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When I was in seminary I was taught that the apostles and prophets were given only to get the Church started in the first century. After that time they were no longer needed. My professors presumed that when the New Testament was completed and accepted by the Church, the foundational role of apostles and prophets was completed …


In fact, until recently, most of the Protestant Church in general has operated under this assumption. Most of us were comfortable with pastors, so we had no problem calling someone ’Pastor So-and-So." Teachers were okay. Like many others, I am sometimes referred to as "Dr." or "Professor" Wagner, signifying that I have been duly recognized as a teacher. We frequently speak of "Evangelist" Billy Graham or "Evangelist" Luis Palau as a mater of course. But to address an individual as "Apostle So-and-So" or "Prophet So-and-So" is considered by many Christian leaders to be, at best, inappropriate and, at worst, heretical.


Granted, it would not be realistic to expect a knee-jerk reaction on the part of the Christian public when it comes to acknowledging the reemergence of an office in the Church. It may come as a surprise to some to learn that the office of pastor, as we know it, only emerged after the Protestant Reformation … Even more, the office of evangelist was not recognized by the Church in general until the time of Charles Finney, only 150 years ago. In fact, there was much debate in the mid-1800s among Christian leaders as to whether it was proper to recognize an individual as an evangelist. Some theologians condemned Finney as an advocate of what they derisively called "new Measures."

C. Peter Wagner (2000) Apostles and Prophets: The Foundation of the Church. California: Regal Books. Pp. 7-8, 66-67.

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