Posted by: Rodney Shaw | March 22, 2009

What Does It Mean To Be Apostolic?

Culture has always pressed upon the church. The Corinthian correspondence is a great example of people trying to make the gospel fit a philosophical mold that is acceptable to the world. This issue has never abated. There are a lot of things going on in our world, and whether we like it or not, they affect the church. One of the pressing questions of our day is how to be apostolic in the postmodern world. How do we insist on truth claims, a biblical experience, and a life of separation in the world in which we live? Can we separate our own cultural preferences, both church culture and secular culture, from the gospel?

These are some of the issues we will examine in an upcoming series of blog posts. I would like to extend a personal invitation to you to join in this conversation. We all will not agree, but as Apostolics, we must at least talk and think through these matters. Accordingly, I would be delighted to have you join in. If you have not read the “Christians and Culture” post, you might do so as an introduction.


Rodney Shaw

Upcoming blog series: Church and Culture: Finding Our Way in Postmoderism
March 26: “Where Do We Stand? Postmodernism, the Emergent Church, and Apostolics”
April 2: “Theology and Method: Theology”
April 9: “Theology and Method: Method”


  1. Living here in New Mexico, there is a huge apostolic movement, that isn’t the UPCI. Their doctrine is very different from ours. So, in saying this, I myself have always wondered why we “Apostolic/Pentecostals” have always tried to define ourselves by our title, rather than by our understanding of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost which in turn has empowered us to present ourselves as witnesses to His character. In Deuteronomy 29:29 it is written: “The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law.

    God’s moral law is a description of His character. God’s desire for us is to have His character because for us to have His character is happiness and joy for ourselves, for God, and for all we come in contact with.

    It is written in Psalms 16:11 “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fullness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.” Joy and pleasure are generally inclusive. Generally, if one party is full of joy and having pleasure – so is the other party. It is contagious.

    Is there a greater way in indentifying ourselves to this present world? In allowing the power of the Holy Ghost to perfect me in character, I will find joy in being in the presence of the Lord. Because this joy is directed towards God and the things He has done in my life, people will be drawn to Him through my example, because what I have is real. It was Jesus that said; “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.”

    This world isn’t interested in religion, as much as they are interested in something that isn’t counterfeit and hypocritical. Does this mean we abandon our roots, and refuse to call ourselves Pentecostal, or Apostolic? Heavens no! However, we must not be defined by our name, but defined by our relationship with Jesus Christ. I am not defined by the name David Hamilton, but the name David Hamilton is defined by the relationships I have with other people, good or bad.

  2. I think to be apostolic means more than being a Christian. The word Christian is more of a tag for people. A person who only goes to church on special holidays will proudly profess they are a Christian.

    Coming from a non-apostolic background I agree culture does play a big part in the overall picture. When you are raised from birth in a non-apostolic culture your mindset and habits will be different from your neighbor (could be next door neighbor) who was raised in an apostolic culture. In the non-apostolic culture we accept whatever is considered normal (doesn’t mean it is right) and our actions are based on that acceptance. On the other hand an apostolic would look to Biblical guidance for right or wrong.

  3. For clarity please:
    Isn’t Apostolic a cultural word in the sense of the way it is used today more than a Biblical word ?

    Is Apostolic – a doctrine – lifestyle – ministry – culture – something specific – non specific?

  4. To Be Apostolic Means To Be A Christian

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