Five Fold Ministry

This concept is popularized by most charismatic churches today. What is of contention with other non charismatic churches is the belief of the continuation of the office of apostles and prophets.

I believe the contention is due to the failure of both camps to see that there is a primary and a secondary sense of these offices. I have drawn up a table to illustrate what I believe and actually experienced.

The mention of these five fold ministry comes from Eph 4:11-12.
Eph 4:11-12
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.

Prior to these verses we read in Eph 2:20-21 that the church was built on the foundation of apostles and prophets with Jesus our Lord being the chief cornerstone. It is clear the divine revelation of the prophets and the apostles is complete in the OT and NT as canonized in the Holy Bible. The Bible is the complete foundation on which nothing more need to be built further. Rev 22:18,19. So in the primary sense, the offices of the apostles and prophets have ceased.

But in the secondary sense, we continue to see the continuation of these offices in recent times like the ministry of David Livingstone and Hudson Taylor. Allow me a little foolishness to say that I had this experience in the lesser sense as shared in my book.
Because of the warning of the presence of many false prophets in the last days and the clear evidence of their existence today, we tend to despise all prophecy instead of obeying Scripture to test each and every prophecy.

If the office of apostle in the secondary sense is still continuing, the good reputation of the office is definitely not helped but made worse by those who carry it like a superior title or badge of authority. Matt 23:8-12. We have seen mega-church pastors calling themselves as apostles carrying the title more as a big title and position of authority. How specific are their missions as compared to that of David Livingstone or Hudson Taylor ?

Great men of faith grew spiritually like Paul who started his ministry defending his apostleship, then called himself the least of all saints later in his ministry and finally called himself the chief of all sinners at the end. And these self styled apostles today cannot even boast of any of the weakness that Paul had boasted. On the contrary, they have all the lavish lifestyle of tycoons. But such abuses should not cloud out the many missionaries and prophets in the lesser sense who are continually obeying God in strengthening, encouraging and comforting the church.


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