There is a false teaching of the Pentacostal, Charismatic and Evangelical churches known as the ‘five-fold ministry’ that claims the existence of Prophets and Apostles in their churches today. 

Biblical Prophets essentially predict the future and deliver God’s message. Their existence today is disproved by the evident passing away of the miraculous gifts and by nature of the fact, that the God that the so-called modern prophets follow and teach is not the God of the bible. They are therefore doubly false prophets as they are not in fact prophets at all and do not preach the gospel at all.

These churches also claim to have Apostles in their midst. This is simply not possible owing to the qualifications in scripture necessary for the position.

Acts 1:15-26

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 he was one of our number and shared in this ministry.”

18 (With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the book of Psalms,

“‘May his place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in it,’

and,

“‘May another take his place of leadership.’

21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

23 So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

We can see clearly from scripture that to be one of the Apostles (one of the 12) there were specific requirements. Even to replace an Apostle one had to have been (1) present in Jesus ministry AND (2) be an eye witness of the resurrected Jesus. This position of one of the 12 Apostles which could only be taken up during the lifetime of those that were with Jesus has therefore passed away with the death of the last qualified person. Peter showed that there was a prophesy that demanded the position of Judas be filled (Acts 1:20) but there was no such command to replace any other Apostle. Yet churches still appoint their own Apostolic successors. They have no authority to do so. Scripture denies them this authority. In spite of clear Scriptures on this issue they act as though they have this authority.

Someone will say, ‘What about the Apostle Paul?’

The Apostle Paul was a Pharisee and a murderous persecutor who after the direct intervention of Jesus became an Apostle ‘as one abnormally born’. He was not an exception to either the first or second rule.

After his converting he was with Jesus for three years in Arabia (Gal 1:17)! The other Apostles ‘added nothing’ to Paul’s message (Gal 2:6). This is because Jesus gave the message to Paul during his three years in Arabia. Paul says exactly this in,

Galatians 1:11-12

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

And again he repeated details regarding his ministry time with Jesus in 1 Cor 11:23 and 15:3.

Paul met the first qualification for Apostleship in that he was in ministry with Jesus. Paul also met the second qualification for Apostleship. He met the risen Jesus after the resurrection,

Acts 9:4-6 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Paul’s ministry was a singular one-off role (Rom 11:13) and a gift (1 Corinthians 12:27-31).

Ultimately Paul was also baptised for the forgiveness of all his sin (Acts 22:16). This made him a saved (1Pet 3:21) disciple (Mat 28:19), something he was well aware of (Rom 6:3-6). There are no Apostles alive today. It is not surprising that those people who are calling themselves Apostles today are not actually believing in the true gospel and do not preach baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Those people who are calling themselves Apostles today are not even Christians according to the scriptures. There is no five-fold ministry. Even the term five-fold ministry is a twisting of the Scriptures. There are more than five positions of leadership mentioned in the New Testament. For example the Ephesians 4:11 passage leaves out Deacons (1 Tim 3:8) and the women who taught women (Titus 2:3-5). Disciples are free to differenciate new positions as the need arises so long as these roles do not go beyond scripture.

The word Apostle is used in a more general sense referring to disciples in the early church who were ‘messengers’ of the churches and the bible mentions one woman in this role (Rom 16:7). The role of the 12 Apostles to organise the inscripturation of the New Testament (2 Pet 3:15-16) and confirm the Word of God with miracles is no longer necessary or evident in the world. We have the complete Bible.

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