By Alan Hirsch In researching for 5iveQ, my new book on the transformative power of APEST thinking and practice, I have delved deeper into many aspects that are profound and revelatory and am amazed I have not seen them until this point.
For instance, one such “revelation” relates Paul's use of the word katartizō in Ephesians 4:12. This word is ordinarily translated as “equip” or “build up,” in standard contemporary translations of the Bible, but while these are definitely legitimate translations, they are only two viable translations of the term. Much more is actually implied. By selecting the familiar terms the translators inadvertently blinded us to the many other transformative dimensions implied in the use of this word. For instance, katartizōcan equally can be translated as “mend what has been broken or rent,” (as in nets and even broken bones), to “perfectly join together,” “put in order,” “adjust,” “strengthen,” “perfect or complete,” and “make one what one ought to be.”
Each of these are legitimate interpretations for the word and when applied, each one ushers in a completely different dimension to the possible meanings of the text. Try reading through Eph.4:12 nine times, each time using the next possible meaning, and you will see something of the sheer power of APEST thinking—what I call 5iveQ, in my upcoming book.
Jesus appointed some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers; for …
- the perfecting, or
- perfectly joining together
- putting in order
- ethical strengthening
- making what they ought to be
... of the saints, for the work of the ministry.
Now what do you see?
If it's not clear yet, then let me suggest it is saying that 5iveQ is absolutely necessary for the health, and vitality of the church and its mission. Furthermore, all five functions are critical for the church to self regenerate, develop, and “perfect” itself! In other words, the APEST system, as-a-whole, is like the self-healing capacity in your body. Your body has inbuilt capacities for self regeneration, and so if you were wounded in an accident or your body ravaged by a disease, your body has the innate capacity to heal itself. It has an inbuilt capacity to be restored to functionality.
So does the Body of Christ! In fact this verse says that APEST is given for precisely that reason. All five functions are needed that the Body of Christ might be perfected, healed, and restored. Paul is here saying that Jesus has given the fivefold capacities and callings so that a church might be able to self-generate and heal, grow, and develop. The active presence of the fivefold is therefore directly related to the church’s ongoing wholeness and functionality. Remove APEST and we remove our capacity to be made whole and function as Jesus intended us to in the first place. In other words, if you lack one or more of the five functions, the church is to that degree dys-functional and that particular expression of Body of Christ can never fulfill its calling and be complete in Christ!
That alone should rock your world! The church in the Western ecclesial (European) tradition—just think of your local church here— has assiduously edited the apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic functions out of the original fivefold wholeness given to the church by Jesus in nothing less than his Ascension (Eph.4:7,11). We have inherited a very reduced understanding of ministry. Almost all churches in the West only operate with two of the fivefold functions of Jesus! In other words, the historical reduction of ministry from the fivefold NT ministry to that of a twofold function of shepherding and teaching has bequeathed a fatal degenerative congenital dis-ease into the Body of Christ. No wonder we are frustrated, broken, and alienated from each others. We have an auto-immune disease. We are set against ourselves. We have sundered what God himself has brought together in Jesus and his primordial church (Eph.4:1-2). The net result is long term dysfunctionality and self-alienation (auto-immunity) that has lead to systemic breakdown…a diseased body. The good news is that APEST has been given at the very constitution of the church in Jesus resurrection and ascension and it cannot be removed, although it can be suppressed. It is there…latent in the Body of Christ waiting to be activated. I will even venture to suggest that because of this “latency” it is actually one of the easiest of the mDNA's to activate because we intuitively know the truth of 5iveQ when we truly encounter it. We just have to deal with those factors that are suppressing our innate capacity for health. This can be done, and is being done, to great effect.
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