Romans 12:6-8: The Gift of Apostle
- The office of apostle
- The significance of apostles
There are many groups that believe that the office and gift of apostle continues today. The Roman Catholic Church believes that an unbroken line of apostolic succession back to the first Pope Peter enables the Pope to be the Pope. The Mormon Church today has living apostles, as well as the New Apostolic Church who believe that salvation depends on receiving their baptism and getting one of their apostles to lay their hands on you. Sadly even among Christians there is a growing belief that the office and function of apostles and prophets are ongoing. There is a new movement called the NAR, the New Apostolic Reformation. This is a movement started by C. Peter Wagner which has many who adhere to its teachings and practices. This group believes that what the church needs in order to fulfil its mission is the biblical offices of apostle and prophet to continue. Some recognisable names associated with this movement are Bill Johnson, Paul Cain, Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner, Bill Hamon, David Yonggi Cho, Todd Bentley and many others.1 They believe that in 2001 God began restoring the office of apostle to the church. One of the primary roles of these new apostles is to give new revelation to the church. They believe that these apostles can prophesy even though their prophecies are wrong. For example, Wagner prophesied the total eradication of mad cow disease in Germany by a certain date and he was wrong. This movement is having a huge impact, for example the Harvest network of about 12000 churches are all under an NAR apostle Che Ahn.
This movement has popularised and pioneered a number of terrible things in Christianity. They preach a gospel of the kingdom which is something more than the gospel of salvation where God is going to take over the world by miracles through the NAR movement. The Strategic spiritual warfare movement with spiritual mapping, combined with identificational repentance is all linked to this group. For example, Wagner was told that he need to go to Japan to repent for the atom bombs before a breakthrough for the gospel could take place because the demonic spirits have a stronger hold where sin is not confessed.
I tell you these things by way of introduction to our continuing look at the spiritual gifts. There are 4 lists in Paul’s writings, Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:7-10, 28, and Eph. 4:11. Each of these lists is representative but not exhaustive. So as we dive into our look we recognise that Romans 12 does not have the full list of gifts, there are others not mentioned here. So because this matter is most important and there is so much misunderstanding I will be looking at each gift Paul mentions. Of first place and importance is the gift of the apostle. We do this because of what Paul says in 1 Cor. 12:27-28, ‘Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.’ You will notice that Paul is giving us a hierarchy of importance and usefulness. He puts apostle and prophet in the first position, and the teaching gifts before the miraculous, and tongues, which the Corinthians were overemphasising is put last because unless interpreted it does not edify the church. We will look firstly at the office and then the significance of apostles.