Crisis in pastoral leadership: Are the apostolic and prophetic offices being restored?

Crisis in pastoral leadership: Are the apostolic and prophetic offices being restored? By Brandon Showalter, Christian Post Reporter

Amid seemingly unending church and ministry leadership scandals and the exposure of unhealthy structures and institutions that enabled them, are long-lost offices of the Church being recovered?

The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 2:20 that the Church, the household of God, is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.”

In Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul continues that the Lord gave fivefold offices for the edification of the Church, specifically “apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

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Yet many Christians today have no theological or experiential grid for the first two offices listed, perhaps because the canon of Scripture is closed and the apostles who were alive during Jesus’ time are no longer walking the Earth. This view, which is called cessationism, holds that after the death of the last apostle, spiritual gifts like prophecy and the office of a prophet are no longer operating. In practice, however, some churches and denominations adhere to degrees of this view, allowing for certain expressions of the gifts to operate in the church. Others have admitted to believing in the continuation of the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirt but being, for all intents and purposes, “functional” cessationists.

With such a theological paradigm, the absence of the offices of prophet and apostle in the contemporary church has yielded an often top-heavy congregational structure that is led by a pastor. Teachers teach the Bible in Sunday school. When many think of the office of evangelist, guest preachers and the-late Billy Graham and his stadium crusades come to mind.

To dive more deeply into these ecclesiological issues, The Christian Post spoke with Ron Myer and Larry Kreider, two leaders with DOVE International — an interdenominational global family of churches and ministries on six continents. CP also spoke with Pastor Derwin Gray of Transformation Church, a nondenominational evangelical congregation in Indian Land, South Carolina.

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