A Reader Inquires:
How to I tell my brother that there are no more apostles after Paul? He attends a church that invites various apostles and female pastors to come and speak. Most of the pastors are married to female pastors. They buy $30 Hebrew prayer shawls to cover up the women when they fall back into a trance and seem to pass out. The pastor shouts, pauses and waits for a drummer to slam a drum whenever he shouts something like “Stomp on him!” (meaning the devil) and many other catchy commands. How did they ever come up with more apostles?
While I will be happy to answer your question about apostles, the problems at your brother’s church extend well beyond that or any other single issue. Quite frankly, from what you describe, the whole joint is nuts.
Women can teach other women, be deaconesses, and serve in various ministries and exercise various gifts, but 1 Cor. 11 teaches leadership is male. Where in the New Testament is pastor (rendered either “prebytero“, “poen“, or “episcopo” in the Greek) ever a female? We are told to learn not to exceed the things which are written (1 Cor. 4:6).
Likewise Satan, while a defeated enemy, is not yet a destroyed one. It is Jesus who will trample him under our feet, not ourselves (Rom. 16:20).
Satan is the most powerful being God ever created and even Michael the archangel would not dare mess with him but said, âThe Lord rebuke you!â (Jude 9) What you describe is nonsense.
In freak show churches like this, Experiential Theology usurps genuine scriptural doctrine and a combination of mysticism, psycho-babel, and emotionalism counterfeit authentic spirituality. Charismania replaces charismata, and a suspension of sanctified rational thought gives place to the silly spectacle of religious idiocy. The carnal is presumed to be holy, moronic lunacy is presumed to be enlightenment, the delusional is thought to be the illumination of the Holy Spirit, and the mystical is wrongly perceived to be spiritual. This is pure hyper-Pentecostalism (not to be confused with scriptural Pentecostalism). This is what your brother is involved in.
The phenomena you report is common in such churches. It is hypnotic induction (sometimes demonically influenced) which is facilitated by wrong doctrine, hype-artistry, prophecies originating in the imagination of those who think they are propheseying (Jeremiah 23:16), and above all the manipulative use of repetitive music (usually with a false doxology in the form of unscriptural lyrics) which in their ignorance they imagine to be worship but is actually in effect what Hindus and New Agers call a “mantra”. Hence the caveat of Jesus about heaping up repetitive phrases. (Mt. 6:7) There also often tends to be an unbalanced over-emphasis on the demonic, which can be just as much a deception as an under-emphasis.
None of this, of course, is to in any way deny the valid exercise of charismatic gifts in a scripturally ordered, edifying, and constructive manner, or to reject the reality of the realm of the demonic, much less the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, or to demean lively worship by any means. What such churches have however, is a fake version of these things.
These churches are just as dead on one extreme as the stick-in-the-mud Cessationist churches are with their Sunday morning funeral services on the opposite extreme. The difference is that the hype-artistry at your brother’s church and others like it is like a clinical life support system. They have a cadaver of an organ donor waiting to have its organs harvested that gives the illusion of life to a corpse that is still brain dead. It may look alive, but it is artificial; it is no less dead than the other stiffs in the morgue. Jesus spoke of churches like these (Rev. 3: 1). Mainstream Protestantism is very much in the character of the church in Sardis; they have a name of being alive but are dead.
Churches like the one your brother goes to can make all the noise and generate all the fanfare in the world but they are simply religious institutions for those who are brain dead. I do not however, wish to ridicule the people in them. Indeed, they may be my brethren in Christ despite the fact their leaders are false prophets, false teachers, and often con-artists. The pastors of such places are at best hirelings and sometimes wolves in sheep’s clothing (Jn. 10). Yet while I do not revile the people in such churches, the churches themselves are merely mental asylums with a cross on the roof.
I don’t quite comprehend the bit about the $30 Talits (Jewish prayer shawls). Tell them I have a spare one I haven’t worn since my son’s Bar Mitzvah they can have for ten bucks.
In any event, there are differing categories of apostles in the New Testament. The word “apostle” in Greek is âapostoloâ and in Hebrew âshaleachâ which mean “one who is sent”. They are sent in pairs (Mt. 10, Acts 13) to plant new churches. Jesus is described as “HO APOSTOLO” (“The Apostle”) in Hebrews 3:1. All apostolic authority comes from Him. There are other categories of apostles. The three essential ones are in found in 1 Cor. 1: 12 â Peter (Cephes), Paul, and Apollos.
- Peter saw Jesus, was taught by Him personally, was one of the eternally fixed number of 12 (corresponding to the 12 sons of Jacob in Genesis 49), was around from the time of John the Baptist, and was inspired to author New Testament Scripture.
- Paul met most of the same criteria . He saw Jesus, was taught by Him personally (e.g. âhe received from the Lord â in 1 Cor. 11) and was inspired to write Scripture. He was not eligible to be counted among the 12 however, because he was not around from he baptism of John the Baptist (Acts 1: 22).Yet Paul had the same apostolic authority as the Twelve. We may think of Paul as a breveted general in an army during a war. A breveted general is a Colonel who is an acting general. He wears a general’s uniform and stars, gets a general’s pay, functions in a general’s rank, and commands a general’s authority. Functionally he is a general, but not in status; Paul was least of the Apostles but shared their title and authority.
- Apollos did not see the Lord and was not trained personally by the Lord, yet he was a church planing missionary. It is only this kind of apostle that can exist today â church planting missionaries. The New Testament is a complete canon and no one today has seen the Lord so as to be trained by Him personally. There are no more Apostles like Peter or Paul, only church church planting missionaries.
What we see today with those deceivers claiming to be apostles is the ecumenical and Dominion Theology of The New Apostolic Refomation Movement in the USA led by heretics such as C. Peter Wagner and false prophets like Rick Joyner and Cindy Jacobs, the Restoration Movement in Britain led by Gerald Coates and Terry Virgo, and The Kansas City lunacy of Mike Bickel. What they call apostolic authority s actually the heavy shepherding condemned by Jess and Ezekiel. Such deceivers are to be avoided.
I trust this helps.
James Jacob Prasch