TAKE: AD250-The Non-Negotiables Of Apostolic Christianity
Written and taught by ATS Chancellor and widely recognized apostolic father George Kouri, this course might be sub-titled: "A First Century Catechism for the 21st Century Church."
The goal of this course is to help you understand and minister the revelation of Christ, His Kingdom, and His Church, entrusted by Jesus to His first apostles in the first century. This revelation (Jesus called it, "the keys of the Kingdom") was the foundation of the early Church's faith, the basis of their doctrinal, spiritual, and governmental unity, and the secret of their effectiveness in overcoming and impacting the first century world.
Strong emphasis will be placed on:
1. Understanding and recovering the apostles' revelation of the Gospel of the King's dominion proclaimed by the first apostles, especially the Apostle Peter (the spokesman of the twelve apostles of the Lamb) and the Apostle Paul (the arch-type of all ascension-gift apostles today),
2. Understanding and recovering the apostles' revelation of the nature and purpose of Christ's Eternal Kingdom, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, and the Church, as the community of the King and the instrument of Christ's Kingdom purpose to conquer Satan's kingdom, disciple the nations, and fill all things with the glory of the sons of God,
3. Understanding and recovering the apostles' revelation of valid initiation into Christ's Kingdom and proper placement in an allotment of believers as part of Christ's one Church under valid apostolic and pastoral leadership for proper nurture, training, discipleship, and mission,
4. Understanding and recovering the apostles' revelation of the Church's apostolic government and structure, and the importance of true apostolic government to the Church's unity and success in the 21st Century,
5. Understanding and recovering the apostles' revelation of the Church's mission to conquer the kingdom of darkness, possess cities and nations (the Church's Inheritance), and fill the earth with the glory of the sons and daughters of God.
This course is essential for anyone desiring to truly understand and effectively minister the ancient faith entrusted to the original apostles with a view to truly extending Christ's Kingdom, restoring the foundations of the Christian faith, and reforming the Church, so that the Lord's One Church might succeed in it's apostolic mission to possess cities and nations and fill all things.
LESSON 1: THE APOSTLES' UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
In Lesson 1 we will look very carefully and critically at the apostles' understanding of the Gospel. Strong emphasis will be given to the Gospel according to Peter, as the principle spokesman for the 12 Apostles of the Lamb, and the Gospel according to Paul, the arch-type of Ascension-gift Apostles.
We will critically compare or contrast the Gospel proclaimed by the Apostles' Peter and Paul with the popular Gospel being widely proclaimed today.
The goal of Lesson 1 is to recover the actual Gospel entrusted by the Lord Jesus to the first apostles and to enable you to fully understand and faithfully proclaim the message of the King!
LESSON 2: THE APOSTLES' UNDERSTANDING OF KINGDOM INITIATION
In our second lesson, we will explore the necessary understanding and practice of the first apostles for dynamiting individuals out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Heaven. Strong emphasis will also be placed on recovering the apostles' understanding and practice in helping new converts find meaningful placement in the family of God (the Household of Faith, the New Israel of God, the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ) under valid apostolic and pastoral oversight and care.
We will compare or contrast the apostles' understanding and practice or methodology with the traditions of men and modern practices today.
The goal of Lesson 2 is to recover the authentic understanding and the practice of the first apostles and enable each of you to faithfully and effectually bring people into Christ's Kingdom, help them find their place in His Church, and lay valid apostolic foundations in believer's lives.
LESSON 3: THE APOSTLES' UNDERSTANDING OF THE BLESSINGS OF DAVID AND THE NEW COVENANT
Lesson Three deals with the third Non-Negotiable: the Apostles' revelation and Holy Spirit inspired understanding that the promised blessing (also called "mercies") of David is in actual fact the blessings of the New Covenant.
The Apostle Paul makes this clear in Acts 13: 34.
In ACTS 13: 32 and 33, Paul declares Jesus' resurrection to be the fulfillment of the promise made to David and the fathers of Israel concerning salvation and the Messianic Kingdom. In verse 33 Paul even quotes David's great enthronement Psalm, Psalm 2, "YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU," as the moment in history when God the Father declared His decree, "I HAVE INSTALLED MY KING UPON MY HOLY MOUNTAIN."
Then in verse 34 the Apostle actually quotes or paraphrases Isaiah 55:3, "I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings (mercies) of DAVID.'
In verses 38 and following Paul goes on to speak of the specific content of the blessing of David: “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses."
(Please note that "the blessing of David" or "the New Covenant of grace" is much better than the Old Covenant mediated by Moses.
The Apostle closes his message to the Jewish Synagogue in Pisidian Antioch with a warning from the Prophets of Israel about the dangers of rejecting the blessings of David and the New Covenant.)
The goal of Lesson 3 is to recover the Apostles' understanding of the blessing of David and the New Covenant. This revelation entrusted by the Lord to the first apostles is essential to understanding Christ's Kingdom, His Church, and true Apostolic Christianity!
It is non-negotiable! Recovering the Apostles' revelation of the blessings of David is therefore essential to recovering the Church's foundations and to an apostolic reformation.
LESSON 4: THE APOSTLES' UNDERSTANDING OF THE CHURCH AS ZION, THE RESTORED HOUSE OF DAVID
In Lesson 4 we will deal in depth with the Apostles' revelation that the One Church Jesus said he would build (Matt. 16:18) is not only the House (dwelling place and household or family) that the Messiah (David's Son) would build for God, but also at the same time, the House or Tent God promised He would build for King David. (2 Sam.7: 11-16)
The Apostles' not only understood that the Church is the spiritual body of the Messiah, the One New Man, but also the heavenly Zion out of which the scepter of Messiah's Kingdom would be extended to all the governments and nations of the earth, establishing righteous judgment, peace and joy.
They understood that the Church is the New Jerusalem, the City of God established on the Heavenly Mount Zion, and the light of the world, to whom the governments and nations of the whole earth would come and learn Christ, beating their swords into plowshares and learning war no more.
They understood that this singular Church is the body of Christ's Kingdom purpose, His threshing instrument and the demonstration in the earth of life under the government of King Jesus!
What does the special revelation of these Apostles mean to believers today and to the Church of the 21st century? How do the popular beliefs and modern theologies of Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic ministers compare with the revelation of these first century apostles? How does the Apostles' understanding impact or correct and adjust the tendencies of modern ministers and churches to postpone Messiah's Kingdom until after the Second Coming and to build their own independent local Churches?
The goal of this lesson is to help Christ's servants recover the Apostles' revelation in order to revive, restore and reform Christ's Church!
The Apostles' believed that when God raised Jesus from the dead, He not only raised the throne of David, moving the seat of David's Kingdom from earth to heaven and establishing it at His own right hand, but He also raised up Zion, laying the foundation of the New Jerusalem in Heaven. Because of their special revelation of the mystery of the Church they proclaimed that the born again sons and daughters of Christ's Kingdom are not only members of Christ's Messianic body and sons and daughters of the Household of God, but also the sons and daughters of Zion and citizens of the Heavenly city, the Jerusalem above. (See I Peter 2, Ephesians 2 and 3, Hebrews 12, and Revelation 21.)
The Apostles understood that Christ is building One Holy Apostolic Church in the earth, that the Lord's Church is general assembly before it is local, that there is no such thing as independent local churches! They understood fully that the allotments or congregations of believers located in the cities, regions, and nations throughout the earth are in reality the allotments of Zion, spiritual households making up the New Israel, and that they ultimately are to be connected to one another by spiritual fathers or elders forming Christ's one Church, His Holy Nation in the world.
They believed that in the Spirit the Lord's army rides forth out of the heavenly Zion throughout this present age, following the King of glory in His spiritual conquest of the Kingdom of darkness, liberating cities and nations from the oppression of evil, that the Lord has given His Church mighty spiritual weapons to empower them to be victorious in this great spiritual battle, and that on the Lord's day what really happens in the Spirit is that Christ's Church goes up to Zion, gathering in General Assembly around the throne of David in heaven, congregation by congregation, city by city, nation by nation until the whole Church throughout the earth has appeared in Zion to worship God's anointed King and to release His righteous judgments in the earth.
LESSON 5: THE APOSTLES' UNDERSTANDING THAT THE JEWISH AGE IS BEHIND AND NOT AHEAD OF THE CHURCH
If the modern Church does not understand the eschatology (doctrine of last things) of Jesus and the Apostles, we will create our own.
According to today's popular belief and numerous postponement theologies we are living in the last days of the Church age; the end is near. Any moment now Jesus is going to come back and secretly rapture the Church, with the Church gone the Antichrist will appear, raise an army, surround Jerusalem and make war on the Jewish nation. There will be great tribulation (a nuclear holocaust or world war three) in the midst of which Jesus will come back to earth, destroy the Antichrist and His army, establish His earthly Kingdom in Jerusalem and rule the nations from earthly Jerusalem for a thousand years. While there are many variations this is the popular eschatology of the times.
But is this actually what Jesus and His Apostles taught?
We will look closely at the message of the ancient prophets of Israel (the prophetic Song of Moses, Isaiah's Song of the Lamb, and Daniel's Seventy Weeks). We will study the prophetic significance of John the Baptist with regard to the end and the ministry of Jesus as he cursed the fig tree and cleansed the temple, and we will also look carefully at His teaching about the wedding feast, His prophesy about the Temple, and His great end times discourse on the Mt. of Olives dealing with the end of the Old Covenant age. What did Jesus and His Apostles mean by expressions like "in these last days" and "this generation shall not pass away before the end shall come"?
In this critically important lesson we will deal the last days according to Jesus and the Apostles. And we will discover that in reality the whole New Testament is written against the backdrop of the passing away of the Old Covenant age, the age of Moses and the law (the Jewish age), and the dawning of the New Covenant age, Messiah's Day.
The goal of Lesson 5 is to recover the revelation that Jesus imparted to the Apostles of the Lamb and the first Ascension-gift Apostles concerning the last days of the Old Covenant, the end of the Jewish age, the establish of Messiah's Kingdom and the dawning of Messiah's Day.
LESSON 6: THE APOSTLES' UNDERSTANDING OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT AND STRUCTURE
In Lesson 6 we will deal with the Apostles' understanding that Apostolic
Government (the fellowship of the Apostles and the Apostolate) is the functional basis of the unity of Christ's Church and the foundation or key to the Church’s success in it's mission to disciple the nations.
Today we see a Church that is and fragmented and divided into literally thousands of denominations, movements, factions and sects. We sing songs, preach sermons, and talk about the army of God, but the reality is that the modern Church is a bunch of guerilla fighters often fighting with one another or quarreling among ourselves.
In Matthew 16 Jesus declared that He would build His Church, His Holy Nation, and that He would build it in such a way that the very gates of hell (the governments of cities and nations) would not be able to resist the Church's movement in history. What is Jesus talking about? How can this happen? What is the key to the Church's functional and structural unity and the success of its apostolic mission in the earth?
If Christ's Church is truly one, if we are in fact the heavenly Zion, a Kingdom of priests and a Holy Nation, is there a governmental order or structure that will enable the Church to function as One Church. Has the Lord established or ordained a specific governmental order in His Church? If so what is it and what will it take to restore it to His Church today?
In this lesson we will see that Jesus Himself established what the New Testament writers call "the fellowship of the apostles" or "the apostolate". And in the transition that took place from the Jewish age to the Messianic age, the Lord took the Kingdom of Heaven from the High Priests and rulers of Israel (the Sanhedrin), and He gave it to the Apostles, the fellowship of apostles or the apostolate (governmental body or council) that Jesus Himself had established. Together these Apostles extended the Kingdom and planted Christ's Church throughout the Roman Empire. At the Lord's direction they also ordained elders, who were the ruling pastors or shepherds of the allotments or congregations of the Church, who together with the apostles governed the Lord's House.
This fellowship of apostles (apostolate) along with the elders of the congregations or allotments of the New Israel governed the Lord's Church. This governmental order was the basis of the early Church's unity and one of the dynamic keys to the Church's success in triumphing over both the rulers of the Jews and the Gentiles in the first century and several centuries to follow.
The goal of this lesson is to help Christ's ministers recover the Apostles' understanding of the Church's governmental structure in order to restore true apostolic government and valid eldership to the Lord's Church in a city, a region, a nation and throughout the earth so that the Church might function as one and succeed in its mission to possess cities and nations.
What is an apostle? What is the nature and function of the apostolate, the fellowship of the apostles? How do apostles work together? What is an elder? What is the nature of true eldership? How do elders work together with one another and with apostles in a locality, a region, a nation and throughout the earth to extend Christ's Kingdom and to oversee His House?
LESSON 7: THE APOSTLES' UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATIONS AS THE CHURCH'S INHERITANCE
In Lesson 7 we look closely at the Apostles' revelation that the cities and nations of the world belong to Christ and His Church, and are a vital and critically important part of the Church's inheritance and destiny!
Today many sincere believers and church leaders believe, mistakenly, that while the disciplining the nations is truly a vital part of God's Kingdom purpose, that purpose has been postponed until a future, earthly, Jewish millennial Kingdom. They rightly believe that the nations belong to Abraham's seed and are the heritage of Jacob, but wrongly believe that this means the natural or physical seed of Abraham, the Jewish people, and will be fulfilled in a future millennial age.
Over against this popular view and postponement theologies, we will see that the Apostles clearly understood that Jesus Christ is the promised seed of Abraham and that the cities and nations of the earth belong to Him. Because He was cut off in His prime without any physical offspring, all who are baptized into Christ are Abraham's seed and heirs of the promises of God. Thus the Apostles' understood the cities and nations belong to Christ and His Church!
God also promised Abraham that his seed would possess the gates of His enemies, speaking of the cities of the nations of the world. The Apostles understood this promise and knew that Jesus was referring to this promise when He declared that He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Earlier they had heard Him as He proclaimed, "First bind the strong man, and afterward spoil his goods." They knew Jesus was speaking of binding the principalities and powers of Satan's Kingdom, and possessing the cities and nations of the world.
After His death, resurrection, ascension, installation or enthronement on David's throne at God's right hand in heaven, and the outpouring of the promised Holy Spirit in His Name, the Apostles came to fully understand that Jesus Christ is indeed the promised seed of Abraham who would possess the gates of His enemies, that in His death and resurrection He had bound the strong man, and that today is Messiah's Day. They also understood that the Church that Jesus said that He would build (not some future generation of Jews in some future millennial kingdom) is in fact His Messianic body, the body of His Kingdom purpose to possess cites and nations and fill the earth with righteousness, peace and joy.
These Apostles of the Lamb and Ascension-gift Apostles of that first generation of Christians understood that the outpouring of the Spirit is a Kingdom anointing to enable the saints to possess cities and nations. They understood that His Church would be the visible demonstration of His Messianic Kingdom, a light to the nations as Isaiah and the prophets of Israel had envisioned, and the instrument of His Messianic purpose to possess cities and nations and establish Messiah's righteous government in the earth.
The goal of Lesson 7, our final lesson in this course, is to enable Christ's ministers to recover the Apostles' revelation and understanding of the Church's inheritance, its destiny in history and its apostolic mission to disciple the nations and fill the world with the glory of God!
Recovering the Apostles' understanding is essential to the Church's unity, its maturity and ultimate success in its mission!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS COURSE:
1. You must download the free PDF Course Syllabus "The Non-Negotiables Of Apostolic Christianity".
2. You will also need to download the PDF file of George Kouri's book, The Sign of The Kingdom (at no charge).
This course is required for all ATS Degrees: Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral. To enroll go to the ADMISSIONS page of the ATS Website.
ATS tuition is affordable (significantly below the national average for theological and ministerial training). Scholarships are available to every student who is admitted, and no-interest financing is available (you can earn an Associates, Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral Degree in Apostolic and Prophetic Studies for as little as $100.00 a month).
The illustration above is an ancient painting of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Ruler of the nations, which was the message of the original apostles and the faith of the early saints.