Apostles Today ~ Part 4 of 4, May 9, 2018 By ELLIOTT NESCH

Apostles Today Part 4
May 9, 2018 By ELLIOTT NESCH
Are there Apostles today? In this final installment of a 4-part series on Apostles today, we will take a look at what the Ante-Nicene Fathers (ANF) said about whether or not Apostles continued to govern the Church.
The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) claims that foundational and governing Apostles have been restored to the Church. We have already examined these claims in the light of Scripture in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Now we will consider the historical evidence in addition to the biblical case.                                The Foundation of Apostles
Scripture teaches that the Church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-20). Did the early Christians understand this passage to teach that Apostles were to govern the Church through the ages? Or that Apostles held a “foundational office” which was ongoing throughout the Church age?
In the quote below, Polycarp mentioned both Apostles and prophets, such as those mentioned in Ephesians 2:19-20. Rather than having an ongoing role, the Apostles possessed the unique role of having originally preached the Gospel to the first generation of Christians.
Let us then serve Him in fear, and with all reverence, even as He Himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the Gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord [have alike taught us]. (ANF, 1.34)
Ignatius also noted the foundational role of the Apostles Below he mentioned by name the Apostles Peter and Paul.
“The people shall be called by a new name, which the Lord shall name them, and shall be a holy people.” This was first fulfilled in Syria; for “the disciples were called Christians at Antioch,” when Paul and Peter were laying the foundations of the Church. (ANF, 1.63)
Unlike the Apostles today within the NAR, the early Christians were very cautious about using that title. For example, Ignatius wrote:
But shall I, when permitted to write on this point, reach such a height of self-esteem, that though being a condemned man, I should issue commands to you as if I were an apostle? (ANF, 1.67)
I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles. (ANF 1.75)
Entreat of our Lord in my behalf, that through these instruments I may be found a sacrifice to God. I do not, like Peter and Paul, issue orders unto you. They are apostles. (ANF, 1.103)
I do not issue commands on these points as if I were an apostle; but, as your fellow-servant, I put you in mind of them. (ANF, 1.112)
According to Ignatius, the Apostles are unique because they had authority to “issue commands” or write Scripture.
Justin Martyr also mentioned how the writings of the Apostles and prophets were read in church gatherings. He noted how the Apostles and prophets spoke for God.
And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read. (ANF, 1.186)
For as he believed the voice of God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, in like manner we having believed God’s voice spoken by the apostles of Christ, and promulgated to us by the prophets, have renounced even to death all the things of the world. (ANF, 1.259)
Justin’s mention of Apostles and prophets together appears to be an obvious reference to Ephesians 2:19-20.
Irenaeus also observed how Peter and Paul laid the foundation of the Church.
Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. Irenaeus, (ANF, 1.414).
In the same work, Against Heresies, Irenaeus referred to “the twelve-pillared foundation of the Church” (ANF 1.493), obviously referring to the Twelve Apostles (cf. Revelation 21:14). It is evident from the following quotation that Irenaeus believed the Apostles mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:28 were not ongoing, but rather limited to the first generation of the Church:
Paul then, teaching us where one may find such, says, “God has placed in the Church, first, apostles; secondly, prophets; thirdly, teachers.” Where, therefore, the gifts of the Lord have been placed, there it behoves us to learn the truth, [namely,] from those who possess that succession of the Church which is from the apostles, and among whom exists that which is sound and blameless in conduct, as well as that which is unadulterated and incorrupt in speech. (ANF, 1.498)
Clement of Alexandria also spoke of the foundation of the apostles and prophets. According to Clement, the teaching of the Lord was preserved within the prophets, the Gospel, and the Apostles, i.e., the holy Scriptures. Clement said:
For we have, as the source of teaching, the Lord, both by the prophets, the Gospel, and the blessed apostles. (ANF, 2.551)
Finally, Tertullian also referred to the “apostolic foundation” when he said:
[N]o other teaching will have the right of being received as apostolic than that which is at the present day proclaimed in the churches of apostolic foundation. (ANF, 3.286)
In all of these quotations, it is evident that the Church has an “apostolic foundation” because it is figuratively a building which has as its foundation the Apostles, i.e, the New Testament Scriptures.
Apostles are Succeeded by Bishops and Deacons

The Apostles instituted a plurality of bishops/elders/pastors and deacons that should govern the churches after them. The qualifications for those bishops/elders/pastors and deacons is found in the pastoral epistles (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). It is exclusively these offices of bishops/elders/pastors and deacons for which qualifications are given for church leadership. But there are no such qualifications for an ongoing Apostolate within the churches. The early Christians affirm this ecclesiology.
In the quote below, Clement of Rome not only notes how the Apostles were sent directly by Christ, but that they also appointed bishops and deacons as their successors.
The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labors], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. (ANF, 1.16)
Not only did Clement acknowledge that the Apostles appointed bishops and deacons, but he also pointed out how those ministers would be succeeded by other approved men. But there is no hint or suggestion of ongoing Apostles. He says:
Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them [i.e., the apostles], or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. (ANF 1.17)
Rather than the Apostolate being an ongoing office, the presbyters and deacons preside in the place of Apostles, according to Ignatius. In his own words,
Since therefore I have, in the persons before mentioned, beheld the whole multitude of you in faith and love, I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of God, and your presbyters in the place of the assembly of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most dear to me, and are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the beginning of time, and in the end was revealed. (ANF, 1.61)
Ignatius also wrote:
Be on your guard, therefore, against such persons. And this will be the case with you if you are not puffed up, and continue in intimate union with Jesus Christ our God, and the bishop, and the enactments of the apostles. (ANF 1.68-69)
From the last quotation, we can see that a bishop was present during the time of writing. Rather than submit to living Apostles, the church was to continue in the enactments of the Apostles which were handed down. The Apostles themselves were no longer around but their “enactments” continued to govern the churches. Ignatius also said:
See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. (ANF 1.89)
Again, the presbytery now existed in the place of the Apostles. Speaking of the Church government, Ignatius wrote:
You have been the disciples of Paul and Peter; do not lose what was committed to your trust. Keep in remembrance Euodias, your deservedly-blessed pastor, into whose hands the government over you was first entrusted by the apostles. (ANF, 1.111)
Above it is assumed that Apostles were no longer present within Church government. Instead the government of the Church consisted of a pastor who was entrusted by the Apostles.
Similarly, Papias made reference to “the presbyters, the disciples of the apostles” (ANF, 1.154), but he does not mention any more living Apostles as the disciples of the Apostles.
When refuting the Gnostics, Irenaeus wrote:
But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. Irenaeus, (ANF, 1.415).
Irenaeus made the following two important points about the Christian tradition: (1) it originated from the Apostles; and (2) it is preserved by means of succession of presbyters. This presupposes that the Apostolate ceased.
Some passages from Irenaeus are used by Catholic and Orthodox apologists to argue in favor of Apostolic Succession, the belief of uninterrupted transmission of spiritual authority from the Apostles through successive bishops. One of those passages is found ANF 1.415-417. Irenaeus begins:
It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about. (ANF, 1.415)
It is debated by scholars whether or not Irenaeus was teaching Apostolic Succession as understood by Catholics and Orthodox believers. It is the opinion of this author that Irenaeus was simply providing the evidence of succession of bishops from the Apostles in order to refute the Gnostic heretics who had no succession. For instance, Irenaeus said,
Now all these [heretics] are of much later date than the bishops to whom the apostles committed the Churches; which fact I have in the third book taken all pains to demonstrate. (ANF, 1.547)
Either way, Apostolic Succession does not teach that the Apostles were succeeded by later Apostles. Even the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox doctrine of Apostolic Succession teaches that the Apostles were succeeded by bishops, not Apostles!
Clement of Alexandria also mentioned bishops, presbyters and deacons as those who follow in the footsteps of the Apostles. But Clement did not consider Apostles among the present grades in the church.
Since, according to my opinion, the grades here in the Church, of bishops, presbyters, deacons, are imitations of the angelic glory, and of that economy which, the Scriptures say, awaits those who, following the footsteps of the apostles, have lived in perfection of righteousness according to the Gospel. (ANF, 2.505)
The Apostolic Age
Clement of Alexandria is clear that apostolic era had an end. He wrote,
For the teaching of our Lord at His advent, beginning with Augustus and Tiberius, was completed in the middle of the times of Tiberius. And that of the apostles, embracing the ministry of Paul, ends with Nero. (ANF, 2.554-555)
The fourth century Church historian Eusebius spoke of an “age … succeeding the apostles.” He said:
[I]t is impossible for us to enumerate the names of all that became shepherds or evangelists in the churches throughout the world in the age immediately succeeding the apostles. (The History of the Church, 3.37.4)
What about the Apostles in the churches throughout the world in the age immediately succeeding the Apostles? Apparently there were none. After the Apostles, shepherds/pastors and evangelists were leaders in the churches. These historical observations of Eusebius affirm that Apostles were limited to their own era.
In the same work, Eusebius also spoke of “the apostolic age” (The History of the Church, 3.31.6). Were the Apostles failures? Were the Apostles supposed to pass on a Church structure which was to be governed by Apostles and prophets? I don’t think so.
C. Peter. Wagner also spoke about “the apostolic age.” Wagner claimed that ever since the First Apostolic Age the Church has been without foundational apostles and prophets throughout history until now that the Second Apostolic Age has begun. He claimed:
The traditional Protestant Church has understood apostles and prophets to be offices relegated to the First Apostolic Age but not continuing in churches throughout history. . . . It is fascinating that even though we have had church government backward over the past two centuries according to 1 Corinthians 12:28, we have evangelized so much of the world! Think of what will happen now that church government is getting in proper order. Administrators and teachers are essential for good church health and will function much better once the apostles and prophets are in place. (Apostles Today [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group: 2012], 12)
The claims of C. Peter Wagner not only contradict the traditional understanding of the Protestant Church, but also the historic beliefs and practices of the early Church Fathers, many of whom were personally discipled by the Apostles themselves. Not only did these early Church Fathers say nothing about the restoration of Apostles in the end times, but they also believed the Apostles were confined to the first generation of the Church.  
See Also:
Apostles Today Part 1
Apostles Today Part 2
Apostles Today Part 3
Filed Under: Apostolic Succession, C. Peter Wagner, Early Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, New Apostolic Reformation, Roman Catholicism
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Apostles Today ~ Part 3 of 4, March 2, 2018 By ELLIOTT NESCH

Apostles Today Part 3
March 2, 2018 By ELLIOTT NESCH
What are the proof texts for apostles today? It is our duty to examine the claims of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) in light of the Scriptures. On pages 10-12 of his book Apostles Today, three verses are given by Wagner as the Scriptural foundation for recognizing the ongoing office of apostle:
There are three Scripture verses that serve as the primary proof texts for recognizing the gift and office of apostle. Many other texts support this, but these three are core: Ephesians 4:11, Ephesians 2:20, and 1 Corinthians 12:28 (Peter Wagner, Apostles Today [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group: 2012], 10-12).
Let’s consider each one of Wagner’s proof-texts and then examine his interpretation.
Ephesians 2:19-20
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-20).
Commenting on Ephesians 2:20, Wagner writes,
The foundation of the Church through the ages is to be made up of apostles and prophets. . . . If a church has Jesus without apostles and prophets, it has no foundation from which to initiate solid building. The two go hand in hand; there cannot be one without the other.
The wording of this verse—’built on the foundation’— is another reason why I call apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers the ‘foundational’ offices. (Apostles Today, 11).apostles-today-wagner                                      apostles-today-wagner
Here Wagner assumes that modern apostles and prophets are to govern the church through the ages. As noted above, it is based upon Ephesians 2:19-20 that C. Peter Wagner alleges that “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers the ‘foundational’ offices.” Contrary to Wagner’s interpretation, the “foundation” is actually a reference to the past period within the church’s history, not “foundational offices” which are ongoing through the ages.
The apostles are the foundation of the church. According to Ephesians 2:19-20, the apostles were the foundation upon whom the church is to be built. The apostles and prophets are identified as the church’s foundation in a sense secondary only to that of Christ Himself. By definition, the foundation is the lowest load-bearing part of a building which is first laid and built upon thereafter. But laying the foundation is not an ongoing process. A foundation is laid only once. The superstructure of the household of God already has its apostolic foundation and thus excludes the office of apostles today. Thus the foundational office of the apostles was unique and isolated to the first-century church. Their foundational role is based upon being personally chosen by Christ, having eyewitness authority of the risen Christ, and the power to perform miracles.
Jesus also said to the apostle Peter, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The church was built upon Peter, being one of the foundational apostles. Also similar to the imagery of the foundation of a building in Ephesians 2:19-20, the apostle John wrote at the end of the Apocalypse, “Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the name of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:14). All the apostles were in this foundation of the church, but the figure excludes successors, who are of the superstructure, necessarily.
In addition to Ephesians 2:19-20, the New Testament apostles and prophets are uniquely grouped together elsewhere in the Scriptures. Speaking of the revelation of the gospel, Paul the apostle wrote, “which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 3:5). In other passages, Paul recognized the apostles as “first”and thereby further recognized their historically foundational role in Ephesians 2:19-20. In two of his epistles, Paul identified the office of apostle as the first gift that Jesus appointed to serve His churches, followed by prophets (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:28).apostles-prophet-clipart
apostles-prophet-clipartThough Ephesians 2:19-20 refers to New Testament prophets, the New Testament also connects Old Testament prophets with the New Testament apostles. Speaking of the apostles and prophets, Jesus prophesied: “Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’” (Luke 11:49-51). It appears that Jesus was speaking of the Old Testament prophets who were persecuted by apostate Israel in times past and the New Testament apostles which He chose and sent to preach the Gospel. It is evident that the prophets refer to those of the Old Testament because Jesus said, “For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them” (Luke 11:46). Specifically the “blood of all the prophets” that will be “required of this generation” (Luke 11:50) is “the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah” (Luke 11:51), the accounts of Abel and Zechariah being the first and last martyrdoms recorded in the Jewish canon (Genesis 4:1-9; 2 Chronicles 24:20-22). The parable of the wicked vinedressers (Matthew 21:33-41) is also about God’s judgment upon Israel for having beaten, killed and stoned God’s servants, and “last of all he sent his son to them” (Matthew 21:37), thus indicating that the servants who were sent prior to the Son are the Old Testament prophets.
Peter the Apostle exhorted, “that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior” (2 Peter 3:2). Once again, the “prophets” and the “apostles” have a unique foundational role in the church for all time. One example within the New Testament itself of how the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets is the Jerusalem Council. The apostles convened to determine whether or not the Gentile believers should be circumcised and commanded to keep the Law of Moses. The apostle Peter was the first to speak at the Jerusalem Council and he testified of how Gentiles believed the Gospel and their hearts were purified by faith (Acts 15:7-11). Second to speak at the Jerusalem Council, Paul and Barnabas declared how God had worked many miracles and wonders through them among the Gentiles (Acts 15:12). Lastly, the words of James, the Lord’s brother, led the apostles to conclude the council with a declaration that Gentiles should not be commanded to be circumcised or keep the Law of Moses (Acts 15:13-21). As the Church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:19,20), James quoted from both Peter (an apostle) and Amos (an Old Testament prophet) in order to lay this stone in the established doctrine of the early church.
Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-16
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. . . And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Epehsians 4:7-8, 11-16)
As the verse indicates, the five foundational, governmental, equipping offices are apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. . . . He subsequently gave gifted people to the Church on two levels: (1) the foundational or governmental level (see Eph. 4: 11), and (2) the ministry level through the saints (see Eph. 4: 12). . . .
Many people refer to them as “the fivefold ministry.” However, this may not be the best term, because “ministry” is not mentioned in verse 11 but in verse 12, as the role of all of the saints, while apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are those who equip the rest of the saints to do their ministry. This may seem like a minor point, but it is the reason I refer to the five ascension gifts as “foundational” or “governmental” or “equipping” offices. (Apostles Today, 10-11).
Wagner says this verse indicates the five “foundational” and “governmental offices.” These gifted men are “foundational” or fundamental to the body of Christ, but only the apostles and prophets are foundational in the sense of Ephesians 2:19-20. And there is actually no indication in the passage to suggest that apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are “governmental.” Neither would it be fair to say that Paul is talking about “offices” in the church here. Ephesians 4:8 says that Christ “gave gifts unto men,” not offices.
In the interpretation of Wagner, there is an underlying assumption that the apostolic and prophetic offices were ongoing, but this is a false premise. Paul was writing at a specific and unique time during the apostolic era when there were indeed apostles and prophets in the church. At that time, God did give some to be apostles and prophets in order to lay the foundation. The twelve apostles and the apostle Paul continue to govern the Church today through the Scriptures. Wagner continues:
A major stumbling block in the minds of many who first hear this news of the Second Apostolic Age has been the assumption that once the apostles and prophets completed their work of laying the foundation of the Church in the first couple of centuries, that ended the divine assignment of apostles on Earth— as if they were no longer needed. This deeply entrenched notion cannot be biblically sustained, however, given the statement of Ephesians 4: 11. After saying that Jesus gave to the Church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, the length of time they would be needed is then stated: “Until we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4: 13). Who in their right mind can claim that we have arrived at that point? The only reasonable conclusion is that we are still in need of all five offices (Apostles Today, 12-13).
In his book Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God: God’s End-Time Plans for His Church and Planet Earth, Apostle/Prophet Bill Hamon argues for perpetual apostles and prophets.hamon-apostles-prophets               hamon-apostles-prophets
Ephesians 4 declares that the fivefold representation, manifestation and personified ministry of Christ in mortal bodies will continue until every member in the Body of Christ is fully matured and equipped in their ministries so that the whole Body is edified, built up and matured (Eph. 4:11-13). Only as all five of the ascension gift ministers function fully and equally in the Church will she enter her predestined purpose of coming into the “unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: … [and by] speaking the truth in love, [she] may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:13,15) (Bill Hamon. Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God: God’s End-Time Plans for His Church and Planet Earth (Kindle Locations 791-795). Kindle Edition).
This NAR concept is known as Five-Fold Ministry, which is the belief that five governmental offices mentioned in Ephesians 4:11, namely those of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, continue in the contemporary Christian church.
According to Prophet Rick Joyner, the fivefold ministry is the Ephesians 4 Mandate. Joyner expresses the same type of argument as Wagner when he asks, “Do you know of any church on the planet that fulfills this? Any church on the planet which has yet attained to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ? … We need apostles. We need prophets. … And I believe we have many right here in this congregation.”

Likewise, Prophet Kris Valloton, Senior Associate Leader of Bethel Church in Redding, spoke on the role of the five-fold ministry in this way: “God wants to restore the five-fold ministry: the apostle and prophet because He said He gave them until we all attain the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to the measure of the stature that belongs to Christ.”

But today’s apostolic and prophetic movement neglects the fact that the first-century ministries of both the New Testament apostles and prophets did not cease with their death. The church continues to be ministered unto, continues to come to unity of the faith … and to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ by the writings of the apostles and prophets. Through the inspired New Testament, the apostles and prophets continue to perfect the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. And it is this “perfecting of the saints” and “edifying of the body of Christ” that continues until “we all come in the unity of the faith.” But nothing in Ephesians 4 indicates that apostles and prophets will be present throughout the entire church age. This conclusion against the continuation of apostles and prophets is strengthened by the context of Ephesians, since Paul has already explained that apostle and prophets are “the foundation” (Ephesians 2:20).

1 Corinthians 12:27-28
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:27-28)
Wagner writes,C-Peter-Wagner          C-Peter-Wagner
The numbers in the verse, proton (first), deúteron (second), and tríton (third), indicate that this not simply a random selection of gifts and offices. Proton in this instance should be interpreted to mean that apostles are first in order or sequence, not necessarily in importance or hierarchy. Hierarchy is an old-wineskin concept. To put it simply, a church without apostles will not function as well as a church with apostles. . . .
It is fascinating that even though we have had church government backward over the past two centuries according to 1 Corinthians 12: 28, we have evangelized so much of the world! Think of what will happen now that church government is getting in proper order. Administrators and teachers are essential for good church health and will function much better once the apostles and prophets are in place (Apostles Today, 12).
The reference of apostleship in 1 Corinthians 12 is within the context of spiritual gifts, not the governance of the church. From the opening verse: “concerning spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:1) to the closing verse, “But earnestly desire the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31), Paul is discussing the gifts of the Spirit. In this way the spiritual gift of apostle is first because the apostles laid the foundation for the church throughout history. Second is the spiritual gift of prophecy and so forth. But Wagner falsely teaches “church government . . . according to 1 Corinthians 12:28.”
It is important to understand that Paul was talking about spiritual gifts and not church government. As I pointed out in Part 2 of this series, the spiritual gift of apostle was never encouraged to be desired. Paul said, “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). And he specifically encouraged them to desire the git of prophecy: “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1). In spite of the fact that Paul’s list of spiritual gifts includes apostles and sets them first (1 Corinthians 12:28-29), he never encourages the gift of apostle to be sought. Why didn’t he say, “desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may be apostles” if the spiritual gift of apostle was perpetuated in the Church? The clear implication of Scripture is that the spiritual gift of apostle was not available to anybody else except those men specifically chosen by the Lord.
Conclusion
After studying the proof texts used by the NAR for the office of foundational apostles today, it is evident that those passages actually teach the opposite. Wagner goes on to say, “To put it simply, a church without apostles will not function as well as a church with apostles.” Again, none of these passages are a prescription for ongoing church government. The governance of the church has always historically been bishops and deacons (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1; Philippians 1:1). The Christian faith is preserved in the Church by those bishops or teachers who proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ based upon the authoritative and apostolic authors of the Scriptures.
See Also:
Apostles Today Part 1
Apostles Today Part 2
Apostles Today Part 4
Filed Under: Apostles, Bethel Church, C. Peter Wagner, Five Fold Ministry, Kris Valloton, New Apostolic Reformation, Prophets, Rick Joyner

Apostles Today ~ Part 2 of 4, February 19, 2018 By ELLIOTT NESCH

 

C-Peter-Wagner
C-Peter-Wagner

Apostles Today Part 2
February 19, 2018 By ELLIOTT NESCH
Today’s apostles of the Charismatic movement or New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) claim to be foundational and governing apostles wielding spiritual authority in the present-day church. This claim is exactly what Paul warned the church about regarding false apostles in 2 Corinthians 11:12-13. For example, C. Peter Wagner adopted the official definition of apostle for the International Coalition of Apostles (ICAL):
An apostle is a Christian leader, gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church and for the extension of the kingdom of God. (C. Peter Wagner. Apostles Today [Baker Publishing Group], Kindle Edition, 27).
In fact, Wagner claimed that he wrote his book Apostles Today for the following purpose:
The major purpose of this book is to affirm that there are individuals today who have been given the gift and office of apostle just as there were in biblical times. This implies that, among other things, they have been entrusted with an extraordinary amount of spiritual authority in the Body of Christ. (Wagner, Apostles Today, 120-121).
However, in consideration of the three qualifications for the office of apostle (in the last post), the historic limitations for the apostolate are obvious. Moreover, the cessation of the apostolate is conveyed by the following biblical reasons:
(1) The apostles occupy a foundational position in the church.apostles-today-wagner                                               apostles-today-wagner
Wagner argues that one of the roles of today’s apostle is, “They govern.” He says: “Apostles are skilled in setting things in order. Along with prophets, they lay the biblical foundation of the Kingdom (see Eph. 2: 20)” (Wagner, Apostles Today, 28). Here Wagner is claiming today’s apostles of the NAR possess the same role as the New Testament apostles of Ephesians 2:20, which says that the church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” In other words, today’s apostles of the NAR are not simply missionaries sent by the church, but leaders in an apostolic office with spiritual authority to govern the churches like those New Testament apostles which are the foundation of the church.
The following three passages teach that the New Testament apostles are the foundation of the church:
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:20).
Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the name of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Revelation 21:14).
According to these texts, the apostles are the foundation upon whom the church is to be built. The apostles and prophets are identified as the church’s foundation in a sense secondary only to that of Christ Himself. By definition, the foundation is the lowest load-bearing part of a building which is first laid and built upon thereafter. But laying the foundation is not an ongoing process. A foundation is laid only once. The superstructure of the household of God already has its apostolic foundation and thus excludes the office of apostles today. The foundational office of the apostles was unique and isolated to the first-century church. Their foundational role is based upon being personally chosen by Christ, having eyewitness authority of the risen Lord, and the power to perform miracles. Another foundation cannot be laid on top of the roof of the building of the church, that is, in the end times. Laying the foundation for the building of the church is limited to the apostolic era in history.
(2) The gift of apostle was never encouraged to be desired.
C. Peter Wagner acknowledges the spiritual gift of apostle, but attributes that gift to today’s apostles within the church. He wrote,
Apostles have a spiritual gift. There is such a thing as the spiritual gift of apostle. Part of this gift is strong influence. Knowing that they are apostles because God has chosen to give them the gift of apostle obviously provides apostles a solid foundation of authority (Wagner, Apostles Today, 23-24).
However, Paul said, “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). And he specifically encouraged them to desire the git of prophecy: “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1). In spite of the fact that Paul’s list of spiritual gifts includes apostles and sets them first (1 Corinthians 12:28-29), he never encourages the gift of apostle to be sought. Why didn’t he say, “desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may be apostles” if the spiritual gift of apostle was perpetuated in the Church? The clear implication of Scripture is that the spiritual gift of apostle was not available to anybody else except those gifted men specifically chosen by the Lord in the first century.
(3) Paul saw himself as the last eyewitness and apostle.
C. Peter Wagner discusses the biblical characteristics of modern apostles, one of which is “seeing Jesus personally.” Wagner said,
Of course the original 12 saw Jesus, but so did Paul, when Jesus appeared to him on the Damascus Road, and as he indicated in 1 Corinthians 9: 1: “Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” According to an informal survey of the apostles whom I know today, about 20 percent have actually seen Jesus personally (Wagner, Apostles Today, 30-31).
When reporting about the appearances of the risen Lord Jesus Christ to the apostles, Paul wrote: “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:8-9). Paul indicated that “last of all” Christ appeared to him, so that he was one-of-a-kind “as of one born out of due time.” Though Paul never questioned the authenticity of his apostleship, he certainly did not see it as setting a pattern for apostles of future generations. In Scripture, Paul noted that he was the “last” eyewitness and “least” of the apostles to see the Lord as “one born out of due time.” All of this implies that the apostolate was set and closed to those apostles of the first-century church.
(4) The apostles instituted bishops and deacons, but no qualifications are given for ordaining apostles.
C. Peter Wagner says that modern apostles are to be “commissioned.” Wagner wrote,
[A]n office, such as the office of apostle, is not given by grace alone, but is given as a result of works that have demonstrated faithfulness in stewardship of the gift. If God has chosen to give a man or woman the gift of apostle, the fruit of that gift will be evident to others, and in due time the Body of Christ will confer the office of apostle on that person. This act is most often termed “commissioning,” and it is performed by peer-level apostles, as well as prophets, representing the church, and by laying on hands. The title “apostle” is ordinarily used only by those who have been duly commissioned into the office; although in some situations this principle has not yet been formalized (Wagner, Apostles Today, Kindle Locations 1647-1653)
One such apostolic commissioning was that of Todd Bentley. In the ceremony, Bentley was blessed by the leading apostles in Charismatic movement like C. Peter Wagner who presided over Bentley’s apostolic alignment ceremony with the apostles Che Ahn, Rick Joyner, John Arnott, and Bill Johnson (also Chuck Pierce Fed-Exed his special revival oil for anointing Bentley).You can watch his commissioning in full online: part one, part two, part three, and part four. Not long after his apostolic alignment, Bentley was exposed as an adulterer, a liar, and an occasional drunkard.

Yet the model for church leadership prescribed in the New Testament is bishops and deacons, not apostles. The Bible speaks of pastors, elders, bishops or overseers which all refer to the same office. For example, there is: “the office of a bishop” [Gr. episkopē]” (1 Timothy 3:1); “elders” [Gr. presbyteros] (1 Timothy 5:1, 2, 17, 19; Titus 1:5; Acts 14:23; 20:17; 21:18; 1 Peter 5:1); “pastors” [Gr. poimēn] (Ephesians 4:11; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25); “bishops” or “overseers” [Gr. episkopos] (Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 2:25). There is evidence in the New Testament to demonstrate that all of these terms are synonymous for the same office:
First, bishop and overseer refer to the same Greek word (Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 2:25).
Secondly, Peter uses the word for pastor/shepherd synonymously with the word for bishop/overseer: “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).
Third, Peter describes the elders as those fulfilling the role of a shepherd/pastor and overseer when he says, “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly” (1 Peter 5:1,2, NKJV).
Fourth, Paul uses the terms “elder” and “bishop” interchangeably: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: . . . For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre” (Titus 1:5, 7).
Fifth, consider Paul’s encouragements to the Ephesian elders: “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. . . . Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Elders and overseers refer to the same office which is characterized by feeding the flock, i.e., shepherding or pastoring.
Thus, the apostles instituted that a plurality of elders and deacons should lead the church. The qualifications of the elders and deacons is found in the pastoral epistles (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). Moreover, the concept of commissioning apostles is totally unbiblical. No qualifications are given in the Scriptures for later apostles, and no biblical instructions exist for ordaining (or “commissioning”) apostles!
(5) A closed canon of Scripture goes hand-in-hand with a closure of the apostolate.
As I pointed out in the last post, apostle Brian Simmons (translator of The Passion Translation), in an interview with Sid’s Roth, claims he was translated into the library of heaven where he saw more books than you can imagine. One book stood out called John 22. Simmons claims, “I believe the John 22 generation will be a people that do the greater works of Jesus. They will not add to the scripture, and that’s a sealed book. But it is a book that is unfolding and the works of Jesus will be replicated by an entire generation of people that believe fully in the power of God.” He claims to not be adding to the Scripture, yet he acts as an inspired apostle with the authority to receive a new chapter of the Bible. By implication, our current New Testament canon is not complete.
In Scripture, there is a direct connection to the New Testament apostles and the writing of Scripture. Jesus promised specifically to the apostles, “the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26; cf. John 15:26-27); “[W]hen he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:12-15).
To receive Christ’s apostle is to receive Christ Himself. Jesus said to His apostles: “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (Matthew 10:40); “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (John 13:20). Therefore, the apostles spoke as infallibly inspired men and direct representatives of the Lord. For instance, the apostle John wrote: “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6). This is a claim that only an inspired apostle of Christ can make. The apostle Paul could say to the Corinthians, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). This is a clear claim to speak authoritatively for the Lord in the apostolic office. Paul also said, “Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you” (2 Corinthians 3:13). Paul is referring to the fact that in his apostolic office he is the inspired representative of Christ. To reject an apostle of Jesus Christ is to reject Christ himself and thereby forfeit His salvation.
Being uniquely inspired by the Holy Spirit, the apostles’ instructions are authoritative and understood to be on par with the Old Testament Scriptures (1 Corinthians 14:37; Ephesians 3:5; 2 Peter 3:16). The apostolic tradition was inspired revelation to be received as the Word of God. Paul said, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Likewise, Jude wrote: “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 17). Today the New Testament Scriptures are the only true apostolic authority in the church today. But if there are foundational apostles today with the same authority as the New Testament apostles, how could we claim the canon is complete? But the doctrine of a closed canon of Scripture is based upon the fact that the apostles were unique and they are no longer here!
(6) Paul called them false apostles who regarded themselves as apostles of Christ.
Those that claim to be equal to the foundational New Testament apostles are, by biblical definition, false apostles. Yet many of the modern apostles of the Charismatic movement claim to be even greater than the biblical apostles!
For instance, Paul Cain said, “No prophet or apostle who ever lived equaled the power of these individuals in this great army of the Lord in these last days. No one ever had it, not even Elijah or Peter or Paul, or anyone else enjoyed the power that is gong to rest on this great army” (Bob Jones and Paul Cain. “Selections from the Kansas City Prophets,” audiotape (tape: 155C) http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/quotes.html)
Bob Jones said, “The anointing of the end-time prophets and apostles will be ten times the anointing of Moses” (Bob Jones, “An Interview With Bob Jones by Mike Bickle,” Kansas City Prophets, Kansas City, MO 1989, audiotape, quoted in Sandy Simpson, “False Apostles! The False Apostles of the NAR” 10/13/04).
Rick Joyner said, “In the near future we will not be looking back at the early church with envy because of the great exploits of those days, but all will be saying that He certainly did save His best wine for last. The most glorious times in all of history have not come upon us. You, who have dreamed of one day being able to talk with Peter, John and Paul, are going to be surprised to find that they have all been waiting to talk to you” (Rick Joyner, The Harvest [Pineville, NC: MorningStar, 1990], 9).
Those that proclaim to be apostles of Christ are, based upon that proclamation, actually false apostles and ministers of Satan. Paul wrote,
And what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may eliminate any opportunity for those who want a chance to be regarded as our equals in the things they boast about. For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will correspond to their actions (2 Corinthians 11:12-15, NET).
If those who wanted to be regarded as apostles are on that very basis to be regarded as false apostles, then we know that the apostles of Christ were limited to the Twelve and Paul.
Conclusion
There is absolutely no biblical evidence to suggest that the apostles were replaced after their deaths or that their office was to be continued throughout church history. The claims of the NAR that apostles would be restored to the church in these latter times are even more absurd. The apostolate was historically limited to the men specifically chosen by the Lord in the first century church.

See Also:
Apostles Today Part 2
Apostles Today Part 3
Apostles Today Part 4
Filed Under: Apostles, Bill Johnson, Brian Simmons, C. Peter Wagner, Che Ahn, Chuck Pierce, John Arnott, New Apostolic Reformation, Rick Joyner, Uncategorized

Apostles Today ~ Part 1 of 4, February 14, 2018 By ELLIOTT NESCH

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apostles-today-header

In his article, “Understanding How Apostles Minister in Different Spheres,” the late modern Apostle C. Peter Wagner defines an apostles as a “Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church.” Based upon the text of Ephesians 4:11, Wagner argues for what he calls the foundational or governmental gift or office of apostle. This is the teaching of the teaching of the apostolic and prophetic movement, sometimes known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). But what does the Bible say about apostles today?
Biblical Definition of Apostle
The Greek noun apostolos, from which we get the word “apostle,” means “a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders.” Apostolos is derived from the verb apostellō, which means “to send off, to send away; to order (one) to go to a place appointed.” In other words, an apostle is an emissary or one who is sent. In the KJV the word apostolos is translated “apostles” (78x), “messenger(s)” (2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians 2:25) and “he that is sent” (John 13:16). Jesus Christ was an “Apostle” sent from the Father (Hebrews 3:1-2). In a similar way, the Twelve are Christ’s apostles. Jesus said to His apostles, “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).
In the New Testament, an apostle was one who was sent to preach the gospel. Several individuals in the church were called apostles. Other than the Twelve and Paul, those apostles/messengers were James, the Lord’s brother (1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 1:19) Barnabas (Acts 14:4-14), Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25), Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thessalonian 2:6; cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:1). 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 may also indicate that there were other apostles in addition to the Twelve and Paul. All of these apostles are what 2 Corinthians 8:23 calls “messengers [apostles] of the churches.” They all bore the title, though they were not among the foundational apostles chosen by our Lord to govern the church. Therefore, we must make a major distinction between those in the New Testament who were apostles of Christ and the apostles of the churches.
In a very broad sense, apostolic work may be likened to missionary work, that is, when Christians are sent by the church as church-planting evangelists. But that’s not what NAR leaders have in mind when they claim to wield the authority of an apostolic office. Instead, today’s apostles are claiming authority and power that belonged uniquely to men specifically chosen by the Lord. One example is the modern Apostle Che Ahn who is founder of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the International Chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). Under Che Ahn’s apostolic authority, WLI has “spread into numerous regional schools throughout the U.S. and into 11 nations.” As the Presiding Apostle of HIM, Che Ahn oversees “more than 25,000 ministries and organizations in 65 nations.”

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In its more restricted and common New Testament usage, apostle specifically refers to the twelve apostles (with the addition of Matthias after Judas’s defection), and the apostle Paul. In contrast to the apostles of the churches, these men were appointed and sent by the Lord Himself. The name apostle was specified by Christ: “He named them Apostles” (Luke 6:13). According to Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 2:20 and Revelation 21:14, it is these apostles upon whom the church is built.
Paul the apostle was not among the Twelve, yet he is recognized as a unique apostle to the Gentiles. In his own words, he was “called to be an apostle” (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1); “an apostle of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:1; Titus 1:1); “one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:8); “an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)” (Galatians 1:1); “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1); “an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 1:1).

The Credentials of an Apostle
At least three credentials may be observed for New Testament apostles:
(1) The apostles were personally chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the gospel, we read: “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach” (Mark 3:14); “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles” (Luke 6:13). The Lord also said to the apostles, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16). In his preface to the book of Acts, Luke wrote, “after He [Jesus] through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen” (Acts 1:2).
The necessity of appointment by Christ is also emphasized when Judas Iscariot was replaced. First, two men were selected who met the necessary prerequisites for an apostle of Christ. Because the apostle had to be personally chosen by the Lord, they prayed and cast lots:
And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:24-26).
Speaking to the household of Cornelius, the apostle Peter said, “Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10:40-41).
Paul also recognized the Lord as the source of his apostolic office: “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name” (Romans 1:5). The Lord said of Paul, “he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Ananias declared to Paul, “The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard” (Acts 22:14-15). Describing his apostolic work, Paul spoke of “the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Paul spent much of 2 Corinthians defending his apostleship by comparison of his own ministry to the false apostles. He opened the letter by saying, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 1:1). He echoed that specific calling in 1 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:1 and Titus 1:1.
Within NAR organizations like the International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (ICAL), there is an application process and annual membership fee. The annual membership fees for ICAL are provided on their website (accessed 2/12/18):
United States based member: $450.00
Married apostles combined : $650.00
First Nation (American Indian): $350.00
International independent members (those not belonging to their individual country’s Coalition): $350.00 (USD)
International married apostles combined: $450.00.
Fees may be paid in two installments by check, credit card or at the Online Store.
If you are interested in ICAL membership, please fill out the Information Form below. You will be asked to provide the names of two ICAL Members you know who might nominate you. If you do not know any present members, please continue the application process and an ICAL representative will contact you regarding your request.

In other words, the modern apostles are self-appointed. A person can’t simply appoint himself a police officer, a doctor, or a senator just because he likes the title. And they definitely can’t assume any legitimate authority and power by such self-appointment to those roles. Unlike the apostles of Jesus Christ who were personally chosen by Him, the modern so-called apostles are self-appointed.
(2) The apostles were personal eye-witnesses of the risen Lord Jesus Christ.
These qualifications for the apostles are given in Acts 1 when an apostle was being selected to replace Judas Iscariot, the traitor who hanged himself. Simon Peter addressed the disciples and said that Psalm 69:25 predicted Judas’ defection and Psalm 109:8 predicted that his place among the apostles should be filled. The apostle Peter declared,
Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection (Acts 1:21-22).
According to Peter, the candidate to fill the apostolic office needed to have personally sat under the teaching of Jesus and known the Lord after His resurrection. Two candidates fulfilled those qualifications: “And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias” (Acts 1:23).
The apostle Peter reiterated this important credential in his preaching:
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10:38-41).
The apostle Peter also wrote, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). Likewise, the apostle John declared, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; . . . That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you” (1 John 1:1-3).
The apostles learned the gospel from the Lord Jesus Christ, not other men, and Paul was no exception. Paul said, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). Although the apostle Paul did not bear witness to the Lord’s earthly ministry like the other apostles, he was no less a witness of the risen Christ. The apostle Paul laid claim to his apostolic office when he asked the rhetorical question: “Am I am not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” (1 Corinthians 9:1). Moreover, Paul wrote,
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).
In other words, Paul was claiming the same type of appearance of Christ to himself that the original apostles received.
What about modern apostles? In 2009, the “apostolic father” Brian Simmons claims that Jesus Christ came into his room, breathed on him, and commissioned him. According to Simmons, Jesus said to him, “I’m commissioning you to translate the Bible into the translation project that I’m giving you to do.” He believes that an impartation of revelation was given to him in order to translate the Bible (The Passion Translation). Simmons claims to receive divine “downloads” and a new translation of Ephesians 5:22. He makes a distinction between himself and writers of Scripture, yet he claims he was translated into the library of heaven where he saw more books than you can imagine. One book stood out called John 22. Simmons claims, “I believe the John 22 generation will be a people that do the greater works of Jesus. They will not add to the scripture, and that’s a sealed book. But it is a book that is unfolding and the works of Jesus will be replicated by an entire generation of people that believe fully in the power of God.” He claims to not be adding to the Scripture, yet he acts as an inspired apostle with the authority to receive a new translation and a new chapter of the Bible. See his interview on Sid’s Roth It’s Supernatural. The claims of Simmons are absolutely ridiculous, to say the least. And such an appearance doesn’t compare to the first-century apostles who were personal eye-witnesses to the Lord.

The resurrection of Christ was a primary theme of apostolic preaching (cf. Acts 2:24; Acts 3:15; Acts 5:30; Acts 10:40; Acts 13:30-37). Thus, Christ’s apostles had to be personal witnesses of the risen Lord. On this point, today’s apostles fall short. It is not enough to know about Jesus and His resurrection. Neither does a dream or a vision about Jesus qualify anybody to be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(3) Christ gave His apostles the power to perform miracles.
We read in the gospel: “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease” (Matthew 10:1; cf. Mark 3:14-15; Luke 9:1-2). In the book of Acts, Luke emphasized the signs and wonders which were done by the apostles in the book of Acts: “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles” (Acts 2:43); “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33); “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people” (Acts 5:12).
The miraculous signs and wonders recorded in the New Testament had a specific purpose to confirm the gospel message of Christ and His apostles.
But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him (John 10:38).
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. (Mark 16:20).
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know (Acts 2:22).
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak (Hebrews 2:3-5).
Miracles also validated Paul’s apostleship. He wrote,
For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ (Romans 15:18-19).
When defending his apostolic office to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” (2 Corinthians 12:12).
Unlike the alleged signs and wonders performed by today’s so-called apostles, the pattern of miracles performed in the New Testament by Jesus and His apostles were unique in several ways:
The Lord and His apostles healed according to their own will rather than having an irregular ability to heal (cf. Luke 5:13; Acts 3:6).
Their miracles were not dependent upon the faith of the recipients (cf. Acts 3:6-8; Acts 16:18).
The Lord and His apostles did not perform miracles for money or fame (cf. Acts 8:20).
Their miracles were always totally successful with no malingering symptoms (cf. Matthew 14:36; Luke 4:38-39).
Their miracles were undeniable, spectacular and verifiable (cf. Acts 4:16; 16:19).
Their miracles were immediate (cf. Mark 1:42; 5:29; 7:31; 10:52; Luke 4:38-39; Acts 3:8).
Their miracles were spontaneous, rather than in controlled environments (cf. Matthew 8:14-15; Matthew 9:20-22; Acts 3:1-7)
Often everyone was healed, rather than just a few from the crowd (cf. Luke 4:40; 9:11).
Organic diseases were healed, rather than headaches, lower back pain, heart palpitation, allergies, asthma, mental disorders, etc. (cf. Matthew 4:24; Luke 1:34; 4:40; 6:17; 9:1; Acts 19:12; 28:9)
The Lord and His apostles raised the dead (cf. Mark 5:35; Luke 7:11ff).
Consider some examples of the Lakeland Revival. This Nightline Report below shows how Bentley claimed to heal one boy from crippling Spina Bifida who was stumbling to the ground after the revival. ABC News found no verification for Bentley’s healings for his Lakeland Revival. Bentley claims to have brought back 35 people from the dead, but there is no proof of those resurrections. Yet Bentley was blessed by the leading apostles in Charismatic movement like C. Peter Wagner who presided over Bentley’s apostolic alignment ceremony with the apostles Che Ahn, Rick Joyner, John Arnott, and Bill Johnson (also Chuck Pierce Fed-Exed his special revival oil for anointing Bentley). You can watch his commissioning in full online: part one, part two, part three, and part four. Not long after his apostolic alignment, Bentley was exposed as an adulterer, a liar, and an occasional drunkard.

C-Peter-Wagner
C-Peter-Wagner

Conclusion

The apostles today fail to meet the biblical requirements for the apostolic office. Only someone with each and every one of the credentials above could they claim to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. Obviously there are no foundational apostles of Jesus Christ in the church today. But C. Peter Wagner readily admits that he excludes the biblical qualifications in defining an apostle. In his own words,
There are three biblical characteristics of apostles which some include in their definition of apostle, but which I have chosen not to include: (1) signs and wonders (2 Cor. 12:12), (2) seeing Jesus personally (1 Cor. 9:1), and (3) planting churches (1 Cor. 3:10). My reason for this is that I do not understand these three qualities to be non-negotiables. They characterize many, perhaps most, apostles. But if a given individual lacks the anointing for one or more of them, this, in my opinion, would not exclude that individual from being a legitimate apostle.
Wagner also speaks of what he designates Vertical Apostles (such as ecclesiastical apostles, functional apostles, apostolic team members and congregational apostles), Horizontal Apostles (such as convening apostles, ambassadorial apostles, mobilizing apostles. and territorial apostles) and Marketplace Apostles. Clearly these are not only extra-biblical, but unbiblical definitions for what the Scriptures say about apostles.
See Also:
Apostles Today Part 2
Apostles Today Part 3
Apostles Today Part 4
Filed Under: Apostles, Bill Johnson, Brian Simmons, C. Peter Wagner, Che Ahn, Chuck Pierce, John Arnott, New Apostolic Reformation, Rick Joyner, Uncategorizedapostles-today-header

John MacArthur Breaks Down The “Charismatic” Movement

John MacArthur has invested a great amount of time in the complete exegesis of the charismatic movement.  Nearly three decades ago, he wrote “Charismatic Chaos” in 1991.  More recently, he hosted a sold out conference called “Strange Fire,” featuring a book with the same title.  The following You Tube videos represent the teachings from this theme that he has been engaged in throughout his ministry:

https://www.musiclessons.com/youtube/watch?v=iXGyWWTVeoQ

TRUE DELIVERANCE

Much is said about “Deliverance” and “Healing” ministries.  As in the case with other doctrine, many charismatic churches and ministries fail with these teachings as well.  We pray for people entrapped in sin(s) and in need of healing in our church and ministry ALL THE TIME.  Countless people are healed, and guess what?  We do not take credit for it, and we give God all the glory.  The latest case in point is June Awad and her stage four cancer that has gone into remission.  To God be the glory.  In like fashion, I have observed countless people who were healed by the Lord after “praying without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17) for the person, and nobody and no ministry received the credit – we simply thanked and glorified the Lord.  The pastor I surrendered to preach under, James Bill Grimes, said:  “Steven, I believe in faith healing but I do not believe in faith healers.”  Well put.  If the “Faith healers” had the abilities and powers that they claim, then they should literally live in the hospitals and heal those within.

Enjoy the following devotional by Dr. Henry Morris, Founder of the Institute For Creation Research, who likewise teaches on TRUE deliverance:

Days of Praise

True Deliverance
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. | Jan. 4, 2018

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13)
Certain Christian workers practice what they call a “deliverance ministry,” but true biblical deliverance is better defined in terms of today’s verse, which, of course, is the last petition in the prayer that Christ taught His disciples to pray. True deliverance is deliverance from evil, whatever form that evil might take, and preservation until God’s kingdom comes. Let us observe several scriptural accounts of true deliverance.
Note that the Greek word for deliverance has the connotation of “rescue,” and this is its first occurrence in the New Testament; that makes its usage here especially significant. That the Lord will indeed provide such deliverance, if we pray for it in sincerity, is affirmed in many testimonies and promises. Burdened with the problems of his old sin nature, Paul cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” But then the answer comes: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25). Even as his anticipated martyrdom was approaching, Paul could still testify, “The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18).
Peter also assures us that “the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Peter 2:9). He is able to deliver His people from all the evils of this present evil world, to keep them and prepare them for the glory and the power of His coming kingdom, for He Himself is the Deliverance. “As it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer [same word], and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Romans 11:26). HMM

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I would suggest that the implications in this brief study are obvious.  We need faithful Christians to continue to pray for needs just as they have done for thousands of years.  We do NOT need self proclaimed “Faith Healers” and “Deliverance Ministries.”  James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Notice how God tells faithful people to pray, who desire not the limelight but to glorify the King of Kings.  A “Deliverance” or “Healing” ministry is not sought after by the Lord.  GOD IS THE GREAT PHYSICIAN – Glory Be To God And To God Alone.  Amen and amen.

All Because Of Him, Pastor Steve  <><

Charismatic Chaos ~ Modern Day Apostles?

The very thought of the entitled subject, people considering themselves as apostles today, makes my skin crawl.  The audacity, hubris, conceit, and arrogance of anyone who would claim such an office is unparalleled.

May we examine how Biblical authority leaves NO OPTION for apostleship today:

Ephesians 2:19-20  King James Version (KJV)
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Note how the prophets and apostles are singled out as foundational.  The foundation has been laid, and the Lord is finished using these particular offices – both prophets and apostles.

In the following passage, Paul considers himself to be the last chosen apostle:

1 Corinthians 15:8  King James Version (KJV)
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

There are three major Biblical qualifications for the original apostles:

1)They were chosen by Christ Himself.

2)They experienced the resurrected Christ firsthand.

3)They were able to display signs and wonders, as it pleased the Lord to work through them in such a way.

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Consider the following on this subject from John MacArthur:

Not sure what to listen to?  Tune in to Grace Stream.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Marks of a True Apostle: Appointed by Jesus
by John MacArthur

Lots of people today claim to be apostles—to wield the same authority and power as the leaders of the New Testament church. To properly evaluate those claims, we’re looking at the biblical requirements for apostleship and measuring the credentials of these modern apostles against those of the men the Lord used to found and establish His church.
The Greek noun apostolos—from which we get the word apostle—is derived from the verb apostellō, which means “to send off on a commission to do something as one’s personal representative, with credentials furnished.” [1] We could translate apostolos as “envoy” or “ambassador,” someone who goes on a mission bearing credentials of the one who sent him.
An apostle in the New Testament was one sent to carry the gospel to sinners, and several individuals in the early church—both major and minor characters—were called apostles. Barnabas (Acts 14:14), Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25), Andronicus and Junius (Romans 16:7) and James the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:19) all bore the title, though they were not among the twelve chosen by our Lord. They are what 2 Corinthians 8:23 calls “messengers [apostles] of the churches.”
In that broad sense, believers today are able to accomplish apostolic work through evangelism and service to the church. But that’s not what many modern church leaders mean when they lay claim to the apostolic office. Instead, modern apostles are claiming authority, privilege, and power that belonged only to men specifically appointed by Jesus.
In its more restricted and common New Testament usage, apostle refers to “an apostle of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:1). Those apostles included the original twelve (with the deletion of Judas and the addition of Matthias after Judas’s defection) and Paul. In contrast to the apostles of the churches, these men were commissioned by Christ Himself. They were chosen by Him (cf. Luke 6:13; Acts 9:15) and learned the gospel from Him, not other men (cf. Galatians 1:11-12).
In Mark 3:14, we read that “He [Jesus] appointed twelve,” who are then named in verses 16-19. As we saw last time, the apostles were chosen by God long before they were ever born. But in life, they were hand selected by God incarnate. As Jesus said in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit.”
That same mindset drove Paul to describe his own work as “the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:24). He also echoed that sentiment in Romans 1:4-5, recognizing Christ as the source of his apostleship.
New Testament apostles were not only chosen by God, they were appointed by Jesus—called out from the crowd and set aside for specific work on behalf of the Savior.
It’s a wonder then that so many men and women today claim the authority and power of the apostolic office when they so clearly lack the necessary credentials, which accompanied that office in Scripture. As we further examine the marks of a true apostle, the more clearly we will see that their vain claims hold no water. That’s where we will pick it up next time.

(Adapted from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1 Timothy)

[In addition to the above exegesis of the scriptures by John MacArthur on true apostleship, I would recommend his book “Strange Fire,” for anyone who desires to further research the heresy of so called modern day apostles, and the other scriptural errors of the charismatic movement.]

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Another noteworthy truth, is that the Christ chosen apostles were responsible for writing the New Testament in its entirety!  (Just like the prophets wrote the Old Testament, both groups wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit).  If people claimed modern day apostleship, one can easily see the Pandora’s Box that would open up, with our Bible becoming a “fluid document,” and books could be continually added by modern day “apostles.”

The early church leaders, i.e. successors of the apostles following the apostle John’s death in about 100 A.D., NEVER claimed apostleship, and always referred to the office as foundational to the origins of the church.  Irenaeus, Polycarp, Ignatius, Tertullian, and Eusebius referred to their apostolic predecessors as the bedrock of the church, yet did not claim the title themselves – and for good reason: once the church was established, the Lord laid the position to rest.  Now, nearly 2,000 years later, false prophets are claiming the position without the credentials to rightfully do so.  Ignatius (c. AD 35-115), in his epistle to the Magnesians, spoke in the past tense of the foundation-laying work of Peter and Paul.  Referring to the book of Acts, Ignatius wrote, “This was fulfilled in Syria; for the disciples were called Christians at Antioch, when Paul and Peter were laying the foundation of the Church.”  Irenaeus (c. 130-202) referred to the twelve apostles as “the twelve pillared foundation of the Church.”  Tertullian (c. 155-230) similarly explained that “after the time of the apostles” the only doctrine true Christians accepted was that which was “proclaimed in the churches of apostolic foundation.”  Lucius Lactantius (c. 240-320) in his Divine Institutes likewise referred to the past time in which apostolic foundations of the church were laid, stating that the apostles were dispersed through the provinces, laying the foundations of the Church everywhere, and doing many incredible miracles.  Examples could be multiplied, but the point is clear.  Many charismatics believe the foundation of the Church is still being laid, contrary to the Bible, contrary to the original apostles selected by Christ Himself, and contrary to the cited founding fathers of the Church.

  The Roman Catholic Church also errors in considering the pope to be in the line of the apostle Peter (apostolic succession), even though there was no pope for three hundred years following the apostles, and no genuine blood line to Peter.  The Roman Catholic Church is a grand mixture of scripture, tradition, and paganism.  You will not find popes, nuns, monks or cardinals anywhere in the Bible.

One final note.  Believers in modern day apostles often use the following scripture as their proof text:

Ephesians 4:11-12  King James Version (KJV)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Yes, the offices of prophets and apostles are mentioned, prophets were predominant up until the time of Christ, and apostles helped to establish the church, but the passage in no way infers that they would continue to this day.  Billy Graham would be one that misguided people would attempt to give the title to.  But Billy himself would refuse it and rightly identify himself as an evangelist!  God raised the dead through Peter and Paul, and performed countless other miracles through the apostles.  The apostles that Christ chose all experienced the risen Christ and were commissioned by Him!  Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they also wrote the New Testament.  That office is finished!  Amen and amen.

In His Service, Pastor Steve  <><

 

 

 

The Second Baptism Of The Holy Spirit…

Is A False Doctrine That Is Found No Where In The Bible.

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Ephesians 4:3-6  King James Version (KJV)

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

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This false teaching was conjured up by those who once again, fail to understand the transformation into the church age, which is graphically and comprehensively described in the book of Acts.  We are commanded to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit.  There is no second baptism.  This is a daily need for all of those who have been born from above.  We are to be filled with the Spirit and crucify the flesh.  The question:  “Have you received the second baptism of the Holy Spirit?,” implies that you are not on the same spiritual plateau that I think I am.  It is meant to sound condescending.

May we examine in detail where this false teaching comes from –

 Acts 19  King James Version (KJV)

19 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

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At this point in time, Apollos never heard of the Triune God (Trinity).  He never even heard of the Holy Spirit.  He was baptized ONLY for repentance by John the Baptist.  As far as being a Christian and a believer in Christ, he was not baptized at all!  He was baptized solely for repentance.  Repentance from sin was taught by all of the Old Testament prophets, by all of the apostles, it was the “one point sermon” that John the Baptist continually preached, and Jesus Christ picked up on repentance where John the Baptist left off:

Matthew 4:17  King James Version (KJV)

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 

Luke 13:3-5  New King James Version (NKJV)

I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

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We baptize one time, and in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  One does NOT receive the Father and the Son, as a down payment on the Holy Spirit to be received later, but only if you are super spiritual.  How ludicrous.  As previously stated, the implication of this erroneous doctrine is that the so called second baptism sets its’ proponents on a higher spiritual footing than others.  They misunderstand that Apollos never yet comprehended the Gospel beyond seeing the need to repent.  Repentance is an Old Testament doctrine as well.  At this point, Apollos did not yet understand the process of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and becoming born again (John 3:3).  Prior to being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 19:5), he gave absolutely no clear  understanding of salvation, and never even heard of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Hence, some charismatics took the unique and specific circumstances of Apollos, and in their convoluted way, applied them to the entire church age!  In the book of Acts, the church is just starting and in a period of transition.  Apollos received the truth in increments as it became known in the early church.  We do not have that battle any more, and are blessed with the entire truth written in the twenty seven books of the New Testament.  So fellow believer, be ye filled with the Holy Spirit!

Pastor Steve  <><

Speaking In Tongues, Part III

In the early church of Acts 2, Jesus promised to build His church and send the Holy Spirit.  Both promises were fulfilled at this time.  The church was formed, and believers were baptized by the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2 is simple, easy to understand, and straight forward unless clouded with false teaching.  The miracle of Pentecost was the fulfillment of a prophecy made by Joel.  They did not pray for it, ask for it, or qualify for it– it was a sovereign act of heaven.  This event launched the church.  The baptism was a one time event at Pentecost; after that it happens to every believer at the point of salvation.  They were baptized in the Holy Spirit and then filled with the Holy Spirit.  They spoke in other languages.  Charismatic churches have since abused the doctrine of tongues, and by their own admission it is not another language.  It is a non language, and gibberish.  The beginning of the “tongues” movement can be traced to the 1890’s in Topeka, Kansas.  Charles Parham decided that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a repeatable event and to be sought, and if you seek it, it will be accompanied by some kind of language.  Originally they thought they were speaking foreign languages, but this was later proven not to be the case when they went on mission trips and could neither speak nor understand the local language.  Embarrassed, they changed their doctrine and determined it was some kind of ecstatic unknown speech.  This is the first recorded instance when this false doctrine of incoherent babbling was placed into practice.  After Parham, on April 9, 1906 in Los Angeles, California, William Seymour hosted the Azuna Street revival that lasted until 1915.  This is usually considered the birth of the Pentecostal movement.   Mainstream Christians throughout the country rejected it immediately.  This was and still is strange fire.  Acts 2/Pentecost refers to a Jewish feast where they all spoke in various languages.  This is a SIGN mentioned in Acts 2 and later in Corinth (55 AD), and after that, you never hear about it.  It had a life span of about 25 years.  It is not mentioned in the pastoral epistles or in Revelation.  I Corinthians 13:8 says “tongues will cease.”  Tongues were a SIGN to unbelievers.  The sign is that Israel is set aside, and the church is born to take her place.  This is judgment on Israel.  In 70 AD the judgment came.  To convert this into self edifying gibberish is alien to everything said here.  The judgment on Israel turned out to be a blessing to the rest of the world.  One day however, the wild vine (the Gentile Church) temporarily grafted in, will be done away with when God is finished with the church age.  Then God will go back to the original vine (Israel).  Romans 11 gives a clear exposition of this truth.

Speaking In Tongues, Part II

Let us now examine several lists in the New Testament of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit:

1)Romans 12:6-8  Several gifts of the Spirit are mentioned, namely prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, ruling with diligence and displaying mercy.  How strange that the one “gift” that saves (according to many charismatics) is not even mentioned.

2)Ephesians 4:11-13 Five more gifts of the Spirit (church offices) are mentioned, and they are all for the purpose of edifying the church.  Again, “tongue speakers” are absent.

3)Galatians 5:22-23 Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit are mentioned in this classic passage, memorized by many believers, including myself.  There is no mention of tongues.

4)I Corinthians 12:28-30 Several of the aforementioned gifts of the Holy Spirit are mentioned again, and tongues is mentioned in this list only, and it is listed last and was the least important of the gifts.  The church in Corinth was a mixed up, carnal and confused church where the apostle Paul spent a lot of time.  The two books of Corinthians cover all church problems.  I Corinthians 13:1 tells us that love is superior to tongues and the other gifts.  I Corinthians 13:8 tells us that “tongues shall cease.”  After the New Testament church was established, the sign and gift of tongues was no longer used by the Lord.  That is why tongues is mentioned no where else in the New Testament, including the pastoral epistles (I and II Timothy and Titus).  They are not mentioned in the book of Revelation or in the seven churches (chapters 2 and 3) mentioned in Revelation.  Nor are tongues ever mentioned again in the early church after the time of the apostles, the church of the Middle Ages, the Reformation era church, and the church in early American history.  Tongues ceased, just as the Bible tells us, and God was through with this early sign of speaking in foreign languages.  The tongue movement of today is a counterfeit and apostate teaching that is based soley on human emotions that masquerade as the Holy Spirit.  It has absolutely no scriptural support.  If the Lord continued to use the sign of speaking in tongues today, it would not be necessary to send our missionaries to language school.