Primal Fire

Primal Fire: Reigniting the Church with the Five Gifts of Jesus is Neil Cole’s latest book.

Disclosure: Neil is a good friend of Tony’s and mine. We’ve spent many an evening in our hot tub enjoying a glass of wine and discussing theology and church planting and putting the world to rights. I love all his books and read the manuscript of this one some time ago to write an endorsement for it.

I’m also blessed to have met/know all the members of the 5-fold team that works with Neil (all of whom wrote the book with him) and they are the best functioning leadership team  of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher I’m aware of. They are the real deal.

Here’s what I wrote in the endorsement:

Neil Cole is neither traditional nor tame, and he is uniquely positioned to write about the five gifts Jesus gave tot he church. He doesn’t just talk about the principles in this thought-provoking book: he lives them out as a highly effective apostle within a gifted team that has trained tens of thousands of church planters around the world. Neil forces us to think outside our conventional boxes by shedding fresh light on Scriptures we thought we knew well. I highly recommend Primal Fire for anyone who longs to see a multiplying and maturing move of God.

I stand by that endorsement. This book contains all kinds of original ideas. It’s well worth the read.

First apostles?

First Corinthians 12: 27-28 says this: 

All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:

   first are apostles,
   second are prophets,
   third are teachers,
   then those who do miracles,
   those who have the gift of healing,
   those who can help others,
   those who have the gift of leadership,
   those who speak in unknown languages

What many people take from this is that apostles hold the most important position in the church, the top of the hierarchy. Prophets are second most important,  teachers third etc. So to be an apostle is to be the most important person in leadership. Like this:

First, second, third

The problem with this view is that leadership in the New Testament is not positional, but functional. Another way to view it would be like building a house. First you need an architect, then someone to lay the slab, then someone to frame the house. Later would come plumbers and electricians etc. It's a question of function. The architect is essential to lay the plans for the house, and his work comes before the work of the electricians and plumbers, but without all these other functions, the house would not be built.

An apostle is one who is sent out (meaning of the Greek word apostello). He/she is the one who is usually the first person in a place or people group with the good news of the Kingdom.