12 Earmarks of a True Apostolic Movement

How to recognize the difference between denomination-led movements and the work of the Spirit.
How to recognize the difference between denomination-led movements and the work of the Spirit. (Joel Kramer/Flickr/Creative Commons)

There is a global apostolic movement that is shaking Christianity and expanding the church as never before! This is an important shift away from the typical denominationally led church movements of the past. It is important for us to understand the difference between an apostolic from a denominational movement.

The following are generalizations that may or may not be true for particular denominations and apostolic movements:

1. Apostolic is usually led by one strong visionary. Denominations are led by a board. 

2. Apostolic is usually mission driven. Denomination are policy driven. 

3. Apostolic is usually missiological in its biblical hermeneutics. Denomination is usually theological, sociological or culturally driven. 

4. Apostolic emphasizes covenantal relationships based on voluntary associations. Denominations emphasize hierarchical structures and business in their gatherings. 

5. Apostolic emphasizes the present move of God in the earth. Denominations emphasize the glory days of the past. 

6. Apostolic emphasizes the movement. Denominations emphasize the institution. 

7. Apostolic leaders are led by the Spirit in regards to ministry placement. Denominational clergy are led by their bishop or hierarchy. 

8. Apostolic believes in biblical inerrancy. Most denominations believe in a higher critical form of inspiration. (Their line of reasoning goes like this: Because the church gave the Scriptures, the church has the right to change them, update them, etc. through church councils and official writings. Another thing said is that only the actual words of Jesus Christ in the Gospels are inspired of God.) 

9. Apostolic emphasizes the power of Christ in terms of releasing faith to fulfill ministry. Denominations emphasize the power of committees to implement strategic plans.

10. Apostolic emphasizes the local church as the primary training ground for ministry. Denominations emphasizes the seminary. 

11. Apostolic empowers the laity to minister (Eph. 4:11, 12). In denominations the clergy are expected to do the work of the ministry.

12. Apostolic movements believe apostolic succession is functionally based upon a divine calling, ministerial fruit and anointing. Denominations believe it is merely transferred through the laying on of hands during an ecclesial ceremony.

Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church and Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, New York, and author of numerous books, including Ruling in the Gates: Preparing the Church to Transform Cities. Follow him on Facebook or visit him online at josephmattera.org.


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