Are There Modern-Day Apostles? NO

Lane Chaplin has a great video of Dr. Alan Cairns of Let The Bible Speak Ministries in Northern Ireland. Dr. Cairns thoughtfully and biblically details the fallacy of the modern-day “apostle” phenomenon:

Are There Apostles in the Church Today?

In a previous post, I explained that according to scripture, the office of Apostle was a FOUNDATIONAL OFFICE, not a permanent position with fringe benefits. Please note that Dr. Cairns explains that the apostles were “sent” to spread the Gospel, so in that respect all believers are called to do the work of the apostles. The modern-day apostles, however, have no biblical ground to stand on in “declaring” their “apostolic ministry” (complete with lofty titles, submitted sons and daughters, and the like). Once again, the irrefutable Word of God is clear and concise in the hands of a biblically sound teacher.

Related Posts:


19 Responses to “Are There Modern-Day Apostles? <b>NO</b>”

  1. 1 Vaughn March 31, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I agree with the man in this post, because I vaguely remember having a conversation with my dad last summer, in which this was the topic of conversation. And I must admit that the eyewitness part has me stuck in my present position.

    With knowing that the Apostle Paul was a man that was converted on the road to Damascus, along with the epiphany that he had had, i’m not very willing to accept those that will call themselves Apostles, and would probably react like a person with Tourette’s syndrome if expected to address a person in this day with that title. Can’t see myself forthcoming!

  2. 2 Denny April 2, 2009 at 2:07 am

    Thank you for sharing this video.


  3. 3 Cop April 3, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    “and would probably react like a person with Tourette’s syndrome if expected to address a person in this day with that title.”

    LOL and AMEN Vaughn

  4. 4 D--Gladden April 5, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    By the power of the Holy Spirit…we speak none other but the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ..Our LORD and Saviour.

    • 5 speaking truth April 6, 2009 at 2:07 pm

      D-Gladden – are you commenting from the perspective of a ministry built on sound biblical doctrine, or as a modern-day apostle?

      Just curious about the context of your comment…

  5. 6 Michael Pharr April 7, 2009 at 10:46 am

    What do you say when someone says that the Modern Day Apostles are essentially church planters. Just wondering.

    – Michael

    • 7 speaking truth April 7, 2009 at 11:32 am


      I say “I agree, but why do they choose the title ‘Apostle’?”. One could make it a semantic argument, but I think it all lies with the desire to revered by man as opposed to doing the work of the Lord for His glory and not our own.

      Think about it – the title of Reverend used to garner respect in the community, primarily because the Reverend was rolling up his sleeves and doing work within the community that his church sat in. But Reverend wasn’t lofty enough, so “Pastor” became the term-de-jour, invoking more of a “shepherd’s” connotation. Then Elder, then Bishop, then Archbishop and so on. Clearly, the terms elder, pastor, shepherd, bishop, deacon, and more are biblical – and relevant for ministry today – but Paul clearly stated that the office of the Apostle was a foundational office (Ephesians 2:19-20).

      So church planters are church planters (or pastors, teachers, evangelists, whatever) – not Apostles.

      • 8 Vaughn April 7, 2009 at 1:21 pm

        “I say “I agree, but why do they choose the title ‘Apostle’?”. One could make it a semantic argument, but I think it all lies with the desire to revered by man as opposed to doing the work of the Lord for His glory and not our own.”

        I’m glad to know which way you went on this issue because it seems we hold the same point of view, somewhat, as to those that covet being called by this, when in all actuality it would be God that would/should get the glory.

        It is so sad to see those that love the greetings in the marketplace or notoriety & acknowledgement of others, as if they can’t live without it. I’m really baffled by those that you would think would know and cherish God’s word do such things as this.

        Status and positions, is somewhat resembling of how the sons of thunder acted when provoked by their mother as to who would sit where in God’s kingdom.

        We need to to better, if you’re doing that work, do that work. I still believe you have had to be an eyewitness to qualify! Office or title?

        1Cr 9:1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?

        1Cr 9:2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

        1 Cor. 4:8-14 also deals with hardships that too many title jockeys wouldn’t consider in my opinion

        We in this day believe but have not seen The Lord, as the real Apostles did.

        • 9 speaking truth April 7, 2009 at 1:50 pm

          I still believe you have had to be an eyewitness to qualify!

          Thank you for steering my reply back to the bible, Vaughn. I expressed my opinion and completely ignored one of the tenets emphasized in the video: the Apostles were eyewitnesses to Christs’ early works (or in Paul’s case, commissioned directly by Christ Himself after His Ressurection).

          Even more of a stark contrast to those who claim the title today.

  6. 10 dr. jay worth allen April 7, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    My Brother,

    Paul was an apostle. But why was he an apostle? What qualified Paul, Peter, James, Barnabas and the others to the office of an apostle? What is an apostle? An apostle is someone who is sent by the Spirit of God with a message. That’s what an apostle is. That’s also a missionary – someone who is sent by the Spirit of God with a message. Missionary and apostle are translations of the same word. So someone who is sent by the Spirit of God with a message is characteristic of all apostles. All the apostles, we see in the Word of God, were sent by the Spirit to minister a message given them by the Lord. All of them. If the requirement for Paul to be an apostle was seeing the Lord in the flesh after His resurrection then there were over 500 who would have qualified. But not all were called as apostles. Some were called as prophets, as evangelists, as teaching pastors, as deacons, as elders, etc. Do you see the point? An apostle is simply a man called by God – now this is a very special call – sent by the Spirit of God with a message from the Lord Jesus concerning the building of, the equipping of His church. Don’t be fooled. Every preacher, (though he may be a called pastoring teacher of God) standing in the church declaring Jesus is Lord, is not an apostle. Neither is man who someone has pinned a name tag engraved with “apostle” to his lapel. Apostleship is a special calling, on a specific man, whose concern is for the whole of the body of Christ, not just a portion. An apostle is concerned with the whole of the church of the Lord Jesus. He is concerned with sound teaching, with doctrine, with the Word; for the entire body of his day. That’s all.

    It’s really very simple. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,” which is conviction, “for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). What does an apostle do? He preaches doctrine. He sets down the teaching of the church of Jesus Christ. He lays out the structure. His burden is for the body; that the whole body would see the truth of the Word of God. That is why he’s there. If you take him out, you have taken out one of the vital revelations in the body of Christ. “We know in part and we prophesy in part.” We need each one of the four ministries (Ephesians 4:11) to build the church. (Many a preach has said there are five equipping ministries given in this verse, but for that to be the true the word some, which comes before the noun pastors, would come again before teachers, which it does not. So there are four equipping ministries here, given by the Lord Jesus for the perfecting of the saints for the work in the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ. For the building of the Lord’s church.) If the apostle is taken out, you have removed the vital element of the revelation of truth of the Lord, the element which desires to see the body move on in Him. In doctrine. If the apostle is taken out, the element of the burden of the Lord which desires to see the body as one in Him is gone. And you have completely ruptured the foundation. And the structure will not stand together.

    Have you ever seen what happens to a great slab of concrete which has been poured without iron reinforcements? When it’s exposed to unfavorable weather it cracks. Continually. And it will keep cracking, breaking apart until it is completely unusable. It must be replaced with a slab of concrete containing iron reinforcements. God has given reinforcement iron, if you please, to this building He’s putting together. He has placed the reinforcement within His foundation to hold it together. Permanently. The apostle is one of God’s reinforcements – for the whole slab. Apostles minister doctrine. Not altogether, but primarily.

    Although we must be careful about who we are talking to. Some guy may stand up and proclaim himself an apostle – taking predominance over ministries and people he is incapable to lead. A group of guys in the church may get together and lay hands on some well respected man (or pastor) who may have participated in great works within the church and proclaim him an apostle. All of a sudden the church is saying that all the new apostle does and says is divinely inspired. He’s writing a book, starting a new church, wearing a robe – he’s become divinely inspired. He can say and write whatever he considers truth and the people must follow. C. H. Spurgen wrote, “There are men called by God. There are men called by God and man. And there are men called by men. The latter is laying empty hands on empty heads.” Be careful and watch. “Judge righteous judgment.”

    Apostles are divinely inspired but not necessarily in writing. There were apostles who didn’t write anything in the Bible. Have you ever heard of a guy named Thaddeaeus? I don’t see the first epistle of Thaddeaeus in the Book. He was an apostle, yet he wrote nothing divinely inspired. The Bible is divinely inspired. So all of the writers and all of the writing in the Book is divinely inspired. Thaddeaeus was a man sent from God with a message. Yes, he was an apostle, but he was just a man sent by the Spirit of God with a message – a spoken message not a written message. God also used men who were not apostles to write His Book. Men who were divinely inspired, but not apostles. Was Luke was an apostle? The Bible tells us that Luke was a disciple of Paul, a doctor, but that’s as much as I can find out concerning his call. An apostle did not have to write divinely inspired revelation to be an apostle. All that was required was that he was sent from God by the Holy Spirit to carry a message.

    I do enjoy reading your blog. Sorry for the time delay in my response.

    Much love in Christ Jesus,

    Dr Jay Worth Allen

    • 11 speaking truth April 7, 2009 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks for your well reasoned comment, Dr. Jay. While there is much debate between “eyewitnesses” vs. “commissioned by God and eyewitnesses”, I still contend that their are no modern-day “Apostles” – but that God still uses specific people for specific assignments in evangelizing the Gospel. Once again, I believe (as if that matters anyway) that many use the title to further a personal agenda. You wrote:

      An apostle is concerned with the whole of the church of the Lord Jesus. He is concerned with sound teaching, with doctrine, with the Word; for the entire body of his day. That’s all.

      Certainly the majority (if not all) of those who claim apostolic leadership today are better known for their love of the proseprity gospel then their love of sound doctrine. That said, I will continue my study, and I maitain that the apostolic office was a foundational office that is not in effect today.

    • 12 Bill Thomas February 3, 2010 at 10:01 am

      Its a 5 fold ministry, not 3 or 4 fold. Pastor is only mentioned only ONCE in all of the New Testament, and how many times is Apostle listed. If we have the word of God in front of us it says first apostles. not no Apostles Ephesians 4:11

  7. 13 gcmwatch April 9, 2009 at 1:10 am

    Lee Grady at Charisma wrote about this apostle-worship at its resultant abuses in the church today.

    In the 1980s and ‘90s we charismatics emphasized the need for apostles and prophets. I cheered this movement because I believe we should reclaim every spiritual gift in the New Testament that has been avoided or neglected.

    We need true apostles and prophets because they keep the church moving forward in our global assignment and provide heavenly direction and strategy. Yet apostles and prophets have been controversial, not only because some people reject them on theological grounds but because some self-proclaimed apostles and hyper-mystical prophets have abused and misused their gifts and authority. Today some of these people have slipped over the edge of orthodoxy—and have taken segments of the church off the cliff with them.

    Some have promoted the concept that apostles are spiritual supermen who wield rigid, hierarchical control over churches and leaders, resulting in authoritarianism and abuse. Others have perverted the apostolic model to create a financial “downline” that brings loads of money to a few at the top of the food chain—ignoring the fact that the Bible says apostles should be models of humility who serve from the bottom. And some prophets have traded in their originally pure message to promote bizarre doctrines and cryptic predictions that often prove to be hokum.

    Is it possible that while we were celebrating the super apostles and building fan clubs for the prophets we were ignoring the primacy of our evangelistic calling?”

    Im not with the so called new apostolic reformation,and this article gives a good once over of its “roots”.

  8. 14 Pastor Jean Noel May 29, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I think that this is a very important topic. I agree with Dr Jay on his position of the matter. I think that the only problem is that we have a surplus of man and women in the body of christ who are claiming that they operate in that anointig, but yet, lack the ability to show forth the anointing.

    The signs of an apostle according to the word of God is signs, wonders, miracles, and great works. The problem that we are encountering is that most people who says that they are Apostles does not even have those signs following them.

  9. 15 nathanbriscoe October 30, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    No biblical basis. You should check out my latest blog post

  10. 16 Daniel Houghtaling November 14, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    As far as I am concerned there is scripture that virtually tells us in no uncertain terms that there are no “modern day apostles.” Consider this: all the apostles were men; they were all Jews (and needed to have been Jewish in order for their roles to comply with Romans 3:1-2); all the apostles were “eyewitnesses” to the resurrected Christ. We know these things to be true, but there is one more scripture I would like you to take a look at that will prove beyond a shadow of doubt, that there are no “modern day apostles.”

    Remember in John 17 when Jesus was praying…if you look at his words very carefully, you will see that there are specific “groups” that Jesus prays for. Now as he finishes up praying for those eyewitnesses of his ministry at that time, he says “neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word (John 17:20).” Why is this significant? If we look at the Apostles, every one of them did not believe on Christ (and his resurrection) through any man’s word, but by Christ himself. This holds true for Paul, for he believed Christ himself on the road to Damascus. Even Thomas would not take anyone’s word for it that Christ was risen…he had to see with his own eyes.

    Therefore, because there are two groups there in John 17…namely those believing on Christ first-hand, and those believing on Christ through the testimony of the first group, it is very easy to spot the frauds. Ask any “modern day apostle” how did you first believe on Christ? Invariably they will say something standard such as, “I accepted Christ at a young age…” and recount how they responded to an altar call or something to that effect. Regardless, that proves that they are no apostle…no need to bother finding out if they are Jewish or not.

  11. 17 Joe December 3, 2009 at 9:13 am

    I believe in the modern day apostle. The Apostles set the foundation for the church. Can someone explain why today’s churches aren’t filled with the Holy Ghost and the evidence of speaking in a heavenly language. We are too busy fussing about who is right and who is wrong. I believe the latter day church will be greater than the former. Which was that church in Jerusalem and how awesome were they. Today we are divided by denomination man made “junk” where you cannot freely praise god because of control.
    What happened to being led by the spirit than “man” controlling everything. Some have the nerve to say that’s accountability what ever. I believe when some of you so called Christians when your spirit moves on and you go to a place looking for a particular section like your denomination. I say to you “RUN” because that’s not heaven that’s hell… let’s get it right with God and I don’t need to give you scripture because I believe you already know all of you Bible scholars. Don’t let me get started on prophets. next time.

  12. 18 Caleb December 7, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    “A person sent by another; a messenger; envoy. This word is once used as a descriptive designation of Jesus Christ, the Sent of the Father (Heb_3:1; Joh_20:21). It is, however, generally used as designating the body of disciples to whom he entrusted the organization of his church and the dissemination of his gospel, “the twelve,” as they are called (Mat_10:1-5; Mar_3:14; Mar_6:7; Luk_6:13; Luk_9:1). We have four lists of the apostles, one by each of the synoptic evangelists (Mat_10:2-4; Mar_3:16; Luk_6:14), and one in the Acts (Act_1:13). No two of these lists, however, perfectly coincide.
    It was characteristic of the apostles and necessary
    (1.) that they should have seen the Lord, and been able to testify of him and of his resurrection from personal knowledge (Joh_15:27; Act_1:21, Act_1:22; 1Co_9:1; Act_22:14, Act_22:15).
    (2.) They must have been immediately called to that office by Christ (Luk_6:13; Gal_1:1).
    (3.) It was essential that they should be infallibly inspired, and thus secured against all error and mistake in their public teaching, whether by word or by writing (Joh_14:26; Joh_16:13; 1Th_2:13). (4.) Another qualification was the power of working miracles (Mar_16:20; Act_2:43; 1Co_12:8-11).
    The apostles therefore could have had no successors. They are the only authoritative teachers of the Christian doctrines. The office of an apostle ceased with its first holders.
    In 2Co_8:23 and Phi_2:25 the word “messenger” is the rendering of the same Greek word, elsewhere rendered “apostle.””
    -Easton’s Bible dictionary

  13. 19 Gayle December 14, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Hello… return to the gospels of Christ. For a minute just leave Paul and Peter and John and James etc. Return to the King himself and read his words again.

    You will see for yourself that the Apostles were handpicked…they followed him everywhere, they saw him teaching, perfoming miracles, they were “FIRST HAND EYE WITNESSES..they were ordained in eternity, in the beginning and they are the FOUNDATION.” Jesus warned us about nocolaitanism and hierachy’s and offices. “The greatest among you shall be the least.”

    Why is it then that modern “churches” have all these “offices” and “titles”??? Jesus said “preach the kingdom of heaven” not ordain yourselves as arch bishops and “apostles”..the apostles have already been established. We are just meant to spread the word and do as were told to do. If one has a special calling fair enough “Do as you were told to do” but make sure you do not go out of the way and become a people pleaser and do not add or subtract. “Do not seek to be teachers”. Modern day churches and apostles now have legalism in churches whereby the doctrine of Jesus has been thrown out the window and corrupted. Before you get yourself into trouble…return to your FIRST LOVE!!!!

Comments are currently closed.

AddThis Feed Button Add to Technorati Favorites

Get Daily Email Updates:

Sign up for email updates and get the latest articles in your email inbox!

People Looking For Truth:

  • 1,106,394 ...and counting

RSS John MacArthur Sermons

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS John Piper Sermons

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS RC Sproul Sermons

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS The White Horse Inn

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.


Archived Articles…


%d bloggers like this: