Devotional - Abusing Apostleship - Stop Chasing Man

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. 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, 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.” So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. - Acts 1: 21-26 (NIV)

    Beloved, it is my sincere prayer for you and for all of us who claim to be followers of Christ that we spend our efforts in actually following Christ. There is an marked increase in these last days of following man. We follow pastors and worship them. Place them on pedestals they do not belong on and cannot survive on. We worship the buildings they create, carving out our piece of churchianity that says the name of Jesus enough to make us feel pious but then we turn a blind eye to specious doctrine and teachings that are simply unbiblical. What is worse is we now follow men who are self appointed. Men who self promote. Who lift themselves up above the common Christian. Who claim some level of spiritual superiority by misusing the Bible and take titles that do not belong to them One of the most abused titles today is that of Apostle. Let me be clear up front. There are no more apostles today. The office has been closed since the death of John, the last apostle. Now before everyone flies into a charismatic tizzy let us agree that the final arbiter of anything we believe in, or heaven forbid follow, must be supported by Scripture. We cannot just make it up as we go along. We cannot use enough biblical words without biblical foundation. We cannot wrest Scriptures out of context to suit our own ends. Let us start with the knowledge that impersonating apostles is as old as the original office:

    "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: "The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. ""I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.- Revelation 2: 1-2 (ESV)

    Even at the early Church at Ephesus there were people trying to pass themselves off as apostles but they were tested and proven false. What is the test then? Looking at the key verses we have a glimpse into the only time in Scripture that an apostle had to be replaced and Peter makes it abundantly clear. They needed to be with the twelve the whole time Jesus was with them and become witness of His resurrection. They cast lots and Matthias was named to replace Judas. The only other apostle was Paul, who was commissioned by Christ Himself (Acts 9). Paul was witness to the resurrected Christ and also warned about people claiming to be apostles:

    And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. - 2Corinthians 11: 12-13 (NIV)

    No man nominated Paul or commissioned Paul. More importantly, when he spoke about being an apostle he said he did not even deserve the title for he once persecuted the church. Despite evangelizing the entire known world, he always considered himself the least of the apostles and referred to himself as a bondservant, or slave or Christ. In reading the great humility with which he ministered you simply cannot imagine he ever introduced himself as "the Apostle Paul." For him as the rest of the apostles, it was always about lifting up Jesus, not themselves. Wait a minute preacher! What about Ephesians four? What about it?

    And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherdsand teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, - Ephesians 4: 11-12 (ESV)

    Yes, God did give the apostles and prophets for equipping the saints for the work of ministry but this is only two lines in a letter that has six chapters. It was not until the 13th century that chapters were added to the original text. The first rule of hermeneutics is context. When Ephesians was written there were no chapters. It was one whole letter written to the Church at Ephesus, not so coincidentally the same church Jesus was writing to in Revelation when He commended them for determining false apostles among them. Let us go back earlier in the letter to understand the full context:

    So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.- Ephesians 2: 19-22 (ESV)

    The apostles and the prophets are the foundation of the church with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. This language would not be lost on the original hearers of this letter. You do not lay a foundation twice. This is why Paul specifically mentions only the apostles and prophets here as foundational and then in chapter four he lists all of the positions God has provided to help the church.

    It is at this point that charismaniacs like to point out the other handful of people referred to as apostle in the New Testament, such as James and Barnabas. Yes, the greek word for messenger does translate as apostle but the overarching point that they continue to miss is that the apostolic age had not come to an end yet. The foundation for the church was still being laid according to Ephesians 2. Thus I have no issue if there were other apostles listed during this time, whether or not they actually were on par with the 12 and Paul.

    The word apostle means "one sent forth" and in this case they were sent forth by Jesus. We run into all sorts of authority problems when we take someone at their word, 2000 years later, that now they too have been sent forth by the Lord. I had written in the past about obvious charlatan apostleships who claim for $50 they can send you an "apostle kit" and you too can be an apostle. Instead today, let us look at what is considered the most recognized apostleship organizations, the International Coalition of Apostles:

    Just in case you thought I was kidding, the above link takes you to their homepage, which reveals quite a bit about this false group of wannabe apostles. Remember now the Bible is our arbiter of truth. This organization makes many claims; including:

    * That a second apostolic age started "somewhere around 2001."

    * That the founder is what is known as a "convening apostle", which apparently gives him the right to decide who is called into the fellowship.

    * That there are horizontal apostles and vertical apostles.

    * That the founder was "directed by the Lord" to ask C. Peter Wagner to be the "Presiding Apostle." Several years later, Wagner claims he was "directed by the Lord" to give back this role to the founder.

    * That apostles have three basic characteristics - they are Ambassadors, General-Governors, and Patriarchs.

    * To become an apostle, one must pay an annual fee of $450; $650 for married couples who both are apostles. If you are a Native American apostle, you get a $100 discount.

    There is so much more to see but I hope the point has been made. What do all of these claims have in common? That's right, none of them are supported biblically. Then again, the entire claim of a second apostolic age is pure heresy. Why would God have not revealed that in His Word? You see Wagner and his ilk knew that the offices of Apostle and Prophet were closed at the end of the first Apostolic Age so to circumvent that they just pretended that God was putting the band back together. Of course no one can question any of it on its face because everything was given through supposed divine revelation. Let me illustrate how this works...

    Wait a minute, the Spirit of God is speaking to me and confirming for me that C. Peter Wagner and the New Apostolic Reformation are false prophets, false teachers, and false apostles. Yes, it is confirmed in my Spirit.

    See how easy that works? The only difference between my divine revelation and theirs is mine is supported by the Bible. The Word of God does not say anywhere that there are vertical, horizontal, presiding, convening or any other types of apostles that this group claims there are. It does not speak about charging dues in order to be an apostle. It does not speak about apostles being generals, governors, or patriarchs. Quite simply, none of this is true. It is all the fantasy and creation of little boys wanting to pretend they are little gods. The damage is far reaching too. You cannot walk a mile today without bumping into someone who claims to be an "apostle." Never mind that they meet none of the biblically specified qualifications. More importantly - who proclaimed them to be an apostle? What was their right to do so?

    I have seen organizations run by wannabe apostles and prophets or even the equally ludicrous title of "psalmist." They will come out to your church and for the right amount of money they will lower the lights, play the manipulative music in the background as they sputter on an on about establishing a "prophetic culture" in your church. Try and teach people who they have no clue about their calling to move in giftings that only the Holy Spirit is supposed to administer. The saddest thing about all of these false movements is the complete lack of any discernment by so many people who follow them, support them, and swear by them. Forget the Bible - they are chasing man.

    It is making a mockery of God. It is making a mockery of the apostles, nearly all of whom were martyred for their faith. It is making a mockery of the Holy Spirit by usurping the power and decisions that are within His responsibilities. It gives credence to the cessationist arguments that claim all of the gifts are no longer in operation. Fifty dollar apostle kits. Four hundred and fifty dollar annual apostle dues. Prophets claiming God told him who was gong to win the Super Bowl. Entire doctrines being created out of the thin air of carnality and then pawned off as a move of God. Thousands upon thousands of people being led like lambs to the slaughter; pursuing man. Pursuing the next great revelation. Pursuing the next great experience. No longer pursuing Jesus Christ. Beloved we have been warned:

    In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. - 2Timothy 4: 1-4 (NIV)

    The time has come. It is here. People would rather follow fake signs and wonders than read their bibles. They would rather seek some new revelation from an anti-christ spirit than read their bibles. They would rather feel like they follow a modern day apostle than learn about the real ones by reading their bibles. So they gather around them an International Coalition of False Apostles to scratch their itching ears. They gather around them people who will turn their ears away from the truth of God and make them chase myths. Myths about a new apostolic age. Myths about vertical, horizontal, presiding, and convening apostles. Myths about prophets who cannot properly prophesy the winner of a football game. A fifty-fifty proposition and they still were wrong by 35 points. And the people just lap it up. Jacob Prasch said recently in a sermon if someone insists on calling themselves a prophet it is only because they are looking to make one (profit). Well, according to the Bible if someone insists on calling themselves an apostle we can be assured they are either lying or seriously deceived by Satan. Either way - stop following man. Pick your Bible back up and start following Jesus again.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - February 18, 2014

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