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Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church

003white  Section 10A   The Contemporary Church     >       Shepherds or Wolves     >     Prophets or Deluded Charlatans r

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C. Peter Wagner and The New Apostolic Reformation. Apostles Or Deluded Impostors
 
(Impostor - One who engages in deception under an assumed name or identity)

Carol Brooks

003white Also See Four Part Article on Dominionism
- It's Occult Roots, Spread, Details On How It Completely Contradicts Scripture, And Where The Diabolical 'Joel's Army"' Is Taking Us.
Dominionism is not a denomination but an umbrella term for a number of related groups (Kingdom Now, Manifest Sons of God/ Joel's Army, Kingdom Now, the Seven Mountain Mandate / Reconstructionism, Elijah Company, Overcomers, etc. etc. that the New Apostolic Reformation and similar organizations are based on. Bill Hamon, John Wimber, C Peter Wagner shoulder much of the blame for introducing what was largely a fringe movement to the church.

Not only is the sheer arrogance of this man centered ideology staggering, but it is controlled by fanatical, Biblically ignorant and very deluded so called "Christian" leaders. Unfortunately it is having great impact on millions who have neither bothered to compare their teachings with what the Bible says, nor look into the very dark occult roots of the movement..

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ON THIS PAGE
The Word 'Apostle' And The Two Groups of Apostles in The New Testament

Do Apostles Exist in The Modern Church?
The New Testament Apostles - Spiritual Heavyweights
The Difference Between The Apostles, The Evangelists, and The Elders

C. Peter Wagner And
The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)
Delusions of Grandeur
The International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (ICAL)
Redefining 'Apostle'
Wagner University
Master of Spiritual Healing Degree Anyone?

 'Proof-Texts' That Supposedly Establish Modern Day Apostles
A (New) Foundation?

The Vital Role of The Old Testament Prophets and The New Testament Apostles

Gift vs. Office

The Purpose Of The Gift Of The Apostle

The Warning


The Word 'Apostle'
The English 'apostle' is a transliteration* of the Greek apostolos that literally means a 'person sent forth' - a person authorized to act as representative for another. In other words, an envoy or delegate. In the New Testament the apostles were entrusted by Jesus to spread the message of the coming Kingdom. In fact, Jesus Himself was referred to as an Apostle because he was "sent" from the Father.

    Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;  (Hebrews 3:1 NASB)

 * Most words in modern Bibles have been are translated from the original Hebrew or Greek manuscripts to English (or other language). However transliteration means the original Hebrew or Greek word is simply spelled using the alphabet of another language.


The New Testament Apostles
Although Scripture does not mention any sort of classification of the New Testament apostles, they can be divided into two groups.

Group I:
From the very earliest days of His ministry Jesus drew to Himself disciples who were devoted students and followers (Luke 10:1 states there were as many as 70). After Jesus spent a night in prayer He chose twelve whom He called "apostles". They, as was commonly done in the first century, literally accompanied their teacher wherever He went. Not only did Jesus at least once send them out in pairs to announce the 'good news' of the messianic kingdom (Mark 6, Matthew 10; Luke 9) but He also invested them with authority to 'cast out unclean spirits, and to heal every kind of disease and sickness.' (Matthew 10:1). He also said he who received them, received Him (Matthew 10:40).

All except Judas these men saw, spoke to, and even ate with the risen Lord. 

Mathias The 12th Apostle
Judas Iscariot's betrayal of Christ and subsequent suicide left a gap in their numbers that the remaining eleven felt needed to be filled. Accordingly, between Christ's ascension and Pentecost they cast lots to choose Judas' replacement, a process that was used many times in the Old Testament as a method to ensure that the selection was controlled by God rather than man. (Proverbs 16:33) but never used after Pentecost. In this case, the lot fell upon Matthias who, to be noted, was one of the men who physically followed Jesus from His baptism to His ascension and was a witness to His resurrection. (Acts 1:21-22)

Immediately after Jesus' resurrection the NT speaks of "eleven" disciples (Matthew 28:16 and Mark 16:14) however, Acts 1:26 says Matthias "was added to the eleven apostles". Additionally Acts 2:14 says that on Pentecost Peter took his stand with the eleven, indicating that there were 12 disciples in all. This is also mentioned in Acts 6:2 

Paul: Although not one of the original 12, Paul was called to be an apostle and given a direct commission by Jesus Himself. When he was sent to lay hands on the then blind Paul, Ananias was told that Paul was "a chosen instrument" who would bear His name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; (Acts 9:15).

And that is exactly what happened.

Although Paul primarily seemed to regard himself as apostle to the Gentiles (See for instance Romans 11:13 and 15:16), he  preached the Gospel message to kings (Acts 26, 27:24) and to the "sons of Israel" (See Acts 14:1, 17:17, 18:19, 19:8).

James: the Lord's brother is also regarded as an apostle. Although he was not even a believer before the crucifixion (John 7:5), he did see the resurrected Lord and eventually took a leading role in the church in Jerusalem. (See Acts 12:17, Acts 15:13 and Acts 21:18)

    and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. (1 Corinthians 15:5-8 NASB)

Group II:
Consisted of those apostles who may or may not have learned directly from the Messiah Himself (many unnamed people followed Christ) and may not have physically seen the resurrected Lord. What we do know is that they were hand picked by and became students of the first group of apostles who then sent them out to the various churches. The New Testament names Titus and Epaphroditus, Timothy, Silvanus, Barnabus, Apollos, and Andronicus and Junias. The last named have long been the subject of much controversy See Footnote I


Do Apostles Exist in The Modern Church?

Most Christians hold one of two opinions. On one side are those who believe that modern apostles exist and have the same authority as the men who penned the New Testament. Although vitally needed they are largely missing in the modern Church. The moderate Christian position is that apostles flourished during the foundational era of the church but are no longer active today.

    Note: The upper and lower cases are only meant to distinguish between the two roles.

A person who has been sent out with the Gospel message by their church or other organization can be called an apostle. ecause the word itself simply means sent one or delegate. In fact, the Greek apostolos was rendered missio (missionary) in the Latin New Testament thus missionaries are apostles in a very general sense.

However, the book of Revelation says the wall of the New Jerusalem has twelve foundations inscribed with the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb (21:13-14) which tells us that their role must have been of momentous importance

And so it was.


The New Testament Apostles - Spiritual Heavyweights
Words cannot express how vital the role played by the New Testament Apostles was. After the Messiah was resurrected, the household of God was built on the backs of these spiritual heavyweights. They were the first to publicly preach the Gospel and lead innumerable people (both Jew and Gentile) back to God. They instructed new believers spread over three continents in God's law, set up churches wherever they went, and appointed elders to feed and shepherd the flock.

See Footnote II for The Difference Between Apostles, Evangelists, and Elders

And Footnote III - The Pattern of the New Testament Apostle.

And that was not all.

It was the apostles that completed the second half of the Canon (the books of the Bible held to be genuine). In doing so they defined doctrine and provided guidelines that not only steered the church of their day but, over the next two thousand years, provided a lamp to the feet of those who actually read and abided by what they wrote. Finally it was these men who outlined the end of days and the second advent of the Messiah in great detail.

In other words, Jesus Christ was the cornerstone of the church. However, the Apostles were the foundation
without whom there would have been no New Testament and no church.

In light of which one has to wonder how it is possible that their role could be replicated in any way. Yet, just a few decades ago a movement was birthed which has spread over the globe and given rise to a huge number of arrogant and brazenly impudent people who do not consider themselves apostles who take the gospel to the unreached, but Apostles who possess or even exceed all the authority of the New Testament Apostles.

Much of this can be laid at the feet of one man - C. Peter Wagner.

Also See The Role Played by Bill Hamon, John Wimber, C Peter Wagner,in the spread of Dominionism HERE


C. Peter Wagner (1930 – 2016) And The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)
Charles Peter Wagner was a radical Pentecostal/Charismatic who served as Professor of Church Growth at the Fuller Theological Seminary's School of World Missions 30 years (his 'Church Growth' ideas greatly influenced Saddleback and Willow Creek churches amongst countless others). He was also founding president of Global Harvest Ministries, founder and chancellor emeritus of Wagner Leadership Institute (now Wagner University), and authored dozens of books. (More about all three below).

For some time Wagner was also 'presiding Apostle' of the International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (ICAL) in which capacity he coined the name New Apostolic Reformation's (NAR) to describe a religious movement based on Dominionism that has spread to churches in virtually every country in the world. 

Not all that many people will recognize New Apostolic Reformation's formal name because, as said by Apologetics Index, it is made up of

    hundreds of churches and organizations that are led by apostles and prophets who share a distinct theology. Many of these churches and organizations have joined "apostolic networks." These apostolic networks are made up of, in some cases, hundreds of churches and organizations that submit to the leadership of a single apostle, such as Harvest International Ministry - a network of over 12,000 churches and organizations under NAR apostle Ché Ahn. [01]

Although the teachings of assorted groups diverge from each other in details, they share a post-millennial vision in which the restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets play a major part. These apostles and prophets will establish 'dominion' over all religious and secular organizations thus ushering in Christ's Millennial Kingdom. The authority of these apostles and prophets is by Divine appointment recognized by supernatural signs and wonders.

    NAR leaders teach that God began restoring the office of prophet to the church in the 1980s and the office of apostle in the 1990s. C. Peter Wagner — one of the movement's most influential U.S. apostles — teaches that 2001 A.D. marked the beginning of the "Second Apostolic Age" when the proper church government — headed by living apostles and prophets — was finally restored. [02]

Although many of the ideas and concepts behind NAR preceded Wagner by decades, I believe it is fair to say that the books he wrote and the organizations he founded provided much of the fuel that has kept the engine running.

See Detailed Article on Dominionism
Including it's Occult Roots, History and How It Could Very Well Fulfill One OF Jesus' Prophecies.


Delusions of Grandeur
C. Peter Wagner wrote that "they get their authority directly from God" [03] However, Bill Hamon took delusion and fantasy to a whole new level. In his words, "failure to submit to a NAR apostle is failure to submit to God." [04]. He also wrote, (Emphasis Added)

    God's holy Church apostles and prophets have a co-laboring ministry of bringing about the might fall of Babylon the Great, Their authority will be beyond anything we have seen in our day. [05]

    Some saints will reign over continents as kings. Others will have responsibilities according to their individual ability, such as being president of a nation, governor of a state, or mayor of a city... Others will not have stationary areas of administration but will travel around the earth performing specific ministries for Christ and to mortals on earth... The church is destined not only to rule over the earth, but to have a "universal reign" over all eternal creatures and galaxies throughout the endless universe.  [06]

Rick Joyner's (Morning Star ministries) believes that modern day apostles are equal or even superior to the New Testament Apostles. His imagination soared to nose bleed heights when he wrote

    In the near future we will not be looking back at the early church with envy because of the great exploits of those days, but all will be saying that He certainly did save His best wine for last. The most glorious times in all of history have not come upon us. You, who have dreamed of one day being able to talk with Peter, John and Paul, are going to be surprised to find that they have all been waiting to talk to you." [07] 

C. Peter Wagner Says "Dominion Means Ruling As Kings" Watch on YouTube. Copy and paste into browser
www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2woK8-y0_w


The International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (ICAL)
History, Structure and Mission:
ICAL (previously called International Coalition of Apostles) was conceived in Singapore in 1999 by a group of apostles who discussed how God could use the combined efforts of global apostolic leadership to advance the Kingdom more rapidly and effectively. [08]

They held their first annual gathering in 2000, at which John P. Kelly became the "Presiding Apostle". Then, the very next year God supposedly directed Kelly to ask Peter Wagner to accept the position of Presiding Apostle. [09] However, God couldn't apparently make His mind up for "In 2009, on the eve of his 80th birthday, the Holy Spirit directed Peter Wagner to ask John Kelly to again accept the position of Presiding Apostle". [10] In 2010 the headquarters was moved back to Texas.

Unsurprisingly, ICAL's official definition of an apostle was written by C. Peter Wagner who said he was finally able to craft a definition of 'apostle' one that wouldn't need revision. (Emphasis Added) 

    An apostle is a Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church and for the extension of the kingdom of God" [11]

ICAL is said to be (Emphasis Added)

"... apostolically led and prophetically influenced" and "is primarily a professional society in which confirmed apostles are able to relate to and connect with each other. It is secondarily a training ground for "emerging" apostles. [12]

Membership
Becoming a member of ICAL is very much like joining a country club.. In ICAL's case, you have to fit their description of an apostle, be nominated by two current members, interviewed by an ICAL 'official' then, if accepted, pay annual dues ($450.00 for an individual).[13]

Amazingly, although they go into detail regarding their terms and conditions and the cost of becoming a member nothing is said about how one is to recognize a true apostle. Incidentally, a current list of ICAL members does not seem to be available. 


Redefining 'Apostle'
As Paul said, the signs of a "true apostle" were signs and wonders and miracles. This is confirmed by the book of Hebrews that says God testified by supernatural means through those who heard

    how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. (Hebrews 2:3-4 NASB)

These signs and wonders mentioned many times in the book of Acts were performed even by those who may not have been directly commissioned by Christ but hand-picked by one of the first 12.

    Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.  (Acts 2:43 NASB) Also See Acts 5:12.

    All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. (Acts 15:12 NASB)

    And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8 NASB)

    The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. (Acts 8:6 NASB)

Yet, Peter Wagner had the audacity to redefine the credentials required to be an Apostle putting forth his opinion on the matter (Emphasis Mine)

    What I have excluded in this definition: There are three biblical characteristics of apostles which some include in their definition of apostle, but which I have chosen not to include: (1) signs and wonders (2 Cor. 12:12), (2) seeing Jesus personally (1 Cor. 9:1), and (3) planting churches (1 Cor. 3:10). My reason for this is that I do not understand these three qualities to be non-negotiables. They characterize many, perhaps most, apostles. But if a given individual lacks the anointing for one or more of them, this, in my opinion, would not exclude that individual from being a legitimate apostle. [14]

It is not wonder that Wagner claims that signs and wonders are not a necessary part of a true apostles arsenal - he and his renegade supporters are not capable of basic discernment, never mind miracles. In fact I doubt very many of them even have the qualifications to be a church elder. DETAILS

And if that were not enough, ICAL expanded, elaborated, and embellished the simple Biblical concept of 'apostle' which I would like to remind the reader is the office that God Himself instituted.

Since apostles minister in several different ways, ICAL is open to "vertical apostles" (including ecclesiastical, functional, congregational, and team-member vertical apostles), to "horizontal apostles" (including convening, ambassadorial, mobilizing, and territorial horizontal apostles), and to different kinds of "workplace apostles" (Those who spend a majority of their time and ministry in the workplace). [15]

All I can say is they have a heck of a nerve.


Wagner University
Wagner also founded Wagner Leadership Institute (now Wagner University) in 1998 after Cindy Jacobs prophesied that he would release a new wineskin for equipping leaders. Incidentally, Cindy Jacobs, co-founder of Generals International (a prayer-based organization that supposedly changes lives and transforms nations) is one of today's most brazen false prophets. See False Prophets HERE

Dr. Che Ahn was appointed the International Chancellor in 2010. Programs offered by the university include 1) Master of Apostolic Leadership and Applied Ministry  and 2) Master of Spiritual Healing, Deliverance and Warfare Leadership program. [16] 

Both Wagner and CHe Ahn presided over Todd Bentley's 'apostolic alignment ceremony' that 'commissioned' him as an evangelist. The ceremony was attended by the usual suspects - namely John Arnott, Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner etc.

There is neither Biblical precedent nor excuse for the farce that took place on that day. It was organized and executed by a bunch of misinformed, misguided zealots who vastly overstepped the limits of their knowledge and authority. At the ceremony Wagner claimed the apostolic authority that God had supposedly given him and made several "decrees' over Todd Bentley - none of which came to pass. See More in Footnote IV


'Proof-Texts' That Supposedly Establish Modern Day Apostles
The stated purpose of Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles (http://www.apostlesnet.net/prospectus.htm) once said,

    In compliance with scriptures such as Ephesians 4:11, Ephesians 2:20, and 1 Corinthians 12:28, the office of apostle began to be established and recognized by an increasingly wider spectrum of the body of Christ during the 1990s. By the year 2000 the office of apostle had begun to be affirmed and set in place throughout numerous churches of the New Apostolic Reformation (a term coined by C. Peter Wagner, the Presiding Apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles). 

Although this link no longer exists, there is an almost identical statement on Global Apostolic Network. This version reads "the offices of the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher began to be established". [17]

It is true that Ephesians 4:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 could be used to support the view that all the gifts listed could be current,

    Ephesians 4:11-12 says "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ"

    1 Corinthians 12:28 reads "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues".

However, Ephesians 2:19-20 is a different matter entirely.

Ephesians 2:19-20 - The Foundation Has Already Been Built
The verse reads

    So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built (Gk. epoikodomethentes) on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, (Ephesians 2:19-20 NASB)

The Greek verb epoikodomethentes is in the aorist tense which is defined by Merriam-Webster as "an inflectional form of a verb typically denoting simple occurrence of an action without reference to its completeness, duration, or repetition". In simpler language it expresses action primarily as the English simple past tense.

That this verse indicates a completed action is supported by an understanding of exactly what foundation is being spoken about.


The Vital Role of The Old Testament Prophets and The New Testament Apostles
When the New Testament apostles built the foundations of the church around Christ (the chief cornerstone upon whom the whole house of God rests), they were building on the shoulders of men who played indispensable and crucial roles from the time of Abraham and Moses to the intertestamental period (the 400 or so years between Malachi and Matthew) 

Between them the Old Testament Prophets and the New Testament Apostles wrote the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They revealed God, wrote of His characteristics, and conveyed His will and law to humanity. They wrote the history of man from beginning to an end we haven't reached yet, and answered questions of eternal importance to the universal church including the issues of sin, salvation, holiness, the end times etc. They steered the obedient believer on his path to eternity by means of teaching, rebuking, guiding, and exhortation.

What is to be noted is that the New Testament didn't exist in a vacuum. In the New Testament, the words and teachings of these men of old were referred to over and over again. For instance, when Jesus rebuked the disciples on the road to Emmaus, He said

    O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! ... And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25, 27)

    When, on on the Sabbath day, the Apostle Paul preached in the synagogue in Antioch, he used the Old Testament to prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah referring to the " utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath" (V.27). (Acts 13:16–41)

When Paul spoke to the "chief of the Jews" in Rome he did exactly the same thing

    And when they had appointed him a day, they came to him into his lodging in great number; to whom he expounded the matter, testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning till evening. (Acts 28:23)

In other words

the faith of the New Testament believers was rooted in the words of the Old Testament prophets.

The church of Christ was not founded on philosophy, tradition, or human laws, but on the great truths which God had revealed, which were communicated by Him through the prophets and apostles. The two groups of men were partners who together carried out the two phases of God's great (yet simple) plan of Salvation. See Salvation So when Paul speaks of the foundation of the church being laid on the shoulders of the Apostles and Prophets, there is no question that he is speaking of the Old Testament Prophets and The New Testament Apostles. It is no wonder that he wrote,

    According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it (1 Corinthians 3:10).

Jude called the foundation a done deal

    Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. (Jude 3)

Yet, the NAR has the sheer gall to claim that the Lord is now establishing the foundations of the church. The advertising blurb of the Apostles and Prophets Conference in February 2000 in Brisbane Australia, included the following statement (Emphasis Mine)

    "The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit that is changing the shape of Christianity globally. It is truly a new day! The Church is changing. New names! New methods! New worship expressions. The Lord Is establishing the foundations of the church for the new millenium. this foundation is built upon apostles and prophets...” [18]

According to the quote above (misspelling in original), a foundation for the church is being laid for the new millennium, but what they fail to explain is why the church needs a foundation in the first place. Is the old one not good enough, is it inadequate for the modern 21st century Christian, or does it simply need a spit shine?

If people who blindly follow these knock-off "apostles" would use a modicum of thought, logic or common they would realize is that no structure can have two foundations. The original foundation which was laid by the Almighty Himself has to be dug up before a new foundation can be laid.

And that is exactly what is being done - According to Rick Joyner.

    "What is about to come upon the earth is not just a revival, or another awakening; it is a veritable revolution. The vision was given in order to begin to awaken those who are destined to radically change the course, and even the very definition of Christianity. [19]


Gift vs. Office
There are differences of opinion as to whether apostleship was spiritual gift or an office. The blue letter Bible says,

    Some people argue that apostle was not a spiritual gift but rather an office in the church. They do not classify apostle with spiritual gifts because it was a special endowment of God given to only a select few people at the beginning of the Christian era. They say that God gave the office of apostle to the church but not the spiritual gift. Therefore, it should not be classified with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Others argue that apostle was one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Apostles are listed under the gifted individuals that God gave to the church in Ephesians 4. Furthermore, in Paul's discourse on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12–14 he lists the apostle twice which may indicate that he considered apostle as a gift, not an office. [20]

As usual, Peter Wagner's take on the issue owed much to his inability to stick to what the Bible says and his great inventive skill and imagination.

 In his book Apostles Today he asserts that the "gift of apostle and the office of apostle" are not the same. In fact he says "there is a crucial difference" between them. (Full Quote in Footnote V) There are several point to pay particular attention to ...

    1.) The gift of an apostle is "received by the grace of God" however, the office of an apostle "is received through works"... "the office is not given to us by God; it is conferred on us by people"

    2.) The indication that the office of an apostle can be conferred upon someone is the fruit of the gift "as outward evidence that the person actually has the gift:

    3.) The conferring (commissioning) of the office of an apostle is "the public affirmation that an individual is recognized as having a spiritual gift and that they are authorized to exercise that gift is in the body of Christ.”

    Anyone who has been given a spiritual gift by the Father already has the authority to exercise that gift for the benefit of the church. In fact, not to do so would be completely remiss. See The Purpose Of The Gift Of The Apostle just below

    4.) "Those who follow the apostle as subordinates have a significant role in this recognition; but even more important is the affirmation of apostolic peers".

    In other words, the two ways to recognize a NAR Apostle is if the Apostle's followers and his "apostolic peers" affirm that the person is indeed an apostle. And, of course, we should believe them - no further evidence given and none asked for. When does Scripture EVER ask us to believe something without evidence

    5.) There are people to whom God has given gifts but many "have not entered into their destiny because they have not yet earned their office.”

This is more than confusing in several ways. If the office is not given to us by God but is conferred by people then none of the men in the New Testament called "Apostles" actually held the office of an apostle because none of them  were affirmed by their "apostolic peers", nor did they go through a public "commissioning" ceremony. They were simply "apostles of Christ".

And no, Peter, James and John offering Paul and Barnabas "the right hand of fellowship" does not mean they "recognized" him as having a spiritual gift. Nor did they "authorize" him to exercise that gift (Paul who started out as an avid persecutor of the church was commissioned by the Lord Himself). Thus their gesture signified that they were convinced that that he too had been entrusted with the gospel message and his acceptance into the group of disciples who were already preaching the gospel.

It is not surprising that here is no record of them offering the "the right hand of fellowship" to anyone else.

 
The Purpose Of The Gift Of The Apostle

    And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for (Gk. pros) the equipping of the saints for (Gk. eis) the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; (Ephesians 4:11-14 NASB)

These verses are self explanatory especially considering the two different prepositions used - "for (Gk. pros) the equipping of the saints for (Gk. eis) the work of ministry, for (Gk. eis) the work of service (KJV - "for the edifying of the body of Christ") Pros means "towards" (a goal"). Whereas eis means unto (a particular purpose or result).

Regardless of how you view the continuity of the gifts (See Cessationism), the idea behind the gifts does not change. They are given to the Church to build it up -  given so that Christians might be properly equipped to encourage the moral and/or spiritual improvement of other believers. Also the greatest role of the leadership of the church is to be examples to the flock. All were to serve one another in humility...

    nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:3-5 NASB)

 Order of the List

    And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28 NASB)

It is entirely possible that both Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 list apostles first and prophets second because of the apostle's church planting role. They did not merely make converts but established new churches which entailed appointing and training elders. Once this was done they moved on leaving the new appointees to teach and oversee the church. Both the apostles and the elders would want to see all the gifts flourish leading to healthy, Spirit led churches.


The Warning
There isn't a single soul alive to day who meets ANY of the Biblical qualifications of a true apostle. Not one single person

    1. Has seen or was taught by Christ

    2. Was witness to His resurrection

    3. Was hand-picked by the Savior

    4. Can perform miracles like the New Testament apostles

Since Wagner was fully aware that no one today made the grade he attempted to alter the criteria. The tragedy is he succeeded to quite an extent - believed by men who put their own feelings, experiences, and ambition above what Scripture so clearly outlines. What we can be quite certain of is that it will not go very well for them. Here is some of what the genuine apostles had to say about the false ones

    Paul: For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15 NASB)

    Peter: But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1 NASB)

    John: In the book of Revelation, the church at Ephesus was commended because they "tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars” (Revelation 2:2).

Unfortunately for these modern day so-called apostles and prophets the original foundations laid in the first century will stand for all eternity. They are building with hay and stubble, ignoring Paul's cautionary word that the "someone else" who is building on his foundation should "take care how he builds" since "the fire will test what sort of work each one has done". (1Corinthians Verses 10 and 13)

Just because God's day of wrath and judgment has not yet come, we would be foolish to assume that justice delayed is justice denied. The false apostles and prophets will also have to give an accounting of themselves on judgment day and will pay a very heavy price when the Lord tells them - "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.' (Matthew 7:23 NASB)

Also See False Prophets
False prophets do not know what the word "truth" means. To believe that these supposed men (and women) of God are saved, redeemed, and born-again, is to carry delusion to the farthest limit.


Footnote I - The New Testament Apostles Group II
Titus and Epaphroditus: These two apostles are often overlooked thanks to inconsistencies in translation. For reasons unknown, the Greek word apostolo usually transliterated "apostle" was rendered "messenger" in the following verses. Although messenger is not an inaccurate translation, one has to wonder why the word was translated differently. Anyway, both are called "apostles" in the New Testament - Other unnamed brethren specifically called "messengers of the churches" 

    As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, they are messengers (Gk. apostolos) of the churches, a glory to Christ. (2 Corinthians 8:23 NASB)

    But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger (Gk. apostolos) and minister to my need; (Philippians 2:25 NASB)

Timothy and Silvanus: were also specifically named as apostles in 1 Thessalonians 2:6. (1 Thessalonians 1;1 makes clear the "we" in Paul's statement referred to Silvanus, Timothy and himself) Timothy was very obviously Divinely ordained (Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6) and both he and Titus played crucial roles in the fledgling church.

Barnabas was explicitly commissioned by the Holy Spirit and "sent" by God's Spirit (Acts 13:2-4 and 14:14). Note that Acts 14: 27 says that Barnabas and Paul eventually reported back to the church at Antioch giving account of all that had been done, which shows that the apostles were not "lone rangers", but maintained an ongoing relationship with the church.

Apollos: Verse 6 indicates that Apollos was included in Paul's "us apostles" in 1 Corinthians 4:9 and was listed in conjunction with Paul and Peter in earlier chapters (1 Corinthians 3:4-6, 22).

Andronicus and Junias: mentioned in Romans 16:7 as being 'Paul's kinsmen and fellow prisoners, outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before him'. The verse reads

    Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

which has given rise to two questions - 1.) Was Junias a man or a woman and 2.) Were both to be regarded as apostles.

In regards to the first point, it seems more than likely that Junias was female. DETAILS. As to whether both were apostles, there are two possible ways to understand the verse.

    1) Andronicus and Junias were regarded as outstanding apostles (well known among the apostles ) 

    2) They were regarded favorably by the apostles (well known to the apostles).

Young's Literal Translation renders the verse  "...Andronicus and Junias, my kindred, and my fellow-captives, who are of note among the apostles, who also have been in Christ before me. Strong's defines the word translated among (Greek en) as a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), which does not imply known to the apostles, but literally among (in the midst of) the apostles.

Besides which the Greek word translated "of note" is episemos which means remarkable, eminent, notable, which does not lend itself to the idea that these two were known to the apostles, rather that they were eminent among the apostles. {PLACE IN TEXT}


Footnote II -  The Difference Between Apostles, Evangelists, Elders
The Apostles vs. The Evangelists:
Although the roles overlapped in some areas, there were significant differences between the role played by the first century apostles and those who evangelized or preached the word.

For example, in the New Testament, Philip was one of seven reputable Spirit filled deacons chosen to oversee the daily serving of food (Act 6:1-6). He was never called an apostle, but was known as an "evangelist" (Acts 21:8). With signs and great miracles, Philip proclaimed Christ to the Samarians who believed and were baptized (Acts 8: 12-17). However, it wasn't until Peter and John arrived and laid hands on the new believers that they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17). Quite obviously there was a difference between Philip who preached the Gospel/baptized people and the apostles who laid hands on those people imparting the Holy Spirit to them.

The Apostles vs. The Elders:
Paul's writings also differentiate between an apostolic and a pastoral ministry.

In 1 Corinthians 3:6 he used a farming metaphor to explain that he "planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow". And in 1Corinthians 3:10 he uses a building metaphor to describe how he laid the foundation of Jesus Christ and someone else built on it,

    According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it (1Corinthians 3:10).

The Apostles were the foundation of the Church with an indispensable role that was neither permanent nor restricted to a particular area. Once the Apostle had appointed and trained elders he moved on leaving them to teach and oversee the church and appoint others to be elders of their own churches. {PLACE IN TEXT}


Foot Note III - The Pattern of the New Testament Apostle.
(The following is an excerpt from The Ministry of Apostles by Steve Atkerson. [21]

Based on Acts 1-7, 8:12, 15:1-2 (cp. Galatians 1:11, 1:18, 2:1, 2:9) and 21:17-18, it appears that most of the Twelve worked out of Jerusalem for at least seventeen years (it was their base of operations). While there, the apostles devoted their time to evangelizing the lost in Jerusalem and to teaching the saved. They also occasionally took short missionary journeys while based out of Jerusalem (Acts 8:14, 25).

By the time Paul went there, however, they seem to have left (Acts 21:17-18). Only James was still present. However, looking again to the New Testament, it becomes obvious that near constant movement characterized many of the other apostles. They itinerated, preached the Gospel and organized churches. Rarely did these traveling apostles settle down permanently in one place.

Occasional training stops were made in strategic locations, but then the circuit continued. For instance, Paul spent one and a half years in Corinth (Acts 18:11), two years in Ephesus (Acts 19:8-10), and two years in Rome (Acts 28:30). - Similarly, Paul told the apostle Timothy to "stay in Ephesus so that [he] might command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer" (1 Timothy 1:3); but once that job was done Paul wrote for him to "do your best to get here before winter" (2 Timothy 4:21). Despite what is commonly supposed, Timothy was an apostle to Ephesus, not a pastor there. Another example is Titus, left in Crete to "straighten out what was left unfinished" and to "appoint elders in every town" (Titus 1:5); once this was accomplished Titus was to join Paul at Nicopolis (Titus 3:12).

Among Paul's associates, Barnabus comes originally from Cyprus but turns up first in Jerusalem (Acts 5,36), then goes to Antioch (Acts 11,22) and Tarsus (Acts 11,25) before accompanying Paul on his frst journey, while Apollos, who comes from Alexandria is found first in Ephesos (Acts 18, 24) and then in Corinth (Acts 19) - Aquila and Priscilla, tent makers (like Paul) are found in Corinth (Acts 1:2-3) and subsequently in Ephesos (Acts 18,19) [The three worlds of Paul of Tarsus By Richard Wallace, Wynne Williams. Routledge; 1 edition (March 9, 1998). Pg 15-16]

These and other journeys like those of Paul, go quite unremarked, and seem to have been undertaken and completed without special arrangements, as a matter of routine.

What objectives did the early apostles have that motivated their travels? One was evangelism. In discussing the rights of apostles, Paul referred to apostles as "those who preach the gospel" (1Corinthians 9:14). Similarly, Timothy was charged to "do the work of an evangelist" (2Timothy 4:5). Even a cursory reading of Acts will show this to be an important function for apostles.

Another objective of those sent out by the church was to organize and strengthen the newly converted. This was partially the reason for the one or two year stays. Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us that God gave apostles "to prepare God's people for works of service." Paul planned a visit to Ephesus, but in case he was delayed he wrote instructions so that they would "know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household" (1 Timothy 3:15). Timothy's job was to "entrust" the truth to "reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2). {PLACE IN TEXT}


Footnote IV- Todd Bentley' Commissioning
The utter spuriousness of Peter Wagner's supposed God given "apostolic authority" is exemplified in his endorsement of Todd Bentley.

On June 23th 2008 Todd Bentley, leader of the Lakeland Outpouring was "commissioned" as an evangelist by leading "apostles" during a special ceremony that was broadcast by God TV. Participating leaders at the ceremony included Wagner himself and his wife Doris, Ché Ahn, pastor of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, Calif.; John Arnott of Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship in Canada; Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, Calif.; and Rick Joyner, founder of MorningStar Ministries in Charlotte, N.C.; Wesley Campbell of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.; Stephen and Karl Strader of Lakeland, Florida;

Thousands of people believed there was a "revival" going on and traveled from all over the globe to be a part of it. However it was soon discovered that Todd Bentley had entered into what was then referred to as "an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff" and stepped down from his position on the Board of Directors, apparently agreeing to refrain from all public ministry to receive counsel in his personal life. But I guess the counseling was far from enough considering that Todd Bentley divorced his wife and married his girlfriend.

"Che Ahn, Bill Johnson and John Arnott laid on hands and anointed Todd Bentley with a special new "Be Revived" oil that Chuck Pierce (who was in Africa) sent for the event".[22]

And Wagner pretty much orchestrated the entire "commissioning". In his words (Emphasis Added)

    The scenario was that I took the podium and called around me Todd Bentley, Ché Ahn, Bill Johnson and John Arnott. I then called to the platform a number of apostles whom I had chosen to stand behind us. [23]

While there were plenty of farcical, pompous pronouncements made over Todd Bentley that day, what Wagner said to Bentley on the platform took the proverbial cake - (All Emphasis Added)

    "This commissioning represents a powerful spiritual transaction taking place in the invisible world. With this in mind, I take the apostolic authority that God has given me and I decree to Todd Bentley, your power will increase, your authority will increase, your favor will increase, your influence will increase, your revelation will increase.

    "I also decree that a new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry. A new life force will penetrate this move of God. Government will be established to set things in their proper order. God will pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error. New relationships will surface to open the gates to the future."

[Watch On  YouTube. Copy and Past in Browser. www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEwsG4lsXq4
 The portion quoted begins round the 10 minute mark]

None of the above came to pass - Bentley's power did not increase, his authority did not increase, his favor did not increase, his influence did not increase, his revelation did not increase and God certainly did not pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error.

But even more telling was Todd Bentley's actions the entire time which were EXACTLY the same as people whose Kundalini had been awakened under a Hindu guru, something that none of the so called apostles even noticed. (Watch the video on {PLACE IN TEXT}

See more about Todd Bentley and His Circus Side Show From Hell


Footnote V - C. Peter Wagner. Apostles Today
(All Emphasis Added)

    The spiritual gift, whether it is the gift of apostle or any other gift, is given to a person through God's grace and by His choice. The Greek word for "grace” is charis, which is a part of the word charisma, which means "spiritual gift.” All gifts are grace-gifts.

    However, while the gift is received by the grace of God, the office is received through works. Furthermore, the office is not given to us by God; it is conferred on us by people. The key indicator is conferring upon someone the office of apostle is the fruit of the gift, as outward evidence that the person actually has the gift. The office becomes the public affirmation that an individual is recognized as having a spiritual gift and that they are authorized to exercise that gift is in the body of Christ. It is important to note that there are a number of people to whom God has given gifts, but who have not entered into their destiny because they have not yet earned their office.

    The office of apostle is conferred by responsible people. When asking the question, "is so-and-so an apostle?" one of the follow-up questions needs to be, "Who else recognizes this person as an apostle?” Those who follow the apostle as subordinates have a significant role in this recognition; but even more important is the affirmation of apostolic peers. This is one of the reasons why apostles are now spontaneously gathering together in peer-level associations of one kind or another, such as the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), an organization designed to connect as many peer-level apostles with each other as possible. When this happens, there is a much broader mutual recognition of apostolic offices, thereby raising the credibility of contemporary apostolic ministry in general.

    At times, an apostle might call upon apostolic peers who have agreed a he or she has the gift of apostle, in order to set them into the apostolic office in a public ceremony. As a part of the maturing process of the apostolic movement, this is happening more frequently. Most apostles are now in agreement that this act should be referred to as "commissioning,”"not as "ordination.” A reason for this is that the candidate has presumably gone through a previous public ceremony of ordination in their Christian ministry. Consequently, this new action would be the commissioning of an already-ordained minister to a different office. [24] {PLACE IN TEXT}


End Notes
[01] Holly Pivec. The New Apostolic Reformation: Influence and Teachings
https://www.apologeticsindex.org/2977-new-apostolic-reformation-overview

[02] ibid.

[03] C. Peter Wagner, Apostles Today: Biblical Government for Biblical Power (Bloomington, MN: Chosen Books, 2006), 25-26

[04] Bill Hamon, Apostles, Prophets, and the Coming Moves of God: God's End-Times Plans for His Church and Planet Earth. Destiny Image Publishers, March1997, Pg. 153]  ALSO New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) Defined. https://acgc.us/new-apostolic-reformation-nar-defined/

[05] Bill Hamon, The Eternal Church: A Prophetic Look at the Church-Her History, Restoration, and Destiny. Destiny Image Publishers; Revised ed. edition (January 18, 2005) Pgs. 365 - 366

[06] Bill Hamon, Apostles, Prophets, and the Coming Moves of God: God's End-Times Plans for His Church and Planet Earth. Destiny Image Publishers, March 1997, Page 139

[07] Rick Joyner, The Harvest (Pineville, NC, MorningStar, 1990, Pg.9

[08] International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders. History of ICAL. https://www.icaleaders.com/about-ical/prospectus

[09] ibid.

[10] ibid.

[11] C. Peter Wagner. Apostles Today Publisher: Chosen Books (March 8, 2012). Pages 25-27

[12] International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders. History of ICAL. https://www.icaleaders.com/about-ical/prospectus

[13] International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders. https://www.icaleaders.com/membership

[14] C. Peter Wagner. Understanding How Apostles Minister in Different Spheres.
https://www.apostolicparadigms.org/C__Peter_Wagner/Spheres/spheres.html

[15] International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders. https://www.icaleaders.com/membership

[16] Wagner University. Scholarship Opportunities Available
https://wagner.university/professor-tom-comments-on-voluntary-recalls-by-popular-snack-brands/

[17] https://globalapostolicnetwork.com/apostolic-calling/purpose-of-g-a-n/

[18] Transcript of a talk given by Philip L. Powell in BRISBANE, Australia on Thursday July 19, 2001 Who Is The Foundation of the Church - CHRIST or Modern Day Apostles? http://www.banner.org.uk/globalism/new-apostle.html

[19] Rick Joyner, The Harvest (Charlotte: MorningStar Publications, 1993), back cover

[20] https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/stewart_don/faq/the-various-gifts-of-the-holy-spirit/
01-was-apostle-a-spiritual-gift-or-an-office.cfm

[21] Steve Atkerson. Are There Apostles in Today's Church? https://ntrf.org/are-there-apostles-in-todays-church/

[22] C. Peter Wagner: "Peter Wagner's Report of the Lakeland Outpouring" http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word/6611

[23] Why Wagner WAS the Leader of the NAR (Part 1): Examining the Lakeland Apostolic Alignment Ceremony.
https://churchwatchcentral.com/2017/04/06/why-wagner-was-the-leader-of-the-nar-part-1-examining-the-lakeland-apostolic-alignment-ceremony/ 4

[24] C. Peter Wagner. Apostles Today Publisher: Chosen Books (March 8, 2012). Pages 25-27.

 Index To Shepherds or Wolves

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