Retaining An Apostolic Approach To Church Life -- By: Malcolm M. Black

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 05:1 (Mar 2008)
Article: Retaining An Apostolic Approach To Church Life
Author: Malcolm M. Black

Retaining An Apostolic Approach
To Church Life1

Malcolm M. Black2

Christopher L. Peppler3


This article briefly examines the current return to apostolic Christianity in various parts of the world and references three earlier Christian movements that came into existence at approximately 100-year intervals, beginning with the Methodist movement in the 1700s, culminating with observations of a current apostolic movement that began in the early 1980s, known as New Covenant Ministries International, in an attempt to ascertain how they embraced early apostolic principles.

The article highlights the strengths of several movements but also makes observations about how these movements lost their initial effectiveness by becoming institutional and, in many cases, forfeited their initial vision of impacting the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We examine possible reasons why these movements lost their fervour and discuss possible ways

of how current movements could learn from their mistakes not only maintain their spiritual fervency but sustain their vision and momentum of reaching the nations with the gospel to succeeding generations.

1. Introduction

There is currently a re-emergence of apostolic Christianity4 throughout the world. A number of movements are reaffirming and committing to live out New Testament principles as faithfully as the early church did. These movements are also devoted to being an effective witness to the world and to fulfilling the mandate of Jesus Christ to His church to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matt 28:19).

Among the many groupings, the following are a sample of current ‘apostolic’ movements: New Frontiers International, led by Terry Virgo in England; New Foundation Ministries, led by John Crumpton in South Africa; Pioneer Ministries led by Gerald Coates in England; Christ for the Nations led by Tony Fitzgerald in England; Ichthus Fellowship of churches led by Roger Forster in England. In America, Miller (1997:19) cites the following as a sample of some of the movements: Calvary chapel, led by Chuck Smith, The Vineyard led by the late John Wimber, and Hope Chapel, led by Ralph Moore, all of which represent hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of churches who are working into many nations of the world. These movements, in varying degrees, have a desire to return to Apostolic Christianity as exemplified in...

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