A little over a year ago I was privileged to be part of an Apostolic & Prophetic Gathering in Trenton, NJ where I was one of the speakers as well as a participant in the Question & Answer open panel forum. I was one of five members on the panel and for a little over an hour; we answered people’s questions about the Apostolic & Prophetic.
During my Father’s (Dr. Leo Fram) teaching time, he made an interesting statement: “The Church was never meant to be run by vote or committee.” Now to some that may seem like a very strange statement. Allow me to stretch your thinking please. Let me introduce you to a New Paradigm.
What exactly is a Paradigm anyway? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines paradigm as: “a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind.” It is the way we think about something or you could call it a mindset. There have been some mindsets or ways of thinking about things that have been prevalent in the Church for years…but in the current days of the Apostolic Reformation some of these old Paradigms are being challenged.
One such old Paradigm is that we must vote on every decision in the local church or appoint a committee to investigate all the options so that a wise decision can be made. Is this type of Paradigm really what the New Testament teaches? I submit to you absolutely not. Let us consider Acts chapter 15 for a case study.
You can read verses 1-29 to get the complete context, but we will just quote: “And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, ‘Men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: [After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the Lord who does all these things.] Known to God from eternity are all His works. Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.’” Acts 15:13-21 NKJV
This passage is what is commonly known as the Jerusalem Council. There was great conflict between Jewish believers and Gentile believers over the issue of circumcision. Some of the Jewish believers were saying that Gentile believers had to not only accept Christ and His sacrifice to be saved, but also to be circumcised according to the Law of Moses. So a great discourse was entered into by the early Church leaders of the day including: Peter, Paul, Barnabas, Silas and James, the Lord’s half Brother and apparently the convener of the Council.
I want you to pay attention the bold type underlined phrases above: “Men and Brethren, Listen to Me” and “Therefore I Judge”. After all the discussion was done, the Apostle James got up and made a judgment…this was something that the Apostle James decreed…not something that the group voted on. The amazing thing is that after James made this decree…the discussion ended…there was no more debate. In fact in verse 28 we find these words: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” Notice in the letter that they sent out…even though James made the “Apostolic Decree” everybody else came into agreement with it saying: “It Seemed Good To The Holy Spirit And To Us!”
This is a far cry from the way things are done in many churches and church circles today. People come up in arms saying that I Have To Have My Say. Once James made his decision…there was no more say. Can you see how some of our practices do not line up with New Testament practices? The Church is going through some major Paradigm shifts right now from Pastoral and Congregational mindsets into what God is restoring to the church, “An Apostolic Mindset”.
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:19-21 NKJV We are living in the days of the “Restoration Of All Things” and one of the things being restored is a new Paradigm…An Apostolic Mindset!