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Apostles are:
Persons sent to accomplish a mission, especially the twelve apostles Jesus commissioned to follow Him. An apostle represents the one sending and has authority to represent the sender in business, political, or educational situations.
Holman Bible Dictionary

Today, certain preachers and teachers refer to themselves and each other as "apostles," claiming that they are apostles in the Biblical sense. Some suggest they are restoring the so-called "five-fold" ministry of Ephesians 4:11-12 javascript popup window On this, see Robert Bowman's article, referred to below.

Many alleged apostles suggest that "God is doing new things", not detailed in Scripture. This, they claim, calls for guidance and administration of the church by "apostles." Rick Joyner, for example, has claimed that from among the so-called Manifest Sons of God, "super-apostles" ("35 Pauls") will be created.

In the less controversial ''house church'' or ''home church'' movement, those who operate in the office of ''apostle'' in the belief that God is restoring the five-fold ministry, generally do not introduce new  (extra-biblical) teachings and practices. (The danger of that eventually happening is, of course, very real). Rather, they act as church planters, missionaries and/or overseers.


Christian Is apostolic succession Biblical?offsite at GotQuestions.org.
However, nowhere in Scripture did Jesus, the apostles, or any other New Testament writer set forth the idea of "apostolic succession." [...] In short, apostolic succession is not biblical. The concept of apostolic succession is never found in Scripture. What is found in Scripture is that the true church will teach what the Scriptures teach and will compare all doctrines and practices to Scripture in order to determine what is true and right. [...] Alignment with Scriptural teaching, not apostolic succession, is the determining factor of the trueness of a church. What is mentioned in Scripture is the idea that the Word of God was to be the guide that the church was to follow (Acts 20:32). It is Scripture that was to be the infallible measuring stick for teaching and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is the Scriptures that teachings are to be compared with (Acts 17:10-12). Apostolic authority was passed on through the writings of the apostles, not through apostolic succession.
Christian The Faulty Foundation of the Five-Fold Ministry by Robert M. Bowman
The New Testament is particularly clear about the temporary role of the apostles, since they were chosen to give eyewitness testimony of the risen Christ (Acts 1:21-26; 5:32; Luke 1:1-4; 1 Cor. 9:1). Paul indicated that he was the last person to see the risen Christ and receive an apostolic commission (1 Cor. 15:8). The epistles of 2 Peter and Jude, among the very last New Testament writings to be penned, exhort the readers to avoid false doctrines by recalling the teachings of the apostles (2 Pet. 1:12-15; 2:1; 3:2, 14-16; Jude 3-4, 17). Peter and Jude did not say, "Listen to the apostles living today," but instead urged believers to "remember what the apostles said." I am not arguing that only the Twelve and Paul were apostles. Barnabas (Acts 14:14), Silas (1 Thess. 2:6; cf. 1:1), and Andronicus and Junia (Rom. 16:7) all were apostles of Christ, and thus were no doubt among the more than 500 witnesses to the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15:6). However, none of these persons was chosen as a successor to an earlier apostle (Matthias was Judas's replacement, not his successor, since Judas had forsaken his apostleship, Acts 1:21-26).

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First posted: Nov 18, 1996
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2009
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