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Old 07-23-2018, 03:08 PM   #1
JJ
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Default Apostles and Prophets - Biblical Basis for Claims

Watchman Née, Witness Lee, and Blended Brothers all assumed to be apostles and prophets. Some Christians follow others making similar claims. Does anyone have good articles discussing “tests of apostleship and/or prophethood” for anyone after the first century making such claims?
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Old 07-23-2018, 03:41 PM   #2
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Watchman Née, Witness Lee, and Blended Brothers all assumed to be apostles and prophets. Some Christians follow others making similar claims. Does anyone have good articles discussing “tests of apostleship and/or prophethood” for anyone after the first century making such claims?
This could be a short discussion.

Deuteronomy 18:19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”

21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.


For example, if man does not become God, some folks will be in trouble.

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Old 07-23-2018, 06:44 PM   #3
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Watchman Née, Witness Lee, and Blended Brothers all assumed to be apostles and prophets. Some Christians follow others making similar claims. Does anyone have good articles discussing “tests of apostleship and/or prophethood” for anyone after the first century making such claims?
Maybe start with the question - did Witness Lee claim to be an apostle?

Yet I don't think being an apostle or not is the main reason people are following Lee or Blended Brothers.
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Old 07-23-2018, 07:13 PM   #4
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Maybe start with the question - did Witness Lee claim to be an apostle?

...
Irrelevant.

Yet another obvious attempt by Evangelical to change the subject, go off topic and construct a strawman, which he is so fond of doing.

The OP stated:

“Watchman Née, Witness Lee, and Blended Brothers all assumed to be apostles and prophets.” You don’t have to claim to be an apostle/prophet. If you demand to be treated like an apostle/prophet OR ELSE, your position is a de facto apostle or prophet.

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...Yet I don't think being an apostle or not is the main reason people are following Lee or Blended Brothers.
Also irrelevant to the OP. If you want to discuss “the main reason people follow” Nee, Lee, et al, start another thread and don’t troll this one.

Nell

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Old 07-23-2018, 07:24 PM   #5
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Maybe start with the question - did Witness Lee claim to be an apostle?
No, the question is, were you around when Witness Lee claimed to be, not "an" apostle, but "the" one and only apostle on the earth? I was. In fact, I got the boot for not accepting it.

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Yet I don't think being an apostle or not is the main reason people are following Lee or Blended Brothers.
Claiming to be the apostle was about having the authority of God. Lee is certainly not the first to claim to be the authority of God, by a long, long, shot. And won't be the last, by a long, long, shot, by any stretch.

I'm going with Jesus. That's where I'm hooking my wagon.

Mat_23:8 (BBE)* But you may not be named Teacher: for one is your teacher, and you are all brothers.
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Old 07-23-2018, 07:30 PM   #6
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No, the question is, were you around when Witness Lee claimed to be, not "an" apostle, but "the" one and only apostle on the earth? I was. In fact, I got the boot for not accepting it.


Claiming to be the apostle was about having the authority of God. Lee is certainly not the first to claim to be the authority of God, by a long, long, shot. And won't be the last, by a long, long, shot, by any stretch.

I'm going with Jesus. That's where I'm hooking my wagon.

Mat_23:8 (BBE)* But you may not be named Teacher: for one is your teacher, and you are all brothers.
Sorry Harold. Please don’t take the bait. This is off topic for this thread and should be taken somewhere else. Please?
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: Apostles and Prophets - Biblical Basis for Claims

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues. (1Cor 12:28)

And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (Eph 4:11)


These are the only two verses in the NT that would support the idea of a "prophethood".

James gives us an example of a prophet:

Take, brethren, for an example of suffering and of patience, the prophets who spake in the name of the Lord…17Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for three years and six months. 18And he prayed again; and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.



That said there are many NT references to false prophets — Matt 24:11, Matt 24:24, Mark 13:22, Luke 6:26, 2Pet 2:1, 1John 4:1

1. Come in Sheep’s clothing — pretend to be a disciple of the Lord
2. Inwardly ravening wolves — those who see what they are inwardly realize the whole pretense of being a disciple of the Lord is a lie.
3. They “arise, and shall lead many astray”. — The key example of a prophet given to us in the NT is by James and he gives us Elijah. In that example Elijah isn’t leading anyone. The example is not of the time he called fire down from heaven, but rather the time he prayed that it wouldn’t rain and it didn’t rain for three and a half years. No one is going to be with Elijah when he is praying that it not rain during an intense drought.
4. The false ones “show signs and wonders”. Think about the example with Elijah, if you pray that it doesn’t rain, and today it doesn’t rain is that a sign? Is that a wonder? How about if it doesn’t rain for a week? Now suppose we have been in a very long drought, everyone is suffering and you are praying that it doesn’t rain. That is not a “sign and wonder” that would simply make people angry.
5. That is also a sign of false prophets — “woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you! for in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets.” Luke 6:26 Elijah is the example of a prophet of God given to us, and the example is of a time when no one was speaking well of him.
6. False prophets are false teachers. That doesn’t mean they teach falsehood. It means that they themselves are false, just like a wolf in sheep’s clothing is false. Jezebel was false.
7. Finally there are ways in which you can “prove” the spirits whether they are of God. That is the real question.
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: Apostles and Prophets - Biblical Basis for Claims

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Watchman Née, Witness Lee, and Blended Brothers all assumed to be apostles and prophets. Some Christians follow others making similar claims. Does anyone have good articles discussing “tests of apostleship and/or prophethood” for anyone after the first century making such claims?
I don't have an answer to this question but Ephesians 4:11 has bothered me for a long time. I believe in leadership by the Spirit to 1) build up the body of Christ, 2) so as the body of Christ is built up, they/we will grow strong and also then be able to bring people to Christ, disciple them and build them up so they can do the same.. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing (immersing) them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28).

Bur Ephesians 4:11 and others similar (deacons, bishops for example) opened up a can of religious worms!

Those 'offices' became 'titles of men'. Religious men. Deacon so and so.. Pastor so and so.. Bishop so and so.. and thus the religious institution was born IMHO due to those scriptures.

If someone can explain those scriptures to me, I would appreciate it greatly.

Blessings of Love and Peace to all.
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: Apostles and Prophets - Biblical Basis for Claims

I'm sorry but if Lee did not claim to be an apostle then this thread is not about Lee/Nee etc at all.

UntoHim said that Lee did not claim to be an apostle and rebuked people for calling him that. See the other thread on Orthodoxy:

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Do you know that Witness Lee NEVER ONE TIME HERE IN AMERICA CLAIMED TO BE AN APOSTLE OF ANY KIND? You do know that Witness Lee swore under oath (under penalty of perjury) that he did not consider himself an apostle and that he asked others to not consider him an apostle..You do know that, don't your? Do you know that he publicly rebuked people (more than one time) for calling him an "apostle"?
That being the case, "Watchman Née, Witness Lee, and Blended Brothers all assumed to be apostles and prophets" is a false statement, a straw-man in fact, which leads to the following question:

How can anyone assume to be an apostle if they do not claim it and even rebuke people for saying it?

The Bible shows that an apostle is not shy to say they are an apostle:

2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God..
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:53 PM   #10
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Does anyone have good articles discussing “tests of apostleship and/or prophethood” for anyone after the first century making such claims?
I repost here the real question I’m looking for answers to. It is “generic”, not LC specific. And thanks for good discussion on this question.

I’ve seen a fundamental divide among theologians about whether generations after John even have them. Some say there are only shepherds (pastors) and teachers as the initial apostles “laid the foundation”, though some of those may act as “sent ones” to other areas to preach the gospel and “church plant”. Others say apostles and prophets still exist. All say “beware of false apostles and test what they say carefully."

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Old 07-24-2018, 06:22 AM   #11
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Default Re: Apostles and Prophets - Biblical Basis for Claims

The real question here relates to authority, as in what authority to we allow church leader/ministers to possess? Lee and LSM love to talk about "Deputy Authority" as if God has placed all His authority on earth in a man, just because he claims it is his. How dangerous is that? If there are apostles and prophets today, what authority do they possess? Do they alone possess the authority to appoint other elders? Do their teachings rise to (or even supersede) the authoritative level of scripture?

Any discussion on this topic must confront all of these issues.
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Old 07-24-2018, 07:08 AM   #12
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Any discussion on this topic must confront all of these issues.
And one more : The issue of mans need to follow. Or should that be a foregone conclusion? There are leaders and followers. If you're neither, get out of the way ; leaders and followers are marching onward.

I guess then, the issue in question is : Follow who?
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Old 07-24-2018, 07:33 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by JJ View Post
I repost here the real question I’m looking for answers to. It is “generic”, not LC specific. And thanks for good discussion on this question.

I’ve seen a fundamental divide among theologians about whether generations after John even have them. Some say there are only shepherds (pastors) and teachers as the initial apostles “laid the foundation”, though some of those may act as “sent ones” to other areas to preach the gospel and “church plant”. Others say apostles and prophets still exist. All say “beware of false apostles and test what they say carefully."

Deuteronomy 18:19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”

21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.



*So we are required to listen to God's words spoken by a prophet.
*Someone who presumes to speak in God's name that which God has not spoken is to be put to death.
*How do you know whether God spoke the word or not?
*If what was spoken transpires or comes true, then the message was from God. If it doesn't come true, it was a presumptuous utterance and the prophet should be put to death.

In this case, one the test in the Old Testament is to "pay attention." Watch to see whether the word spoken the prophet comes true. This is supported by the New Testament verses:

Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Whether apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers or any Christian for that matter, the test is the fruit of their ministry, their life, or their walk.

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Old 07-24-2018, 08:18 AM   #14
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[I]
Whether apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers or any Christian for that matter, the test is the fruit of their ministry, their life, or their walk.

Nell
So if they pass the test are we compelled by God to follow them?
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:20 AM   #15
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So if they pass the test are we compelled by God to follow them?
To my knowledge, the only One we are compelled to follow is Jesus.

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Old 07-24-2018, 09:09 AM   #16
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To my knowledge, the only One we are compelled to follow is Jesus.

Nell
AMEN! Nell ...
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Old 07-24-2018, 03:00 PM   #17
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I don't have an answer to this question but Ephesians 4:11 has bothered me for a long time. I believe in leadership by the Spirit to 1) build up the body of Christ, 2) so as the body of Christ is built up, they/we will grow strong and also then be able to bring people to Christ, disciple them and build them up so they can do the same.. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing (immersing) them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28).

Bur Ephesians 4:11 and others similar (deacons, bishops for example) opened up a can of religious worms!

Those 'offices' became 'titles of men'. Religious men. Deacon so and so.. Pastor so and so.. Bishop so and so.. and thus the religious institution was born IMHO due to those scriptures.

If someone can explain those scriptures to me, I would appreciate it greatly.

Blessings of Love and Peace to all.
In both cases it says "God gave", not Paul, or Peter, or a Seminary, etc. You can't put "apostle" on your resume or business card. No man can "give an apostle".

I am reminded of an experience I had. I was on campus and had to go to my professor's office. It was clear across campus and we were in the habit of passing out gospel tracts. However, I dug around in my bag and I only had one tract that was at the bottom of the bag. So I wanted to make it count. As I walked across campus I prayed for the Lord to lead me to the person that needed it. I must have seen 100 students as I walked, praying the entire time, and no leading. By the time I got to the office I was miffed, as I walked in I saw a girl also in the office so I went straight to her and said "Here, this is for you". She took the tract, looked at it for an uncomfortably long time and then said "that is appropriate, I just learned I have lung cancer". The tract was "life at best is very brief like the falling of a leaf".

Now my point is this, if that tract was sent to her, it was by God, not by man. That is the key point. Man has nothing to do with it. If they do (the religion you refer to) then it is no longer an issue of being sent by God.
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Old 07-25-2018, 03:41 PM   #18
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So far no one has been able to state clearly what are the “tests of apostleship and/or prophethood”.

What ZNPaaneah and Nell presented so far are mostly tests for all believers (e.g. test the spirits), and do not really address the specifics of an apostle.

For an apostle like the apostle Paul or Peter, they have the following things:

1. A commission from the Lord - Paul had a miraculous experience that was hard for anyone to doubt. He could always refer to this experience to remind people of his calling from the Lord Himself. Peter also had miraculous callings and also was chosen by the Lord in the flesh. A clear commission from the Lord gave Paul the ability to endure much hardship and never complain about being an apostle.

2. The authority of God - Paul had the authority over the spiritual and natural world, more than that given to a "normal believer".

3. The power of God - God's power comes from the authority of God, the ability to change things in the spiritual and natural realm.

4. Fruit/evidence - the power of God produces spiritual fruit. This fruit does not mean the "fruit of the Spirit", love, joy, peace etc, but what have they done?- people saved, healed etc.

The last point, fruit, proves that the commission from the Lord is genuine. Paul had numerous salvation's and churches established to his credit, which confirmed his commission. His labor resulted in fruit.

In the church are evangelists, prophets and many others who can do everything that Paul did. For this reason I tend to think of apostles as regular believers whom the Lord chooses and uses in a greater and wider way (e.g. internationally, not just local).

Now let us reverse the 4 steps to see when a person is not an apostle. I have written this assuming they are a believer but think they are an apostle:

1. No commission from the Lord - a person claims to be an apostle but has no clear commission from the Lord. A genuine apostle will have no doubt about it. They will never say "well I thought I had a dream where God told me he wants me to preach to the nations but I'm not really sure". This implies they won't be able to endure hardship - they will fall away at the first sign of trouble, and might wish they weren't an apostle. In contrast, Paul never once complained about being an apostle, and had no doubt about it.

2. Not much authority from God or no authority - if they are a believer they will have some authority, but not as much as an apostle.

3. Not much power or no power - likewise, not as much as an apostle

4. Not much fruit or no fruit - the super-apostles that Paul addresses in his letter to the Corinthians did not endure the hardship he did, or labor in the way he did. They may have claimed to be apostles and even better than Paul, but did not have the evidence to support it, they were NATO. With that, came pride - boasting about their accomplishments (Paul rarely boasted), having an attitude of superiority - in contrast to Paul's meekness.


One thing that stands out to me as a test of an apostle (or prophet) is that no one can choose to be an apostle (or prophet), they are chosen by God, and if chosen by God it is virtually impossible to run away from it (like Jonah, Elijah, etc). Paul thought God chose him even before he was born (Gal 1:15). I am only speculating but I wonder if after Paul's conversion he remembered times when God had visited him, even as a child, and prepared him for his life as an apostle.

I used to be involved in so-called "five-fold ministry". Based on the belief that everyone has gifts, you can answer some sort of questions and add up the total score which attempts to find what gifts you have. - if you have enough traits or gifts you might just be an apostle, or prophet or evangelist. I think Christian bookstores still sell books which have these sorts of tests in them. But I see this is wrong because it is something God chooses, you can't do an "apostleship test" like an IQ test, and then become an apostle. And if you're 65 years old, and just now realizing that God wants you to be an apostle, it's unlikely to be the case.
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Old 07-25-2018, 04:29 PM   #19
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So far no one has been able to state clearly what are the “tests of apostleship and/or prophethood”.

What ZNPaaneah and Nell presented so far are mostly tests for all believers (e.g. test the spirits), and do not really address the specifics of an apostle.

For an apostle like the apostle Paul or Peter, they have the following things:

1. A commission from the Lord

2. The authority of God

3. The power of God

4. Fruit/evidence
So, we now know that Paul and Peter are apostles. Brilliant!

But according to your "tests," we must disqualify the other Eleven, Timothy, Titus, Silvanus, etc.

Now we know that only TWO apostles existed in all of church history.
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Old 07-25-2018, 04:46 PM   #20
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So, we now know that Paul and Peter are apostles. Brilliant!

But according to your "tests," we must disqualify the other Eleven, Timothy, Titus, Silvanus, etc.

Now we know that only TWO apostles existed in all of church history.
My post addressed capital A apostles, which I think the OP has in mind. If we are talking about lower case apostles, then we might be one of those anytime we spread the gospel, and Nee, Lee etc would easily pass as one of those.
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Old 07-25-2018, 04:47 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
So far no one has been able to state clearly what are the “tests of apostleship and/or prophethood”.

What ZNPaaneah and Nell presented so far are mostly tests for all believers (e.g. test the spirits), and do not really address the specifics of an apostle.

For an apostle like the apostle Paul or Peter, they have the following things:

1. A commission from the Lord - Paul had a miraculous experience that was hard for anyone to doubt. He could always refer to this experience to remind people of his calling from the Lord Himself. Peter also had miraculous callings and also was chosen by the Lord in the flesh. A clear commission from the Lord gave Paul the ability to endure much hardship and never complain about being an apostle.

2. The authority of God - Paul had the authority over the spiritual and natural world, more than that given to a "normal believer".

3. The power of God - God's power comes from the authority of God, the ability to change things in the spiritual and natural realm.

4. Fruit/evidence - the power of God produces spiritual fruit. This fruit does not mean the "fruit of the Spirit", love, joy, peace etc, but what have they done?- people saved, healed etc.

The last point, fruit, proves that the commission from the Lord is genuine. Paul had numerous salvation's and churches established to his credit, which confirmed his commission. His labor resulted in fruit.

In the church are evangelists, prophets and many others who can do everything that Paul did. For this reason I tend to think of apostles as regular believers whom the Lord chooses and uses in a greater and wider way (e.g. internationally, not just local).

Now let us reverse the 4 steps to see when a person is not an apostle. I have written this assuming they are a believer but think they are an apostle:

1. No commission from the Lord - a person claims to be an apostle but has no clear commission from the Lord. A genuine apostle will have no doubt about it. They will never say "well I thought I had a dream where God told me he wants me to preach to the nations but I'm not really sure". This implies they won't be able to endure hardship - they will fall away at the first sign of trouble, and might wish they weren't an apostle. In contrast, Paul never once complained about being an apostle, and had no doubt about it.

2. Not much authority from God or no authority - if they are a believer they will have some authority, but not as much as an apostle.

3. Not much power or no power - likewise, not as much as an apostle

4. Not much fruit or no fruit - the super-apostles that Paul addresses in his letter to the Corinthians did not endure the hardship he did, or labor in the way he did. They may have claimed to be apostles and even better than Paul, but did not have the evidence to support it, they were NATO. With that, came pride - boasting about their accomplishments (Paul rarely boasted), having an attitude of superiority - in contrast to Paul's meekness.


One thing that stands out to me as a test of an apostle (or prophet) is that no one can choose to be an apostle (or prophet), they are chosen by God, and if chosen by God it is virtually impossible to run away from it (like Jonah, Elijah, etc). Paul thought God chose him even before he was born (Gal 1:15). I am only speculating but I wonder if after Paul's conversion he remembered times when God had visited him, even as a child, and prepared him for his life as an apostle.

I used to be involved in so-called "five-fold ministry". Based on the belief that everyone has gifts, you can answer some sort of questions and add up the total score which attempts to find what gifts you have. - if you have enough traits or gifts you might just be an apostle, or prophet or evangelist. I think Christian bookstores still sell books which have these sorts of tests in them. But I see this is wrong because it is something God chooses, you can't do an "apostleship test" like an IQ test, and then become an apostle. And if you're 65 years old, and just now realizing that God wants you to be an apostle, it's unlikely to be the case.
1. The commission is from God, therefore there is no way for a third party to test that.
2. The authority is from God. Again, not something that we can test.
3. The power of God. Again, not something we can test.
4. The Fruit. The one thing we can test, and I would equate that to the charge "to test the spirit". The fruit of the spirit is the test. This is more comprehensive test than simply testing the doctrine.
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Old 07-25-2018, 05:39 PM   #22
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1. The commission is from God, therefore there is no way for a third party to test that.
2. The authority is from God. Again, not something that we can test.
3. The power of God. Again, not something we can test.
4. The Fruit. The one thing we can test, and I would equate that to the charge "to test the spirit". The fruit of the spirit is the test. This is more comprehensive test than simply testing the doctrine.
1. is testable if for example God confirms the commission with other people - God told Ananias about Paul. The Spirit probably confirmed it to Peter and the others as well when they met Paul. Laying on of hands etc

Different tests are needed. Test of the spirit is to test if someone has the Spirit of God or not. This would apply if they are an unbeliever pretending to be an apostle. But what about a believer who passes the test of the spirit, claiming they are an apostle? Perhaps a believer who sincerely believes they are an apostle because others told them so or because that's what they wanted to be, or because they had some dream or vision.

For that the best test is the fruit of what did they accomplish. For this we can apply the test of the parable of the talents - how much did they accomplish with what they were given? Assuming they tried, of course.
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Old 07-25-2018, 06:21 PM   #23
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1. is testable if for example God confirms the commission with other people - God told Ananias about Paul. The Spirit probably confirmed it to Peter and the others as well when they met Paul. Laying on of hands etc

Different tests are needed. Test of the spirit is to test if someone has the Spirit of God or not. This would apply if they are an unbeliever pretending to be an apostle. But what about a believer who passes the test of the spirit, claiming they are an apostle? Perhaps a believer who sincerely believes they are an apostle because others told them so or because that's what they wanted to be, or because they had some dream or vision.

For that the best test is the fruit of what did they accomplish. For this we can apply the test of the parable of the talents - how much did they accomplish with what they were given? Assuming they tried, of course.
God told Ananias to lay hands on Paul because He is a chosen vessel. Are you a chosen vessel? Which believer in the Lord is not a chosen vessel? How does what the Lord told Ananias confer any special status or authority on Paul? That is my point.
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Old 07-25-2018, 06:38 PM   #24
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God told Ananias to lay hands on Paul because He is a chosen vessel. Are you a chosen vessel? Which believer in the Lord is not a chosen vessel? How does what the Lord told Ananias confer any special status or authority on Paul? That is my point.
The part in bold gives it away:

"a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel"

Keep in mind that to Ananias , a Jew, such a calling to the Gentiles would have been seen as something new, significant and important. Paul maintained this focus towards the gentiles in his ministry for his whole life.
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Old 07-25-2018, 07:10 PM   #25
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The part in bold gives it away:

"a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel"

Keep in mind that to Ananias , a Jew, such a calling to the Gentiles would have been seen as something new, significant and important. Paul maintained this focus towards the gentiles in his ministry for his whole life.
Once again, all of this is of God. I have no issue with the idea that any and all believers can have experiences being sent by God or speaking forth God.

But this thread is about the test of apostleship. Perhaps this experience of Ananias helped him see that Paul was called, but if you allow these stories to fulfill your test you are setting yourself up to be scammed.

We are not told to test their backstory. We are told to test the spirits.

A person can have a great story, great testimony, but if they are living in sin that should be the test. I don't need to have the story that 50 years ago you were Nee's closest coworker clouding the issue.

The account in Acts is great, very helpful in understanding how God works, how God calls people, and how Paul was called. But that is not the evidence that Paul was an apostle.

"for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord."
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Old 07-25-2018, 07:24 PM   #26
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Once again, all of this is of God. I have no issue with the idea that any and all believers can have experiences being sent by God or speaking forth God.

But this thread is about the test of apostleship. Perhaps this experience of Ananias helped him see that Paul was called, but if you allow these stories to fulfill your test you are setting yourself up to be scammed.

We are not told to test their backstory. We are told to test the spirits.

A person can have a great story, great testimony, but if they are living in sin that should be the test. I don't need to have the story that 50 years ago you were Nee's closest coworker clouding the issue.

The account in Acts is great, very helpful in understanding how God works, how God calls people, and how Paul was called. But that is not the evidence that Paul was an apostle.

"for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord."
What is the evidence that Paul was an apostle then? Did you test his spirit?

I suggest that the only reason that Paul is called an apostle today is because :
  • the recorded story of his conversion experience and life
  • he said he was
  • others said he was
  • He had a lot of fruits to confirm his commission - churches and salvations

To me the last test is the real test. Even if the Bible never recorded his story, even if he never called himself an apostle and others never called himself that, even if the Bible does not mention him - history itself proves his apostleship by the many churches that resulted from his ministry.
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Old 07-26-2018, 07:35 AM   #27
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What is the evidence that Paul was an apostle then? Did you test his spirit?

I suggest that the only reason that Paul is called an apostle today is because :
  • the recorded story of his conversion experience and life
  • he said he was
  • others said he was
  • He had a lot of fruits to confirm his commission - churches and salvations

To me the last test is the real test. Even if the Bible never recorded his story, even if he never called himself an apostle and others never called himself that, even if the Bible does not mention him - history itself proves his apostleship by the many churches that resulted from his ministry.
Yes, the last test is the real test.
16 By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. That is a very big test. So then you have to really define what is "evil fruit".

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

To my understanding anything that would cause someone to be "cast into the fire" would constitute evil fruit. Revelation 18 gives us a picture of what this "evil tree" looks like and concludes with this:

for thy merchants were the princes of the earth; for with thy sorcery were all the nations deceived. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that have been slain upon the earth.

3 key points: aligned with the world, use sorcery to deceive, and hidden within is the blood of prophets and saints. No true apostle or prophet could have any of these things, likewise if you see any of these things you know it is an evil tree. (sorcery is the use of power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits -- i.e. test the spirits). I think much of our understanding of "cult" really refers to the use of sorcery to deceive.

Every false prophet will say he is a prophet,
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many [c]mighty works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

he will have a conversion testimony,
15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,

and others also will say he is. "And many false prophets shall arise, and shall lead many astray."
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Old 07-27-2018, 06:36 AM   #28
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...
We are not told to test their backstory. We are told to test the spirits.

A person can have a great story, great testimony, but if they are living in sin that should be the test. I don't need to have the story that 50 years ago you were Nee's closest coworker clouding the issue.
So how do you test the spirits? If someone believed to be an apostle or prophet is living in sin, that's one indication. Watchman Nee's sin was hidden from us for decades...long after his death. Witness Lee's sin became more blatant. There are many testimonies of the sins of the Blended We's on this forum. Even so, sin is often, arguably, about outwardly discernible behavior. How do you test the spirits when there is little or nothing outwardly observable? I believe every sin has behind it an unholy spirit. These are the spirits to test. These spirits are demons.

Firstly, you must be willing to, and in fact, acknowledge, as the Bible tells us, that there are actual, real, unseen, unholy spirits at work on the earth today. That should be obvious, but some are fearful of this thought. These unholy spirits cannot "possess" Christians. However, these unholy spirits can afflict and influence Christians. Read ZNP's post again for the excellent verses.

Even if you don't fully understand it, you don't have to. Just pray:
"I take authority and come against all Familiar Spirits assigned to me, my family members, and members of the Body of Christ; all spirits of confusion, lies, depression, deception, division, discord, argument, discontent, seduction, lust, perversion and all of their kindred and underlying spirits. I bind all spirits not of the Holy Spirit."

I don't know that there is a "test" as we commonly think of tests. Prayers of this sort have helped me for many years.

In her book "War on the Saints" Jesse Penn-Lewis has written extensively on the spirit world and it's workings in the world today. If the spirit world wasn't real, the Bible wouldn't have told us to "try the spirits." You can download a .pdf of War on the Saints. Find the unabridged version.

http://localchurchdiscussions.com/vB...miliar+spirits
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Old 07-27-2018, 06:48 AM   #29
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In her book "War on the Saints" Jesse Penn-Lewis has written extensively on the spirit world and it's workings in the world today. If the spirit world wasn't real, the Bible wouldn't have told us to "try the spirits." You can download a .pdf of War on the Saints. Find the unabridged version.
Penn-Lewis's spirit has been tested and found wanting. She infected Nee and Lee with bad spirits.
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Old 07-27-2018, 08:05 AM   #30
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So how do you test the spirits?
I would start with these questions:

Are saints being defrauded?
Is all manner of evil is being said of saints falsely?
Do the leaders bow down and apologize to the workers of iniquity?
Do they portray those who stand up to sin as being rebellious?
Do they devour meeting halls belonging to the saints (widow’s houses)?
Do they praise the wicked?
Do you detect an arrogant spirit of pride?
Do they take an evil way?
Are they froward (litigious)?

If the answer to all of these is no, then I would be encouraged. The question now is more like Apollos, are they properly grounded in the word?
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Old 07-27-2018, 01:33 PM   #31
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I would start with these questions:

Are saints being defrauded?
Is all manner of evil is being said of saints falsely?
Do the leaders bow down and apologize to the workers of iniquity?
Do they portray those who stand up to sin as being rebellious?
Do they devour meeting halls belonging to the saints (widow’s houses)?
Do they praise the wicked?
Do you detect an arrogant spirit of pride?
Do they take an evil way?
Are they froward (litigious)?

If the answer to all of these is no, then I would be encouraged. The question now is more like Apollos, are they properly grounded in the word?
And there's this:
I Corinthians 12:1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

So it would seem a practical test to address someone with the challenge to actually say the words.

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Old 07-27-2018, 01:43 PM   #32
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Penn-Lewis's spirit has been tested and found wanting. She infected Nee and Lee with bad spirits.
Tested by whom? Have you read her yourself and found problems? If so, what problems did you find? Please be specific. Please cite references in War on the Saints that you disagree with. Who are you relying on for your information, if anyone? As we've seen with Evangelical, you can support just about anything via Google. I want to know what YOU think.

I've read Jesse many times through the years and have found her accurate and reliable. Please tell us your own experience/testimony of JPL and not hearsay. She's hard to read and it takes time, but she's a good source.

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Old 07-27-2018, 02:50 PM   #33
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And there's this:
I Corinthians 12:1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

So it would seem a practical test to address someone with the challenge to actually say the words.

Nell
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many [c]mighty works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
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Old 07-27-2018, 08:53 PM   #34
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I would just like to bring people's attention to the fact that the apostle Paul no where used test of spirits or personal sin to confirm or deny his apostleship.

1 Corinthians 12:3 says

Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

This test cannot be used for believers, because the context is given by 12:2 which says:

You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.

Obviously 12:3 is talking about pagans versus Christians.

The test for a true apostle or true prophet is the same - their fruit. By their fruit, it means for a prophet their results - did what they prophesy come true? Yes or no. For an apostle - did their ministry result in salvations and churches? Yes or no. For a faith healer - are people actually healed? For an evangelist - are there genuine salvations?
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Old 07-27-2018, 08:54 PM   #35
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Thanks all who responded to my opening post.

Good and helpful discussion.

I guess we could take this matter of testing false apostles too far (like the church in Ephesus) and leave Christ our first love. http://biblehub.com/blb/revelation/2.htm
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Old 07-28-2018, 07:01 AM   #36
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Thanks all who responded to my opening post.

Good and helpful discussion.

I guess we could take this matter of testing false apostles too far (like the church in Ephesus) and leave Christ our first love. http://biblehub.com/blb/revelation/2.htm
The Lord commended them because they had tested them and found them to be false. Why would you think that "leaving their first love" is tied to that?

I would say our "first love" refers to the Christ we saw when we received the gospel and were saved. To leave the Christ who paid it all on the cross to forgive our sins so that we could enter the kingdom of light. This includes realizing we had been duped and deceived by "false prophets".

For some reason the history of the church shows that groups will start out with this vision and salvation but somewhere along the way they leave that and begin to make distinctions. Clergy / laity is one type of distinction. In the Local Church they ranked you based on "absolute for the ministry" and whether or not you were 1st generation, 2nd generation, or even 3rd generation. Once they began to rank saints based on how "spiritual" they were, or how "sanctified" or how absolute, that was when they left their first love.
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:37 AM   #37
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Tested by whom? Have you read her yourself and found problems? If so, what problems did you find? Please be specific. Please cite references in War on the Saints that you disagree with. Who are you relying on for your information, if anyone? As we've seen with Evangelical, you can support just about anything via Google. I want to know what YOU think.

I've read Jesse many times through the years and have found her accurate and reliable. Please tell us your own experience/testimony of JPL and not hearsay. She's hard to read and it takes time, but she's a good source.

Nell
I'm not going to waste my time on War on the Saints. I read that many years ago, back in the LC. Back then I was into her writings on the cross.

I just don't like her for beguiling Evan Roberts, and the Welsh Revival.

And for that she was branded a witch, false prophet, and Jezebel.

But I'm glad you're getting help from her book. Just don't get beguiled by it.
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Old 07-28-2018, 11:29 AM   #38
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The Lord commended them because they had tested them and found them to be false. Why would you think that "leaving their first love" is tied to that.
I don’t know that they are tied together. Good points.
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Old 07-28-2018, 03:15 PM   #39
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I don’t know that they are tied together. Good points.
Consider your first love. What was it that you loved about the Lord when you first came to Him? What was the word, the revelation, what caused you to repent and do a 180?

Now, as you matured in life, did you veer from that first love, becoming religious?
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