Friday, June 4, 2010

Thomas Goodwin on Apostles

“I hear there are apostles abroad, at least those that say there are to be apostles still in the Church, and to the end of the world; and those that affirm it are not of the Romish party only, who make the popedom a perpetual apostleship, but of those who would be in all other things most contrary unto the Pope. To refute whom, this is here sufficient, that the apostles’ call is to be ‘by the (immediate) will of God,’ as hath been opened in Acts i. You read that when Judas was dead, all the eleven apostles could not have chosen another apostle; yea, they would never have thought of adding another, had not God by a prophecy said, ‘Let another take his bishopric,’ (and he quoteth a Psalm to warrant it, Ps.lxix.,) that is his office of apostleship; and he there mentions a qualification that was to be in him that should be chosen to that office, which I am sure hath not been found in any man these fifteen hundred years; and he puts a necessity upon it that he that was to be chosen should be so qualified, a must, upon it, ver. 21, 22, ‘Of those men that have accompanied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the same day that he was taken up, must one [if any] be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.’ And though they named two, for God to pick one, to shew that God’s immediate call was requisite to authorize an apostle, that it might not be by man but God, they by prayer cast lots, and it fell to Matthias; and it is God alone who, by an immediate hand, doth dispose the lot, as Solomon tells us: for apostles were to be by the will of God immediately.” Thomas Goodwin, Works 1:10

I won't expound on this much, since Goodwin says it so much better than I could anyway. But let me simply say that when we see the heresy infesting large portions of the Christian world under the guise of supposed "apostolic" ministry, we have only our own spinelessness and historical ignorance to blame. Had the Church simply had the courage and doctrinal integrity 100 years ago to excommunicate anyone who even shook hands with an Irvingite, we wouldn't be witnessing the demoniac nonsense of Benny Hinn, C. Peter Wagner, Matt Ford, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar and the whole host of other foolish people that parade around the world bringing reproach on Christ's name. Now let me tell you how I really feel!

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