“The case for a legitimate systematic theology organized around 5Q becomes unavoidable when we consider that Jesus—who the Scriptures assert is the very image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) and the pure reflection of his nature (Hebrews 1:1–3)—actually redeems and blesses the fivefold through his incarnation, death, and resurrection (more on this in the following chapters). Jesus as the Word of God (Logos) is the best statement of God we will ever have. And the historic faith asserts through the doctrine of the two natures (divine/human) of Christ that whatever happens to Jesus happens to, and inside of, God, because they are one in essence. By virtue of his two natures, Jesus makes the necessary connections and therefore provides the theological center of meaning to the people who follow in his Way.”
5Q With A Christocentric Twist
Recently, Alan tweeted something that sparked a fantastic opportunity for discovery.
So, this week, we are going to explore the three dimensional connections that are rooted Jesus and extend from the Father to his people, the Church. What we see is that, in Christ, God is connected to the world through the fivefold gifts of the Body of Christ. So let’s take a look at the “how” of a statement like that. How does Jesus make and keep these connections?
Keeping the Connections:
Apostle – connected to the mission of God
Prophet – connected to God
Evangelist – connected to the message of God
Shepherd – connected to the people of God
Teacher – connected to the truth of God#5Q #APEST https://t.co/1CnC58Z5A1
— Alan Hirsch (@alanhirsch) June 14, 2018
APOSTLE: connected to the mission of God
Jesus certainly defined himself as God’s empowered agent on a particular mission. In fact, nowhere is the central idea of “apostle” clearer than in Jesus’ defining statement of his mission. He experienced himself as sent (literally “apostello’d”) by his Father to fulfill the eternal purposes of God, to be accomplished in his messianic vocation. He is the Son, the Messiah, and as Lord of history he is God’s sent one—his Kingdom agent/apostle. This apostolic dimension of Jesus’ ministry therefore touches on the very purpose and mission of God in the world.
PROPHET: connected to God
The role of the prophet is to call people back to God. If the God they call us to is made known in Jesus Christ, then faithfulness must be defined as being faithful to Jesus and his mission. To be sure, this includes ethics and social concerns, but it goes beyond that to be fully resonant with God’s heart for the nations. Prophets in the new covenant not only call us back to God; they also call us forward to God’s preferred future for the world—one defined by the ministry and work of Jesus the Messiah. In other words, it is messianic as well as missional in nature.Prophets in the new covenant not only call us back to God; they also call us forward to God’s preferred future for the world - they push us to remember how things are going to be. Click To Tweet
EVANGELIST: connected to the message of God
Portraying Jesus as the exemplary evangelist highlights his work of announcing and demonstrating the good news of the Kingdom. He does this in and through every aspect of his ministry. Jesus offers every person and community, everywhere, a valid opportunity to be directly challenged to a radical reorientation of their lives, a reorientation which involves both deliverance from slavery to the world and its powers, and embracing Christ as Savior and Lord.
The strongest way we must affirm the primal calling of Jesus-the-Evangelist is to simply reaffirm what Christians have always affirmed—that Jesus not only proclaims the evangel, he actually is the Evangel. Jesus is the good news (Ephesians 2:14), the Savior.
SHEPHERD: connected to the people of God
As Good Shepherd, Jesus protects the weak and defends their cause (John 10). As the true human, Jesus reconciles people, redeems them, and creates a whole new community in himself—his ecclesia (Ephesians 2–3)—which he continues to care for, direct, and protect. He is the “Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). He binds all who follow him to learn the love of God, in and through loving others, in the context of ordinary life lived as humble service and worship to God. But he is always with and among his people, guiding and protecting.
To be a good shepherd in any sense of the word, pastors have to know all the names and the stories of the people in their care. He knows your name.To be a good shepherd in any sense of the word, pastors have to know all the names and the stories of the people in their care. The Good Shepherd knows your name. Click To Tweet
TEACHER: connected to the truth of God
For biblical teachers, their lives are to be their primary messages, and they speak with the authority of people who can live what they speak; these are the true rabbis. Teaching is not about speculation of ideas in themselves (idealism); rather, it is about the ministry of ideas in action (ethos), that is, discipleship or formation. We cannot teach what we do not know, and we cannot lead where we will not go. Therefore, biblical teachers must have real participation in the ideas they propose.
As such, Jesus is not some detached lecturer. He is himself “the Way,” and he shows us what a lifestyle based on truth looks like (John 1:17, 14:6). In Jesus, ethics becomes ethos—a way to live. He discipled his followers by actually living life with them—he was their Master and Rabbi, and they lived under his word and authority. He is the Word Made Flesh—both the Revealer and that which is revealed: God’s Truth (John 1:1–14, 14:6, 17:25–26; Romans 16:26).
Jesus cannot be understood apart from all fivefold identities. Clearly all five APEST motifs are unmistakably present in Jesus’ life and together comprise his ministry. Think of them as the constellation of Christological identities and purposes that come together in Jesus. Not surprisingly, then, the New Testament gospel clearly has all these motifs in them—mission/purpose, the prophetic call to repentance and relationship, the proclamation of good news of salvation, adoption into God’s family, and direct access to the true knowledge of God. But they are only in the church’s core proclamation because they are first and foremost part of the very life, ministry, and teachings of our Founder and Lord. 5Q is simply a way of indexing the manifestation of Jesus’ presence in his people. Jesus is indeed the key unlocking the power of 5Q because he is its defining Center.Jesus maintains the connections between each fivefold gift simply because they are all completely and wholly represented in his being. Click To Tweet