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Beware of False Apostles and Prophets Being Promoted by Today's New Religious Right


Beware of False Apostles and Prophets Being Promoted by Today's New Religious Right

By Brannon Howse


The following is an excerpt from Brannon's new hardcover book Religious Trojan Horse, to order the hardcover book (488 pages) or to download the Ebook now from which this article originated click this link.

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Even the secular media is noticing the emergence of a New Religious Right and a group known as the New Apostolic Reformation. This is a group of people that believe they are modern-day Prophets and Apostles. On July 21, 2011, Business Insider reported:


As mainstream evangelical influence wanes, however, the New Apostolic Reformation is gaining broader acceptance among conservative Christians. The Response [Texas Governor Rick Perry's prayer rally], whose endorsers also include more mainstream fundamentalists, is evidence of the New Apostles' emerging influence - and of its leaders' growing appetite for political power. Here's what you need to know about the fastest-growing religious movement you've never heard of. Given that the New Apostolic Reformation is growing so rapidly, even within mainstream evangelicalism, it is critical to understand the biblical basis on which I and others who recognize the problem take issue with the movement. NAR members claim that Christians must yield to their leadership because God has appointed them to be apostles and prophets to lead the church in establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth.


Lest you think this is simply a squabble between Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals, please note that an August 6, 2001 report released by the General Presbytery of the Assemblies of God (a Pentecostal denomination) included the following statement:


It is also clear that while the apostles (with the elders) were established leaders in the Early Church, there was no provision for their replacement or continuation…It is instructive, however, that nowhere in the New Testament after the replacement of Judas is any attention given to a so-called apostolic succession. No attempt was made to replace James son of Zebedee (John's brother), executed by Herod (Acts 12:2). Other than the original appointments by Christ himself, there is nothing concerning the appointment of apostles. And apart from the criteria set for the selection of Matthias (Acts 1:21-26) and the criteria implied in the actions of Jesus and the account of Paul (1 Corinthians 15:3-11), there are no directions for making such an appointment. By contrast, there are clear qualifications and instructions for the appointment of elders/overseers and deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). It seems strange that apostles of Jesus Christ, concerned about faithful preservation of their message (cf. 2 Timothy 2:2), would provide for the appointment of overseers/elders while ignoring their own succession if such were indeed to be maintained…In fact, there are certain exegetical hints the apostles of Jesus Christ are not to have successors.[1]


You will notice in Scripture that there are three kinds of apostles (In my book, Religious Trojan Horse, I discuss apostles first, then prophets): 1. apostles of the 2. Lord Jesus Christ, (there was only 12 of these) apostles of the Church, (these are missionaries or sent ones) and 3. false apostles.


The third classification of an apostle is that of false apostle which would include network known as The New Apostolic Reformation. The Scriptures tell us in 2 Corinthians 11:13 that "such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ."


Isn't it interesting that this passage says they transformed themselves into Apostles of Christ? It doesn't say they transfer themselves into the apostles of the Church. They don't transform themselves into being a messenger or a sent one from the Church but Apostles of Christ-the context showing that those who do such a thing are by definition false apostles. This is indeed what the Scriptures say will happen in the last days. Revelation 2:2 supports this understanding: "I know your works, your labor, your patience and that you cannot bear those who are evil and you have tested those who say that they are Apostles and are not and I found them liars."

This is Jesus Himself speaking to that church and commending it for pointing out those who are false teachers or false apostles. So is it appropriate that we, too, point out false teachers and false apostles? The answer from this scripture is, "Absolutely!" Jesus commends the church for calling out false apostles. To make sure we know how to identify false apostles the Bible is clear about the distinctives of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Distinctive #1: Apostles of Jesus Christ were appointed by God.


In Galatians 1:1 Paul, an Apostle says he was appointed "Not of men, neither by men, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead." So under what authority is Paul an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ? By the power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father. Luke 6:13 is also decisive about who qualifies: "And when it was day He [Jesus] called unto him His disciples and of them He chose 12, whom He also named Apostles."


So an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ is called by God-God the Father or Jesus, God incarnate. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 Paul elaborates: "And God hath set [appointed] some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers…


After apostles and prophets, 1 Corinthians 12:28 says, "thirdly, teachers." We have teachers today that we also call shepherds, pastors, or elders. There are people in the Church we would not classify as holding the office of shepherd, pastor, or elder, but they do have the spiritual gift of teaching. Such individuals can be found teaching Sunday school, writing books, and speaking at Bible conferences (or at Worldview Weekends), or hosting a radio program. 


Distinctive #2: Apostles of Jesus Christ had to have seen the risen Lord.

The Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ at some point saw the risen Lord. Acts 1:22 articulates this requirement: "Beginning from the baptism of John unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection."


So to be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, you had to be appointed by God and you had to have seen the risen Lord. That makes it a little hard for people today who claim to be Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ to qualify. They have not seen the risen Lord.


Distinctive #3: Apostles of Jesus Christ were used by God for a limited time to establish the doctrinal foundation of the Church.


Apostles laid the foundation, the correct doctrinal teachings of the Church. And, of course, a foundation is laid only one time. Ephesians 2:19-20 expounds on this idea of foundation:


Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.


The foundation for the Church was built by the Apostles and the Prophets-once. That means we do not need foundation builders today.


Distinctive #4: Apostles of Jesus Christ received Scripture from the Holy Spirit and proclaimed God's Word.


The job of an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ was to receive the Word of God as the Holy Spirit moved. The Bible they authored is God-breathed and uniquely God-inspired. These men wrote the Scriptures as the Holy Spirit led them. It was a unique job of an Apostle of Jesus Christ. 


Are we receiving new revelations from God today that are equal to the Bible? No! Jude 3 is clear that Scripture is "once for all" delivered to the saints. Scripture also says that we don't add to or take away from Scripture. Because the canon of the Bible is complete, we do not need Apostles today when it comes to receiving the Word of God or revelations from Him.



Distinctive #5: Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ had the gifts of signs and wonders.


The Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ had the gifts of signs and wonders for what purpose? To bring glory and honor to themselves? Was the purpose to pack an arena using signs and wonders and to take up huge offerings and sell books and handkerchiefs, as we see some false apostles doing today? No and no.


The true Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ were given power from God to do signs and wonders in order to bring credibility to the message they proclaimed. It was not to glorify their own flesh or their own egos. It was simply to make the Gospel believable as they preached.


Today, the charlatans who call themselves apostles and prophets are not performing signs and wonders. In fact, Scripture tells us that these false apostles will perform lying signs and wonders and will not preach a biblical Gospel. For instance, 2 Corinthians 12:12 says, "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds." One of the signs of an Apostle was that he could do incredible signs and wonders. And 2 Peter 2:2-3 warns of the danger from those who say they do but don't: "Many will follow their unrestrained ways, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. In their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words…."


So do we have people today who are apostles of the church that are in a sense messengers sent by God? Yes. Are there people today who have spiritual gifts of teaching or being a pastor, shepherd, or elder? Yes again. But the office of Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ is closed as is the office of Prophet.


A key component of the religious Trojan horse is false apostles and false prophets.


The following is an excerpt from Brannon's new hardcover book Religious Trojan Horse, to order the hardcover book (488 pages) or to download the Ebook now from which this article originated click this link.

[1] General Presbytery of the Assemblies of God, "Report on Apostles and Prophets," August 6, 2011.