In Depth with Joseph Mattera: Why American Church Gets Confused About Apostolic Ministry

In Depth with Joseph Mattera: Why American Church Gets Confused About Apostolic Ministry

One of the hallmarks of the charismatic movement is the realization the gifts in the New Testament are still available today. Listen as Joseph Mattera, founding pastor or Resurrection Church, explains why Christians must discern the difference the foundational apostles Jesus set into place and the apostolic function we see today.

29 Minutes • 23 days ago

Episode Notes

In Depth

With Stephen Strang

Guest: Bishop Joseph Mattera

 

The body of Christ must have a healthy understanding of this ministry if we want to grow in Spirit.

 

Introduction

Stephen Strang: One of the hallmarks of the charismatic movement has been the realization that the gifts in the New Testament continue today. Hello, everyone. I'm Stephen Strang, and welcome to an in-depth discussion with Bishop Joseph Mattera, who has also been anointed an apostle. One of the things I want to talk about today is about the different offices in the New Testament, which are also being restored. Let's hit it hard by talking about especially the title of apostle and prophet. I know that you've been involved in a lot of discussions about that.

 

·         Read the Strang Report: Joseph Mattera: Why the American Church Gets so Confused About Apostolic Ministry

 

Bishop Joseph Mattera: I think we have to make a differentiation between foundational apostles, capital A apostles, the apostles little lamb, the ones that Jesus chose in the early church. There will never be another group like that. They are the ones that the 12 gates, the pillars of the New Jerusalem will be named after. That being said, there are functional apostles and functional apostolic has been going on since the original 12. As a matter of fact, the New Testament mentions about 70 people with the title or function apostle. It also tells us in Ephesians 4 that these fivefold ministry gifts that also include prophet, pastor, teacher and evangelist will continue on until we have the unity in the faith and have the perfect stature of the Son of God, which, obviously, we haven't received that yet or evolved into that in the body of Christ. So, I would contend that the ministry function, not the foundation, but the ministry function of apostle, still continues.

 

Stephen Strang: I grew up in a Pentecostal denomination where we didn't even use those terms. I was an adult before I ever met anyone. I know in different segments, they use the terms differently. Some are almost a title of honor, but you're talking about a function. I've come to understand that because my late father in-law, who never had the title apostle, not one day in his life, but he was a functional apostle. He started churches all over the world during his career, and, of course, mentored and led many people even though it wasn't a denomination or even a sub-denomination. But I would be interested as we kind of drill down to find out how you became involved with this and your understanding, and maybe even your current ministry. We will talk about a lot of different things today. But I want to start with that just because there are a lot of people that are interested in it. And it's and it's also controversial in many circles.

 

Bishop Joseph Mattera: I think it's less controversial today than it used to be. It's even less controversial when you use the word apostle, as an adjective, as describing a function. Even Paul didn't say the apostle Paul, he said, Paul, an apostle, even though I would argue that he would be equal, at least equal to, or perhaps one of the real 12 post ascension Christ. Many evangelical groups and church-planting movements are starting to use the term apostolic because they realize the pastoral paradigm is very inbred, it's not missional. It doesn't involve a lot of entrepreneurial endeavors and expansion. It doesn't involve having a gospel movement. But the apostolic paradigm, not that everybody is an apostle, but the apostolic paradigm itself is missional in nature. Even amongst evangelicals, and not those typically identified as apostles, or as charismatics, I should say, they are embracing this term apostolic. I'm pretty shy when it comes to the title. I think the U.S. has rejected the title, generally, but not the function. So, I don't call myself an apostle. But I have no problem calling myself or others at apostolic. So, that's what I would say about that.

 

Bishop Joseph Mattera on Charisma

 

·         21 Contrasts Between Prophetic Edification and Manipulation

·         7 Ways the Holy Spirit Convicts the World of Sin

·         Debunking 12 Erroneous Views About Apostolic Ministry

·         Lawmakers are Sacrificing Children to Molech. When Will the Church Wake Up?

·         10 Common Unbiblical Beliefs in the Contemporary Church

 

Stephen Strang: I know you well enough to know that you built a great church in New York City. In the last five or 10 years, you have transitioned. So, I'm interested in you telling me and my readers about that transition. Why don't you start by just giving us a real quick biography, like, where were you born? How did you get saved? How did you get into the ministry?

 

Bishop Joseph Mattera: I was born in 1958 in a blue collar, Italian-Irish community in Brooklyn; Kessington, Brooklyn. I was a professional musician. I was quite a prodigy, playing the guitar and I was on my way to making it big and music. I was supposed to play in Madison Square Garden when I was only a senior in high school and God kind of close the doors, looking back. That being said, at 19, I came to Christ. I was profoundly impacted by a sense of peace. I was looking for peace my whole life. My identity was wrapped up in my music. I had a lot of friends and a big following. But I would go home at the end of the day after a party or a gig and I would feel incredibly empty. I was never on drugs. I was never hooked on any substance. But I was empty inside. I finally gave in on January 10, 1978 when I came to Christ at a full-gospel businessman’s convention in Washington D.C. I found a sense of peace, had a hunger for the Bible and, within four months, I was preaching on the New York City subway trains. Because I was in a large church, I knew they weren't going to let me preach. Then I was preaching on the New York ferry that went from Brooklyn to Staten Island to 3,000 people a night. The power of God was falling and just incredible things happened. I went to Bible school. After a year, the Lord called me out of it. I went to Turkey during martial law in 1979. I went door-to-door getting the Bibles into the hands of the Turks. It was illegal. I came back home to Brooklyn after Bible school and being in Turkey. I fell in love with my now wife, Joyce. We took our wedding money eight months later and financed a six-week trip to the Soviet Union during the Moscow Olympics. We preached in Leningrad Kief in Moscow. We saw God move miraculously. We smuggled Bibles in. I was 21 years old at that point because I got saved when I was 19. When I came back, it was so easy for me to preach because I was used to being chased by the KGB or being in the midst of a Turkish hostile environment against Christianity. I was just preaching everywhere. The Lord spoke to me and said, “don't try to get any other job, just preach the gospel.” My pastor found about me, he took me under his wing. Four years later, he sent us out to start a church in a really rough neighborhood called Sunset Park. It was so bad that they even made a movie about it. We just started closing blocks off. I saw the Cross and the Switchblade preached. We saw whole blocks coming to Christ. It was like a Charles Finney book. Revivals were breaking out and, within 10 years, that whole community of 160,000, primarily Dominican, and Puerto Rican Hispanics, it was totally transformed. Gang members either got saved, got killed or got thrown in jail. The abandoned buildings would gone. Churches were starting to spring up. We saw an amazing transformation. So, a lot of what I preach has been formed by those early years of whether it be short-term missions, was seeing a holistic approach of the gospel transforming at-risk community. At the same time, my wife started a charity called Children of the City. We would bring in about 500 kids in a week. She eventually started after-school programs, holistic counseling programs, college-bound programs. Childrenofthecity.org, it still exists today and it reaches over 1,000 kids in the community. So, between Children of the City and the church and all the evangelism that we did, we saw a profound impact without gentrification. It wasn't because poor people were pushed out by fluent people. It was because the ethnic demographic changed. We saw the change in the early 1990s, before any gentrification took place, which is amazing.

 

Stephen Strang: Boy, that's an amazing story. It almost sounds like it'd be a good movie or maybe the plot would be a little bit unbelievable. You’ve lived it and then built a great church. I'll just tell my listeners that I've known you a long time and, uniformly, you're respected, especially by the leaders who I would tend to rub shoulders with. You seem very balanced. I remember running into you at a meeting with Bishop Harry Jackson, and you gave me a couple of your articles. I can't tell you how many people have done that. I used to hear Jamie Buckingham say that people come up in prayer lines and hand him manuscripts. I've actually had something like that happen a couple of times. I don't really do prayer lines, but often I will be helping somehow. So, I took a look at it. And lo and behold, hey, this is really good. You know, I think the assumption is, it’s somebody's opinion. But we started having you write a blog for us. And now it's a regular column called The Pulse. You can find it on charismanews.com/opinion/thepulse. I'll just put a little plug in there. In fact, I'm in the process of trying to have the staff find out how many people have read your blog since day one because it's been a long, long time. So tell me, what kind of response have you gotten from people who do read your blogs, not only on our site, but I guess through your own ministry site?

 

Bishop Joseph Mattera: It's quite amazing. I think it was about 15 years ago, I felt the Lord show me to start writing a weekly blog weekly and to have a website that would house the epicenter of everything I do; whether it's a video training, whether it's an article, whether it's a position paper, pictures, Instagram, whatever. That became the wisest decision I've ever made. I don't look at the metrics all the time, but sometimes an article might actually shut the website down it, it gets so many hits. Sometimes it's a little bit lower than that. But there's definitely several million unique visitors who have had gone on the site, josephmattera.org. There are almost 2,000 articles. Somebody could get the archives by joining. It's only $49 a year. They could become a member have access to all the position papers, articles, 12 different categories of subjects from eschatology to philosophy, to life and faith in church and the apostolic, you name it. It's in 12, categories. There are also training videos. It also gives you access to joining newly developed the MMI Institute for Apostolic Leadership. You could text apostle 345345 and you could also see that. But if you go to my website, Josephmattera.org, you'll see that. So, there's a lot of things on there. Last year, I checked how many nations it hit. It was already over almost 180 nations. I can't tell you how many people in numbers that have gotten on the site or read an article, but all I know is everywhere I go in the world, people know who I am, and I'm shocked. To this day, I'm still shocked.

 

For the rest of Stephen’s interview with Bishop Joseph Mattera, please click here.

 

Where to Find Stephen Strang on the Internet

·         The Strang Report on Charismamag.com

·         The Strang Report on cpnshows.com

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

Episode Notes

In Depth

With Stephen Strang

Guest: Bishop Joseph Mattera

 

The body of Christ must have a healthy understanding of this ministry if we want to grow in Spirit.

 

Introduction

Stephen Strang: One of the hallmarks of the charismatic movement has been the realization that the gifts in the New Testament continue today. Hello, everyone. I'm Stephen Strang, and welcome to an in-depth discussion with Bishop Joseph Mattera, who has also been anointed an apostle. One of the things I want to talk about today is about the different offices in the New Testament, which are also being restored. Let's hit it hard by talking about especially the title of apostle and prophet. I know that you've been involved in a lot of discussions about that.

 

·         Read the Strang Report: Joseph Mattera: Why the American Church Gets so Confused About Apostolic Ministry

 

Bishop Joseph Mattera: I think we have to make a differentiation between foundational apostles, capital A apostles, the apostles little lamb, the ones that Jesus chose in the early church. There will never be another group like that. They are the ones that the 12 gates, the pillars of the New Jerusalem will be named after. That being said, there are functional apostles and functional apostolic has been going on since the original 12. As a matter of fact, the New Testament mentions about 70 people with the title or function apostle. It also tells us in Ephesians 4 that these fivefold ministry gifts that also include prophet, pastor, teacher and evangelist will continue on until we have the unity in the faith and have the perfect stature of the Son of God, which, obviously, we haven't received that yet or evolved into that in the body of Christ. So, I would contend that the ministry function, not the foundation, but the ministry function of apostle, still continues.

 

Stephen Strang: I grew up in a Pentecostal denomination where we didn't even use those terms. I was an adult before I ever met anyone. I know in different segments, they use the terms differently. Some are almost a title of honor, but you're talking about a function. I've come to understand that because my late father in-law, who never had the title apostle, not one day in his life, but he was a functional apostle. He started churches all over the world during his career, and, of course, mentored and led many people even though it wasn't a denomination or even a sub-denomination. But I would be interested as we kind of drill down to find out how you became involved with this and your understanding, and maybe even your current ministry. We will talk about a lot of different things today. But I want to start with that just because there are a lot of people that are interested in it. And it's and it's also controversial in many circles.

 

Bishop Joseph Mattera: I think it's less controversial today than it used to be. It's even less controversial when you use the word apostle, as an adjective, as describing a function. Even Paul didn't say the apostle Paul, he said, Paul, an apostle, even though I would argue that he would be equal, at least equal to, or perhaps one of the real 12 post ascension Christ. Many evangelical groups and church-planting movements are starting to use the term apostolic because they realize the pastoral paradigm is very inbred, it's not missional. It doesn't involve a lot of entrepreneurial endeavors and expansion. It doesn't involve having a gospel movement. But the apostolic paradigm, not that everybody is an apostle, but the apostolic paradigm itself is missional in nature. Even amongst evangelicals, and not those typically identified as apostles, or as charismatics, I should say, they are embracing this term apostolic. I'm pretty shy when it comes to the title. I think the U.S. has rejected the title, generally, but not the function. So, I don't call myself an apostle. But I have no problem calling myself or others at apostolic. So, that's what I would say about that.

 

Bishop Joseph Mattera on Charisma

 

·         21 Contrasts Between Prophetic Edification and Manipulation

·         7 Ways the Holy Spirit Convicts the World of Sin

·         Debunking 12 Erroneous Views About Apostolic Ministry

·         Lawmakers are Sacrificing Children to Molech. When Will the Church Wake Up?

·         10 Common Unbiblical Beliefs in the Contemporary Church

 

Stephen Strang: I know you well enough to know that you built a great church in New York City. In the last five or 10 years, you have transitioned. So, I'm interested in you telling me and my readers about that transition. Why don't you start by just giving us a real quick biography, like, where were you born? How did you get saved? How did you get into the ministry?

 

Bishop Joseph Mattera: I was born in 1958 in a blue collar, Italian-Irish community in Brooklyn; Kessington, Brooklyn. I was a professional musician. I was quite a prodigy, playing the guitar and I was on my way to making it big and music. I was supposed to play in Madison Square Garden when I was only a senior in high school and God kind of close the doors, looking back. That being said, at 19, I came to Christ. I was profoundly impacted by a sense of peace. I was looking for peace my whole life. My identity was wrapped up in my music. I had a lot of friends and a big following. But I would go home at the end of the day after a party or a gig and I would feel incredibly empty. I was never on drugs. I was never hooked on any substance. But I was empty inside. I finally gave in on January 10, 1978 when I came to Christ at a full-gospel businessman’s convention in Washington D.C. I found a sense of peace, had a hunger for the Bible and, within four months, I was preaching on the New York City subway trains. Because I was in a large church, I knew they weren't going to let me preach. Then I was preaching on the New York ferry that went from Brooklyn to Staten Island to 3,000 people a night. The power of God was falling and just incredible things happened. I went to Bible school. After a year, the Lord called me out of it. I went to Turkey during martial law in 1979. I went door-to-door getting the Bibles into the hands of the Turks. It was illegal. I came back home to Brooklyn after Bible school and being in Turkey. I fell in love with my now wife, Joyce. We took our wedding money eight months later and financed a six-week trip to the Soviet Union during the Moscow Olympics. We preached in Leningrad Kief in Moscow. We saw God move miraculously. We smuggled Bibles in. I was 21 years old at that point because I got saved when I was 19. When I came back, it was so easy for me to preach because I was used to being chased by the KGB or being in the midst of a Turkish hostile environment against Christianity. I was just preaching everywhere. The Lord spoke to me and said, “don't try to get any other job, just preach the gospel.” My pastor found about me, he took me under his wing. Four years later, he sent us out to start a church in a really rough neighborhood called Sunset Park. It was so bad that they even made a movie about it. We just started closing blocks off. I saw the Cross and the Switchblade preached. We saw whole blocks coming to Christ. It was like a Charles Finney book. Revivals were breaking out and, within 10 years, that whole community of 160,000, primarily Dominican, and Puerto Rican Hispanics, it was totally transformed. Gang members either got saved, got killed or got thrown in jail. The abandoned buildings would gone. Churches were starting to spring up. We saw an amazing transformation. So, a lot of what I preach has been formed by those early years of whether it be short-term missions, was seeing a holistic approach of the gospel transforming at-risk community. At the same time, my wife started a charity called Children of the City. We would bring in about 500 kids in a week. She eventually started after-school programs, holistic counseling programs, college-bound programs. Childrenofthecity.org, it still exists today and it reaches over 1,000 kids in the community. So, between Children of the City and the church and all the evangelism that we did, we saw a profound impact without gentrification. It wasn't because poor people were pushed out by fluent people. It was because the ethnic demographic changed. We saw the change in the early 1990s, before any gentrification took place, which is amazing.

 

Stephen Strang: Boy, that's an amazing story. It almost sounds like it'd be a good movie or maybe the plot would be a little bit unbelievable. You’ve lived it and then built a great church. I'll just tell my listeners that I've known you a long time and, uniformly, you're respected, especially by the leaders who I would tend to rub shoulders with. You seem very balanced. I remember running into you at a meeting with Bishop Harry Jackson, and you gave me a couple of your articles. I can't tell you how many people have done that. I used to hear Jamie Buckingham say that people come up in prayer lines and hand him manuscripts. I've actually had something like that happen a couple of times. I don't really do prayer lines, but often I will be helping somehow. So, I took a look at it. And lo and behold, hey, this is really good. You know, I think the assumption is, it’s somebody's opinion. But we started having you write a blog for us. And now it's a regular column called The Pulse. You can find it on charismanews.com/opinion/thepulse. I'll just put a little plug in there. In fact, I'm in the process of trying to have the staff find out how many people have read your blog since day one because it's been a long, long time. So tell me, what kind of response have you gotten from people who do read your blogs, not only on our site, but I guess through your own ministry site?

 

Bishop Joseph Mattera: It's quite amazing. I think it was about 15 years ago, I felt the Lord show me to start writing a weekly blog weekly and to have a website that would house the epicenter of everything I do; whether it's a video training, whether it's an article, whether it's a position paper, pictures, Instagram, whatever. That became the wisest decision I've ever made. I don't look at the metrics all the time, but sometimes an article might actually shut the website down it, it gets so many hits. Sometimes it's a little bit lower than that. But there's definitely several million unique visitors who have had gone on the site, josephmattera.org. There are almost 2,000 articles. Somebody could get the archives by joining. It's only $49 a year. They could become a member have access to all the position papers, articles, 12 different categories of subjects from eschatology to philosophy, to life and faith in church and the apostolic, you name it. It's in 12, categories. There are also training videos. It also gives you access to joining newly developed the MMI Institute for Apostolic Leadership. You could text apostle 345345 and you could also see that. But if you go to my website, Josephmattera.org, you'll see that. So, there's a lot of things on there. Last year, I checked how many nations it hit. It was already over almost 180 nations. I can't tell you how many people in numbers that have gotten on the site or read an article, but all I know is everywhere I go in the world, people know who I am, and I'm shocked. To this day, I'm still shocked.

 

For the rest of Stephen’s interview with Bishop Joseph Mattera, please click here.

 

Where to Find Stephen Strang on the Internet

·         The Strang Report on Charismamag.com

·         The Strang Report on cpnshows.com

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

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In Depth with Joseph Mattera: Why American Church Gets Confused About Apostolic Ministry