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It is raining apostles!
Yes, they are everywhere!
In Islam, the Apostles are the same as prophets, men who were sent by, or who received a special revelation from God, which is written and to be spread everywhere. Abraham, Moses, Aaron, David, Jesus, Muhammad and various other men we would call prophets are actually on the list of Muslim apostles.
The Mormon Church has its “Quorum” of 12 Apostles, a governing body in Mormonism that is, along with the Presidency, looked upon for leadership in the same general way as the College of Cardinals in Rome is looked upon.
And of course there is Rome. Rome believes that its bishops, the ruling authorities of that communion, are descendants of the Apostles, and must govern entire cities of the “faithful”, although such a description was never made by any known Biblical Apostle. The Apostles, who we know from studying the Scriptures, were quite transitory, and gave up their “power” to the local congregations and local ministers. Hierarchy is difficult to trace in the book of Acts and the epistles. It is easy enough to see in the Roman Empire, however, which later served as a model for an increasingly power-hungry Church leadership.
No, the successors of the Apostles are not the bishops of the Roman Church. The descendants of Paul and Peter and the rest, are the martyrs of the true church of Jesus Christ over the years.
Where else can we find apostles today? In your church or mine? Oh my, no, you say. No Apostles in my church. We know they died out after the first century. OK, OK. What do you call that guy you send to Africa and the one in India supported by your congregation or denomination?
Oh, that. We call these brothers “missionaries”.
ok What does that mean, and where could I find an authorization for that title in the works of the authors of the Holy Spirit?
Well, a missionary is just someone who is sent out, sent out to preach the Gospel. I guess the word itself is not in the Bible. We just made it up.
Right, and wrong. That’s right, a missionary is someone who is sent out. Wrong about the Bible reference. You just changed the language. “Missionary” means “one sent” from the Latin mito. And isn’t there a word that means “one messenger” in the New Testament?
Oh. An apostle?
You got it. Apostle is the same word as missionary, although it comes to us from the Greek apostello. So do you have apostles in your church?
Yes, but it is not the same as a Biblical Apostle.
Well, the Biblical Apostles performed miracles, for one. And they had authority over the whole church. They are listed as “first” by Paul. They too were all eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ, and all were personally called by Him, not by the church. Paul was an Apostle, he said, not of men or of man, but of Jesus Christ.
All true, but the term has been passed down through the ages anyway. Rome claimed it as a way to connect their hierarchy with the days of Acts. Now we even use it to describe people who are sent into the world with the Gospel.
So, we remain forced to create a distinction. Apostles of Christ were those original brothers of the first century who came directly from the Lord. Apostles of the church, well, that can include a bunch of other people. But let’s be careful not to capitalize the “a”. And maybe we should use an asterisk like they do in baseball records.
When someone asks me if there are Apostles in the church today, I quickly say yes! Not referring to those “asterisk” brothers (and sisters), but referring to the scriptures given to us by honest to goodness Biblically qualified brothers (and not sisters). We still have Matthew in the church today. And John. And Paul. And Peter. We also have several men who were very close to these men, knew their lives, watched them minister, hung on their words. mark Luke Judas and James, the half-brothers of Jesus.
But wait. There is more. Enter the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) and many other self-styled apostolic groups who believe they are on a mission from God in our day to restore the New Testament Apostle with all the authority, Spiritual power, influence that the originals had. This is called muddying the water.
I spent hours listening to these men. Honestly I respect some of their teachings and honesty. Some of them are truly reprehensible morally and ethically. I have learned not to condemn and judge anyone who could truly be a brother in Jesus. But I also learned to ask the right questions of any of them, and to expect good answers. If good answers don’t come, I’ll move on. In some cases, I share my findings with you. I am currently investigating a person who is coming strong in this apostolic movement. When the study is finished, I will pass it on to you so that you can be warned if necessary.
God’s people have deceived too much. Faithful sheep we are. So easily distracted and drawn away from truth. I myself have been guilty of following some of the worst. God had to put my nose back in the Word several times. Eat this! He says That other thing is poison.
Paul spoke of false apostles in his day. Like Paul’s detractors, those today can transform themselves into a light and grab your money and your time and be on their way faster than you can say “I am deceived.”
Today’s men are often made apostles by the suggestions of other people. Twice in one week recently someone told me that I had an “apostle” or “apostolic” in my ministry. It sounds so good. So attractive. Some men fall for it, and begin to see what others see. Before you know it, everyone is calling that man an apostle. After a while, there is even a demand for that title. And worse.
This is not how true Biblical Apostles came to be. You know the scriptures. Jesus appeared to them, called them, they accepted. Period. I still make room, both in scripture and today, for the “little” guys, you see. Missionaries. People sent.
But we don’t need any more authoritarian types coming among us and taking over. Which seems to be the agenda for some. A total reorganization of the church, with the new “apostles” on top.
Did you notice in scripture that there is no list of qualifications for an apostle? That is, there is no set of requirements that I put before the church so that someone who is interested can try, train, etc., as there are for priests and deacons. Jesus chooses. Trains. Sending The church must be free if a Bible-type Apostle appears. Which tells me that probably none of these are, because, well, because there’s no need for them.
Apostles laid the foundation. Apostles today are really trying to lay down new rules, but the Scriptures must prevail. That is, the words of original Apostles trump the words of those who claim to be “Capital A” Apostles today.
Why else do modern candidates believe they are apostles, and why do so many people “fly” to them?
The answer of course is miracles. Real or otherwise or promised or assumed. Yes, the real miracles are there, I do believe it. They come as an answer to the prayers of faithful and faith-filled believers. God is no respecter of persons. And often when people go to a meeting expecting Jesus to heal them, He does. Why not? Did God ever tell us that He would stop answering prayer when the first century passed?
But if an “apostle” leads that meeting, guess who sometimes gets the credit? And his star power rises from there. Rome has been big on this over the years as well. When a pope dies, those who want him to be “progressed” after death have to come up with one miracle he did. Then he can be Saint so and so. Just one miracle.
If one believing brother, call him whatever you want, small or big “a”, prays the prayer of faith and God hears and answers because that’s who God is, suddenly we have Capital A Apostle on our hands. He may fail in his prayers for hundreds of others, but one miracle drives him into the club.
Where am I going here? Jesus and the Twelve healed all who came to them. It was such a powerful growth that it constantly drew crowds and got the Healer into serious trouble.
In America, I’m pretty sure that 100%, and anything close to it, doesn’t happen. God heals. But the healers are not therefore Biblical Apostles. They must withdraw, and confess that their faith is not like the men of old, nor their gift, nor their office.
Those who continue to rise, give themselves titles, receive honor among men, will be humbled one day. Those who abolish their ambitious desire for title, and humbly serve as the little child whom Jesus used as a model, will be exalted.
But those who seek the office of Biblical Apostle will find out soon enough that all positions are filled. The foundations of the New Jerusalem are laid, and the names of no modern apostle are on those pillars. Get over it, ladies and gentlemen, and join the vigilant servants of Jesus.
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