A Significant Series of Short Articles on Apostles & Apostolic Networks
July 13, 2018
Paul makes it clear that the “five-fold” ministries of Ephesians 4:11-16 have NOT passed away as many teach today.
In verse 12, Paul makes it clear why these gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers (Holy Spirit called and gifted individuals) are given by Christ to the Church. Specifically and importantly, they are given for the purpose of “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” so that the saints are involved in “building up the body of Christ.”
Then verse 16 speaks about the whole body being “joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Putting that together, Paul says that it is the responsibility of the five-fold ministries to equip God’s people so that God’s people can fulfil the work of the ministry, so that God’s people can build up the body of Christ, so that the whole body is functioning as it should, so that the body builds itself up in love!
Now, have a look at verse 13. Paul says that the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers (Holy Spirit called and gifted individuals) are given by Christ to the Church UNTIL… He then goes on to detail what “UNTIL” relates to which are the conditions that need to be fulfilled before these giftings are no longer necessary: “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” It is clear that the Church is yet to attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God and most certainly, that we are yet to attain a maturity that is measured by the fulness of the stature of Christ.
All of which means that these ministries MUST be in the Church today and that they must be functioning as Jesus intends.
The fact that Jesus warns about false apostles and false prophets and false teachers in the last days also is significant because there would be no need for the false ministries if the true ministries didn’t exist.
So, the issue for the Church today with regards to the five-fold ministries is at least, two-part. Firstly, the error that is the teaching that the ministries have ceased and that they are not for today. Secondly, the falsehood that we need to be aware of with regards to these ministries and the way that they function.
The link below is to an excellent series of articles that addresses the second of these concerns: false ministries and the unbiblical way that some are operating. This is an excellently researched article that I wholeheartedly endorse.