Are There Apostles and Prophets Today?
While it has become increasingly popular to believe in the restoration of “end-time” apostles and prophets, the Bible clearly does not support this notion.
First, to address this question we must first learn to scale the language barrier. In other words, the issue is not so much the words “prophet” or “apostle” but the meaning that is ascribed to these words. For example, apostle may be used in the sense of a church planter, a missionary, or a pastor of pastors. Likewise, prophet may be used in the sense of a leader who inspires the church with vision for its mission or who challenges the church to deeper commitment to Christ. However, the words “apostle” and “prophet” must not be used in a synonymous sense with the first-century apostle John or the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. People whose authority cannot be questioned or who receive new doctrinal revelations simply do not exist today.
Furthermore, the Bible teaches that apostles and prophets were commissioned by God to be his personal spokesmen. Moreover, Ephesians 2:20 tells us that the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” Clearly, then, those who claim to be that kind of apostle and prophet today have taken upon themselves authority that was not given to them by God.
Finally, the prophetic words of Scripture expose today’s pretenders. Not only do they fail the biblical tests given in Deuteronomy 13 and 18, as well as Acts 1:21–22, but “they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity” (2 Peter 2:18–19).
“‘How can we know when a message has not been
spoken by the LORD?’ If what a prophet proclaims in
the name of the LORD does not take place or come true,
that is a message the LORD has not spoken.
That prophet has spoken presumptuously.
Do not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:21–22
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