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.
Consider the following on this subject from John MacArthur:
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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.”  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.]
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 <><