This is a follow-up to an earlier post, Why There Are No Modern-Day Prophets. In that article, I mentioned how proponents of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) believe they are modern-day apostles and prophets, and as such, Christians must yield to their leadership because God has exclusively appointed them to lead the church. Therefore, questioning these NAR apostles would be questioning God, apparently. Ephesians 4:11 is used to support this conclusion; however, as we see in Ephesians 2:20, the apostles and prophets were part of the foundation of the church. We don’t need to add (or forbid, take away) from that foundation.
Three Kinds of Apostles
1. Apostles of Jesus Christ
2. Apostles of the Church
Another word for apostle is “messenger”, or “sent one”. All Christians are called to share the Gospel and are apostles in that sense, but we do not hold the position of office of apostle.
3. False Apostles
2 Corinthians 11:13 says there are “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ”.
Notice the verse says they transformed themselves into apostles. They were not appointed by God.
This is what The Expositor’s Bible Commentary has to say about this passage:
Paul does not even contest the right of his adversaries to support but rather lays against them a single all-embracing charge. Those who vaunted their apostleship and vainly sought equality with him were in fact “false apostles,” apostolic pretenders who passed themselves off as “righteous servants” of Christ (cf. 11:23) while in reality they were agents of Satan. Like their principal, the arch-deceiver John 8:44) whose habit was to masquerade “as a shining angel,” they relied on disguise and deceit in carrying out their nefarious schemes such as the corruption of the intellect and the diversion of the affections from Christ (vv. 3, 4). What was false was not simply their claim to apostleship but also their message. Behind both were Satanic designs upon the Corinthians—designs Paul was well aware of (2:11). The destiny of these men would accord with the actual deeds they performed (cf. 5:10; Philippians 3:19), not the outward appearance they adopted (cf. 5:12). As preachers of “a different gospel” (v. 4), they stood under the anathema of Galatians 1:8, 9.1″
False apostles are anathema – eternally cursed! This is serious stuff.
Witnesses of the Risen Lord
Other than being chosen by Christ to be part of the foundation of the church, there was an additional qualification for being an apostle. According to Acts 1:21-22, they needed to have witnessed the risen Lord:
Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living 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.”
It goes without saying that the promoters of the NAR have not witnessed the Lord’s Resurrection.
Scripture Refers to Apostles in the Past Tense
In 2 Peter 3:2, Peter told his readers to compare the teachings of the heretical teachers with the teachings that had been spoken before by holy prophets and apostles. These prophets and apostles had spoken as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). There are no new revelations, as Jude 3-4 says – we are to contend for the faith once delivered.
How blessed we are to have been granted this faith and these teachings! They are given to us by God, delivered by the apostles and prophets, fought for by the many martyrs and yearned for by desperate souls in countries where the Bible is banned. What a position of privilege we are in! Let’s not defile our privilege with these destructive heresies such as this modern-day apostle heresy (2 Peter 2:1-3).
Soli Deo Gloria,
1Harris, M. J. (1976). 2 Corinthians. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans through Galatians (Vol. 10, pp. 388–389). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.