Sunday, January 23, 2005

Answering Objection 1: Don't assume "equipping the saints" = writing the bible.

Let's deal with Robert Bowman's first objection.

"The offices of apostle and prophet would naturally cease in the church once their role in "equipping the saints" was completed; that is, once the New Testament canon was completed."
I hear this argument a lot. It is based on false assumptions that the main role of the first century apostles and prophets was to complete the bible.
  • You have to assume that every apostle and every prophet were involved in completing the bible. But there were many apostles and prophets that have no connection with completing the bible. Agabus was an important prophet, respected by Luke and Paul, but the Bible and Church history say nothing about his role in completing the bible. Peter's brother, Andrew, was a major Apostle, yet the Bible and Church history are silent concerning his role in completing the canon.
  • You have to assume there is a secret division in the middle of the sentence between apostles and prophets on the one hand and evangelists, pastors and teachers on the others. This division's not in the text, but must be assumed because today we clearly do accept evangelists, pastors and teachers; but reject apostles and prophets.
  • You have to assume that there is a fundamental difference in the way these two groups equip the saints. Evangelists equip by evangelizing or training others to evangelize. Pastors equip by pastoring. Teachers equip by teaching. But all Apostles and Prophets can do is complete the canon? Don't assume that their leadership can be replaced by the Bible + evangelists, pastors and teachers. Most and of the prophet's words and deeds are not recorded in the canon. Apostles likewise did much more than complete the canon; like deciding important doctrinal issues, appointing leaders in the church, and doing signs and wonders.
Robert Bowman gives us no Bible verses or Church history to support these assumptions. Until he or like-minded apologists can support these assumptions or supply us the basis of their secret knowledge, this objection is disqualified.

ps. This sounds to me like the division warned about in 1CO 12:21.
"The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"