Do you want to be an apostle?
The apostle Paul wrote “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For no other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which isJesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:10-11).
If Christ is the foundation then who did the apostles lay as their foundation for the Church? This is not a trick question although many may not give a correct answer.
It was Jesus they built on, they did not point to themselves as the foundation, but Christ. What He taught them they taught the people, this became the foundation.
A great concern has arisen from the new movements that have been surfacing. We now have men who are saying that the government of the Church is to be based on today’s end time apostles” which is the foundation for the new era of the Church. It is to be built (or rebuilt) just as it was in the beginning.
C. Peter Wagner states “I believe that the government of the church is finally coming into place and that is the, the scripture teaches in Eph. 2 that the foundation of the church is apostles and prophets” (CBN interview Jan.3, 2000). This is what Wagner believes, but is it what God has taught? Is God’s government finally coming into place, did the Church have no government for almost 1900 years prior to Wagner’s new apostolic prophetic movement?
How can the government finally be coming in place when the Church began by the apostles, and continued to grow and function? Wagner is selling the church a “restoration,” something we don’t need.
“The second apostolic age began in the year 2001” (ed. Note clearly implying they are just like the original apostles Jesus picked). What’s important is that you’re the people of God out there, you’re representing the kingdom of God, and you know this, but nothing has happened because the government of the church has not come into place. See, the problem is, is that Satan has had too much of his way in our society because he has a government! And the only way to overthrow a government is with a government” (C. Peter Wagner Arise Prophetic Conference Gateway Church San Jose, CA 10/10/2004) (emphasis mine)
“The biblical government of the church has been coming into place with the recognition of the gift and office of prophet in the 1980's and the gift and office of apostle in the 1990s. I believe that the Second Apostolic Age actually began in 2001” (article-The Great Transfer of Wealth Are You Ready? by C. Peter Wagner)
One of the prophecies of Wagner’s council is “The church will be in key transition period between 2000-2003. During this period the youth in particular will be transitioning into revival. It is especially important for the apostolic government to be initially established and functioning in our cities by Oct. 2003 if we are to see the transformations that God wants to release.” So without it we will not be successful as a church.
In my opinion C. Peter Wagner has put together a group of hijackers that have stepped forward claiming it is they who are bringing in the church government; that will change Christianity for the better. This is nothing less than a coup d'état.
Wagner's World Prayer Center, is just one of the many groups that Peter Wagner has formed to promote the new model of spiritual warfare (seeking out and binding territorial spirits). However the most important one is called the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders. This group is internationally recognized authority on prayer and spiritual warfare. The group's statement was released after they met in Colorado at the end of February 2000. The council was formed with leaders who have a recognized prophetic gift. They proposition: that it is necessary that every city have Apostolic leadership over it. Wagner has written a new book “Apostles of the City: How to mobilize the territorial Apostles for city Transformation.” He proposes that apostles and prophets must be incorporated into the church and work with the pastors for success in their communities and cities. Transformation is a propaganda video that George Otis Jr. produced (who is under Wagner) that tries to show how cities are transformed through unity and spiritual warfare. This of course finds its source in Wagner’s proposed methodology he is offering the Church through his new restoration of apostles and prophets.
Wagner is the “presiding apostle” of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) and “convening apostle” of the New Apostolic Roundtable. ICA sees itself as a means to bring together apostles from around the world in a broad network to facilitate mutual acquaintance and communication among apostles. Solicited by invitation only, they have now over one hundred and fifty members. The goal is have from five hundred to one thousand apostles joining. And you thought joining the high society country club was hard.
Their members (by invitation only), are asked to pay a monthly fee to sustain their membership. The office is managed by John Kelly, executive apostle located in a suburb of Dallas. The ICA’s definition of apostle: “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.”
The New Apostolic Roundtable is a smaller unit of Wagner. Membership comes through a personal invitation from Wagner, it is now closed. Wagner is the convening apostle, Chuck Pierce is prophetic counsel. Wagner's Apostolic Elders include:
This inner group is not to exceed 25. Applying principles of group dynamics, a meaningful accountability unit based on personal relationships must not exceed 25 members.
A new reformation is now underway, implementing Peter Wagner’s model of apostolic reformation. Wagner has given birth to his own group of leaders and apostolic churches. This movement crosses over all denominational boundaries. Apostolic networks are forming and are supposedly the fastest-growing segment of Christianity worldwide. With Dutch Sheets, Cindy Jacobs, Mike Bickle, Tommy Tenney and many others involved and promoting Wagner’s concepts of the new Church model of the 21st century they have the ear of the church.
According to Wagner, the ICA is not designed as a functional accountability structure. It is, however, a vehicle which hopefully will spin off a significant number of smaller accountability groups. Interesting that they promote a new government to control the church but do not have this in order yet. In Scripture we see the apostles in their missionary working together in two’s and considered elders of the church along with the other elders. What we need to ask is if Wagner’s Apostles are supposed to hold pastors and other leaders accountable, whom are these new apostles accountable to? Especially if they are forming a government that is to have a great amount of control on the church.
This restoration is to form a government the original apostles never laid.Peter Wagner is not the apostle overall the other apostles, this is what the Catholics did with Peter (not Peter W.). What is being formed is a group of intimidating leaders, calling themselves apostles and prophets to guide the Body of Christ astray with false revelations, visions and prophecies. Yes I know this sounds strong but it’s accurate. We can know this by what many of them (maybe not all) teach and prophesy, which is not something we can immediately cover at this point.
When was the Foundation of the Church Put Down?
“Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets…” Notice the past tense, having “been built.” Scripture does not teach “the foundation” of the Church is “built upon apostles and prophets” not even the original “apostles and prophets” said this. The meaning of Paul’s statement in Ephesians 2:20 that so many use to approve themselves as apostles and prophets is explained in 1 Cor. 3:10-11: “I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For no other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” The apostles and prophets were specifically chosen by God to lay the foundation of the Church, a foundation is something they built upon which is Christ. And it continues to be Christ. The apostles were not the basis on which that foundation was laid, but were the builders of it. The foundation was completed and anyone who comes afterwards and says we need new prophets and apostles to do this again is saying the foundation is not laid. Then what have we been building on all these centuries? 1 Corinthians 3:11 “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” No other foundation is acceptable; no other person or teaching can be the foundation for Christianity. And we certainly do not need to go back to continue building the foundation that was laid almost 2,000 years ago.While there are still apostles in the church in a general sense today (as there are several groups, types of apostles) Ephesians 2:20 are specifically chosen men who laid the foundation of the Church. Their work is done once and for all time, not to be repeated. Wagner says it is these type of apostles that are being raised up in the Church, to bring a government with signs and wonders following them.
The apostles did not complete the Church, it is still being built, what they did complete was the foundation. Certainly the Church is still under construction until the day Christ says it is finished and we are taken to be with Him, but the foundation and the way it was to be governed was completed in its beginning by the apostles Jesus chose. Isaiah the prophet wrote (28:16) “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily” (1 Pt.2:7). Jesus is the cornerstone put down for the foundation. Is it reasonable to think that we wait for so long for the rest of the foundation to be laid today? What have we been building the Church on?
When the temple was laid (Zech. 4:9) the rest of the building went upon it. This is the picture of the Church with the Church built into a holy temple. Each new believer becomes a brick in the building. Eph. 2:19-20 “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,” Who is the foundation of the apostle and prophets? It tells us “Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” V. 2:20-22 “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” The Churches construction is continually being made and added to throughout all the centuries on what the apostles taught.
The apostles and prophets were called by Christ to lay the foundation for His church, they were not the foundation themselves, Christ was (Ephesians 2:20; Matthew 16:18). They taught His teachings and this was how the apostles laid the foundation. This is explained to us in the inspired Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:1,2; 1 Pet. 1:12; 2 Pet. 3:16). Acts 2:42: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” The apostles taught of Jesus just as He commanded them “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:20). There is no need for modern apostles or prophets to continue forming the foundation, the faith was already delivered (Jude 4). Certainly we do not need more commands to obey. Does God keep giving apostles new revelation to continue building the foundation? If so, then we can assume not all truth has been given and we need to continue writing and expanding the Bible. The original apostles teaching became our Scripture. Paul who was the last apostle wrote the majority of the New Testament for the Church. If there is in any sense new apostles who will do greater works than the old ones, then we must accept new revelation from them as well, adding it to the Scripture. Are you ready for this? This is not acceptable according to the word itself. This concept is very Catholic and has no authority to be in protestant/evangelical type churches. We have already dealt with this issue 500 years ago, why are we accepting those leading us back to it? Once this foundation was laid there was no further need for the apostolic office. Since all the apostolic truth the Church needs is written down, no other truth needs to be conveyed for the Church to be constructed or equipped. We are complete in Christ and in His Word (2 Tim 3:17).“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:9-10).
We can all agree that there are still missionary apostles with us today that go into unreached areas and plant churches. But this is not what Wagner and associates are about. They are governmental, ruling apostles who claim power from on high with signs and wonders. The apostles of Christ had a prophetic office, they wrote Scripture and discipled the people in the churches they started. In this there is a huge difference. What Wagner is doing is copying the apostolic succession of the Catholic church with the Popes. The only difference is that there is not one apostle at a time but many, too many.
Jesus appeared to Paul after His ascension and says: “After He was seen by James and then by all the apostles, then last of all he was seen by me also as one “born out of due time.” (I Cor. 15:7,8) Last of all the apostles, means exactly what it says “last of all the apostles.” “Last of all” is describing something that is last in a sequence. Paul is saying affirmatively, He is the last of all apostles appointed by Jesus; his visitation became his spiritual birth. Peter insisted that the replacement to Judas “must become with us a witness to His resurrection.” Paul in defending his apostleship agrees by saying: “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen our Lord?” (I Cor. 9:1). Have any of these new apostles seen Jesus. Some may actually claim they have but they will have a contention with Paul who says he was the last in succession to see Jesus. The other requirement is impossible to fill today, one had to accompany the disciples from the baptism of John to Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:22).
Saints were to be equipped for ministry from the apostles and prophets, are the new ones doing this? What will we hear from these new prophets who are under Wagner? Here’s an insightful nugget. “Pentecostal theologians have made the helpful suggestion of distinguishing the logos word of God from the rhema word of God...The rhema is regarded as a more immediate word from God which we do not find in the 66 books of the Bible” (Engaging the Enemy, by C. Peter Wagner (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1991), pp.15-16).
That’s an interesting view, but we actually do find the word rhema in the Bible for the Word of God. However, if one listens to the new prophets under Wagner they will hear something quite new and often not found in the Bible. “New” is the key word for our time, like the cliché of the new age is “change.” This is also found in Tommy Tenney who is also associates with Wagner, who states, “A true God chaser is not happy with just past truth. He must have present truth. God chasers don't want to just study from the moldy pages of what God has done; they're anxious to see what God is doing.” He is speaking of a rhema word that Wagner says is not found in the Scripture.
Does God want the Christianity He gave the original apostles to build to change? Is this a good thing? Does not Peter warn “That you be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior” (2 Peter 3:2). Jude admonished “But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 17). Instead, we have those calling themselves modern prophets and apostles leading us in a new direction, moving the Church in an opposite course of the original apostles words, commands and practices. An apostle is a representative of the one who chose and sends him on the mission. If he represents something different from the one he is to represent, then he is not a true “sent one.”
When Paul wrote that all the gifts were given to the church, but nowhere did he write that all believers were apostles and performed the same miracles in the same quantity or quality. There were only two exceptions mentioned, Philip and Stephen, both were directly commissioned to an apostle. The apostles who performed these miracles had it as evidence of their apostolic call in the beginning church when it was being formed. The primitive church had God appointed apostles taught from Jesus to equip her and give doctrine that would have her grow. Today many want the same positions after the foundation of our faith was long laid down and practiced. So they are coming with a new view and a new way to practice Christianity. This should be unacceptable for every saint that holds to the Scriptures delivered by the apostles who were appointed by Jesus. t
The apostles were identified as leadership by what they taught and by “signs, wonders and miracles” that followed (2 Cor. 12:12; Acts 14:3). In apostolic times the authority of the apostolic office was demonstrated in the miraculous works done only by the apostles themselves. Being an apostle, as one who plants new churches may be used but not the office and gift that was given to the chosen ones of Jesus who did apostolic miracles. There is a consistency through the book of acts of who performed the great miracles.
Acts 2:43: “Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”
Acts 4:33-34 “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”
Acts 5:12 “And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people.”
Acts 8:17-19 “Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
2 Cor. 12:12 “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.”
The writer of Hebrews “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Heb. 2:3-4). The miraculous signs all point to being done by the apostles not to ordinary Christians. Does this mean no miracle was ever done by Christians asking in prayer? No, of course not, but it is Scripture that interprets what actually happened. It is wrong to teach the church today should be able to do all and everything the apostles did in the New Testament, even the regular Christians were unable to do the same when the apostles were alive. We can also conclude from the Scripture that with the passing of the apostles, certain miracles that were the sign gifts of the apostles departed along with them. I’m not saying there are no more miracles but that God followed the apostles preaching in such a way that miracles occurred when they prayed and when they did not, by just preaching the gospel.
I wonder if these new apostles would be comfortable if the apostle Paul came into their church meeting today, what would he have to say to them? I guess this would be the difference between a real apostle and those that are passed off as one today. I believe they would not have a blessing, or even a commendation, they would hear a rebuke. But that is only my opinion. Let’s hear what Paul actually says of those even in his day who were doing this. Paul said He was the last of the apostles, this is why the mention of apostles by the apostles denounced those who laid claim to this office.
2 Cor. 11:13-15: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
Rev.2:2: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.”
An “apostle” (those personally chosen by Jesus) in the correct Biblical sense was only a temporary gifting and office and did not continue in the Church.
Since apostles purpose was to build a foundation for the church throughout history and the requirement was to see the risen Christ. Since Paul says he was the last, how can anyone justify new apostles to govern the church today?
You don’t have to be part of Wagner’s group of apostles, there are so many others who lay claim to this outside the Wagner grouping that it is becoming quite a concern.
Prophet Rick Joyner (who also is associated with Wagner) states it will be said “the apostles soon to be anointed that they have turned an upside down world right side up. Nations will tremble at the mention of their name” (The Harvest, Rick Joyner). Beside the nations being overwhelmed by these newly appointed apostles He claims that “Miracles which exceed even some of the most spectacular biblical marvels will cause whole nations to acknowledge Jesus ... The appearances of angels will be so common that they will cease to be related as significant events. The Lord Himself will appear to councils of apostles and elders, and give them directives” (The Harvest p.33, Rick Joyner).
These apostles have more similarity to the ascended masters guidance, and the Jesus of the New Age Movement.
Nothing in the Bible says this but then when you’re a modern prophet you only need a vision and a disembodied voice speaking new revelation to confirm the new word “of the lord.”
One of the characteristics of the end time apostles and prophets is their wanting to dominate and have control of the church. Then we now have a Kingdom without its King, replaced with many prophets and apostles. That is not a good tradeoff when we see the day fast approaching of the kings true return. We need to understand what is now happening and take a stand against such false movements.