Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Anyone Can be an Apostle! (Sarcastically Said)

There are many in the church today who call themselves apostles.  Are there apostles among us today?  Is that office still relevant in today's church?  What does it even mean to be an apostle?  The answer to the last question answers the others.  Let's look at some Scripture.
Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection."  And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.  And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen  to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place." And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.  Acts 1:21-26 NKJV
I would be remiss if I did not also include the calling of Paul.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  1 Corinthians 15:1-9 NKJV
From this we see several qualifications to be an apostle.  First, the original apostles first chose a group of men they trusted who were with them from the beginning.  Now here is the important part, of those people they trust, the absolute must was that this person was a witness of His resurrection.  Furthermore, they did not select the person but inquired of the Lord to choose.  Then we see with Paul that he met the criteria in that he was chosen directly by Jesus (see Acts) and he was the last and final witness to His resurrection.  From this we see two crucial qualifications above and beyond all else:  He must be selected by the Lord and not man and he had to be a witness to His resurrection. 

And there lies the problem for the so-called apostles of today.  If Paul was the last to see the risen Lord, how could they have seen him?  If the Lord directly chose each of the other apostles, how are those chosen today?  Basically, today's apostles are self-chosen perhaps with the added weight of a proclamation of a "prophet."  People determine they are an apostles by filling out quizzes or through some bizarre finger feeling thing they do.  Others just "feel" they are called to be an apostle.  Unfortunately, they have no scriptural basis for their actions. 

The fact is that the Biblical office of the apostle is no longer relevant.  They completed their purpose of being witnesses of the risen Lord and in establishing the church and church doctrine.  Many people like to call themselves apostles today, some even use that as a title when referencing themselves.  Unfortunately, it is just not true.  There are no longer apostles roaming the earth.  It is merely a construct of the dominionist movement, which is roundly dismissed as heretical.  Paul was the last to see the risen Lord and so was the last apostle.  He established the church in the gentile world and his epistles define church doctrine.  There is no need for another, only to follow the guidelines and doctrine spoken by God through Paul and the other apostles.  Sometimes what we want does not fit in with Scripture.  The answer is to conform ourselves and recognize those ideas as wrong.  The answer is not to call someone an apostle to rewrite church doctrine to conform it to us.  They laid the foundation, it is for us to build upon that foundation and not seek to change it.
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner[stone], in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.  Ephesians 2:19-22 NKJV

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