I was watching a video on youtube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLh8xnf_Qx0 That I didn't have an answer for. He gives the argument that Matthias became the 12th apostle by the casting of Lots. And then he says that Barnabas and Paul were referred to also by the words apostles. So he argues that apostleship continues on into the current age. What is the contest to this?

2 Answers 2


All he seems to be doing is widening the traditional understanding of the word "apostle" to it's original Greek meaning, which is "messenger".

I don't see a problem with that on an academic level.

That being said, I think his redefinition and reuse of the word in the modern world is unnecessary and argumentative. Why use the word "apostle" when the word "missionary", "evangelist" or "church planter" is far more widely understood, accepted, and has the same meaning in modern language?

I think he would do well to let go of his insistence, and in humility, repeat with John the Baptist in John 3:30:

"He must increase, but I must decrease"

Because, to paraphrase Paul in Galatians 2:6: "What we are makes no difference. God shows no partiality."


The word "apostle" has two meanings in a Protestant Christian context. From http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/a/Apostle.htm

An apostle was one of Jesus Christ's 12 closest disciples, chosen by him early in his ministry to spread the gospel after his death and resurrection. In the Bible, they are called Jesus' disciples until the Lord's ascension into heaven, then they are referred to as apostles.

Then the second one was given:

The term apostle was used in a second way in Scripture, as one who was commissioned and sent by a community to preach the gospel. Saul of Tarsus, a persecutor of Christians who was converted when he had a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus, is also called an apostle. We know him as the Apostle Paul.

In this more "ordinary" sense of the term, the answer is an obvious "yes".

However, I wanted to address the other meaning of the term: An Apostle in the sense that the original twelve were Apostles.

Most Christian denominations believe that Apostleship in this sense ended with the original twelve. However, certain denominations, such as the LDS Church believe that Apostleship in an authoritarian sense has been re-established and continues to this day.

From http://www.lds.org/church/leaders/quorum-of-the-twelve-apostles?lang=eng

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the second-highest governing body in the Church (the First Presidency being the highest). Apostles are special witnesses of Jesus Christ, called to teach and testify of Him throughout the world. They travel frequently, addressing and encouraging large congregations of members and interested nonmembers, as well as meeting with local leaders.

When they are not traveling, members of the Quorum of the Twelve counsel together and with other general Church leaders on matters affecting the worldwide Church, such as missionary work, temple building, spiritual and temporal welfare, and much more.

Further, the Catholic Church teaches Apostolic Succession, which indicates that an official line continued from the original twelve, more in the sense that you seem to be asking.

From http://www.catholic.com/tracts/apostolic-succession

Apostolic succession is the line of bishops stretching back to the apostles. All over the world, all Catholic bishops are part of a lineage that goes back to the time of the apostles, something that is impossible in Protestant denominations (most of which do not even claim to have bishops).

  • Tradition in many cases requires anyone bearing the title of apostle to have actually met Jesus. As such, the Apostleship is now closed until such time as Jesus returns, at which time presumably there will be no need for them.
    – SSumner
    Mar 2, 2013 at 3:17

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