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Are There Apostles Today? A Contribution to the Debate

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By : Max Aplin   99 or more times read
Submitted 2012-07-06 06:06:09

At present there is a lively debate taking place in evangelical circles as to whether the office and gift of apostle are in operation today. I would like to comment very briefly on one of the arguments that is used by those who reject the idea that there are apostles today, because I believe it can be easily disproved.

One of the main arguments used by those who deny that God has raised up apostles in the present day concerns the New Testament canon. It is argued that one of the characteristics of the first apostles was the authority to write infallible works such as we find in the NT; if there were apostles today, the argument goes, these apostles would also have to be given the right to compose infallible works, and would therefore have the right to add books to the NT; since it is impossible to add to the 27 books of the NT, that means there can be no apostles today.

It is of course true that it is impossible for there to be any additions to the 27 books of the NT. However, the authority to write the NT books was given by God as a special dispensation to some apostles and non-apostles (the author of Luke-Acts, for example, was not an apostle, and Luke 1:3 most naturally suggests he was not even authorized by an apostle). It is simply not the case that the apostles of the first century had an automatic right to compose infallible works of Scripture. Most of them never received any authorization at all from God to do this.

If there are apostles today, then, they would join with the majority of first century apostles in having no authority whatsoever to compose works that could be received as Scripture. The argument that the closed canon of the NT means that there are no apostles today is therefore without foundation and should be dropped from the debate.

Author Resource:- I have been a Christian for over 25 years. I have a Ph.D. in New Testament Language, Literature and Theology from the University of Edinburgh. I am a UK national and I currently live in the south of Scotland.

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