Apostolic Faith has become a hot debate in recent years. There are whole movements among Pentecostals who claim they are “Apostolic” and they teach some pretty questionable doctrine normally. Is that what we know Apostolic Faith to be?
In the most basic form, it would be the faith of the believers in the Apostolic age, the faithful in the book of Acts. As most readers know, the book of Acts is my favorite book so it has my attention. What was the faith of the early church really like?
The question of apostolic faith has normally be about debating a few core doctrines of Pentecostalism and the divide between Oneness Pentecostals and the rest of Pentecostalism. It has rare been about the actual faith they had but more about what people like to call apostolic doctrine. Faith and doctrine are two different matters.
It gets more confusing because a century ago about every Pentecostal leader was claiming they alone had the Apostolic Faith and everyone else was wrong. It is downright insane how many people made this claim starting with Charles Fox Parham.
Instead of going into the craziness that happen 100 years ago, I want to try and answer the question about what exactly apostolic faith would look like?
5 keys to Apostolic Faith
The early church believed the Holy Spirit would break in no matter what happened. They did not mind being arrested because they know the Holy Spirit would move through in it in some way. They were beated and stoned often. They embraced suffered in a way of life. From this, we know that apostolic faith includes suffering.
The believers in the first century embraced a lifestyle of holiness. At the core of many of the letters, Paul was calling the saints to a deeper level of sancitcation. It is clear that it was believed that you could have not have the Holy Spirit and not live holy yourself. Apostolic faith is about holiness.
The early church lived with expectation. They saw miracles happen through common people in the markets. People were being saved in the revivals breaking out among the saints in Asia Minor, for example. Supernatural encounter was not something they found odd but was the norm. Apostolic faith including signs, wonders, and miracles.
The saints lived each day with faith that the Lord would return very soon. They encouraged each other to be ready for the catching up. At the center of the Apostolic faith was an expectation of the catching up of the saints. They fully expected they would be raptured if not martyred. This is clear when studying the book of Acts.
The early church practiced community as a lifestyle. They gathered daily to fellowship, worship, pray and break bread. It was not something they needed to be as emphasis, it just happened organically. It was out of the community, everything else flowed. Apostolic faith is based in community.
In the name of Jesus Only?
Where the debate begins normally is about the trinity or Oneness. They are known as “Jesus Only.” What do we see in the book of Acts? I actually see the evidence points towards baptizing people in the name of Jesus; not the trinity.(Matthew 28:19 is bad Missiology anyways) It seems clear that the early church did baptize in Jesus name. As a result, I follow their example.
There are things that we cannot find agreement with the Oneness Pentecostals on but baptizing in Jesus name is not one of them. The truth is this one of the areas that the United Pentecostal Church International crowd had right.
However, the concept that the idea that there is not a trinity and there is “Jesus Only” is just not bad by scripture and cannot be embraced. We can loved our Oneness brothers but we can’t share their idea of the Godhead. I believe they will still be in Heaven even with their wrong view of God.
I firmly believe that God is calling Pentecostals to come together as One (John 17) and work through differences. I feel there is a special calling to bring the Oneness Pentecostals to the table.
Who has the corner on Apostolic Faith?
The simple is answer is no one. A lot of people think they have a secret revelation about it but that is not biblical. The truth is no one has the corner on what is and is not Apostolic faith or even apostolic for that matter.