Are Apostles and Prophets For Today?

“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” (Ephesians 4:11 NIV)

Apostles and prophets are mentioned numerous times in the New Testament.  The question is: are apostles and prophets still for today?  The answer is clear: yes… and no.  What do I mean by yes?  Well, apostles in Greek means the same thing as the Latin missionary.  Both mean ‘sent one.’  Technically, every missionary is an apostle.  I think the meaning can be even closer to the New Testament meaning when there is a person who has planted numerous churches and is responsible for their care more as a spiritual entrepreneur than as a pastor.  Regarding prophets, that is more difficult.  What do we mean by prophet?  Prophecy is rarely in the Bible about predicting the future.  More often it is calling people to repentance and a more sincere relationship with God.  I see no reason why God could not give a person information about the future (I actually had a dream that Logan was developmentally delayed, almost a year before we suspected anything was wrong), and God definitely calls people to speak prophetically about deeper obedience (Keith Green of a previous generation and Francis Chan today).  So in these ways I believe there are people who act as apostles and prophets today.

On the other hand, I am uncomfortable with leaders today to take on the title of apostle or prophet.  There are such people and I have met some of them.  As far as I have been able to see, they have wanted those titles for the authority it gave them and the importance of people listening to them.  How would one know that they are called to be a prophet or an apostle?  Even if they have spoken prophetically once or did something apostolic, that would not mean that they should label themselves as such.  Some people I have prayed for have been healed, but I would never call myself a healer.  It was a gift not an office.  It is interesting that in some of the Old Testament prophetic books, the prophet states that they do not want to be called a prophet.

So what I am saying is this: I believe prophetic and apostolic gifts are still for today and that people still do these things.  But I also say that we should be very skeptical of people who label themselves as prophets or apostles, especially if they do to be seen with authority.

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