I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, … When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. II Timothy 1:3, 5
Protecting Our Apostolic Legacy
Timothy was the issue of three generations of faith. Lois, Eunice, and then Timothy – three generations, sharing the same “unfeigned faith.” Timothy’s mother was a believing Jewess [Acts 16:1] but the Bible never tells us that his father, a Greek, ever was a believer. His spiritual heritage came through his mother – but his ministerial heritage came through apostle Paul who adopted him as his “son in Lord.” Our faith must be passed on by parenting, teaching and mentoring the next generation.
As I study the revivals of the 18th century, there seemed to be a steady march back to the apostolic message and lifestyle of the first century. God would give a nugget of truth to a godly man, but many would park and build a movement around the truth that God gave him – never realizing that God may have more truth in store for him.
After fifty years, however, in this new movement, the church usually became just another denomination. The sad situation was that the revival movement was only vibrant as long as the founder was living. God would then touch another man or woman with more truth and the march back to our apostolic roots continued until God poured out His Spirit on a Bible school student in Topeka, Kansas on January 1, 1901.
Very few Christian denominations kept their faith and zeal for more than three generations. This does not have to happen. Our modern Apostolic movement has been alive for over one hundred years – a miracle in itself. We now have the challenge to protect, preserve and pass on this apostolic heritage to future generations. If we are not vigilant, we will go the way of all other movements and become just another denomination.
I, too, am a third generation apostolic. After grandfather was killed by a bull on the family homestead, my grandmother began seeking God for the infilling of the Holy Ghost. ‘Pentecost’ had just come to Picton, Ontario, Canada. My grandmother, a praying Methodist, wanted more of God. She accepted the ‘new doctrine’ of water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the need of receiving the Holy Spirit with the evidence of ‘speaking in an unknown tongue’.
Being a very proud lady, she asked the pastor to baptize her privately. She then sought God for the Holy Ghost for seven long years. Finally in desperation, she asked the pastor to baptize her publicly – again – in Jesus’ Name. Within two weeks, God baptized her gloriously with the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues as the spirit gave the utterance.
My father Ralph Reynolds, proud of his first car, took on the responsibility of driving his mother to church. He first sat out in the car, then moved to the back seat of the church, and then to the altar to experience his own apostolic experience. After a strong resistance to a call to the ministry, he finally accepted his ministry and has left his mark on the Pentecostal movement.
This began a succession to the apostolic ministry of over five generations. There have been seven preachers, three missionaries, five pastors and teachers, including myself – in five generations. My grandson is now my pastor – a mighty anointed preacher and man of God. Our apostolic legacy is in good hands. We must preserve it!
Passing on Our Apostolic Heritage
Then how do we preserve, protect and pass on our apostolic faith?
- Believe the Truth
Timothy: Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. … But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. II Timothy 4:2,5
- Love the Truth
Timothy: Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. Timothy 1:13,14
- Teach the Truth
Timothy: And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Timothy 2:2 [2-2-2 Principle]
To protect this faith, as a movement, we must: believe it, live it, and we must teach it.
“WE MUST KNOW THE WAY, GO THE WAY, AND SHOW THE WAY.”
Apostolic succession does not happen by chance. There must be a ‘keeper of the flame’ – a leader who will lead and then pass on the torch. There must then be conscious and active teaching and mentoring from one generation to the next.
Thank God for the Faith of My Fathers – My Apostolic Heritage!