I'm specifically talking about the GotQuestions.org article Is God restoring the offices of apostle and prophet in the church today?

A summary of the main arguments (in my own words) from the article would be the following:

  • The office of apostle belonged exclusively to the original 12 + Matthias + Paul.
  • The uppercase Apostles set up the foundation for the universal church in the 1st century (Ephesians 2:20), therefore their job is already done, and the office is no longer necessary.
  • There is the gift of apostle, which must not be confused with the office of apostle. The gift of apostle continues, whereas the office ceased in the first century (if I'm not misunderstanding the article).
  • The gift of prophecy was a temporary gift necessary for laying the foundation (Ephesians 2:20 again), but once the canon of Scripture was complete, prophets were no longer necessary and ceased.
  • The current teaching of the restoration of prophets and apostles is unbiblical (see the article for details).
  • The Bible uses past tense when it talks about prophets, apostles, even miracles and gifts of the Spirit. The article seems to be making the case, then, that the past tense is indicative of cessation.

How do non-LDS believers in the modern restoration or continuation of the offices of apostle and prophet rebut this article?

Appendix - the article itself (it's relatively short)

The movement to restore the offices of apostle and prophet bases the claim that apostles and prophets are to be a part of the church on Ephesians 4:11-12. These verses say, "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ."

During the first century of the church, there was an office of apostle and there was a spiritual gift of apostle. The office or position of apostle was held by the 12 disciples of Jesus plus Matthias, who took Judas’ place, and Paul. Those who held the office or position of apostle were chosen specifically by Christ (Mark 3:16-19). The replacement for Judas is seen in Acts 1:20-26. Note in this passage that Judas' position was called an office. It should also be noted that Paul was chosen by Christ (1 Corinthians 15:8-9; Galatians 1:1; 2:6-9). These men were given the task of setting up the foundation of the church. It should be understood that it was for the universal church that these men were a part of the foundation (Ephesians 2:20). The foundation of the church (universal church) was laid in the first century. This is why the office of apostle is no longer functioning.

There was also a spiritual gift of apostle (this is not to be confused with the office—they are separate). Among those who had the spiritual gift were James (1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 1:19), Barnabas (Acts 14:4, 14; 1 Corinthians 9:6), Andronicus and Junias (Romans 16:7), possibly Silas and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2:7), and Apollos (1 Corinthians 4:6, 9). This latter group had the gift of apostleship but not the apostolic "office" conferred upon the Twelve and Paul. Those who had the gift of apostle, then, were those who carried the gospel message with God’s authority. The word "apostle" means "one sent as an authoritative delegate." This was true of those who held the office of Apostle (like Paul) and those who had the spiritual gift (like Apollos). Though there are men like this today, men who are sent by God to spread the gospel, it is best NOT to refer to them as apostles because of the confusion this causes since many are not aware of the two different uses of the term apostle.

The gift of prophet was a temporary gift given by the Christ for the laying of the foundation of the universal church. Prophets also were foundational to the universal church (Ephesians 2:20). The prophet proclaimed a message from the Lord for the believers of the first century. These believers did not have the advantage we have of having a complete Bible. The last book of the New Testament (Revelation) was not completed until late in the first century. So the Lord provided gifted men called prophets who proclaimed messages from God to the people until the canon of Scripture was complete.

It should be noted that the current teaching of the restoration of prophet and the office of apostle is far from what Scripture describes of the men who held the gift of prophet and the office of apostle. Those who teach the restoration of the office teach that the men who claim to be apostles and prophets should never be spoken against, should never be questioned, because the person who speaks against them is speaking against God. Yet, the Apostle Paul commended the people of Berea for checking what he said against the Word of God to make sure he spoke the truth (Acts 17:10-11). The Apostle Paul also stated to those in Galatia that if anyone, including himself, should teach another Gospel, that person should be "accursed" (Galatians 1:8-9). In everything, Paul kept pointing people to the Bible as the final authority. The men who claim to be apostles and prophets today make themselves the final authority, something Paul and the Twelve never did.

It should also be noted that Scripture refers to these men in the past tense. 2 Peter 3:2 and also Jude 3-4, state that the people should not stray from the message the apostles gave (past tense). Hebrews 2:3-4 also speaks in the past tense of the those who performed (in the past) signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Note: The article also links to a 5 min YouTube video Is God restoring the offices of apostle and prophet in the church today? | GotQuestions.org (in case you may prefer to watch the video instead).

For those interested in the Latter-day Saint perspective on a similar article: How do Latter-day Saints rebut Don Stewart's article "Are There Still Apostles Today?"?

  • 1
    I feel like these questions as multiple questions in one by positing multiple objections. Not sure but that’s just how I see it.
    – Luke Hill
    Apr 14, 2022 at 13:07
  • @LukeHill - that's a fair point, but on the other hand, splitting this into 6 separate questions would be sort of too much as well.
    – user50422
    Apr 14, 2022 at 13:13
  • 1
    can you clarify how your previous question doesn't address some of these?
    – depperm
    Apr 14, 2022 at 13:17
  • 1
    @LukeHill and depperm. Agreed with Luke that it's too much too split. Like a Q in the Summa which contains many objections that show multiple facets of the Q, it's narrow enough, contains objective criteria, but scope maybe too wide since the other Q reveals that LDS understanding of apostles (restoration) is different than mainstream (continuous succession like Catholics, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox). How do we handle it in C.SE? One suggestion is to restrict this one to non-LDS and possibly tightening the other to LDS. Apr 14, 2022 at 13:39
  • 1
    Good call to make the title "restoration or continuation" since it appears that from the opposing side (like Reformed and GotQuestion) they call it "restoration" but from the defending side they call it "continuation". It's really yet another evidence how language (and thus label) is used for group identity !! Apr 14, 2022 at 13:48


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