Here are just few church-words that I feel are woefully misinterpreted. It seems to me that if we used and understood these terms correctly, we would be less likely to be misled by mis-perceptions and/or false teachings.
- An "Apostle" is one who is sent out on a mission, not just 11 of the 12 guys in Jesus inner circle. If you believe and accept the Great Commission (Matt 28:16-20), then you too are, like the Blues Brothers, "on a mission from God."
- A "Prophet" is NOT somebody who foresees or predicts the future, that's something that sorcerers and soothsayers do (or pretend to do) and that's a form of divination, which God prohibits (Leviticus 19:26). REAL prophecy, simply put, is speaking God's Word or what He has revealed to you. Often, prophetic speaking is unpopular because God is having the prophets say something that people would rather not hear. When you look at the Old Testament prophets from Jonah to Jeremiah, Elijah to Zechariah, many of them faced opposition but all of them spoke truth to power.
You might've noticed that this one is part of the name of this website. I don't post malarkey about "the end-times" here, and many's the time when I've tried to challenge the popular assumptions in our culture and things I feel aren't authentically based on Scripture but are often presented as presumably "Christian." Mind you, I'm not great prophet and I don't pretend that every one of my opinions are God-breathed, but I am of the opinion that just as Jesus is out Prophet, Priest, and King- we too, His followers (disciples) have been given the mission (apostolic) to share His Word and His truths (prophets), intercede on behalf of others (priest), and set a positive example and/or step-up as servant-leaders (kings).
- Most people don't realize that "apocalypse" is a Greek word ( ἀποκάλυψις apokálypsis) that means "lifting of the veil" or "revelation." That meant that it is a disclosure or revelation of something hidden from us by falsehood and misconception. So a prophet brings an apocalypse. Sure, eventually the ultimate apocalypse will be at Jesus' second coming, but I think it's a word that gets thrown around carelessly by people who either don't know what it means ("snow-pocalypse") or who want to scare people into accepting their version of Christianity (the apocalypse, armageddon, the rapture, the tribulation, etc.) Usually this comes from a tradition of special-dispensationalism which is a late 19th/early 20th century misinterpretation of Scripture that developed here in America but more often than not, it's a desperate tactic used by zealous believers who don't seem to have enough faith themselves to rely on grace and love, so they turn to fear and guilt for the leverage they think they need to convince people to become Christian.
I hope that this brief vocabulary lesson in religious jargon was apocalyptic for you!