If person X is called by God to be an apostle, what should person X do next in order to convince others that their calling is genuine? What kind of evidence should person X provide to an audience of fellow Christians with a healthy dose of skepticism so that they may be fully assured that person X's calling to apostleship is from God and authentic?

Worded in another way: if someone comes to me and tells me that they were called by God to be an apostle, what kind of evidence should I demand or look for to either verify or reject their claim?

Since this is probably a controversial question, I would like to narrow the scope to Christians who are open to this possibility in the first place, that is, Christians who adhere to Continuationism.

  • 1
    "If someone is called by God to be an apostle, what is the proper way for them to convince others that their calling is genuine?" The very first thing you'd have to do is convince them that God still calls people out to be apostles. You can't convince someone that your calling is genuine if they aren't convinced that "callings" exist in the first place.
    – Rajesh
    Apr 16, 2022 at 17:24
  • @Rajesh - Is there any reason not to believe in that possibility in the first place?
    – user50422
    Apr 16, 2022 at 17:33
  • Not sure actually. My stance on apostles is that of my stance on miracles. I'm not convinced that modern-day miracles exist, and I'm not convinced that they don't either; I'm not convinced modern-day "callings" for apostles exist, and I'm not convinced that they don't either. Apostles certainly are not necessary for salvation. I wouldn't make a fuss if there were modern-day apostles, but, again, I'm not convinced that there are. The only thing necessary for salvation is trust in Jesus; trust in who He is and what He did. Regrettably, too many denominations don't understand this fact. :/
    – Rajesh
    Apr 16, 2022 at 17:45
  • Apostle means "chosen and sent by Christ plus anointed by the gifts thru laying of hands" like the twelve Apostles in the Upper Room in the presence of Mary Queen of Prophets who invoke the Holy Spirit to descend, and that's why St.Paul is also an Apostle because he was chosen by Christ, anointed & sent by elders & prophets-Acts13:1. Only the Apostles of Christ have been given the faculties to ordain a priest, choose among the ordained and consecrate them as Bishop, to become the Successor of Apostle. Outside of the Catholic Church, there is no Apostle, they are just a preacher or witnessing. Apr 16, 2022 at 21:52

3 Answers 3


The Holy Ghost

Apostles do not have the responsibility to convince others of their call--that's the Holy Ghost's job. Consider the actions of the apostle Peter:

  • He bore testimony of Christ
  • The Holy Ghost ratified Peter's words to his hearers (or at least those who were willing to listen)

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? (Acts 2:37)

Peter was then able to teach them what they needed to do to retain not just the witness but the gift of the Holy Ghost:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

Luke's record indicates that for those who followed through, the gift of the Holy Ghost did indeed come upon those to whom it was bestowed by the apostles' laying on of hands (see Acts 8:17-20).



The Lord's messengers are indeed regularly accompanied by signs. In some cases, the New Testament records signs given through or in validation of the apostles' divine authority; in other cases the record is silent on this matter.

It is noteworthy, though, that:

  • Mark 16 indicates that signs shall follow them that believe not them that believe shall follow signs
  • In Acts 2, it wasn't after the manifestation of the gift of tongues--which surely got people's attention--but after Peter's testimony of Christ, that the listeners were pricked in their hearts by the Holy Ghost and willing to act. After their conversion, signs and manifestations of God's power did occur.



One who is called as an apostle of Jesus Christ should testify of Christ, and aid people in participating in the ordinances & covenants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that they may receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and more abundantly experience the blessings and transformation God offers.

How many of the people who saw the Red Sea part remained faithful and diligent in obeying God and His representative, Moses?

The power of the Holy Ghost, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the transformative process that results from those who embrace these invitations to act, are far more convincing than anything else.

  • Hey, you know, I've always wanted to ask someone this. Why do you call the Holy Spirit the "Holy Ghost"? Every dictionary I've looked at defines "ghost" as "the spirit of a dead person"(Cambridge Dictionary), "an apparition of a dead person which is believed to appear or become manifest to the living"(Google Dictionary), "a disembodied soul"/"the soul of a dead person"(Merriam-Webster), "the soul of a dead person"(Dictionary.com). Is the Holy Spirit the "holy soul/spirit of a dead person"? If not, why do you call it the "Holy Ghost"? This has always confused me.
    – Rajesh
    Apr 16, 2022 at 18:02
  • 1
    @Rajesh good question! I don't believe the Holy Ghost is the spirit of a dead person. In my faith the terms Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit are used interchangeably. It's just the mixed history of the English language that has given us 2+ words (ghost/spirit...sometimes used synonymously, sometimes not, plus other renderings) for what Greek conveys with a single word, pneuma Apr 16, 2022 at 19:03
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    @Rajesh it doesn't help that Greek also has another word, phantasma, which can also be rendered "ghost"...etymology is messy that way. It's like what is the difference between a building and an edifice? (One is more directly influenced by Latin) Apr 16, 2022 at 19:05
  • Fair enough, but at least the English word "spirit" has "a supernatural being"(Google dictionary), "a supernatural being or essence"(Merriam-Webster), "a supernatural being"(Collins Dictionary), as one of its definitions. That's why we call demons and angels "spirits" but not "ghosts"; they are immaterial, supernatural beings, but they are not the souls/spirits of dead people. The English word "ghost" does not have such privileges as the word "spirit", but I completely understand your point. :)
    – Rajesh
    Apr 16, 2022 at 19:09
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    @Rajesh, in the King James Version of the Bible, "Holy Ghost" appears 91 times, and "Holy Spirit" appears only 10 times. I suspect that's why the term "Holy Ghost" is common in English (source: quod.lib.umich.edu/k/kjv/simple.html). Etymologically, "ghost" is from Old English, and "spirit" is from Latin. Apr 17, 2022 at 21:36

If someone calling themselves an apostle is primarily concerned (perhaps concerned at all) with convincing people that he/she is an apostle rather than convincing people that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, I suspect that they are disqualified from true Apostleship right out of the gate.

Even Jesus did not rely upon His own testimony about Himself:

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. - John 5:30-39 

  • You said it all in that one paragraph! +1 :)
    – Rajesh
    Apr 20, 2022 at 15:46
  • Indeed, even the Holy Spirit bears witness to and testifies about Christ Jesus.
    – Lesley
    Apr 21, 2022 at 13:55

The apostles' job was to bring to mankind a message that mankind had not yet heard: That Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for their sins and was raised from the dead by the power of God.

To confirm that this message came from God, and was not simply something they had made up, they were made conduits through which God showed His power, in ways that no man could do of his own ability.

This fellow who believes that he has been called by God to be an apostle needs to show three things:

  1. A message that isn't already deducible from what the accepted apostles have already brought to us.
  2. An explanation of why we are receiving this message now, and not back when the accepted apostles were still active.
  3. Proof that his/her message comes from God, and is not just something he/she made up.

The first of these is the easiest. People have been claiming new revelation from God since shortly after John put his pen down.

The second item is not really mandatory, but we're going to be skeptical if the logic isn't sound.

The third item is what separates the real apostles from the wannabes. Some people will embrace a new teaching if it agrees with what they already wanted to do anyway, but some of us aren't going to like the new teaching, and a few of us know our temptations and know that any new thing which is pleasing is going to be a snare to take us away from God. A miracle settles the matter. Nothing else does.

  • 3
    These criteria sound very much like the objections the religious leaders of the day raised against Jesus and the first century apostles. We have Moses, why didn't he teach this? We have the Tanakh. You're casting out demons by Beelzebub. Perhaps we shouldn't follow their lead? Also, if a miracle would settle the matter, Jesus wouldn't have been charged with blasphemy. Apr 19, 2022 at 23:39
  • 2
    Matt. 24:24 "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible." Deut. 13:1-3a "“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams." Miracles have never been the determining factor when it comes to someone being sent by God.
    – Rajesh
    Apr 20, 2022 at 5:31
  • You can perform all sorts of miracles and signs and wonders, have all sorts of great accomplishments, and even predict the future correctly, but that does not mean you've been sent by God, nor that others are obliged to listen to you. You forget to mention the most essential thing; the character of the person claiming to be an apostle. Does he serve only God? Is he sexually immoral? Does he put himself in the place of Christ, put his words above that of Christ's, and try to gain followers, leading others astray(i.e. an antichrist)? All these, and many more, are crucial questions to ask!
    – Rajesh
    Apr 20, 2022 at 5:40
  • @HoldToTheRod When the other teachers of the day asked why Moses had not taught this or that, Christ showed them that Moses had in fact taught it. When they accused Him of doing His miracles through the power of Beelzebub, He pointed out that their inconsistency (because they accepted miracles done when they approved of the teaching).
    – EvilSnack
    Apr 22, 2022 at 13:36
  • @Rajesh My answer was based on the assumption that what is very clearly taught in the Scriptures would also be applied. A miracle worker who tells us to kneel to Baphomet, or that it's now okay to fornicate, isn't going to get very far.
    – EvilSnack
    Apr 22, 2022 at 13:38

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