There has been an increasing number of people who are calling themselves Apostles. This is the effect of a movement called The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The NAR believe that God is restoring the offices of Prophets and Apostles in the church today. So do we have true Prophets and Apostles today?
What is an Apostle?
The word Apostle is derived from the Greek word apostolos, which literally just means messenger or sent one.
Who were the Apostles?
Jesus chose twelve out of His disciples and appointed them to be Apostles, then He sent them (Matt. 10:5 , Greek apostello) out. The twelve apostles of Jesus were Simon Peter, Andrew, James the son of Zebedee, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. After the death of Christ two Apostles were appointed: Matthias (Acts 1:26) and Paul (Acts 26:17, send you is apostello in Greek).
What did the Apostles do?
These Apostles were given special authority over demons, did signs and wonder and healed people (Matt. 10:1, 2 Cor. 12:12). Apostles also established churches (Rom. 15:17-20), exposed error (Gal. 1:6-9), and defended the truth of the gospel (Phil. 1:7,17). The Apostles were the foundation of the church together with Prophets (Eph. 2:20). God also used Apostles as agents of revelation by using them to write Scripture.
How were Apostles appointed
As we have seen, the first twelve Apostles were chosen and Appointed by Christ Himself. For the purpose of this article, we will only focus our attention on the last two, namely, Matthias and Paul.
“So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us – one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”” (Acts 1:21-22)
From this account of the appointing of Matthias as an Apostle (Acts 1:20-26), we learn that a person has to have “accompanied” the other Apostles during Jesus' earthly ministry and they must also be witnesses of the resurrection.
Matthias met the criteria, but Paul had not been with the other apostles and Jesus through Jesus' earthly ministry. This led to many people questioning Paul's Apostleship and him defending it in many of his letters (Gal. 1:1, 1 Cor. 9:1, 2 Cor. 12:11-12). Paul did see the risen Christ (1 Cor. 15:7-8). And he was also confirmed by the other Apostles to be a true apostle (cf. 2 Pet. 3:15).
Do we have Apostles today?
Since the Apostles were the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20), we would expect not to have any more Apostles today. And since no modern day Apostle can meet the criteria in Acts 1:20-26, we can't have Apostles today. It's worth noting also that Paul was appointed to be an Apostle to the gentiles (Eph. 3:8, Acts 9:15, 26:17), and now the gospel has reached all kinds of people.
If we do have modern day Apostles, then they must carry the same apostolic authority as the original Apostles. They must set doctrine and write Scripture like the original Apostles did. But that would be adding to God final word and would automatically disqualify them as being Apostles (Rev. 22:18-19). Modern-day Apostles also cannot be confirmed by any Apostle, since all the Apostles are dead.
What is a Prophet?
A prophet is “someone who is the mouthpiece of God. He stands between God and man to communicate to man the word of God. When the prophet spoke as the mouthpiece he was inspired and without error.”
Do we have Prophets today?
On the basis of Ephesians 2:20, we can conclude that since Prophets were the foundation of the Church, the office of Prophet is closed. God does, however, still give teachers, evangelists, deacons, pastors and elders to the church.
What about Ephesians 4:11
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers”¦” Eph 4:11
Jesus did give the church apostles and prophets to the church, but He gave them to be the foundation to which the church is built upon (Eph. 2:20). Once the foundation has been laid, the “evangelists”, “pastors” and “teachers” take-over and continue building the church.
The Apostles were people especially chosen by Jesus to be the foundation of the church. There are no more Apostles and Prophets today since the foundation has already been laid.
“We have the Epistles, so we do not need [morden-day] Apostles.” Unknown
Soli Deo Gloria