He Himself gave some to be apostles

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11)

I came across this helpful article this morning that addresses the issue of whether apostles continue to the present day. We have discussed this briefly in Bible study and my conclusion is that the apostles represented a foundational ministry that not needed or present today.

This article discusses that view in detail: So, Aren’t We All Cessationists? (at least on this point)

I understand the “gift” of “apostles” in both Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 to be a gift of certain people. That is, I do not understand either verse to be referring to a “skill set” of apostleship, but to certain men who were given to the church as The Apostles.

It seems to me that, in the passage cited above, Harvey concedes that the gift of Apostle has ceased, but then wants to say that something similar to it continues. But if that’s what the gift means, we might all be continuationists!

But we’re not really continuationist on this point. The real continuationists are those who conduct themselves as though the gift of Apostle hasn’t ceased, and there are at least two groups who behave as though it does: Roman Catholics and Mormons. For the Roman Catholics, tradition and the Pope’s ex cathedra statements are as authoritative as Scripture. The Mormons also claim to have new revelation that is on the level of Scripture.

It seems to me that any group that holds to a closed canon thinks that the gift of Apostle has ceased …

HT: Denny Burk: Are we all cessationists?

The same author has another helpful article on “prophets”: What Is Prophecy and Has It Ceased?

I think that NT prophecies are like OT prophecies. If they are inspired by the Spirit, they will not be erroneous and they will have the same authority Scripture has. The “weighing” of these prophecies probably refers to establishing whether the prophecy was inspired by the Spirit or not, and thus whether it was a true or false prophecy. If it was a true prophecy, they probably then weighed how it was to be applied, since it was the authoritative word of God. Let’s recall that the Christians in Corinth to whom Paul wrote did not have the whole New Testament as we have it. Paul was sending parts of it to them!

I agree with Richard Gaffin’s argument that just as the twelve apostles are unique and not replaced by successors in the history of the church, so also the prophetic activity of the early church is foundational for the church. Once the foundation is laid, it is not repeated. I think this is what Paul means when he refers to the church being “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” (Eph 2:20). Having discussed the exegetical issues in detail, Gaffin writes, “Consequently, a major conclusion in our study from Ephesians 2:20 is that the New Testament prophets, along with the apostles, are the foundation of the church. They have a foundational, that is, temporary, noncontinuing function in the church’s history, and so by God’s design pass out of its life, along with the apostles” (95–96).

I don’t think anyone after Paul is an apostle of the Lord Jesus, and I don’t think the Lord is still giving revelations that carry the authority of Scripture. The canon, like the apostolate, is closed, which means that prophecy has ceased.


Can Christians Become Demon-Possessed?

John MacArthur: Can Christians Become Demon-Possessed?

What does God’s Word, the touchstone of truth, say? Can demons inhabit or spatially indwell a true believer? Can they walk through an open door and become a squatter? Proponents of today’s spiritual warfare movement say yes, but they base their answer on subjective experience, not on God’s Word. The Bible makes it clear that such a claim has no justifiable basis.

According to 1 Peter 1:5, when Christ reigns in a person’s life, that person is kept by God’s power. As a result, “the evil one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18). When the Holy Spirit inhabits a person, no demon can set up house as a squatter. Indwelling by demons is only evidence of a lack of genuine salvation.

JP: Helpful article about the Christian and demon possession. I was asked this very question at my ordination years ago. John MacArthur and I are in complete agreement on this point. I encourage you to read this article.