Do we have Apostles today?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Jan 26, 2003.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    This topic is related to other discussions we are having, but I thought it would be interesting to break it out separately. Just who are/were the apostles? Is there more to the apostles than just the first century? Was there a secondary group of apostles in New Testament times? Do modern missionaries/church planters correspond to these secondary apostles? What about references to James the Lord's brother and Barnabas as apostles? How many apostles are named in the Bible? Here is a quote from the New Testament Restoration Foundation web site:
    Verses outside the gospels referring to apostle(s): Acts 1:2,26; 2:37,42,43; 4:33,35-37; 5:2,12,18,29,34,40; 6:6; 8:1,14,18; 9:27; 11:1; 14:4,14; 15:2,4,6,22,23,33; 16:4; Romans 1:1; 11:13; 16:7; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 4:9; 9:1,2,5; 12:28,29; 15:7,9; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 11:5; 11:13; 12:11,12; Galatians 1:1,17,19; Ephesians 1:1; 2:20; 3:5; 4:11 Colossians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:6; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:1,11; Titus 1:1; Hebrews 3:1; 1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; 3:2; Jude 1:17; Revelation 2:2; 18:20; 21:14. Those highlighted are some I think might have particular relevance to the discussion.
     
  2. rlvaughn

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    Some things I find interesting:

    That Barnabas is called an apostle (Acts 14).
    That two little-known individuals may be called apostles (not clear, but Rom. 16:7).
    That "all the apostles" appears to be more than the twelve (I Cor. 15:7, but this is talking Jesus' resurrection, maybe all means all at one time).
    That James the Lord's brother is called an apostle (Gal. 1:19).
    If the apostles were a settled number of individuals, how could the church be deceived by false apostles (II Cor. 11:13; Rev. 2:2)?
     
  3. Artimaeus

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    I had always been taught that one of the qualifications for being an Apostle was that you had to have personally seen Jesus. After reading the suggested scriptures and a few others from other references I have decided that I may have been less right than I thought I was.

    I don't think we have Apostles today like they had then. Apostles had and exercised a certain amount of authority. When the main church at Jerusalem ceased and authority was decentralized to thousands of local churches it became difficult for a "commissioned individual" to exercise much authority because the local church didn't have much authority to delegate. If the term Missionary as we use it today is basically the same thing, OK, but, I don't think the term Apostle will be received because of the close association the term has with being right and with having been with Jesus. Besides we now have all the authority we need, in the Holy Scriptures.
     
  4. rsr

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    Robert, you've posted some tough questions lately.

    I have been unable to come to any firm conclusions; my research has only raised more questions.

    Briefly, the only explanation is the obvious -- that the Twelve (plus Paul?) -- were recognized as having a special office and that where the term is used elsewhere it's in the generic sense, as preacher and church planter.

    Can I back that up? No. There are many passages that make clear that the Apostles are the Twelve. But then there are the odd cases you've cited. James, the brother of Jesus, is named as an Apostle only once, although it is clear he was highly influential in the Jerusalem church from other references.

    As to Andronicus and Junia (Romans 16:7), The Catholic Encyclopedia states that they "probably" were apostles. The NET and ESV both render the text as saying they were "well known to the apostles." The NIV renders it as "They are outstanding among the apostles," while the Geneva Bible translates it as "who are of note among the apostles." It's enough to make your head hurt.

    Was Paul's apostleship of the same order as that of the Twelve? The Didache (circa A.D. 60?) purports to be "Teaching of the Lord to the Nations through the 12 Apostles." Obviously there's no way to know at what point the title subtitle was added. It just seems interesting.

    And what about Matthias? He was picked to succeed Judas, but there is no record that action was repeated when others of the Twelve died; James for example, was martyred fairly early (Acts 12).
     
  5. Sularis

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    I believe that there are full blown Apostles that exist in this world - that meet the criteria in much the same way Paul did

    It is a great gift - but a burdensome one as well

    An Apostle would not be driven to stay in the American church proper - but would be driven out to the disenfranchised, those without the gospel

    Thats one of the reasons missionaries are often considered small a apostles

    The only time you would see an apostle is in his infancy a full blown apostle - tends to avoid other mature Christians - since his gift is not for them
     
  6. Shqippy

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    What an interesting explanation! Certainly brings to mind Will Campbell's ministry. Thanks for the insight!
     
  7. Jim1999

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    Are we so afraid of the Roman Catholic claim to apostolic succession that we must limit the term "apostle" to a specific office and to specific people in the church?

    Is it not possible that the term "apostle" can refer to the continuance of apostolic teaching? For example, in 2 Tim 2:2 where we read about Timothy being instructed by Paul to impart Paul's teaching to "faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."

    I see apostle as a mission as opposed to an office. It is also an office so far as the original apostles are concerned. As to number, I have no clue how many constitute the original band of Apostles, but the scriptures and all outside literature seems to indicate 12. It seems to me, it is not a question of great importance, as affecting the dissemination of the gospel and the building of the church.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  8. rlvaughn

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    In some realms of consideration this may not be of great importance. But I do think it illustrates how our preconceived ideas often perpetuate themselves in the light of very simple truths to the contrary. I can't tell of how many people I know that believe the apostles consist of the twelve, plus Matthias and Paul (and many argue that it should have been Paul and not Matthias). Yet it is quite simple and obvious that other men were called apostles. I think there is enough evidence to distinguish "The Twelve" as an elite group that was not and will not be duplicated. rsr pointed out that James the brother of John was not replaced in the manner as was Judas. But it's also interesting that James the Lord's brother rose to a place of prominence among the early disciples that seemed to rival that of Peter & Paul.
     
  9. rsr

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    Robert, I just wanted to pass along this translation of the Didache, which seems to mark an apostle as an itinerant preacher:

     
  10. mountainrun

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    Quote
    =========
    The only time you would see an apostle is in his infancy a full blown apostle - tends to avoid other mature Christians - since his gift is not for them
    =============

    I don't see anything in scripture to support the contention that an apostle would avoid mature Christians.
    I would see more support for the view that the reason an "apostle" might prefer to avoid them is that they are not blown about like a reed in the wind with some new teaching.
    They are not easily deceived whereas immature Christians are easier prey.
    Missionaries are not considered apostles.
    An apostle is one who has seen the risen Jesus.
    Miracles are the sign of an apostle, not hiding in the shadows.

    MR
     
  11. rlvaughn

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    I have believed and taught this as well, and am not giving it up (not just yet anyway [​IMG] ). But is there more N. T. evidence besides Peter's statement concerning the filling of the bishoprick of Judas in Acts 1? If not, could we possibly be making a leap from the fact that the person who would fill Judas' place had to have seen the risen Lord to the assumption that all apostles had to have seen the risen Lord? Timothy and Silas were evidently considered apostles (cf. I Ths 1:1 & 2:6). Did they see the risen Lord? If to be an apostle one had to have seen the risen Saviour, that would certainly make it impossible for there to be any apostles today (unless, of course, there are two different kinds of apostles - one being an office and the other just meaning "one sent").
     
  12. Ben W

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    I would hope that there are millions of Apostles out there, as the term correctly translates into english as "Missionary".
     
  13. archie

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    There are no apostles in the as the 12. John on the Isle OF PATMOS WAS THE LAST. THESE MEN WERE GIVEN SPECIAL MIRACLE POWERS TO ESTABLISH THE CHURCH. THESE NOW ARE GONE.NO ONE NOW HAS WHAT THEY HAD IN THE SENSE OF RAISIND THE DEAD, GIVING SIGHT ETC.
     
  14. mountainrun

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    Acts 10:39-42 also indicates that the apostles must have been witnesses to the resurrection.
    I don't understand why Acts 1:22 is insufficient to prove that they must have been witness to the resurrection.

    That is clearly what it says.
    They were chosen to be witnesses to the resurrection. Impossible if you have not seen it.

    They must also be chosen by the Lord.

    Matthias was chosen by lot by the Lord according to scripture.

    They also must evidence miraculous powers.
    See Acts 5:12 and 2 Cor. 12:12.

    And in conclusion--

    Revelation 21:14. "And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."

    There are not "millions" Ben W. There are twelve.
    "The" twelve as the Bible calls them.

    MR

    [ January 29, 2003, 10:58 PM: Message edited by: mountainrun ]
     
  15. rlvaughn

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    MR, I want to be clear. I think that the evidence is sufficient to prove that THE TWELVE had to be witnesses of the resurrection. But without doubt there are a few people beyond the twelve who are also called apostles. What I am questioning is whether that qualification extends beyond the twelve to all of these. You have not commented on the others called apostles - Paul, Barnabas, James the Lord's brother, Timothy, Silas. How do you understand this extended group that is more than just the twelve? How could the churches have been deceived by false apostles if everyone knew exactly how many there were? (cf. II Cor. 11:13; Rev. 2:2)
     
  16. Ben W

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    Mountainrum

    Invest in a concordance and look at the translation of the word Apostle, and you will find that the translation is Missionary. Of which there are millions.

    As far as Acts 1:21 states yes to be a member of the original twelve you must have seen the life and ressurection of Christ. Paul, Silas, Barnabus were all Apostles who had not. So it is clear that the Apostles were expanded in the New Testament.

    Acts 10:39 Luke states that they are all witnesses to the ressurected Christ. It does not say anywhere here that this is a requirement for an Apostle.

    Acts 5:12 states that the Apostles did many miracles true, It does not state that it is a requirement of being an Apostle.

    2Cor 12:13 states that the signs of an Apostle were established in the Corinthian Church. Further evidence of the ongoing nature of the Apostle. God saw fit to establish the signs of Apostles amongst them.

    Rev 21:14 The names of the original twelve who birthed the church. Agian it does not say these are the only Apostles

    2Cor 12:13 is good evidence of God raising up Apostles in the Church. Good evidence that the position is ongoing.

    Also If the position of Apostle was not to be ongoing, woouldent the Bible state that after us there will be no more Apostles?
     
  17. Bro. James Reed

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    Ah, Bro. Robert, I think you are getting into the coming of the anti-christ. Don't you think he will have apostles as well? Of course, these would be the false prophets. That's only my opinion, but it makes sense.

    With regards to Paul, I believe that he replaced Judas as an apostle. I don't believe there are still apostles today because, as a Primitive Baptist, I don't believe in missionaries. But, that's a whole new thread.

    God Bless. Bro. James
     
  18. mountainrun

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    Ben, It's Mountainrun, not Mountainrum.

    First of all, the apostles of the Lamb are completely different from any others referred to as apostles by you or anyone else.
    That is why their names are on the foundations and not the names of millions of others.

    Now, as to Paul not having seen the Lord, I suggest you read
    1st Cor.9:1.
    How you have determined that the others had not seen Him, I don't know.

    2 Cor. 12:12 {Not 12:13} states that the miracles that mark an apostle were done among the Corinthians, not by them. It would have been Paul who did them, an apostle.
    This passage is not evidence at all that the office of apostle is ongoing.
    If the miracles are signs of an apostle and the office is ongoing, where are the miracles?

    I have little time for those who twist scriptures to their own beliefs.


    If you find a missionary raising the dead and healing the blind, let me know and we can continue.

    MR

    [ February 03, 2003, 09:04 PM: Message edited by: Jim1999 ]
     
  19. Ben W

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    Mountainrun,

    The Apostles of the Lamb are different because there names are on the foundations?

    Good Assumption, But the Bible does not say that is the case. Are the Founding Elders of a church the only elders that can minister in the local church over the course of its lifetime? Absolutley not.

    You want me to look at 1Cor 1:9, o.k "God is Faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord".

    Paul does not fufil the requirements of Acts 10:39 that you state are the requiremnts for an Apostle. It states that "we are witnesses of ALL things which He did in both the land of the Jews and Jerusalem" How did Paul get time for this as a servant of Rome?

    Regarding 2Cor 12:12 The signs of an Apostle was accomplished among them with all perseverance. Why did they have to accomplish the signs of an Apostle with Perseverance? Isnt that the way you accomplish teaching in a new believer? Hence the Corinthian Church have the signs of an Apostle Accomplished in them.

    Miracles died out when the Catholic Church took control of the church. When the Evangelicals broke away they began to reappear.

    Reinhardt Bonnke has seen many miracles. and Daniel Echukuwa was raised from the dead at a meeting in NIgeria. He even has a Government authorised death certificate, see the thread on him in the Baptist Forum.

    Thankyou for suggesting I twist scripture and you have no time for people like that. That one sentance completley nullifies anything you have written. Go pull the plank out of your own eye. Before you attempt to pass a judgement on me. You have made plenty of assumptions in this thread. Rather than prove that the Bible says specifically that.
     
  20. Hardsheller

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    First time I've heard Will Campbell's name in years. Is he still alive? :confused:
     

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