About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Endorsing Relationships And Ministries  

It appears that traveling ministries in the first-generation church would often carry letters of recommendation with them to validate the legitimacy of their ministries, as seems to be implied in 2 Corinthians 3:1.  


"Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?"


Paul already had an established personal and organizational (apostolic) relationship with the believers in Corinth .  He didn't need a letter of recommendation to validate his ministry as others might have needed.  Such letters were a practical solution to the proliferation of false teachers in the first-century church.  These letters would endorse ministries, ministries that were born from a network of believers living in personal, supportive relationships in the Community of Christ.  


Networking is important because, as 1 Corinthians 12 states, church consists of individual believers whose lives are knitted together through Holy Spirit initiated personal relationships.  This knitting of lives, the networking of believers, form the foundation of church where both the believer and his or her ministry is validated through mutual endorsement.     


Church, whether local or global, being a network of believers and ministries united through endorsing relationships is necessary in today's social media church where many promote themselves as apostles, prophets and teachers of the Word.  As with the first-generation church, not all who claim to be apostles, prophets or teachers are apostles, prophets and teachers.  This is why the apostle James wrote the following in James 3:1. 


"Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers; because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly."


When church is a community consisting of individual believers and their ministries who are networked together through personal and supportive relationships, both the believer and his or her ministry is validated through their endorsing relationships, which in turn, facilitates the will of God in the Community of Christ.


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