April 26, 2000

For some time now, I thought that the role of apostles would be a good topic to discuss. Bordtodis also wrote and suggested that the Manifest Sons would be good. In one way or another, I would think that the apostles of the last days that God is raising up and the Manifest Sons are at least part of the same. We may discuss if they are separate discussions but let's see if we can take on these things together starting with the role of apostles first as being gifted members of the body under the headship of Jesus. Then we can take on the issues of the rest of the other callings in the five-fold, next with the role of prophets and then pastors (which may include elders and deacons), evangelists and teachers. Once we are done with that, we go on to a (hopefully and prayerfully) prophetic evaluation of the manifest sons from the perspective of the last days five-fold that God has put together.

The manifest sons issue has been dealt with before but the problem is, that pride and a deceptive, delusional spirit has taken over in the past and become denominational schismatic conclusions rather than a submissive one that still continues to this day. What I mean are the examples of the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses and the Adventists and the Church of Christ and the Worldwide Church of God and every other past restoration wannabees that have come up with their own conclusions in the flesh have proved themselves to be a failure out of not being in God's own timing. The advantage that we have is that the true last day prophets and apostles have born witness with God's spirit that there has been a birthing the last few years of something that is beyond the bias, contention, exclusiveness and division that has marked past movements. It cannot be denied except by those that do not have the spirit of God in full measure. And it has been in a collective spirit and not subject to the leadership of any one man or one church but rather submitting to each other as we all submit to the Lord. Look around the five-fold as you will see it is true. We may want to discuss whether this is what identifies the false movements. We should certainly discuss what identifies a false apostle as well as the true ones.

We need not make any conclusions as to the end-time five-fold ministers being the manifest sons, I am suggesting that it may be so but I would also think that it may be those that are under the ministry as well and following the direction that God has led us into. The group has the freedom to discuss whether you think that it is something entirely different. That is another point of discussion - should all believers desire to be in the five-fold ministry giftings? Apostleship is not something that you can desire and ask of God, that is God's choice, but prophecy is. Paul says that we should all desire to prophesy, ask and it shall be given you, this is the one gift that seems to differentiate the latter rain outpouring from other times. We should also realize that many are called but few are chosen, so many that hear the voice of God end up making the mistake of going out on their own. We all have seen prophets and apostles that think that they are the end to God's voice, have it all and will not submit to the rest.

There are apostles in this discussion group and a good representation of prophets. Most have been content to be on the side-lines, now is a good time to rise up and be heard.

To kick this off, below is a reprinted article of Doug Morrell for you to review concerning apostles that I put onto my new Five-Fold today page last week. It is good and gives some requirements for an apostle but does acknowledge that not all attributes could be assigned to all. Any believer should have the freedom to allow God to develop oneself however He leads without legalistic boundaries or identifications, it would be too easy to reject a true apostle that does not conform to a set of rules. He mentions the issue of authority which we should discuss and recognizes that the false among those with the dictatorship and lordship over the church. Also below that is my own essay on apostles, not as good but from a different perspective, you do not have to agree with it, let's have a good discussion.

Get back to me on "The Role of an Apostle Today".


A sister wrote: "I have a question for you from your devotional on local churches. My question comes from the following statements"

There was no central headquarters which controlled the local churches. In Eph. 4:9-11; 2:20; 3:5; Luke 11:49-52 and 1 Cor. 12 the fivefold ascension-gift ministries which Christ set in the church are mentioned. Note, these were all given AFTER His ascension, exaltation and glorification.

Many generally accept to some measure evangelists, shepherds and teachers, but why is there lack of acceptance of the two other ministries? Many would argue, "apostles and prophets are not for today, only for the establishment of the early church in the period of transition." A study of the New Testament shows that the apostles and prophets were as human as the evangelists, shepherds and teachers.

Her Question: "What would be the role of an apostle for today then. I used to attend a church where the leadership called themselves apostles, and they functioned as headquarters which controlled the local churches. They have all these churches that have "placed themselves under their authority as apostles. They also believe it is sin if the leadership of that local church decides to no longer be under their umbrella. Thanks for having devotionals with "meat". -M.J.

Based on many references including "The Church In The New Testament" by Kevin J. Conner, I will attempt to answer as concisely and briefly as possible.

There are many today in the ministry who refer to themselves by various titles (some are self-appointed and others truly God-appointed). The problem here is twofold: we have for too long denied the truth of a plurality of leadership and we have have chosen the one office "pastor" and call almost every ministry by this title. This is inconsistent with Scripture. That is, we have accepted the role of the shepherd and to a degree the ministry of the evangelist and teacher, but have not accepted the ministry of the apostle and prophet. This places a burden on the one man. Perhaps this is why there is such a break-down in the ministry today; morally, mentally, emotionally, physically and in other ways. God never intended one man to shoulder the responsibility of oversight of His church on one man. Only Christ, who is the Chief Shepherd, can oversee and manage the universal church of God (1 Pet. 5:4). Maybe we have so embraced the one office, i.e., "pastor" that we have placed a hindrance on the recognition and acceptance of the other four ascension gift ministries.

The Ministry of the Apostle: Greek 652. apostolos, ap-os'-tol-os; from Grk 649; a delegate; spec. an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ ["apostle"] (with miraculous powers):-apostle, messenger, he that is sent.

"And He gave some, apostles..." (Eph. 4:11)

The ministry of the apostle is one that is much understood. It has been relegated to the period from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant (especially to the period of the Book of Acts and early Church history). However, the Ephesian Epistle clearly says that Christ, after His ascension, gave gifts to men, "He gave some, apostles..." These gifts were given for a period of time, "until the Church comes to unity and maturity." I do not believe this has come to pass yet, therefore, the gifts Christ gave are still in effect regardless of whether or not we accept them.

Although there are over 80 references to apostles, among these are about 15 other persons mentioned or designated as apostles besides the original 12 Apostles of our Lord Jesus. These were named after Christ's ascension:

  • Matthias (Acts 1:26)
  • James, the Lord's brother (Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:19; 2:9)
  • Paul (Acts 14:14)
  • Barnabas (Acts 4:36; 11:22-30; 14:1, 4, 14; 1 Cor. 9:6)
  • Apollos (1 Cor. 4:6-9)
  • Andronicus (Rom. 16:7)
  • Junia (Rom. 16:7)
  • Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25, {messenger is Apostle})
  • Titus (2 Cor. 8:23 {messenger is Apostle})
  • Two unnamed brothers (2 Cor. 8:23)
  • Timothy (Acts 19:22; 1 Thess. 2:6)
  • Judas (Acts 15:23; 1 Thess 2:6)
  • Silas/Silvanus (Acts 15:23; 1 Thess. 2:6; 1:1)
  • Erastus (Acts 19:22)
  • Tychicus (2 Tim. 4:12)

A study of the lives and ministries of these as apostles show that none of these compared with Paul had the kinds of revelations, signs and wonders or the same apostolic ministry given. Still, they were called apostles, but apostles of lesser order and grace appointment. One obvious conclusion could be that throughout Church history, none have compared to the original 12, nor with the apostle Paul, but many could be compared and spoken of as lesser apostles. Nonetheless, they are still apostles. It must always be remembered that it is Christ who gives this ministry according to the measure of grace and the measure of the gift that HE desires to manifest in and through them (Rom. 12:1-6; Eph. 4:7).

The calling of the apostle, as any other ministry, must have a distinct calling of the Lord. Paul's calling and election was confirmed in time by the Lord and other ministries in the body of Christ. Timothy and Titus were apostles and their calling was confirmed by the laying on of hands of apostolic ministries (Acts 16:1-3; 19:22; Rom. 16:1; 1 Cor. 4:17; Phil. 2:19-24; 1 Thess. 3:2; 1 Tim. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:2). An apostle will know that he is "a man sent from God," for an apostle is also a sent one.

The apostle, just as any of the other fivefold ministries, must be qualified: He must have the character qualifications of an elder.

An apostle will have a servant heart: It seems that in becoming an apostle it is not a matter of rising to some lofty height, but rather, of becoming low. An apostle will have spiritual authority: This is not dictatorship or lordship over God's church. It is not assumed authority. It is spiritual authority. Paul exercised a spiritual authority among the Churches and workers but not an official authority, controlling them and their movements. He did "send" and "leave" and "persuade" and "encourage" his workers to do certain things for the Gospel, but he did leave it their knowing the will of the Lord. An apostle is a spiritual father: but he will not be called "father" (Mth. 23:1-12; 1 John 2:12-14) An apostle will be sound in doctrine: (Acts 2:42; Rom. 16:25, 26). He will also have apostolic revelation, insight, understanding and wisdom of the Word, both Old and New Testaments (Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:5; 1 Cor. 14:26; Mth. 16:13-18). He will be able to make apostolic decisions on doctrinal isssues (Acts 15). He will be clothed in humility: the greatest will be the humblest. He will not be given to self-glory or want pre-eminence (1 Cor. 4:9; John 5:44; 3 John 9, 10). He will be noted for patience: (2 Cor. 12:12) He will be exemplary as a leader: (1 Cor. 11:1) the safeguard is that we may follow any ministry as long as he follows close to Christ. If he no longer follows close to Christ, we do not follow the leader but Christ. He will manifest the qualities of Divine love: (1 Cor. 13; 2 Cor. 12:15)

Regarding the Ministry of the apostle: (it is important to remember that all these attributes cannot be assigned to all, for it is Christ who measures the grace-gift)

this ministry is given to the Body of Christ for the perfecting and maturing of the saints; the work of the ministry, to bring saints into the work of their ministry; edification; bringing of the saints into the unity of the faith; bringing them to the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man; to bringing them to the measure of

the stature of Christ's fullness; to bringing them out of childhood into adulthood.
involves founding/establishing New Testament local Churches on the sure foundation of Christ Jesus.
involves preaching/teaching the Word of the Lord.
involves signs and wonders AS THE SPIRIT wills.
involves ordination and appointment of ministries.
involves the baptism of the Holy Spirit
involves preparation/placing of other possible ministries.
involves Church judgments/disciplines.
involves vision for the whole Body of Christ.
involves apostolic ministry especially to the Churches he founds.
willing to sacrificially suffer for the Church.
willing to be tested and proven true.
characterized by wisdom.
may minister in other of the fivefold ministries as the Lord wills.
will set God's house in Divine order.
will be identified with a local church.

As with all ministries, Scripture warns against false apostles (2 Cor. 11:13; 12:11; Rev. 2:2). They are false, not because they claimed apostleship, but because of the false doctrines they taught, leading people astray from the truth of the Gospel.

May you all continue to grow in grace and truth...

Live Christ Deliberately!
Christian Outfitters

The meaning of the word apostles are the "sent forth ones." It comes from the Greek "I send" and "from" and is essentially the same word "apostolos" as we use in English. The original twelve disciples are the foundation apostles that stand as the pillars of the church. They were to "be with Jesus" and were called to cast out demons. There are pillars of the church called to be apostles today, this is a definite higher calling of the apostolic gift but the word apostle also includes anyone who has been sent by God for a special calling like missionaries or special emissaries. Paul, Barnabas and Silas all held the office of apostles "sent" by the Lord, as well as the disciples and many other New Testament persons.

The apostles of today are still being sent out from Jesus to carry His message. Apostles are counted with the five-fold ministry among the prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers until "we all come in the unity of the faith." When you are sent, you go in the name of the One who sent you. Jesus said, "As my Father has sent me, even so I send you." There are also false apostles whom the Lord has not sent but go anyway. Those apostles of the Bride of Christ in these last days will dwell in the holy of holies to bring others in with them.

Billy Graham uses the word apostle in three senses. First that apostleship is used in a general sense that all of us are sent into the world by Christ. The second uses are the messengers sent on particular errands. The third is the gift of apostleship.

In the everyday life of Greco-Roman world, an apostle was one sent to arrange a marriage or divorce or to deliver a legal decision. The Jewish Sanhedrin had its apostles also and sent messengers with information to the various outlining communities. Paul was at first an emissary of the Sanhedrin, an apostolos, he later became an apostle for Jesus. The seventy disciples that Jesus sent out door to door were apostles.

The office of apostle is used in the correct sense also in the Quran. "O Lord! Send among them an apostle of their own, who shall rehearse your signs to them, instruct them in scripture and wisdom, and sanctify them." The last Imam is the final apostle sent to only one of the many fragments of the nation of Islam to do exactly what Mohammed prayed for.

Those of the five-fold ministry understand the office of apostleship being in the church today. To understand one is to understand the other. This truth has been altered by puritan ignorance in today's lukewarm churches that have not filled their lamps but those who accept Jesus within them willingly look to apostles for spiritual guidance, wisdom and holiness.

The apostolic office has been restored but because the Lord is raising so many apostles today, the enemy is also raising up false ones that look and act like the real thing with subtle differences. Christians have the responsibility to discern between true apostles and false ones. Jesus commended the Church of Ephesus in the revelation to John who wrote, "I know your works and your labor and your patience and how you cannot bear them which are evil. And you have tried them which say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars."

False apostles will in one way or another exhibit false characteristics. You will find false apostles with the sins of the Nicolaitans in the Babylonian "pecking order" of fleshly authority, they will forbid women in the five-fold, they will exalt themselves and try to gather others around them, they will come with their own agenda and traditions of men. False apostles will see the army of God as likened unto a worldly army with many ranks instead of us marching in one rank. False apostles might not have faith in God's provision and may feel the need to beg for money. Instead of coming into one accord to the truth, they will have others come to them according to their own version of the truth. The fundamentalist legalists among them will hold to the letter and not the spirit or even being subject to the prophets. They lack true wisdom but are wise in their own eyes. Many will be a law unto themselves and consider themselves infallible, they become authoritarian, manipulative and tyrannical, expecting absolute obedience.

Many false apostles are called but because of the pride of their calling they become false and are led away into delusion and arrogance. They will not acknowledge Jesus as the only leader but will preach apostolic leadership with their own kind as chiefs. They are easy to spot if you know what you are looking for, they want to be first in the kingdom and for us to follow them, don't do it, only follow Jesus. Submit only under the covering of those apostles who are true servants and ministers, have humbled themselves, pour love upon the brethren, cast their crowns at the foot of Jesus' throne and point the way.

True apostles throughout history are also easy to find if you look for them. They are the ones that emanate power and glory in their lives and are progressive enough by God's standards to be opposed by the established conservative church leadership. True apostles are not the leaders but rather the ones that point to the real leader, the Lord Jesus Christ. Apostles are called by God directly. If you feel that you have been called as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ in these last days, you need to know that you are to be sealed by God and should seek to prophetically identify your calling in the witness of the five-fold and get with those that you are called with to serve. Be led of Jesus, don't join the first apostolic group you see, test them first.

Latter Rain Discussion Archives

The Lord has given us the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers

As One Body

  • We prepare for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
  • Harvest the Fruit of the Latter Rain
  • Follow Him as the Army of the Lord into His Glory

Help To Prepare A Holy Bride!

Issue Oriented Discussion Newsletter

Index | Search This Site | Aristide.Org | The Latter Rain | Babylon the Great | The Kingdom | The Nicolaitans | Jezebel
The Baptism With the Holy Ghost | The Grand Delusion | World Trade Org | Liberation Theology | Jay Atkinson | Alphabetical Index