It’s imperative that we are apostolic representatives of the Gospel of Christ and the original apostles and not messengers of some derivation and creative addition. Should we be, we cannot rightly think of ourselves as representatives of His Church. We can be representatives of something else but we are not connected to the manifestation of the Father that appeared in the Son and neither are we an extension of the son, Holy Spirit and the original apostles.
If we are not such an uncorrupted extension, we are sowers of fields of tares and gardeners of rocks, weeds and thorns as is made plain in The Parable of the Sower.*
‘This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come’ Matt 24.14 NIV. ‘This gospel’ is the gospel of Jesus and the apostles without amendment, alteration or aberration. The testimony to all nations is that God has drawn us into His life in Christ and placed His life in us by the Holy Spirit.
“In its simplest sense the 'apostolicity' of the Church refers back to the original foundation of the Church once for all laid by Christ upon the apostles but it also refers to the interpenetration of the existence and mission of the Church in its UNSWERVING FIDELITY TO THAT APOSTOLIC FOUNDATION.
As the incarnate Son of the Father, Jesus regarded himself as having been anointed by the Spirit and clothed with his power for the fulfilment of his unique evangelical mission. With its completion in the cross and resurrection, he commissioned his disciples as apostles to act in his name, thereby linking their subordinate mission with his own supreme mission: ‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you’.
At the same time he breathed his Spirit upon them, thereby constituting their sending by him as the empirical counterpart to the sending of the Holy Spirit by the Father in the name of the Son, which took place as Jesus had promised on the day of Pentecost. Jesus was the Apostle in the absolute sense. The apostles, however, were sent out by him as his chosen witnesses whose word he promised to empower as his own, and thus TO ENFOLD IN THEM HIS OWN SELF-REVELATION.” (1) [Capitalisation added]
As ourselves we are mirrors of Christ our life. As the church we are the mirror of the fullness of Christ when He has come in our flesh, incarnating Himself in our individual and collective life. The church is not a bunch of people doing ‘god things’ so much as Believers in God being the expression of Christ who is manifesting as them.
We can represent Christ as skeletal remains of express Him as the effect of His indwelling our flesh. The first is Ezekiel’s carcasses in the Valley of Dry Bones and the Second is the prophetic fulfilment in Christ our life of ‘Cause these bones to come to life.’
The authenticity of the church as an extension of the Family of heaven, is found in its new covenant union with God with the result that the Family of God is not only with us but manifests as us in normal life. As Jesus and the Father were one, so Believers and Father are one in Jesus Christ. This is so because we are one with God on account of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and because the atonement is fully realised, complete and perfect in Christ who is our life. Atonement where the church is concerned must be seen as at-one-ment, which is the undoing of separation wrought by the fall and the entering of union with God by the rise of humanity in the person of Jesus Christ, son of God. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus and neither is there any separation in Him. ____________ * Commonly given by pastors as a pep-talk urging people to forsake their favourite weeds when it is actually a parable about the need to totally leave the stones, rocks and weeds of Adam behind and totally live in our new covenant relationship with Christ. (1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (pp. 285-286). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.