod” of elders regarding the Gentile issue during the Jerusalem Council of 50 AD.
Part 2. The Mission and Ministry of Apostles:
There are two kinds of apostles mentioned in the Canon of the New Testament. There are the twelve original apostles of the Lamb, that Jesus chose in the very beginning of His ministry to be with Him, to be eye witnesses of His resurrection, and foundation stones of the new Israel. After Judas fell from his place Matthias was chosen by the Lord to fill his place. (Matthew 10:1-4, Acts 1:15-26, Ephesians 2:20, and Revelation 21:14)
The single most important qualification for one to be one of the twelve foundations of Zion, the New Jerusalem, the mother of the New Israel was that they had to have been with Jesus from the beginning and eye witnesses of His resurrection from the dead. (Acts 1:15-26) Thus there were only twelve original apostles of the Lamb.
The second type of apostle that we read about in the Canon of the New Testament is the ascension-gift apostle like Paul and Barnabas. They are called ascension-gift apostles because they are given by the Lord after His resurrection and ascension (Acts 9:1-19, Acts 13:1-4, Ephesians 4:8-11). The New Testament mentions a number by name including Paul, Barnabas, James the brother of Jesus, and Silas. The essential qualification for an ascension-gift apostle, other than that having been chosen, prepared, and commissioned, is that he has been entrusted with the very same revelation (the keys of the Kingdom) of Jesus the Christ entrusted to the original apostles of the Lamb. Paul calls this revelation the standard or form of sound words. This revelation of Christ and His Kingdom is the measure of the Zion, the Lord’s true Church. (Galatians 2:2-10, 2 Timothy 1:13-14, 2:2, 8)
Many denominations failing to recognize this essential distinction between the Apostles of the Lamb and ascension-gift apostles mistakenly assume that when the last of the twelve passed from the scene of history that apostles ceased. But Paul, the arch-type of ascension-gift apostles, tells us that the Lord Jesus will continue to give ascension-gift apostles until the Church has fully matured, grown up into our glorious Head, and filled all things. (Ephesians 4:13)
1. The apostolic networks and ecclesiastical jurisdictions of the CAC believe apostles are governmental men, ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, sent to kings or rulers and to cities and nations to herald or proclaim God’s decree (Psalm 2:6,7), offer them a treaty or covenant of peace, establish or restore Christ’s Church and the government or discipline of King Jesus in the cities and nations of the world. (Psalm 2:8-12, Matthew 28:19-20, Luke 24:47-49, Acts 9:15, Romans 1:5)
In the fullness of time, according to the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23), the Father sent the Son as His governmental representative, to destroy the works of the devil, redeem the world, and establish the government of God in the world. The Father has given all judgment (authority, power, dominion) to the Son whom He has exalted to His own right hand, the place of all authority and power. After His resurrection the Son sent His apostles as His representatives to gather the believing remnant of Israel and to establish the Kingdom of the Messiah throughout the kingdoms of the earth. Jesus said, “He that receives you receives Me, and he that receives Me, receives Him that sent Me” (Matthew 10:5-15, Luke 10:16, John 17:18-21, 20:19-23, Acts 1:1, 8).
2. We believe apostles are also architects, master builders of the New Creation that God is bringing forth in the Name of Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit and the Word of the King’s dominion. They are responsible under God to establish or restore the foundations of Kingdom civilization in the kingdoms and nations of the earth. (1 Corinthians 3:10, 15:45-49, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15)
3. We believe apostles are special messengers, heralds, charged with the awesome responsibility to proclaim the good news of God’s King (the promise God made to King David to seat his Son on his throne has been fulfilled in the resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus Christ) to kings, rulers, cities, and nations in order to establish God’s righteous government in the earth. (Acts 2:23-34, Acts 9:20, 22, Acts 13:26, 32-34, 28:28-31, I Timothy 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:11, Romans 10:14, Revelation 2:1,8, 12, 18, and 3:1, 7, 14)
4. While every believer is given a measure of Kingdom grace (1 Peter 4:10, Ephesians 4:7), apostles are called and commissioned by Christ to be special stewards of that grace. John tells us, “The Word (the promise to David and the fathers of Israel) became flesh and dwelt among us...full of grace and truth.” And Paul declares to Titus, “The grace of God has appeared...” (John 1:14-16, Titus 3:11)
The principal reason apostles are sent to kings and nations as the governmental representatives of Christ and His Kingdom is due to their special stewardship of the grace of God. As already mentioned above, Apostles are sent to governments, cities, and nations to offer to them God’s covenant of grace and peace and to raise up the Church of Jesus Christ. Thus in Romans 1:5 Paul speaks of having received a special, “grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of the faith among all the gentiles...” And in verse 7 he writes to the Romans, “Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Also, in 1 Corinthians 1:3 Paul writes, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” In chapter 3, verse 10 he writes, “According to the grace of God (apostolic grace) which was given to me, like a wise master builder (architect) I laid a foundation...” In his letters to Timothy and Titus Paul adds the word mercy, “Grace, mercy, and peace ...” (We see similar greetings in all of Paul’s apostolic letters, as well as in the letters of Peter and the other apostles.)
Apostles are special stewards of the revelation of the mysteries of the Christ (the revelation of Messiah’s present administration of the Kingdom of God, His Church, the Kingdom ethic of love and forgiveness, the governmental structure of His Kingdom and the Church’s Kingdom mission and destiny). As special stewards of the mysteries of Christ, Apostles are entrusted with the keys of the Kingdom. It is worth noting here that Peter used the keys to open the door of Messiah’s Kingdom, first to the Jews in Acts 2, then to the Samaritans in Acts 8, and finally to the Gentiles in Acts 10. It is because of their special stewardship of the revelation of Christ and His Kingdom that apostles are especially anointed by the Spirit to demonstrate the power, the life, and the glory of Christ’s Kingdom. Thus, as Jesus promised the twelve, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (See Matthew 13:11; 16:18, and 1 Corinthians 4:1)
(It is important to remember that while their ministry and governmental responsibilities are somewhat different than apostles, prophets are also foundational ministries, and therefore receive the same revelation of Christ and His Kingdom entrusted to the original apostles (Ephesians 2:20, 3:2-13). Also, elders, as ongoing overseers (bishops) and shepherds (rulers) of God’s flock must receive the same revelation entrusted to the apostles and prophets and be able or qualified to teach that revelation and the full doctrine of the apostles.)
In addition to the revelation knowledge or the doctrine of Christ, as stewards of the grace of God, apostles are also special stewards of the mercies of David, the blessings of the New Covenant, and the life of the Kingdom. Jesus told His apostles, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained...” (John 20:23). The Holy Spirit was often given by the laying on of the hands of the apostles (Acts 8:17-18), special miracles were also worked through the hands of the apostles (Acts 5:12, 14:3, 19:11), and the apostles often laid on hands to impart apostolic grace to those ordained as elders or commissioned to the work of the Kingdom.
Finally, it is as apostolic grace is imparted by the ministry of the apostles to the saints that the whole Church truly becomes an apostolic Church, empowered or equipped to do everything Jesus commanded the first apostles to do (Matthew 28:19-20, Ephesians 4:12). In same way, it is as prophets, evangelists, and pastors impart to God’s saints prophetic, evangelistic, and pastoral grace that the Church of Jesus Christ truly becomes a prophetic, evangelistic, and pastoral community.
5. We believe apostles are overseers (bishops) of the house of God and the work of the Kingdom. They not only lay foundations or adjust the foundations of Christ’s Church in the earth, they also provide ongoing governmental oversight and pastoral care. (Isaiah 22 and Matthew 21:43, Matthew 19:28, Acts 15:6, 23, 16:4)
6. We believe apostles are also shepherds (spiritual rulers) or elders, charged with the responsibility to pastor the flock of God. (See John 10:11, 21:15-17, 1 Peter 5:1-4, 2 Corinthians 10:12-18)
7. We believe apostles are spiritual fathers (elders). They bring forth offspring unto God, not only sons in the ministry (as Jesus did with the 12, Peter with John Mark, and Paul with Timothy and Titus), but also the churches that make up the Lord’s Church in cities, regions, nations, throughout the earth. (1 Peter 1:1-3, 5:1-3, I Corinthians 4:15, II Corinthians 10:13-15)
8. We believe apostles are generals in the Kingdom of God. In partnership and council with other apostles (the fellowship of the apostles), fivefold ministers, and elders, they work to build the army of God and develop strategies for the conquest of the kingdom of darkness (II Corinthians 10:3-6).
(It is important to remember that Jesus declared to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:28-29, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.” Having first bound Satan in His death and resurrection, the Lord Jesus launched His apostolic campaign to plunder Satan’s kingdom, unregenerate men and women, economies, political structures, educational systems, cities and governments) by the outpouring of the Spirit in Acts 2, empowering of the apostles to proclaim the Word of the King’s dominion. John declares in Revelation 6:2, that having conquered the King is riding forth to conquer the nations.)
Jesus Christ is the Chief Apostle and pattern for all apostles who are merely an extension of His apostolic ministry and office (See Acts 1:17, 25). The Canon of the Scriptures declare that He is also the Chief Shepherd (Ruler), the Bishop of our souls, and the Ruling Elder of His Church.
Part 3. The Apostolic Function:
The artist Dore depicts the Apostle Paul preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Jews in the Jewish Synagogue at Thessalonica. Called to bring the nations to the obedience of the faith that Jesus is God’s Anointed King, In every city Paul always went first to the Jews. This was because he ministered the grace of God (apostolic grace) during the period of the apostolic mission to the Jews, the mission to gather the remnant of Israel, and together with the first fruits of the Gentiles, form them into the New Covenant Israel of God.
1. We believe apostles bring the government of God to cities and nations. After many years of research regarding the ministry of apostles Dr. Bill Hamon defines apostles as, “‘one sent as representative of another,’ with the power and authority of the representative coming from the one who sent him. They are like ambassadors who represent a country.” (See Subsection 3, Part 2.1)
2. We believe apostles are responsible to lay or adjust the foundations and raise up the King’s Church in order to establish Kingdom civilization among civil rulers, cities, and nations. (See Subsection 3, Part 2.2 and 4)
3. We believe that as stewards of the revelation of the mysteries of Christ and His Kingdom and as bishops or overseers of the House of David, apostles determine or structure doctrine and order church life. (Subsection 3, Part 2.4)
4. We believe that together with other apostles, fivefold ministers, and elders, apostles commission and ordain other apostles, fivefold ministers, and elders, and provide ongoing oversight and government to the Lord’s Church. (Acts 14:23, 1 Timothy 3:1, Titus 1:5)
5. We believe apostles provide oversight and support to one another, local pastors, other fivefold ministers, and churches, helping them to connect with other fivefold ministers, pastors, and churches and help them succeed in the Church’s mission. (See Subsection 3, Part 1.2)
6. We believe apostles reproduce themselves, raise up apostolic companies, train fivefold ministers, and send them out to plant new churches or establish apostolic missions in strategic cities and nations. (See Subsection 3, Part 2.7)
Part 4. Church Eldership:
Tissot portrays Jesus in Matthew 21:33-46, quoting Psalm 118 to the Chief Priests and Elders of Old Covenant Israel, “The Stone...the builders rejected...has become the Chief Cornerstone.” Because these “wicked” builders missed the hour of their visitation and rejected the Messiah, the Apostle and High Priest of the New Covenant, Jesus solemnly prophesies, “Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it...”
A Scriptural understanding of elders and Biblical eldership begins with the Old Testament and the establishment of elder rule in the holy nation. The elders of Israel were the recognized fathers of the nation (both natural and spiritual), the heads of father’s households, clans, tribes, and the whole nation. The holy nation’s order of march, as the army of God, and its encampments as a Kingdom of priests were organized or structured according to lot by father’s households, clans, and tribes around the Ark of the Presence of God and the Tent of Meeting. Moses, as the apostle and head of the nation, with Aaron and the Chief Priests, and the elders (the family heads or responsible men, the recognized representatives of father’s households, clans, and tribes), together governed the holy nation. (See Exodus 18:17-27, Numbers 1,2.)
This was the basic governmental structure throughout Israel’s history up to and including the New Testament period. In spite of Roman occupation and a superimposed and greatly despised occupation government, the Chief Priests (High Council) and Sanhedrin (the Seventy Senators) governed Israel as the highest governmental body of the holy nation, representing the elders and family heads of the villages and towns throughout Jewry and the Jewish people throughout the Empire. The fathers (chief men, heads, responsible or representative men) ruled or judged the towns and villages, including the Synagogues, as elders of the city or village.
Because these builders (rulers) of Israel rejected the Messiah (the Head or the Chief Cornerstone) and did not receive Him as the Apostle and High Priest of the New Covenant, they were cut off and the Kingdom was taken away from the Chief Priests and Elders of Israel and those they represented and was given to the Apostles and the Elders of the New Israel, the spiritual fathers (heads, responsible or representative men) of the allotments or spiritual households of the new Covenant Israel of God. (Romans 11:22 and Luke 20:16)
Thus the fellowship or communion of the apostles (the apostolate) replaced the Chief Priests’ Council and the elders of the Church replaced the Sanhedrin (the Senate) and the elders of the cities and villages.
1. We believe “eldership” in Christ’s Church, the New Israel, the Holy Nation relates directly to issues of spiritual fatherhood and headship, governmental oversight, and pastoral care for the spiritual well being of the individuals that God places in their allotment (house church, congregation, or a local church), or (as in the case of apostles) many allotments of believers in the family or household of God. Apostles and elders are spiritual fathers who by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of the Kingdom bring forth spiritual offspring unto God, raise them up in the Lord, and establish them in the ways of the Kingdom of God.
2. Apostles and elders are also overseers (bishops) who watch over the souls the Lord places in their care. And they are pastors or shepherds, responsible for the health and welfare of the Lord’s sheep. With all the different doctrines and ecclesiastical structures today it is important to remember that in the early Apostolic Church, the titles elder, bishop and pastor were used interchangeably to refer to the same governmental office in the Canon of the New Testament. (See Acts 20, I Peter 5:1-3.)
The designation elder refers to experience or maturity issues, emphasizing that an elder should not be inexperienced, unproven, or untested (he should not be a novice). It also carries the ideas of spiritual fatherhood and headship (as a husband and father is head of his household); an elder should be spiritually fruitful in bringing forth offspring unto God, and like a father he should be deeply concerned about and watch out for the welfare, spiritual growth, and development of his offspring..
The designation bishop emphasizes the office of steward of the mysteries of the Messianic Kingdom and overseer of the House of David. Christ’s bishop should understand the content of the New Covenant (the full blessings of Abraham and the mercies of David) and the architectural requirements for the work of the Kingdom and the administration Messiah’s House. (See Isaiah 22 and Matthew 21:33-46, I Timothy 3:1-7)
Shepherd is a word that is used often in the Scriptures to refer to the rulers of Israel, describing the kind of rulers they should be. They should be shepherds, and like good shepherds lay down their lives for their sheep. Christ is the good Shepherd and the example for all shepherds. As His under-shepherds, we should be watchful and concerned with the protection and welfare of their flocks.
The Lord of course is the Chief Apostle, Bishop, Shepherd, and Elder of His Church.
(Please note: the networks and jurisdiction of the CAC distinguish between fivefold ministry and Church government. Many today mistakenly believe all five ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 are governmental offices. However, Paul is not speaking here of ecclesiastical government, but of ministry gifts [apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers] given by the Lord Jesus as extensions of His own ministry to equip the saints and enable them to do the work of Christ and His Kingdom in the earth. In a similar way 1 Corinthians 12:28-31 is not speaking of governmental offices in the Church, but ministry gifts to equip the saints and edify the body.
The only governmental office specifically identified as such in the Canon of the New Testament is the office of bishop or elder [See I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. In both of these passages the title or designation bishop and elder are used interchangeably by the apostle.] In Acts 14 we see Paul and Barnabas ordaining elders in every city where they had preached the Gospel and planted the Church, and in Acts 15 we see that the apostles and elders came together to judge or govern in the matter regarding the salvation of the Gentiles.
As mentioned in the beginning of this section on eldership, elders are the spiritual fathers and overseers (bishops) of the household or family of God. As spiritual fathers or shepherds, they give headship or spiritual government to the allotments for which they are responsible and represent those allotments or governmental spheres in council with other elders in their geographic regions. While the Church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [according to Paul in Ephesians 3:5, apostles and prophets should have the same revelation of the mysteries of Christ and His Kingdom, and prophets are supposed to work together with apostles as part of apostolic companies or teams of fivefold ministers to establish the saints in the faith and raise up or correct the Lord’s Church in every place], prophets do not govern [according to Paul prophesy itself must be governed by the apostles and elders of the Church], unless they also have apostolic or pastoral grace upon them or unless they oversee a flock or a group of flocks in a city, nation, or region.
Like their Old Testament counterpart, New Testament prophets stand in the Council of God in heaven and see by the Spirit what the Lord Jesus is doing in the earth and where the Church and the work of God is in relationship to God’s Kingdom purposes. Prophets are seers who receive a specific vision from God, hear the word of the Lord, and speak as messengers bringing correction or direction for the work of the Kingdom [See Revelation 1:10]. J. Ern Baxter calls them “course correctors,” and Meredith Kline calls them “covenant prosecutors.” As such prophets do much, much more than merely give personal prophecies to individual believers or churches. Just as the ministry of Jesus is the pattern for apostles and apostolic ministry, His ministry is also the pattern for New Testament prophets. And while Jesus’ ministry is filled with many prophetic insights and words of knowledge about individuals and situations (almost every page of the Gospels), the single greatest prophesy in the entire New Testament is the prophesy given by Him concerning the coming destruction of the Temple and the end of the Old Covenant age. And while we read in Acts about Agabus who prophesied the coming famine in Jerusalem and Judea, the prophesy that we call the Revelation of John given by Jesus to give to the seven churches of Asia regarding the things that were about to happen in that particular generation is the single most extensive prophetic message in the New Testament. [Ezekiel 1, Matthew 23:13-36, Matthew 24:1-34, Luke 19:41-44, 21:5-33, Revelation 1:1-4, 11, 19, 22:6, 7, 10, 12, 18, 20]
Evangelists are also part of apostolic companies or ministry teams. They partner with apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers to open new geographic territories and dynamite new converts out of the kingdom of darkness and into Messiah’s Kingdom. Jesus Himself is the pattern Evangelist and like the ministry of Jesus, the ministry of the New Testament evangelist will be characterized by miracles and power evangelism. Also, whole cities or regions will be brought into the Kingdom by the ministry of the evangelist. But once a city or region has been effectively opened up to the Gospel of the King, true evangelists are quick to call upon apostles and elders [ruling pastors] to establish the new converts in the faith, establishing the Church in the new territories, and ordaining elders. [See the example of Philip in Acts 8.] )
3. As spiritual fathers (overseers or rulers), apostles and elders are also representative men, representing the Lord, the fellowship of the apostles, and the elders of Christ’s Church to their individual flocks and representing their individual flocks at appropriate levels of geographic council. (See Subsection 3, Part 4, Introduction)
4. As it was with Old Covenant Israel, we believe eldership in the Church of Jesus Christ is both local and extra-local. (See Subsection 3, Part 4, Introduction regarding the Old Testament Background of Eldership )
a.. We believe the senior or ruling pastors (the recognized spiritual fathers, heads, or bishops) of the allotments of believers (congregations or local churches) in a municipality become the legitimate and effective elders of the city as they recognize, submit to, and council with one another in the fellowship of the apostles and the communion of the Holy Spirit.
b. We believe apostles or recognized pastoral leaders who oversee, govern, and give apostolic or pastoral leadership to the work of the Kingdom and the Church of Jesus Christ regionally, nationally, and internationally are in actual fact extra-local elders or bishops.
5. The qualifications for apostles and elders or bishops are set forth for us in the Canon of the New Testament. (See Subsection 3, Part 2, Introduction: Two Kinds of Apostles)
a. We believe apostles are called and chosen by the Lord Himself. And as with the early apostles, there will be a period of preparation, proving and testing (possibly even hiddenness) before the commissioning or release to full apostolic ministry comes.
In addition to being called and commissioned Apostles must possess the keys of the Kingdom (the revelation of the mysteries of Christ) that Jesus entrusted to the original apostles of the Lamb and the first ascension-gift apostles (like Paul) in the New Testament. It is foolish to talk about or think we are going to see an apostolic reformation without first recovering the keys of the Kingdom, the special revelation of the mysteries of Christ entrusted to the original apostles.
Apostles must also demonstrate the life and character of the Lord, and since we must all lead by example, apostles must be examples of the faith of Jesus to the believers. They must also manifest the signs of an apostle with signs and wonders following their ministry of the Word of the kingdom.
As with Peter and Paul the ultimate proof of ones apostleship will be the churches joined together in the fellowship of the apostles as one Church throughout the earth. It is not enough to have planted local churches (even if they are mega-churches) or to have the oversight of a large network or jurisdiction of churches. True apostles will seek proper relationship with other apostles and will bring the ministers and churches he represents into right relationship with the whole Church in a city, region, or nation. Real apostles ultimately will seek out the fellowship of the apostles and will submit their revelation and ministry to the apostolate established and restored by the Lord.
b. Elders or bishops who rule (shepherd) or govern the house of God and oversee and care for the flock should themselves first be partakers of the New Covenant and proven examples of the believers (they should not be novices). They should be able to meet all of the requirements set forth by the Apostle Paul in his Pastoral Epistles, including being apt or capable of teaching the apostles doctrine, the full revelation of Christ and His Kingdom. (See 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.)
While many denominations and sects have changed or rescinded these apostolic qualifications for the sake of convenience, to comply with ecclesiastical traditions, or to appease the world, the apostolic networks and jurisdictions of the CAC believe these qualifications and requirements are still in force. We believe that they have been set forth plainly by the apostle to the nations and do not require elaboration or commentary. However, because of much controversy and confusion even among Spirit-filled and Charismatic churches today regarding the role of women in Church government and also the ordination of homosexuals we make the following observations:
In I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 Paul is dealing with Church government, spiritual fatherhood, and pastoral headship. The CAC believes he is not only emphatic but also reasonable, and that therefore elders or bishops should be mature men, the recognized fathers or heads of the individual allotments or churches that make up the body of the Messiah in the earth.
Some like to take Paul’s words, “there is no male or female in Christ Jesus,” in which Paul speaks to the issue of redemptive equality among believers, out of their proper context and apply them inappropriately to the Lord’s governmental order for His Church. They conveniently forget that the same apostle who declared in Galatians 3:28, “there is no male or female in Christ,” also declared in I Corinthians 7, “the husband is the head of the wife.” And in I Timothy 3 this same apostle further requires that a bishop or elder, “ be the husband of one wife.”
The CAC believes Paul’s apostolic command regarding God’s governmental order for the Church is consistent with his command regarding God’s order for marriage and the family (See I Corinthians 7, Ephesians 5:22-33 and also Peter’s teaching in I Peter 3.). But it is certainly not reasonable or wise to advocate (as some ministers and churches), one order for the family (the headship of the husband and father) and another for the Lord’s Church (the ordination of women elders or bishops), lest we sow confusion among God’s saints and undermine His order for marriage and the family.
This does not mean women should not be involved in leadership roles or in ministry in the Church. (See our discussion of the distinction between ministry and government above.) In Paul’s letter to Titus (in which he instructs Titus to ordain elders in every city on the island) he clearly commands that the older women teach the younger women how to live as daughters of the Kingdom. Thus the Church needs mothers in the faith today just as it needs spiritual fathers. But we should not make fathers (elders or bishops) out of the spiritual mothers. That is not good for them; it is not good for Christian marriage and family, or for the Lord’s Church. Finally, in his first letter to the Corinthians Paul clearly teaches that women can prophesy and pray in the assembly as long as they are under valid governmental authority.
If the church of the 21st century were not dealing with the social issues that have been raised by the powers of darkness lurking behind the radical feminist and gay-rights movements, the issue of women in Church government would not be the issue that it is today. But we are living in an hour in history when Satan is vigorously attacking masculinity and femininity in order to destroy God’s order for marriage and the family. And he is seeking to destroy the order of marriage and family in order to destroy God’s governmental order for Christ’s Church.
With regard to women apostles, some today argue that Mary Magdelene was really the first apostle because she was sent by Jesus on the morning of His resurrection to tell His Peter and the other apostles that He was risen.
Others, especially certain faculty members of the Harvard Divinity School, use non-canonical gnostic gospels such as the Gospel of Mary Magdelene and the Gospel of Thomas to try and prove that Mary Magdelene was in fact the preeminent apostle of the early Christian movement, and as a basis for their arguments in favor of women apostles and elders today.
Still others (some of them prominent in the New Apostolic Movement) argue adamantly that the “Junias,” of Romans 16:7, was actually a woman. But Greek lexicons tell us that “Junias” is actually a third declension masculine noun. It sounds like a woman’s name, but it is not. In this controversial verse Paul plainly identifies both Andronicus and Junias as, “my kinsmen.” The word translated “kinsmen” is also a masculine noun in the Greek text.
Paul does not specifically call Andronicus and Junias “apostles.” He says they were well known “among the apostles”. This phrase could be interpreted to mean simply that these men were well known “to the apostles” as faithful and fruitful Christian workers, rather than well known “as apostles.” But whatever Paul meant by what he wrote in Romans 16:7, the Greek text declares that both Andronicus and Junias were well-known men.
Subsection 4. Church Ordinances and Sacraments:
The artist depicts the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan foreshadowing our Lord’s baptism of suffering and death on the cross. The Gospel writers tell us that heaven opened, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as a dove, and God the Father spoke declaring, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus is not only Savior, He is also the pattern Son. Getting ourselves baptized into His Name is a Kingdom ordinance or command and the way given to us by God to enter experientially into Christ’s death and resurrection. Once we have believed the Gospel and obeyed God’s Kingdom decree in this manner, then like Jesus we should expect the Holy Spirit to come upon us, fill us with power, and remain, as the witness of the Father that we are sons of the Kingdom..
1. We believe there are two primary Kingdom ordinances in the Canon of the New Testament, Water Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (the New Covenant Meal, Communion or Eucharist). They are Kingdom ordinances because they are authoritative decrees, or commandments of Christ the King. (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:16, John 3:22, 26, Acts 2:38, 41, Matthew 26:26-30, Luke 22: 19, Acts 2:42, 1 Corinthians 11:23-34)
(For an expanded discussion of Water Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Spirit [called by some the Laying on of Hands], Membership in the Christ’s Church or Kingdom Initiation see: Subsection 1. The Kingdom of God And His Christ, Points 6, 7, 8.)
2. We believe Water Baptism and the Lord's Supper are not only ordinances or commands, but also sacraments in that they are outward signs or symbols of an inward grace or gift of God. As we obey God’s ordinances (Water Baptism and Communion) in the obedience of faith , they become instruments or vehicles for imparting God’s saving grace in our lives. (Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21-22, Romans 6:3-14, 17-18, Galatians 3:26-27, Colossians 2:9-12, John 6:53-58)
3. Water Baptism is our initial immersion by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s redemptive death on the cross, His resurrection, and enthronement, whereby our sins are initially forgiven and removed, we are reconciled to God, and our human spirits made alive, so that we are able to receive the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence and power. By obeying God’s Gospel decree in water baptism the believer is also spiritually translated out of Satan’s kingdom into the Kingdom of God and seated with Christ to reign with Him in this age and in the age to come. Once we have openly renounced the Devil’s kingdom and fully obeyed God’s Gospel command to obey His Anointed Son by getting ourselves baptized upon the basis of the authority or into the Name of Jesus Christ (into His death and resurrection), then just as Jesus experienced at His baptism we should also expect the Holy Spirit to come upon us and fill us, as the witness of God the Father that we are truly sons and daughters of the Kingdom of God and to empower us to reign in life and to work the works of God in the same way that Jesus did. (Matthew 3:15-17, Acts 10:38, Luke 11:13, John 14:16-26, 15:26-27, Acts 1:4, 8, 8:12-17,19:5-6, Galatians 3:2, 14, 4:6, Ephesians 1:13, also see Subsection 1.7 and 1.8 dealing with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Kingdom Initiation.)
4. We believe the Table of the Lord or the Eucharist is also the great Kingdom Banquet promised to Abraham. It is the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, Messiah’s Great Banquet of Salvation in which the Lord Jesus is both host and meal of salvation. As we eat the bread and drink the cup in the obedience of faith, we renew the covenant we have with God, receive the life of Jesus Christ, commune with the Heavenly Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and with the whole body of Christ, and release our faith to receive the full benefits of redemption, the blessings promised to Abraham and the mercies of David. (Isaiah 25:6-9, Matthew 8:11-12, 22:2-14, Revelation 19:7)
5. However, the Communion of Apostolic Churches is not only committed to the restoration of these vitally important ordinances, water baptism and the Eucharist to the Church worldwide. We also desire to understand and experience with the whole Church the fullness of Kingdom blessings and benefits that come from obedience to all our Lord’s commands, especially those regarding marriage and family, the laying on of hands, the confession of sins, holy orders or ordination, and anointing with oil for healing, all of which are considered by some to be sacraments.
Subsection 5. The Unity of the Church:
An ancient tapestry depicts Jesus revealing to John the Church, as the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven. In John’s vision he sees the wall of the City has “twelve foundation stones, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles”. In the sermon on the Mount Jesus declared to His disciples, “you are the light of the world, a city set on a hill can not be hidden.” The Church is the City of God, a demonstration or light to the governments and nations of the world of the Kingdom of God. If the Church of the 21st century is truly to function as one, we must recover the foundation of the early Apostolic Church’s unity, the fellowship or communion of the apostles.
1. We believe in the spiritual, doctrinal, and governmental unity of Christ’s Church. We believe that the foundation or basis of the early Apostolic Church’s unity doctrinally, experientially, governmentally, and functionally was the fellowship or communion of apostle (the apostolate) that Jesus established. In the sermon on the mount Jesus declared to these disciples, “You are the light of the world, a city on a hill can not be hidden.” In the upper room Jesus prayed that these men (the apostolate) would be one, and that all who believe in Him because of their testimony would also be one, so that the world (seeing the Church’s spiritual, doctrinal, and functional unity) would know that the Father sent the Son. (Matthew 5:14, John 17:6, 11, 17, 20-21, 23, also see Subsection 2, 5.e)
Thus, we believe the highest form of evangelism is demonstration evangelism. The Church of Jesus Christ is to be a demonstration of life under the government of the King, so that the nations will come up to Zion, beat their swords in to plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and learn Christ. (Isaiah 2:2-4, 60:1)
Today the nations are up for grabs. Governments have run out of options and are looking for answers to the world’s problems. Ancient communions of ministers and churches, historic denominations, and even new emerging streams are earnestly trying to evangelize the world and impact nations. But the reality is that a fragmented and divided Church ultimately can not fully demonstrate the Kingdom, properly light the nations, or accomplish the task of changing governments and taking cities and nations. It is going to take the whole Church, One Holy Apostolic Church, to enlighten the governments and nations of the world, release the supernatural power of Christ’s Kingdom, and fill the earth with the glory of the sons and daughters of God.
The greatest problem facing the 21st century is not the problem of evil, although evil is virile and rampant. The greatest problem facing the 21st century is the problem of a fragmented and divided Church. And the reason the Church is divided is because Church leaders are divided. The early Apostolic Church was one; it had one apostolic faith (the faith of the apostles), one common apostolic experience (the full baptism of the Spirit), one apostolic governmental order (the communion of the apostles and elders), and one apostolic vision (the conquest of the kingdom of darkness and filling the whole earth with the glory of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). The early Church was one and enjoyed unity because those who were recognized as apostles and elders were one. They were together as one governing body in the fellowship or communion of the apostles.
2. The apostolic networks, ministry spheres, and jurisdictions of ministers and churches in the CAC believe the keys to the restoration of the unity of the Lord's Church is the restoration of apostles and the fellowship of the apostles (the apostolate), the development of functioning apostolic companies and ministry teams consisting of fivefold ministers, and the establishment of a functioning global eldership. (See Subsection 3, Part 1.2 and 1.3 dealing with the fellowship of the apostles.)
3. We believe the restoration of apostles and the fellowship or communion of the apostles will ultimately restore:
a. The unity of the Church’s faith, that Jesus is not only Savior, but Christ the King, who is seated on the throne of David today and ruling the nations as King of kings and Lord of lords.
b. The unity of a common Christian experience and life, the baptism by One Spirit into one body, the body of the Messiah, and being made to drink of the Holy Spirit.
c. The unity of a common governmental order or architectural structure, the fellowship or communion of the apostles (the apostolate) together with a functioning global eldership.
d. The unity of a common global vision, the conquest of the Devil’s kingdom in history, the transformation of governments and the possession of cities and nations, and filling the whole earth with the glory of God.
Subsection 6. We Believe in the Eschatology of Jesus and the Apostles:
The artist Poussen depicts the destruction of the Temple by Titus in 70 AD. In Matthew 24:2 Jesus declared to His disciples, “not one stone...will be left upon another.” The Lord went on to declare this would be the sign that the Old Covenant has ended and the Son of Man is reigning in the heavens and coming on the clouds of power, judging nations. At His trial Jesus declared to Caiaphas, “From now on you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of the power and coming on the clouds of the Heaven.” However, just as with Old Covenant Israel, the Lord will not judge any nation without first offering them the treaty of peace.
“If we do not understand the eschatology of Jesus and the first apostles we will create our own.” George Kouri, Presiding Apostle of the CAC
1. The ministers and churches of the CAC believe with Peter, Paul, and the early Apostolic Church that Christ has already received His Messianic Kingdom. According to the apostles, the promise God made to enthrone David’s Son on David’s throne has been fulfilled in the resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus of Nazareth. Today, Jesus is seated on the throne of David at the right hand of God the Father (the place of all authority, power, and dominion), ruling the nations as Lord and King.
(See Acts 2:29-36 and 13:32-34, Ephesians 1:20-23, the entire first chapter of Hebrews, I Peter 4:11, Matthew 28:19-20, Revelation 1:5 and 5:12-14.)
Today is Messiah’s Day, the day of His power. The Spirit of God is being poured out upon all flesh, bringing forth a new creation and filling all things with the glory of God. Thus the “last days” of Old Covenant Israel foretold by the prophets are in reality behind the Church not ahead of it (as many mistakenly suppose). A careful reading of the New Testament passages using the phrase, “the last days,” reveals in every instance that the writer is describing events taking place in the writer’s own generation, not some future generation (See Acts 2:17, 2 Timothy 3:1, Hebrews 1:2, I Peter 1:20 and 4:7, I John 2:18).
This phrase literally refers to “the last days” of the Old Covenant, the age of Moses, and the end of Old Covenant Israel as the instrument or vehicle of God’s Kingdom purpose. This “end” was prophesied by Moses himself and by the prophets of Israel. It was also prophesied by Jesus and the early apostles. (See Deuteronomy 32:20-21, 24, 41-43, Isaiah 5:3-7, 13-30, 28:7-18 and 29:1-6, 11, Daniel 7:13-28, and 9:24-27, Joel 2:28-32, Matthew 13:17, 21:33-46, 23:32-38, and 24:15-31, Luke 19:41-44 and 21:20-32, Revelation 1:1-3, 5:5,12, 6:2, and 19:11-16 .)
According to the prophets of Israel, during the last days of the Old Covenant age, the promise made to David and the fathers of Israel concerning the establishment of Messiah’s Kingdom would be fulfilled; The Lord would do a new thing in the earth (Isaiah 42:9, 43:18-19). The Lord even sent His angel Gabriel to reveal to Daniel the timeline for the establishment of Messiah’s Kingdom of Righteousness and the end of the Old Administration of Moses and the Law. According to Jesus, all the original apostles, and the early Apostolic Church, the “last days” began with the appearance of John the Baptist in the wilderness of the Jordan, and John’s presentation of Jesus as the Messiah at His baptism (literally the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel). The “last days” continued with the rejection of the Messiah by the builders of the nation, and His “cutting off” or crucifixion by the Romans (after a period of three and a half years, exactly the middle of the 70th week).
“The last days” also continued for another thirty-six and a half years (until the end of the early disciples’ generation) with the testimony of the apostles who bore witness in behalf of Jesus and against the rulers of the nation (Matthew 24:14, 34). During this transition or reformation period, as the Old Administration was passing away and becoming obsolete and the New Administration was being established (Hebrews 8:13,9:10, 10:9), the apostles went throughout the Roman Empire, faithfully gathering the remnant of believing Jews and the first-fruits of the Gentiles and forming them into the New Covenant Nation in fulfillment of Moses, Isaiah, and all the prophets.
Moses himself, the founder of the Old Covenant Nation had prophesied the end. In the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 31:19, 29-30) he sang a prophetic song declaring that in the last days of Old Covenant Israel the Kingdom would be taken from the Old Covenant Nation and be given to another Nation (made up of the believing remnant of Israel and the first-fruits of the nations). These would be days of vengeance on God’s enemies, days in which the Lord would avenge His servants the prophets. (Deuteronomy 32:20-21, 28, 32, 34-35,41-43, Luke 21:22).
Isaiah picks up on the Song of Moses and by the Spirit of Christ sings the prophetic Song of the Lamb, declaring that the vineyard of Jerusalem and Judah would “become trampled ground” and that they would “go into exile for their lack of knowledge...But the Lord of Hosts will be exalted in judgment.” In this song Isaiah declares that the Lord would whistle for the armies of a distant nation (Rome) who would come and render God’s judgment on the apostate nation of Israel. It would be a day of great “darkness and distress.” (Isaiah 5:1-3, 5-7, 1316, 24-30, Matthew 24:29) Jesus Himself refers directly to the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb during the last week of His earthly ministry. In Matthew 21:33-44 and Luke 20:9-18 as He tells the Chief Priests and rulers of Israel the parable of the wicked vine growers, declaring in verse 43, “Therefore I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and be given to a people (the New Nation, the Church), producing the fruit of it.”
Isaiah continued his prophesies about the end in Isaiah 28:16, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed,” adding in verse 18, “When the overwhelming scourge passes through (speaking of the armies of the Roman Empire), then you will become its trampling place...” (See Luke 21:24) In 30:1 and 3, Isaiah concludes this particular prophesy about the end, “Woe O Ariel (Lion of God or Jerusalem)...I will camp against you encircling you, and I will set siege-works against you...then you will be brought low...” (Luke 19:41-44)
Daniel also speaks of the last days of Old Covenant Israel, the destruction of Temple, and the end of the Old Covenant Israel. (See Daniel 9:24-27.) Every Israelite knew Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, which gave the timeline from the rebuilding of the Temple destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar unto the coming of the Messiah in the beginning of the seventieth week, His crucifixion in the middle of the week, and the abomination of desolation resulting in the destruction of the Temple as a consequence. When He proclaimed in the beginning of His public ministry, “The time is fulfilled....,” (Mark 1:15) Jesus was referring directly to the prophecy of Daniel and declaring that the seventieth week of Daniel had officially begun with His baptism and presentation to the Nation by John, the great forerunner. It is also important to note that Jesus was crucified three and a half years later or in the middle of the seventieth week.
During the final week of His public ministry in response to his disciples questions about the sign of His coming in power and glory and the end of the age of Moses (Matthew 24:3), Jesus directly refers to the Song of Moses, the Song of the Lamb and the other last days prophecies of Isaiah, and the Seventy Weeks, Daniel’s well known prophecy regarding the destruction of the Temple and the end of Old Covenant Israel. Thus in Matthew 24:14-15 Jesus declares to His disciples, “This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the Holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains...” Knowing his readers might not understand what Jesus is talking about so Matthew warns, “Let the reader understand.” But Luke writing primarily for Gentile readers in the parallel passage Luke 21:20-32 is careful to make clear to his readers exactly what Jesus refers to in Matthew 24:15, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near...these are the days of vengeance (spoken of by Moses, Isaiah, and all the prophets), so that all things which are written are fulfilled....there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people (apostate Israel and her rulers); and they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled...Truly, I say to you, this generation (speaking of the very generation of the disciples and Chief Priests to whom Jesus was speaking) will not pass away until all things take place.”
However, Jesus also declared to these disciples that the end would not come until the Gospel of the Kingdom (the King’s dominion) had been proclaimed throughout the Roman Empire as a witness to all nations. (Matthew 24:14 and Luke 12-19). According to the ancient prophets, before the Old could be removed and the end come, the New Covenant Administration of the Kingdom of God had to be established through Christ’s death and His resurrection, the promise to King David had to be fulfilled in Christ’s ascension and His enthronement on David’s throne at the right hand of God in heaven, the Holy Spirit had to be poured out, and the remnant of Israel gathered into Messiah’s Kingdom (Psalm 2:6-7, 110:1-3, 118:29, Isaiah 9:6-7, 10:20-23, 42:1-13, 44:3-5, Isaiah 53-54, Daniel 7:9-14, Joel 2:28, Hebrews 7:11, 8:7-13, 9:6-10, 10:1-9).
The prophets declared that in the last days the apostate nation would be destroyed, but a believing remnant would be saved and together with believing Gentiles would form a New Israel through which God would bless the Gentile nations and provoke Old Covenant Israel to jealousy ( Deuteronomy 32:21, Isaiah 10:20-23, 11:10-16, Ephesians 2:11-22, 3:1-10). In Romans 9-11 his letter to the saints in the Capital City of the Empire Paul speaks very clearly about this promised remnant spoken of by the prophets of Israel. In 9:25 Paul quotes Hosea 2:23, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ and her who was beloved, ‘beloved.’” In Romans 9:27 Paul quotes Isaiah 10:22, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved...” In Romans 10:18-21 he declares that the Gospel of the Christ had already been proclaimed throughout the Roman Empire and the remnant of Israel had been gathered. And in Romans 11:5-14, speaking of this remnant, Paul climaxes his teaching on this matter declaring, “In the same way then there has also come to be a remnant according to God’s gracious choice...What Israel is seeking (the promised Kingdom of Messiah), it has not obtained (because of the refusal of many Jews to obey the Gospel of the Kingdom proclaimed by Peter, James, John, and the other Apostles of the Lamb, and by Paul, Barnabas, and other ascension-gift apostles), but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened.” According to the Apostle Paul, the Israelites who believed and obeyed the Gospel of the Kingdom obtained the promised Messianic Kingdom, but the those who rejected the Messiah were hardened and cut off from the Israel of God. (See Romans 11:14-32)
Thus when Jesus declares to His disciples in Matthew 24:14, “This Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations and then the end will come,” He is referring to the apostolic mission of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb and the first ascension-gift apostles who were sent throughout the Roman Empire to bear witness of Christ’s resurrection and to proclaim the Good News of His Kingdom (the message Peter preached on the day of Pentecost that the promise made to David and the Jewish people has already been fulfilled in the resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus of Nazareth). According to Jesus, Peter, and Paul the primary purpose of this first mission was to gather the remnant of Israel and the first-fruits of the Gentiles to form the Israel of the New Covenant.
Earlier that final week Jesus had given a series of parables to the Chief Priests and Elders of Israel warning them of the destruction that was coming upon them and of the end of the age. One of these is the well known parable of the Wedding feast. In this very important, but often misunderstood parable, Jesus actually describes two apostolic missions, the first to the originally invited wedding guests (the Jewish people to whom the promises concerning Messiah’s Kingdom were originally given), and the second to the Gentiles (those out in the highways and hedges, who were separated from God and the covenants of the promise). These two apostolic missions are clearly distinguished or separated from each other chronologically by the burning of the the City of Jerusalem.
Please note that the King’s messengers were instructed to proclaim that the wedding feast had already been prepared and everything was ready, not postponed to some future wedding event in the sky as many mistakenly believe. Thus Peter and his fellow apostles proclaimed the good news that the promise made to David and the Jewish people had been fulfilled. Jesus of Nazareth had already been exalted to the right hand of God as Lord and King. Also note carefully that according to Jesus Himself it was because of the stubborn refusal of the originally invited wedding guests (the Jewish people) to respond properly to the wedding invitation that “...the king was enraged, and sent his armies and destroyed those murderers (“murderers” referring to the rejection of Jesus and His crucifixion by the Chief priests and rulers of the Jewish nation, and also the persecution of His apostles and the New Testament prophets by the Jewish people) and set their city on fire” (Jesus obviously referring to the burning of the Jerusalem by the armies of Rome).
In verses 8-14 Jesus describes the second apostolic mission, the mission to the Gentile nations that begins immediately after the destruction of the murders of the King’s Son and His apostles and prophets and the burning of their city by the King’s armies. The King’s messengers (His apostles and prophets) are sent to the “main highways, and as many as you find there invite to the wedding feast.”
We see this same chronology for the establishment of His Messianic Kingdom throughout the last week of Jesus’ ministry (the first apostolic mission to gather the remnant of Israel, then the burning of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, and after that the second apostolic mission, the mission to the Gentiles). In Matthew 24:14, speaking of the special apostolic mission to the Jewish people, Jesus declares that His apostles must go throughout the Roman Empire and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom (the wedding feast is ready) as a witness to all nations before the end of the Old Covenant age comes. The word “witness” carries the sense of the apostles giving their testimony or deposition as eye witnesses in a court case before judgment is rendered. In verses 15-30 Jesus prophesies the destruction of the murderers with the burning of Jerusalem and the Temple (the smoke of the City’s burning causing the Sun and the Moon to be darkened), followed by His declaration in verse 31 regarding the second apostolic mission, the mission to the nations “And he will send forth His angels (messengers) with a great trumpet (the Gospel of the Kingdom) and he will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other...” (the highways and byways of all the earth).
Luke clarifies Matthew’s account in his Gospel. In Luke 21:12-19 Jesus clearly describes the first apostolic mission, the apostles’ mission to bear their testimony (the testimony of Jesus) and gather the remnant of Israel and the first-fruits of the Gentiles. In Luke 21:20-32 Jesus clearly declares that the end of the Old Covenant age comes as the armies of Rome (the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel) surround Jerusalem, the Temple is destroyed, and the City burned.
In Luke 21:24 Jesus refers specifically to the second apostolic mission, the Gentile Mission, which begins with the destruction of the Temple and the burning of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Jerusalem will be trampled under feet until the “times of the gentiles are fulfilled.” Paul clarifies these strange words of Jesus in Romans 11:25 declaring, “a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in...” The hardening of the hearts of the Jewish people would be only a “partial” hardening because the chosen remnant of Israel had obeyed the King’s wedding invitation and “obtained” Messiah’s Kingdom (Romans 11:7) during the period of the Jewish Mission which began with the Spirit’s outpouring on the Day of Pentecost and continued until the burning of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.
Jesus declared in Matthew 24:30 that the destruction of the Temple would be the sign on earth that the Son of Man is reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords from the throne of David at the right hand of God in heaven. He also made it clear in the parable of the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22:7 that the destruction of the temple and the burning of the City would be the sign that the Jewish mission had ended and the apostolic mission to the nations had begun. According to both Jesus and Paul, this second apostolic mission, the mission to the nations would continue until the “times of the Gentiles” came to an end or “the fullness of the Gentiles” had been brought into the full blessing of Messiah’s Kingdom. According to the Apostle Paul, it will be as the fullness of the Gentiles or the nations are brought into Christ’s Kingdom and learn Christ that the hardness would be removed from the hearts of the Jewish people (Isaiah 2:2-4, 9:6-7, 54:3, 60:1-12, Matthew 28:19-20, Ephesians 4:10-16). Having quoted Moses in Romans 10:19, Paul boldly declares in Romans 11:1 and 14 that as the Jewish people see the blessings of Abraham and the mercies of David (the blessings of Messiah’s Kingdom) coming upon the Gentiles (the nations) that they will be provoked to jealousy and receive the Messiah. In this manner, “all Israel will be saved.”
It is important to note that according to the Apostle Paul the future conversion of the Jewish people and their grafting back into the Olive tree (Christ and His Church) is based upon the principle of provocation or jealousy, just as Moses and the prophets of Israel foretold, and is completely dependent therefore upon the ultimate success of the apostolic mission to the Gentiles (Romans 10:19, 11:11, 14, 25). It will be as the Jewish people see the blessings of Abraham and the mercies of David coming upon the nations because of the obedience of faith, that the current veil of blindness will be removed and the Jewish people converted. Just as the Jewish mission from 30 to 70 A.D. succeeded in gathering the chosen remnant of Israel and the first-fruits of the Gentiles and in releasing Messiah’s righteous judgments and bringing an end to the Old Covenant age, so also will the apostolic mission to the Gentiles succeed. The nations will come to the light of the Church’s rising and as a result the Jewish people be provoked to jealousy, turn from their unbelief and obey the Gospel of the King (Isaiah 60:1-14, Romans 11:25).
But today it is important to remember that both Peter and Paul understood the first apostolic mission, beginning with the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost and ending with the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., was the Jewish mission promised by the prophets of Israel and aimed at gathering the remnant of Israel, bringing about the end of the Jewish age, and the dawning of Messiah’s Day. Peter speaks of this fact in Acts 3:25-26, “It is to you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers...for you first God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning everyone of you from your wicked ways.” Paul understood himself to be the Apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13), but throughout his ministry when he and his team entered a city they would always go first to the Synagogue to preach the Gospel to the Jews and gather the chosen remnant. According to the apostle, he did this because the Gospel was, “first to the Jews...” (Romans 1:16, 2:9-10, Acts 13:44-48, 17:2), and also because he knew that while he was an apostle to the Gentiles, he was “born out of due season” and was laboring in the season or time of the Jewish Mission rather than in the season or “times of the Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 15:8, Luke 21:24).
The “last days” of Old Covenant Israel ended with great finality in 70 AD, just as the prophets had foretold, with the destruction of the Temple and the burning of Jerusalem by Titus and the armies of Rome (Matthew 24:29-31, Luke 21:20-31, Romans 16:20, I Peter 4:7, I John 2:18, Revelation 1:7, 14:14-20, 18:1,18,20,24, 19:2-10). This was the great wonder, the sign on the earth, or the revelation (Matthew 24:30, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 1:1) that the Jewish age had ended and that the Kingdom of heaven had been taken from the apostate rulers of Israel and had been given to the apostles of the Lamb, the ascension-gift apostles, and the Apostolic Church. The destruction of Herod’s Temple and the Harlot City of Jerusalem was the fulfillment of the mystery of God regarding the end of the age of Moses and the dawning of Messiah’s Day revealed to the prophets of Israel. (See Revelation 10:7.)
2. We believe the purpose of the present reign of God's Anointed King is to bring to an end the present evil age, abolishing all Satanic authority and rule, liberating planet earth from the Devil’s oppression, bringing many sons and daughters into the Kingdom of God, establishing the Church as His instrument to fill all things with the glory of the sons and daughters of God, destroying the last enemy death, and ultimately and finally hand a perfected kingdom over to His Father. (See I Corinthians 15:25 and Ephesians 4:8-10).
In Christ’s temptation in the wilderness Satan offered Jesus “all the Kingdoms of the world,” if He would just bow down and worship him; Jesus refused and began His ministry of destroying the works of the Devil. After casting out devils and healing the sick, Jesus declared to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:20, “first bind the strong man, then spoil his goods.” Satan’s kingdom is a worldly kingdom consisting of unregenerate people, civil governments, economies, educational structures, cities and nations. Jesus came not only to redeem the world and triumph over Satan, but also to plunder his kingdom and possess cities and nations. The cities and nations of the world belong to King Jesus and to His Church.
In His death, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement Jesus defeated, legally bound, and conquered and disarmed the Devil. After He sat down on His throne at the right hand of God in heaven, He began to pour out the Holy Spirit upon His apostles and His Church as a Kingdom anointing to enable the saints to destroy the works of the Devil, change governments and transform cultures, possess cities and nations, and fill all things.
In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus declared to the eleven on the Mountain in Galilee, “All authority has been given me in heaven and earth, go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to do everything I have commanded you.” J. “Ern” Baxter often proclaimed, “If Christ has ‘all authority in heaven and earth,’ there is no future day when He will have ‘all’er’ authority,” (perhaps not good English, but great doctrine). And then he would add, “if you believe that there is a future day in which King Jesus will have more authority on earth than He has today, then you do not understand the Kingdom.”
According to King David in Psalm 2:6-12, which both Peter and Paul referenced at various times, the Heavenly Father established the throne of His Son to deal with the rebellion of kings and rulers and establish the Kingdom of God among the rulers and the nations of the earth. Christ the King is building His Church as the body of His Kingdom purpose. David prophesied in Psalm 110, “The Lord will stretch forth your scepter out of Zion, saying, ‘rule in the midst of Your enemies...’” And again, “Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power.”
According to the early apostles, today is Messiah’s day, the day of His authority and power. The apostles often quoted Psalm 110, and understood that it was fulfilled in Christ’s enthronement and His outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The networks and jurisdictions of the CAC believe the Church is Zion and that Messiah’s scepter is stretched forth every Lord’s Day as Christians praise and worship the King and pray for kings, rulers, and nations. As we pray kingdom or governmental prayers we bind demonic princes and dark powers that hover over the government houses of cities and nations, and we release the angels of heaven to administrate the judgments of God in the world.
The Apostle Paul declared in Ephesians 4:8 that “He (Christ) has ascended to fill all things...” The networks and jurisdictions of ministers and churches of the CAC believe Jesus ascended to fill all things. The purpose of His present administration of the Kingdom of heaven is to fill all thing with righteousness, peace and joy. Every individual believer is given a specific measure of rule and the grace needed to enable him to govern his sphere and establish Christ’s Kingdom in the earth. His apostolic strategy today is the same as in Paul’s day. He gives apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip His saints and enable them to reign in life until the whole earth is filled with the glory of God. We believe that Jesus is coming back, but He is not coming back to establish the Kingdom or to fill all things. He is coming back to consummate His Kingdom and present a perfected Kingdom to His Father.
In Matthew 26:63, 64 Caiphas the High Priest says to Jesus, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” And Jesus boldly declares, “I tell you from now on (Greek translation) you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power (seated on the throne of David at the right hand of God) and coming in the clouds of the heaven (prophetic language for Kingdom authority and power).” Bob Mumford preached, “Christ’s Kingdom is the Kingdom that keeps on Coming.”
The ministers and churches of the CAC believe, just as the apostles preached in the first century, that Jesus the Christ is seated on the throne of His father David today, and that as he did in 70 AD, Christ continues to come in the clouds of heaven to judge governments and nations on the basis of their response to God’s Gospel decree. We believe that He will continue to do so until all His enemies have been subdued and made the footstool of His feet. Death, the last enemy, will be abolished at His final coming on the last day of history for the resurrection of the body and last judgment on the last day. Then Christ will hand a perfect Kingdom over to His Father and usher in the perfect day. (See I Corinthians 15:25 and 26.)
3. One of the primary causes of the widespread doctrinal confusion among ministers and churches in the area of eschatology is the failure on the part of many to distinguish between the “age of Moses,” “Messiah’s Day,” and the “Perfect day.” The purpose of the age of Moses was to bring men to the knowledge of sin and of their need of Christ. Thus Paul declares that Christ is the end or goal of the Law. The Age of Moses (the Law, the Aaronic Priesthood, and Levitical sacrifices) were never intended to deal with the problem of evil or the present evil age. Thus God always intended that the age of Moses would come to an end and be replaced or fulfilled by the New Covenant age or Messiah’s Day. On the other hand, God’s purpose for the New Covenant and Messiah’s Kingdom was always to deal with the problem of evil and the present evil age, and to usher in the perfect day.
Another area of “eschatological” confusion is the failure on the part of many to distinguish between the key eschatological expressions “the last days” and “the last day.” As discussed earlier, the expression “the last days” (plural) literally refers to the last days of the Old Covenant age leading up to and including the end of the age of Moses and the dawning of Messiah’s day (which the prophets understood would continue to shine brighter and brighter until the ushering in of the perfect day). The expression “the last day” (singular) on the other hand refers to the final day of the present evil age and the ushering in by the Messiah and His Church of the “perfect day,” the perfected day of the completed or consummated Kingdom.
In light of all that has been discussed above it is important for us to understand that in the Canon of the New Testament, the so-called “any moment” passages are in actual fact passages speaking of the end of the age of Moses which was passing away and which was expected to take place before the disciples generation passed away. But it is also important to understand that the so-called “not yet passages” are passages that speak of the end of the present evil age and the ushering in of the perfect age of a consummated Messianic Kingdom.
One final observation is that there are a number key eschatological expressions such as, “coming with the clouds,” “the Sun being darkened,” “the moon turning to blood,” and “the stars falling from the heavens,” that require careful contextual study and a clear understanding of how these expressions were used symbolically or poetically by the Hebrew prophets, and not literally.
In the Book of Revelation John sees the heavenly vision of the Lord Jesus Christ, having conquered Satan, death, and hell, riding forth as King of kings and Lord of lords on a great white horse with the saints of God robed in white riding behind Him as the army of Heaven, judging and making war on kings and nations. (See Revelation Chapters 5, 6, and 19) This was the vision of Israel’s prophets. It was the vision of the Apostles of the Lamb and His Apostolic Church. And it is the vision of the ministers and churches of the CAC. We believe that before the final appearing of the Lord to destroy death, the resurrection of the body, and the final judgment on the last day, the saints of God will possess the cities and nations of the world and fill the earth with the glory of the sons and daughters of God.
This ancient painting portrays Christ seated on the throne of David as King-Priest mediating the New Covenant as High Priest and ruling the nations as King of kings and Lord of lords. His throne is upheld by four living creatures, one with the face of a Man, another like an Eagle, a third like a Lion, and a fourth like an Ox. These living creatures signify that all the created powers of heaven and earth, are subject to His Kingly authority, are energized by His power, and move at His command to accomplish His decrees and uphold His heavenly government.