Apostles And Prophets

Q. What do you think of the curent trend in some churches to have people that are called by others and themselves as “Prophets, and Apostles?” They use Ephesians 4:11 and following as their basis. I believe it is called the “Five- Fold Ministry.”

I don’t want to “quench the spirit”, and I know the “gifts” are forever, or until Christ comes, but I’m so uncomfortable with people who call themselves a “Prophet” or an “Apostle.” I believe in the gift of prophecy, and that the gifts are for today, but isn’t there any biblical distinction twixt someone who operates in the “gift of prophecy”, and the office of a “Prophet?” Likewise, I know scripture lists more apostles than the 12 disciples, but I’ve been taught that apostles have seen the risen Lord. Then I’ve heard that “Apostles” are merely those who are “sent out” to establish churches.

You’ve helped clarify so many things, I hope you’ll take a stab at this one.

A. In the early Church, in order to be considered an apostle, one had to have been personally taught by the Lord and have seen Him in a post resurrection appearance. Obviously, the people who could qualify were all dead within a century of the Resurrection. Since then the term apostle is used in some churches to describe a person called into a senior leadership position.

A prophet is someone called by God to officially speak to God’s people on His behalf. During the Church age, the office of prophet is held by Jesus Himself (Hebr. 1:1-2) The gift of prophecy is an entirely different matter and is distributed among the body by the Holy Spirit as He determines for the common good (1 Cor. 12:11)

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