In her notes for Monday March 08, 2010, Mary wrote: “Today we go to meet with [the] apostle…”. We were originally supposed to meet with him the previous week, but personal events necessitated that we reschedule. But that day, what a weird day.
I was not keen on the idea. I don’t know how to convey that I literally felt no need to travel from one side of the state to the other side of the state to meet this fellow. It didn’t matter to me that the drive was less than three hours.
For those of you who come from dispensational and cessation theologies, my plight might resonate with you. But for those of you who are not from those theological backgrounds, I have my doubts that you can truly identify.
I grew up and was trained in a religious heritage that believes that the days of the apostles are long gone. I heard lessons that totally negated any possibilities of modern day “apostles”. The main support for that argument is that within a generation or two of the apostles, the apostolic work was accomplished and finished.
The religious heritage that trained me also taught that the age of miracles ceased. I heard lessons that totally negated any possibilities of modern day miracles, let alone modern day prophecy. Thus the age of prophecy was over, and that things like prophecy had not existed since just after the second or third generation following the apostles.
Why did they teach those things? My surmise is this: Theologically, it is far simpler to have apostles, miracles, prophecy and such like cease existing than have to investigate if there is a true prophet or true apostle amongst the modern church. If those early church attributes actually stopped, then it is far easier, for some, to believe. For me, now, that doesn’t make much sense, but back before all these events it was much easier for me to believe those teachings.
Now that might sound stupid to some believers, but that is what I was trained to believe. So I was being challenged on dispensational and cessationist theologies. The concept of a modern day apostle was being presented as possible. The concept of modern day prophecy was being presented as possible.
Years prior, my wife and I had determined that if God’s miracles and involvement in life had really ended, we asked: what’s the point of praying? Reasoning that since it was taught God’s work was finished, then one might as well simply pray saying “thank you” and leave it at that.
Now, years later, I was driving east-bound to meet an apostle, face-to-face, to hear what he had to say to me, and prophesy over me. I felt like I was driving straight into the face of Pentecostalism.
Glad to say that the experience was so far away from the hearsay that I was actually put at ease. No fainting. No forehead slaps. Nothing that I considered absurd behavior.
We drove. And drove. And drove. We arrived in the eastern part of Indiana. Got turned around and lost. At that point I was ready to call it a day and head west. Mary wasn’t.
We finally located the place. We drove up. We walked in. What do I see? A very typical progressive church setup: music equipment, pleasant auditorium, all things familiar to most mainline, mainstream churches in America.
They greeted us. Walked with us to their offices. And we met the apostle. Older fellow. Mellow. Gentle in spirit. Beginning with him, those gathered spent time introducing ourselves.
Me. I have seen too many people serve themselves basing their actions on the Bible. At heart, I am the skeptic. I doubt. I have questions involving spiritual integrity. I don’t easily accept anything when someone speaks about God, Jesus, the Spirit, or the Bible.
I don’t know how this guy viewed me. But from his interaction, I feel that he knew that I doubted. Yet, he did not let that faze him. I think I may have even expressed my reluctance to be there. On the other hand, Mary was energized and ready to hear what would be said.
We moved away from personal introductions into prayers and prophecy. I think we spent, at least, an hour in their office. I just can’t recall everything, but I do know that following our time with them, they invited us out to lunch.
During lunch I actually became more comfortable, being on more familiar ground. The apostle expressed things with clarity, at least for me. I know my tone wasn’t too accepting, but he listened to me.
In my heart I question everything a preacher, minister, church leader, even what an apostle says. Even if God or Jesus were directly in front of me, they won’t get my immediate approval. Prove yourself. My job is to test, remember the passage “test the spirits”? If I don’t mind wrestling with God or Jesus, don’t be surprised that I challenge or doubt an apostle.
I don’t recall too much about the drive home, but I do remember the sun being in my eyes. And I don’t have to think very long to know that Mary and I probably talked about the event the entire drive home. In the next installment, I’ll talk about the prophecy itself.
Blessings and Shalom