Modern Day Restoration of Apostles?


Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith examines what the New Apostolic Reformation really teaches and lays out why it is a dangerous sect to be avoided at all costs.  Rosebrough covers all the bases.  He writes:


For nineteen centuries the church has existed without any living apostles who operated in the same power, authority and office as Peter, James, John, Paul and the others whom Jesus sent into the world to make disciples. But for those who buy into the ideas and teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation (N.A.R.), this is a tragic turn of events and a grave error committed by the historic Church. Joseph Mattera, the head of The United States Coalition of Apostolic Leaders, writing in Charisma Magazine about the historical loss of apostles in the church explained the problem this way:

It is tragic when the vast potential of an individual or entity is limited or eliminated because there is no room for their gifts. In the case of a lion, when captured and encaged, it loses its aggressive roar because it is forced to be localized into the confines of a cage.

It may be a lion, but it is no different from a house cat because, like a house cat, it no longer has to claim its territory and hunt to satisfy its hunger, and is content to stay confined within a building!

To me, all of this is related to the condition of the local church after it ceases to recognize the ministry and function of apostles. This results in cutting off the pioneering spirit and apostolic call to conquer and expand kingdom influence.

(I don’t necessarily think people have to use the title of apostle; the function is what is most important.)

In the case of church history, centuries ago we replaced the title (and consequently the function) of apostle and replaced it with the office of bishop. This vastly changed the nature and mission of the local and universal church. Apostles in the New Testament were the “sent ones” who, as military generals, were called to lead the church in mission as they were sent out to conquer new territories by planting churches and kingdom influence in key cities of the old Greco-Roman world. (For example, Paul the apostle started churches in over 30 key cities before the commencement of the first century!)

The office of bishop was primarily meant to oversee and administrate local churches: First starting in a local church (1 Tim. 3) which then evolved into overseeing a parish, then a diocese and then a region that included other bishops (hence they became archbishops or metropolitan bishops). However, as bishops became the apostolic successors it connoted a change from adventure, pioneering and conquering new territories (e.g., Paul, who prioritized going where Christ was not named as we read in 2 Cor. 10:10-14) to one of settling and maintaining the church and focusing primarily on church life, polity and politics.

Not only that, but after the Protestant Reformation many (in response to the abuse of the bishops and popes) even eradicated the office of bishop and opted instead for a Presbyterian form of government (whether for good or bad) which only recognizes pastors, elder and teachers in the church. The eradication of the bishopric further isolated and fragmented the emerging evangelical church and resulted in numerous denominations and independent local churches. (For example, when the Eastern Church split from Roman Catholicism in the 11th century, it remained virtually unified and intact because they kept the bishopric and/or the episcopate.)

Getting back to apostolic ministry, it is essential that we recapture the function (if not the title) of apostolic ministry once again so the lions of the church are released from their cages to go out and hunt (metaphorically speaking) and expand kingdom influence! The early church never saw their congregations as separate from the apostolic ministry and function of their recognized apostles. [emphasis added][1]

Mattera believes (and a significant number of Charismatics would agree with him) the Church has been stymied and limited by the apparent erroneous belief that apostles were no longer needed in the church. Note that Mattera’s explanation is that Bishops filled the role of the Apostle’s but according to Mattera with the change of title also came a change of function and eventually a loss of the apostolic function altogether. The solution to this problem according to Mattera is for the church to change course and return to apostolic ministry. To do that God would have to send a new crop of apostles into His church.

C. Peter Wagner and his associates in the New Apostolic Reformation, openly claim that God has already restored the office of Apostle, and there are men and women around the world today operating from within that office with more on the way. Wrote Wagner:

Are there apostles in our churches today?

Most Christians would affirm that they believe in apostles because Jesus led a group of 12 of them. However, apostles are generally seen as figures of a bygone age, like Vikings, Roman legions, Spanish conquistadors, or pioneers in covered wagons. They made their contributions to history, but the world has moved on.

One reason why this kind of thinking is so prevalent is that this is what most of our church leaders were taught in seminary and Bible school. I know— I was one of them. The notion that there could be contemporary apostles never came up in the seminaries I attended, not even as a suggestion. We were taught that the original 12 apostles had a singular, one-of-a-kind mission that was completed by the time of their deaths, and that was that— the end of the brief life of apostles on Earth. Consequently, I graduated assuming that apostles did not continue long after the first hundred years or so of the Church.

Not so! We are now living in the midst of one of the most epochal changes in the structure of the Church that has ever been recorded. I like to call it the “Second Apostolic Age.”…

The Second Apostolic Age is a phenomenon of the twenty-first century. My studies indicate that it began around the year 2001.[Emphasis added][2]

Wagner’s claims are breathtaking! Regardless of whether or not they’re true, the claim that they are true is having and will continue to have an immeasurable impact on the church.

This paper will examine the claims by Wagner and others that God has restored Apostles to the church and then provide a brief Biblical rebuttal.   Continue reading


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10 Responses to Modern Day Restoration of Apostles?

  1. Reji Paul November 19, 2016 at 11:13 am #

    Why can’t they humbly call themselves as Evangelists, which is a great address?

  2. Maggie November 19, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

    These “modern-day apostles” remind me of the super-apostles Apostle Paul spoke of. Their mission is not to spread the gospel but to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth. I see a lot of pride in acquiring the power and authority of the office of current day apostle. They are supplanting the role and work of the Holy Spirit in the individual lives of believers. There is error built on error to culminate in a great delusion. 2 Thess. 2:11.

  3. Edwitness November 19, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    The truth is that it was the apostles themselves that gave the church bishops and deacons. 1Tim.3:1,10.
    “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.”
    “And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.”

    And it was the apostle Paul himself that wrote that the foundation had been laid and was made up of the prophets and apostles with Jesus being the chief cornerstone. There is no more foundation being laid since that time. They finished it.
    Eph.2:20- “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;”

    These men and women simply like having the highest seat and want greater authority over others in the body than the scriptures give pastors and teachers. Proof of this thinking is found in this statement in this article. He says; “(I don’t necessarily think people have to use the title of apostle; the FUNCTION is what is important.)
    What was Paul or Peter’s “function” in the body? They had power and authority over the Churches they had established.

    Following these so called “new apostles” is a fools errand. I can just see one or more of them ending up saying they are Christ. That point is where all this kind of false teaching always ends up. Remember Jim Jones? Maybe this is how the AC is finally made palatable to the church.


  4. Manny1962 November 19, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

    Are there true apostles left? I say the easiest way to know is read how the apostles lived, behaved and worked. Now, take anyone professing to be an apostle today and overlay them over an original apostle. How many today are turning the world upside down for Christ? His many are faithfully repudiating the world? How many have turned their back on the pleasures of this world to serve Jesus exclusively? How many are performing actual, VERIFIABLE miracles? God allowed miracles go be performed by the apostles to show the populace these were authentic apostles performing what no mere man can, such as restoring life. How many deny homosexuality or aberrant sexuality of any kind? How many say without any doubt that Jesus Christ is the One and Only Son of God? How many say that Jesus is the ONLY way salvation? How many say without Christ you will die in your sins and be cast into hell? I would wager none of the NAR camp fits 100% in to this very short list. I have not seen anyone pass the litmus test of an apostle. Wagner must be in a very hot place now.

  5. Edwitness November 19, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    The conclusion given in this article is absolutely right on! If you haven’t read the whole thing I suggest you do. It is the best explanation for the nar’s apostasy fulfilling role that it has assumed.

    I agree with your list Manny1962, but I believe there is one very important requirement you probably know, but did not mention. The apostles were all eyewitnesses of Jesus.


    • Manny1962 November 19, 2016 at 7:03 pm #

      Absolutely Ed, that is the number one reason! They were called by Jesus Himself! That in itself should end the controversy.

    • Edwitness November 28, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

      Thank you James. John did an admirable job of defining from the scriptures exactly what it is to be a true apostle. As opposed top the wannabes we have prancing around today.

  6. Mike December 1, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

    Sadly CHRIS ROSEBROUGH is the type who needs to remove the beam from his own eye first. No longer a Church jumping Gypsy He at times quotes from his current church groups Lutheran Commentary AS if it is scripture.! That is wrong to do.
    Worse yet is him presenting that Commentary to unsuspecting young in the word Christians who don’t see through the facade.!

    • Stephen James Schneider December 2, 2016 at 12:06 am #

      Hi Mike:

      I completely agree. Btw, it took me a week to reply to your post about Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary in the forum thread at:

      I just wanted to check to see whether you saw the response. Edwitness and I are still posting on that thread near the buttom — I’ve been reposting his posts from earlier in the discussion and responding to them. That way, they are easier to find because one can ignore the enormous volume of info posted above them.

      I also wanted to thank you as you, along with Edwitness, rascott247, and others helped me to understand that my view on good works (partially) achieving salvation was NOT biblically supported, and that I was wrong. I’ve adjusted my beliefs accordingly, as any Berean would.

      I appreciate any positive criticism and feedback that anyone wants to give as it can only help me in building my relationship with God. Feel free to look at the latest comments, but only if you want to.

      God bless you and keep you, Mike!