Moderator note: This question assumes the position that these offices ceased at one point.
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The movement to restore the offices of apostle and prophet bases the claim that apostles and prophets are to be a part of the church on Ephesians 4:11-12. These verses say, "And He gave some as apo...
No, these are not being restored. The canon is closed and all that we need has been revealed through the scriptures. What would necessitate the restoration of these offices? Nothing. We have all that we need in God's Word. I fear for how the men of the day who proclaim these offices over themselves will be dealt with on judgment day.
Eph 4:11-13 “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Before I comment on the above verse, I want to go back a 'few years' to the Reagan Presidency. What? What does that have to do 'here'? Let me explain. He asked more then once, for the ability to *Line Item Veto*, for Bills that were passed. There was good reason for it, but it never came to be. That is the problem with Christian's, Churches and the Bible. They do invoke the “Line Item Veto” policy when it comes to the Bible. “He gave some to be Apostles.” (Some Line Item Veto, this one.) “He gave some to be Prophets.” (Again, some invoke the Line Item Veto on this one.) “He gave some Evangelists.” (We accept this one, thus not Vetoed.) “He gave some Pastors.” (We accept this one, thus not Vetoed.) “He gave some to Teachers.” (We accept this one, thus not Vetoed.) Now some state, well the first 2: Apostles and Prophets are "no longer needed because we've “reached a unity of faith in the knowledge of the Son of God.”" Have we really reached a “unity”? When did this happen? I must have blinked and missed it. Let's see: Catholic Church, Lutheran Church, Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church, Baptist Church, Full Gospel Church, and the list goes on and on …. Where is the UNITY? Each one has, and understand my local church is guilty too, of Line Item Veto of certain verses in the Bible. Those that the various denominations deemed for some strange reason, NULL AND VOID -aka- Vetoed. If this is “... unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ...” Then I guess I'm seriously missing something? Let me be more specific to show what I mean, using Paul's own words and example. 1 Cor 1:10-13 “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ. Is Christ divided? I am of the “Catholic Church!” I am of the “Lutheran Church!” I am of the “Presbyterian Church!” I am of the “Full Gospel Church!” See? We've only exchanged “I follow Paul” - “I follow Apollos” - “I follow Cephas”, to the names of the church and denomination that we belong to. We are still fragmented, we are still divided, we are not even remotely One Body In Christ. Now why do we Line Item Veto some verses in the Bible? Because the idea of an Apostle or Prophet makes us seriously uncomfortable. Imagine what Paul would say to the Churches today? Trust me it would not be good at all. Now imagine if we allowed God to speak through a Prophet! That too would not be good at all. But we do not allow them 'to be', because we “rationalized” those verse into being Vetoed, because they would “speak the heart and mind of God and I don't think it would be a good message". I close with this verse, to be thought about and prayer about: Heb 4:12-13 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Heb 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
The 5 ministry gifts of the ascended Christ, Eph.5:8-16, were given to the Body of Christ UNTIL we had all come to the unity of the faith, grown into the full stature of the measure of Christ etc. No where does it say that they would disappear after 100 years or that their purpose was to write the cannon of Scripture. No where does it say that an apostle must have personally seen the Lord Jesus. Of the 23 named as apostles in the NT we only know of 14 who could say that they saw Jesus. Ones like Barnabas and Timothy who are called apostles didn't claim to have seen Christ. It is a strange invention of church history to distort apostles into being super heroes rather than accepting their roles as pioneers, foundation-layers and repairers, visionaries and inspiring leaders who demonstrate the character and authority of Christ, the chief apostle. The sick state of the church says that we surely need this ministry as well as the prophetic vision, direction, confirmation and Holy Spirit leadership we need in the church today. In Indonesia Health Authorities teach that there are 5 main food groups and if we have only 3 we are under-nourished and this will lead to disease and poor health. They say we must eat from 4 groups to be healthy and 5 to be perfect. Seems the same in the church. When we eliminate apostles and prophets the church is left undernourished and in ill-health. The problem for centuries has been the exalted state we have attributed to these ministries to the point we are fearful of anyone being called by those titles as our image of what the should be is so exalted and unreal that no-one can fill those shoes. On the other hand we have many over the top ministries claiming titles for themselves for which there is no obvious confirmation that they have apostolic or prophetic ministries. So from both sides there is obvious reasons for people to reject these 2 foundation ministries, but those reasons are not biblical ones. We need to get back to the Bible and see the whole 5 ministries functioning in a biblical manner within the modern church.
My decisive answer to this question is a plain No!. There is no scripture evidence that Jesus intended to restore the apostolic office in our time or even in future nor did he ever permit the church or sections of it to do so. Where does this leave the modern self declared "apostles" and "prophets" and their “prophetic" messages and writings? Do we have living apostles today? First it is instructive to note that the office of apostle ceased with the apostolic age and there can never be a living apostle today and neither was there one after the apostolic church age which ended in the 1st Century AD. Tradition holds it that John was the last apostle alive when he wrote the last Book of the Bible. This tradition finds support in Scripture as well. Someone may ask why Paul mentions the apostolic office among the church ministry offices in Ephesians 4:11? We do well to remember that at the time of Paul’s ministry most of the apostles were alive and active in ministry. Some such as James brother of John were martyred by the Herod and other cruel Roman emperors (Acts 12:1-2) but a few lived on and wrote the New Testament Scriptures we have today. Paul was therefore justified in ranking the apostolic office above and alongside the other church ministry offices but we do not have the authority or scriptural basis for instituting the apostolic office today. The Bible outlines the qualifications of an apostle which none of the false claimants of our modern time can meet. First an apostle was an eye witness of Christ’s ministry and his resurrection. Mathias who replaced Judas was certainly an eyewitness of Christ and was therefore qualified to hold the office (Acts 1:1-21). Secondly there is no record of any further apostolic appointment in Scripture except for Paul who was not among the original twelve apostles but was later called by Christ into the apostolic ministry (Acts 9:1-28). Paul had a divine encounter with Christ and his call to ministry was made Jesus himself and not even through an angel or a prophetic pronouncement. Any claim to the apostolic office today is therefore false and unscriptural and must be rejected by Bible believing Christians. These false claims have been behind some of the apostate movements we witness today in which millions of believers are hooked into doomsday cults that nearly worship the "apostle" or "prophet" who claims to possess some divine or supernatural powers or even the power to write or declare new revelation. Scripture seals the complete revelation of God and is the basis for instruction in right living and on which all matters of our faith find resolution. We certainly do not need a new prophet or apostle. Let all true children of God be warned!
Take careful notice of those who claim to be apostles and prophets today. You will find them on "name it and claim it," "prosperity gospel," "you will have what you say," TV, and among those who raise the dead, conduct televised "healings," tell us that God has given them a "word" about present and future events, and are readily identifiable by name. Copeland, Dollar, Haggert, Hinn, Capps, Murdock, Price, and so many, many more of the stars on TBN and Daystar. Change the channel on TV and Radio! Don't by the books, CDs, DVDs. Don't accept the trinkets that are offered for your "faithful contribution." The horrible tragedy is that these programs are being piped into Israel 24/7/365. No wonder the Israeli's are confused! Even Pat Robertson stated flatly that God told him he would be the next President, and in the last election stated that God told him that Romney would be elected and serve two terms. Help, folks! The Pied Piper of distorted gospel is alive and well in the "good ole USA."
Apostles and prophets, and the three other ministries of evangelists, pastors and teachers, as gifts to the church, have never ceased in the church. If apostles and prophets have ceased, then all the others cease too. To argue that since we have the Bible then we do not need any other gifts is not wholly accurate, but the word (logos) is important for it judges all the gifts and doctrines as taught by men. Present day apostles and prophets as gifts to the church (esp those who receive them) do not change the Bible or write new doctrine or carry a big title, but they do what they are sent to do as per their gifting within the confines of scripture, just as pastors, teachers and evangelists do. If those who carry title pastor do not want anybody calling themselves anything, then they, pastors, should not also call themselves anything... to be politically correct as they say. Anything else is double standard and pastors like any other gift can also promote themselves above measure over God's people. We all need to be cut to size by the WORD..!
Yes the lord is equipping for the last day revival the word says in acts and joel he will pour his spirit out and old man will dream dreams and young men will see visions....The gifts of the spirit will be stronger then ever before and the people will need strong leaders gifted in the area of the gifts to equip the saints for war and to edify the church.
God does not have to restore anything because scripture suggests that the fivefold ministry never went anywhere. (Ephesians 4:8-11) But rather the church just grew lukewarm (Revelations 3:14-22) and settled for cold religion rather than the power of God that still saves delivers and sets men free. God is raising up with generation doesn't care what people think of them only what God thinks of them, a generation of young people who daily submit to the fire of God laying their lives on the altar allowing God to burn out anything that needs to be burned out and then going out and seeing souls saved, people delivered of demonic possession & oppression, mental illnesses, and drug addictions. The power of God is very much real and the offices of prophet and apostle have touched my life in a very personal way. God gives gifts as He sees fit. We should desire spiritual gifts, most of all to prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1). Let us embrace our prophetic and apostolic brothers and sisters for they are truly gifts.
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