Who is the Chief Apostle, today?
On the 12 April, 2004, I received this email:
[name withheld by webmaster].
When I replied that there is no such a thing as a chief apostle, I received this response dated the 18 April, 2004:
A deceiving spirit has seduced this man. Notice how that spirit manifests in the manís writings.
The evil spirit that existed in organized religions is now very rampantly manifesting in many churches within the Endtime Message movement. From the very beginning of the First Church Age, the deeds that the spirit of the Nicolaitanes started has now come upon many ministers and believers. The deeds are abominable to God; He had hated them and He still does. By the second age the deeds had become a doctrine. Today the same deeds and doctrine are found not only in the religious systems but also in the "Message Believing Churches".
After Bro. Branham passed away there have been many false teachings going out from the USA to the rest of the world. One of these teachings is that God has another man, another leader, to take His Bride to perfection. Many preachers have openly declared that God has ordained them as the "Elisha" or "Joshua" or any other "one-man ministry" by which all other ministers and believers must heed to their words or to conform to their teachings. There are several in USA claiming to be in that position, as if such a position exists. Similar teachings soon appeared in other parts of the world, Canada, Europe, Central and South America, certain nations in the African continent and even India.
That Bro. Branham was the last messenger to the Gentile Church is clear from the Scriptures. He was the last of the Seven Stars in the hand of Christ. His simple message called the elect out of all religious "isms" and pointed them back to the Apostolic Foundation of the Word. It is in the homeland of the Promised Word that the elect are now being perfected by the ministries of the Ascension Gifts (of Ephesians 4). And the Scriptures testify to it.
The writer of the above email questioned me to tell him "who is the chief Apostle, today". Undoubtedly this man is one of many around the world who believe that a certain minister in Jeffersonville, Indiana, U.S.A. is Godís chief apostle for today. A few articles have been written on the man and his ministry. The circulated articles try to prove the teaching that there is a chief apostle today by force-feeding the notion that the Apostle Paul was the chief apostle in his days. Scripture verses such as Gal. 2:7-8; Rom. 11:13; 1 Cor. 4:14-16, are used to try and show that Paul was the chief apostle.
This teaching that the Bride of Christ has a chief apostle to whom all other apostles and ministers in the 5-Fold Ministry must subject themselves is a heresy. This teaching forces all ministers of every level within the Ascension Gifts to subject their teachings to ONE MANís words as the absolute. This is no different from the so-called authority of the Roman Catholic Pope who claims to be "Vicarivs Filii Dei" or the so-called ABSOLUTE words of William Branham as propagated by the Branhamites. Any minister who wants to make himself the "Number One" (or is made by his followers to be "Number One") has already fallen from his estate. Remember Lucifer.
One reason this false teaching came into existence is the heretical idea that in order to have the UNITY of Faith, you have to have a leader, A CHIEF APOSTLE, with whom all other ministers must line up their understanding of the Word of God. What difference is there between this form of UNITY and that of the Ecumenical Movement? Not forgetting, of course, Branhamism as formed by the Branhamites.
Unity is not based upon the teachings of ONE MAN or that there is ONLY ONE MAN by whom and through whom all revelations would flow. Thatís hogwash! Thatís what the Branhamites did with the words of Bro. Branham whom they believed to be infallible as it is with the Roman Catholics to the words of their Pope. But that the Bride will have the UNITY OF THE FAITH is certain. We cannot force it. Our Lord knows how to bring that about as we keep the UNITY OF THE SPIRIT in love and subjection, one to another.
To propagate this heretical teaching (of a Chief Apostle), several scripture verses have been taken out of context to profile an image that Paul was actually the chief apostle among all the other apostles in his days. Like Trinitarians who simply take certain scriptures to IMPLY a Trinity, so do these propagators of a CHIEF APOSTLE.
If Paul was the chief apostle why did he say:
"I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing." (2 Cor.12:11)
The word "chiefest" is from the Greek word "lian" meaning "much, exceeding". The word is used ironically by Paul of the claims of those who decried him: he was forcing a point when he said that he was "not behind those other super apostles (extra-super apostles, most eminent apostles)". Hence, Paul was simply saying that as an apostle, he was equal to all the other apostles and that he was certainly not inferior.
And Jesus said, "...for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothersÖ Neither be called instructors, because One is your Instructor, the Christ" (Matt.23:8,10).
To insinuate that Paul was the chief apostle because of the "abundance of the revelations" (cf. 2 Cor.12:7) given to him is unscriptural. Just because one has an "abundance of revelations" than all others, does that make him "the chief"? Like all other Ascension Gifts (Eph.4), not all apostles are equal. Some are given 100 folds, some 80 folds, some 50 folds, and so on. But all are apostles.
To say that Paul was "the chief" would decry Peterís position. Paul could not go where Peter could. He could not even go where Thomas had gone. Though Paul was sent to the Gentiles, he did not cover every Gentile nation. Thomas was sent to India not just to search for the lost sheep of the house of Israel and to give them the Gospel but also to bring the true light to those Gentile pagans there. And whilst he was there, from about 52 A.D., did he not have any revelation from His Lord and Master? And if he did, did he confer (long distance?) with the Apostle Paul about his revelation? Sounds silly, doesnít it? Each of the apostles played and fulfilled his own part. Each was able to recognize the calling of the other and had eyes to see Godís Truth in unity.
The writer of the email, and many others like him, are trying to force others into accepting every teaching of their "chief apostle". All must see the Word of God "eye to eye" according to the "eye of the chief apostle", even if the teachings are wrong. And truly, they have come to believe a lie that their "chief apostle" could never be wrong! (What difference are these believers from the Branhamites who have made Bro. Branham the Absolute?)
If any apostle (or preacher) wants to exalt himself, let him do it in the Lord. He has every right. But let him not over-exalt himself lest he finds himself sitting as God in the assembly of Godís children (cf. 2 Cor.11:16; 12:7; 2 Thes.2:4). In 2 Cor.10, Paul boasted of himself with the others but notice the words he used ― "our", "us" and "we".
Therefore, anyone who teaches that Paul in his days was THE CHIEF among all the other apostles is a heretic. To falsely teach that all the other apostles had their revelations lined up with Paulís and were subjected to Paul is nonsense. How did those who were already apostles before Paul line up their revelations? With whom did they line up their revelations anyway? And did John check up his revelations that Christ gave him on the Isle of Patmos with Paulís revelations?
To teach that Paul had clarity of revelations given him is true but to teach that he had revelations in all aspects of the Word of God is a lie. But, to teach that Paul was entrusted with a greater amount of talents, a greater responsibility, a greater portion of the apostolic ministry, and a greater amount of truth would scripturally be correct. "To me, less than the least of all saints, was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel." (Eph.3:8)
No true apostle of God would force another to come under his subjection. But "all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" (1 Pet.5:5). And no true apostle of God would teach what he did not first receive from his own Master.
Every minister has a part to play in the Ministry of Christ. The standard of Godís Word is placed into the hands of certain men to be raised up in the region(s) that the Lord has placed him. For a minister to make himself the NUMBER ONE APOSTLE over the whole world is baloney.
In order to propagate or to endorse such a doctrine these cultic men would have to tear down other ministers and their teachings. In so doing, they are trying to turn believers around towards the ONE MAN they believed to be THE CHIEF APOSTLE. They would take excerpts out of other ministersí teachings and make long dissertations to prove them "wrong" and insist those ministers should not be listened to. This is done to call attention to the doctrines taught by the CHIEF APOSTLE to be observed as the YARDSTICK. They announce that anyone whose teaching does not measure up to that YARDSTICK should quickly repent and line up with the CHIEF APOSTLEíS. The attitude of such cultic men would only further dis-unify the Bride of Christ.
There is one who is CHIEF in every ministry and that is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Heís THE INSTRUCTOR to every minister. We could call Him, APOSTLE OF APOSTLES, PROPHET OF PROPHETS, and so on. We could call Him THE CHIEF APOSTLE, THE CHIEF PROPHET, and so on. But all these did not appear in the Scripture except for this one:
Truly, that alone sums up the whole character of THE CHRIST, as one who cares for His sheep like no others.
In conclusion, let me say this: there is one who is truly THE CHIEF. He is called THE CHIEF SHEPHERD (Grk: archipoimen, head shepherd) or ARCH-SHEPHERD. As Chief Shepherd, Christ is never addressed as Chief Apostle, Chief Prophet, Chief Evangelist or Chief Teacher. It is by Him and through His eye that all children of God must see Godís Truth.
For one to teach and make a servant of God "the chief apostle", he has been deceived by the Nicolaitane spirit. He is bringing back that doctrine of the Nicolaitanes into the church, a doctrine that God hates (Rev.2:15). Remember it is this very spirit of the Nicolaitanes that had put an "ARCH" over a bishop above all other bishops ― an ARCHBISHOP!
Does anyone want the devil to use him to bring about an ARCH-APOSTLE? Remember he will want your allegiance as if he is the ABSOLUTE and has all the RIGHT ANSWERS to Spiritual Truths.