fathering-servant

Bill Scheidler with Dick Iverson. Apostles The Fathering Servant: A Fresh Biblical Perspective on Their Role Today (Portland, OR, City Christian Publishing, 2001), 260 pages.

In this book, Bill Schiedler, writes about the important, but controversial subject of apostles. No serious Bible reader would doubt that apostles existed in the first century church; they are referred to numerous times. The question is: are they still to be found in the church today? The author believes that the answer to that question is “yes.” He cites the Scriptures in order to support his position.

The book contains fifteen chapters. Thirteen of these were written by Scheidler, the remaining two contain an interview which Larry Asplund, a professor at Portland Bible College, did with Dick Iverson, who is an apostolic leader.

The text of the book is easy to read, the print size is comfortable, and the author does not use highly technical language.  This volume deals with both the theological and practical issues related to the ministry of an apostle.

Scheidler appeals to history as he writes; he looks at the apostles in the New Testament and their ministry. He goes on further to establish, from Scripture that the ministry of the apostle is to continue in the church beyond the first century.

This is in part due to the fact that the purposes for which God gave apostles and the other ministry gifts of Ephesians 4 have not yet been fulfilled (see Ephesians 4:12-13). He also gives practical insight into what should mark the life of an apostle today; this includes discussions of both their character and motivations.

In addition, Scheidler discusses how apostles should conduct themselves. Some of the topics covered in this book include: the meaning of the word “apostle,” preparation for the ministry of apostleship, apostolic mentoring, and apostolic authority. The content of the interview with Dick Iverson reinforces some of the truths that Scheidler presents in the main body of the book.

There are a few very important points that emerge from this book. First, apostles are not to be lords; on the contrary, they are to be servants. This truth undercuts the practice of some in our day who may try to claim apostleship in order to exalt themselves so that they may be served rather than them serving others.

A second key point, which is in harmony with the first one, is that there is no hierarchy among the ministry gifts of Ephesians 4. Apostles are not the chief executives of church leadership; they are meant to work in cooperation and harmony with the other leadership ministries.

Third, apostles are not to be lone rangers, they are to be accountable. Scheidler believes that they should be connected to a local church, just as the Paul was connected to the church in Antioch. Fourth, all ministry, including apostolic ministry is to be based and built on relationship. This is a point that is rightfully stressed in this book.

It is unfortunate that this book is not more well-known. Scheidler has done a great service to the church in presenting a very biblical case for the continuance of the ministry of the apostle in our day. He has also done an excellent job describing the ministry of the apostle. This book is a breath of fresh air; it is by far the best book I have read on the subject. I highly recommend it.

 


John P. Lathrop - United States

John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University, Zion Bible Institute, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME). He is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies and has twenty years of pastoral experience.

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