“And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. And this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
I completed 45 hours of a 94 hour M.Div. at South Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. While there I wrote a paper entitled “The Restoration of the Apostolic and Prophetic Offices of the Church” and my major text was Ephesians 4:11-13. The professor did not agree with my conclusions, however, he found my paper fascinating and very well thought out, especially my exegesis of the Ephesians passage.
Theologically, we have no reason to believe that God has taken away these offices. It does seem, however, that the church has not always recognized these offices. There was even a time in history when the offices of pastor and teacher and evangelist were not recognized by the church (The Dark Ages). I believe that God is restoring those offices to the church. God restored the offices of pastor, teacher, and evangelist to the church with the Reformation.
I have heard this belief referred to as “Restoration Theology.” I don’t really care what it’s called, but I do believe that God is restoring his body to function the way He designed it to. Some people say that what the church needs to “get back on track” is revival. I too long for revival, however, I believe that the church needs more than revival to get back on track. I believe that what the church needs is another Reformation.
Some say that one of the requirements of being an apostle is that you have seen the resurrected Lord Jesus. Even if seeing Jesus is a requirement… Paul saw the resurrected Jesus. However, …it was a long time after Christ had already ascended to be at the right hand of His Father. Why couldn’t Jesus appear to someone today the way he did to Paul?
Some people believe that we could not have apostles or prophets today because that would mean that they could add to scripture. This is a false belief about the function of apostles and prophets. I too believe that the canon of scripture is closed. However, you did not have to be one of the original 12 apostles to write scripture (Mark, Paul… I don’t think Mark was ever referred to as an apostle [I might be wrong about that]). And…just because you were an apostle didn’t mean that what you said became scripture. Many of the original 12 Apostles never wrote one portion of scripture.