Do Apostles Exist Today?
For several decades there has been a growing movement which has been promoting the concept and teaching that God has been restoring the office of apostle and prophet within the church. This particular movement is known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).
Therefore in many churches today throughout the world, one will notice that there is a growing number of leaders who claim to hold both the title and the office of “apostle” or “prophet”. As such these leaders will claim to possess the same authority, the same power and the same ministry of apostleship as Biblical apostles such as Peter, Paul, John, James and any of the other apostles whom Jesus Christ personally hand-picked or selected.
However, do apostles still exist today? What does the Bible say are the qualifications of an apostle? Does the Bible support the existence of the office of apostle centuries after the canon of scripture has been completed? Do the people who claim to be apostles today have the same power, authority and ministry functions as the 12 apostles whom Jesus selected?
It’s important to note that the teaching through the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement that God is restoring back the office of apostle and prophet is unbiblical and therefore a false teaching.
Therefore people should be cautious to avoid being deceived and led astray by the NAR movement and some of their other teachings.
Below let’s have a look at the reasons why there are no true apostles today and why the office of apostle and prophet ceased to exist at least 2000 years ago.
WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF AN APOSTLE?
The word apostle means “sent ones” or one who is sent on a mission. The Bible teaches us that to be an apostle of Jesus Christ one had to meet a specific criteria or qualifications to become an apostle. From Luke 6:13 we learn that from among Christ’s many disciples, Jesus chose only 12 people to have the special designation of becoming an apostle. Later in Scripture after Judas’ betrayal, people like Matthias and Paul were also selected to be apostles.
According to Scripture the criteria for being an apostle are the following:
1. An apostle had to have physically seen the Lord and been an eyewitness of Christ’s resurrection (Acts 1:22; 22:14; 1 Corinthians 9:1).
2. A true apostle had to be someone who followed Jesus during His entire earthly ministry beginning from Jesus’ baptism to Jesus’ ascension into Heaven (Acts 1:22)
3. A true apostle had to be someone who was personally selected and hand-picked by Jesus Christ Himself (Luke 6:13)
4. An apostle had the God-given authority and inspiration by the Holy Spirit to write Scripture
5. An apostle performed verifiable signs, miracles and wonders which proved that they were apostles who were specifically selected by Jesus (2 Corinthians 12:12)
Many of the people who claim to be apostles today do not meet the criteria or qualifications mentioned above.
THE WORK OF THE APOSTLES AS THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH
The work or mission of the apostles was unique and foundational for the universal Church of God.
Ephesians 2:20 says that the Church or the body of Christ was “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets”. What does this mean? This foundation refers to our Christian beliefs and doctrine. Our entire Christian doctrine is based in part on the work and writings of the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles who spoke for God and whom God used in order to write and complete the entire canon of scripture (the Bible) that we read today.
The entire scripture from the Old Testament to the New Testament all point to the Messiah, Jesus Christ who is the chief cornerstone of the Church.
Therefore the foundation of the Church was built upon the unique mission and purpose that God had given both His prophets from the Old Testament and the few apostles He commissioned in the New Testament with Jesus Christ being the central message.
Therefore the Bible with all its 66 books would not exist without the writings and work of the prophets and apostles. So prophets and apostles represented God in a unique way in that they would speak and write for God, by the inspiration and authority of the Holy Spirit, thereby setting the foundation for the Church which is the Christian / Biblical doctrines and beliefs.
None of the people who claim to be “apostles” or “prophets” today can claim to write scriptures under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit nor can they claim to have physically seen the resurrected Jesus.
Within the pages of God’s word from Genesis to Revelations, God has said all that He wants to say to mankind. Therefore any so-called new revelations or new prophecies from anyone claiming to be an apostle or prophet should be scrutinized and judged through the lenses of God’s scriptures.
Revelations 22:18-19 pronounces a curse on anyone who attempts to add or subtract the contents of God’s word.
WHO or WHAT ARE FALSE APOSTLES?
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says: For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
Anyone who claims to hold the office of an apostle can be described as a false apostle. To be a true apostle one has to meet most of the 5 criteria or qualifications mentioned above.
Therefore none of the men today who claim to be apostles meet any of the 5 qualifications.
The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement is therefore a false movement because one of their primary beliefs that God is restoring the office of prophet and apostle is unbiblical and misleading.
The hidden agenda of these types of movements is rooted in man’s sinful desire to lord over, control or have unbiblical power and authority over others. It is a narcissistic agenda.
Most people who claim to be apostles are “super apostles” who claim to have equal or surpassing authority than Christ’s apostles who are mentioned in the Bible. The NAR movement and other false apostles also claim that they themselves are the “foundation” of the Church. These false apostles also claim to sit at the top of the “church hierarchy” and therefore believe that whatever they teach or prophesy or declare cannot be challenged by anyone because of their ministry of “apostleship”.
However, the office of apostle and prophet ceased almost 2000 years ago because the canon of scripture is complete. The foundation of the Church is already built with Jesus Christ as its chief cornerstone. It is not man who will build the church but it is Jesus Christ who will build His Church.
We must therefore be careful to avoid being misled by anyone claiming to be an apostle or prophet or by any teachings that are linked to the NAR movement.