< Browse > Home / Modern 'Apostles' & 'Prophets' and Their Promoters / Blog article: Putting Apostles to the Test

Putting Apostles to the Test

magnifying_glassThousands of men and women throughout the world today are claiming to be “apostles” and “prophets.”

If you doubt this, do a Google search using the terms “modern apostles” and “modern prophets.” You’ll see what I mean.

It’s not just Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses or other cult groups who claim that their leaders speak directly for God. A growing number of charismatic Christians are following so-called apostles and prophets. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a town in America that doesn’t have at least one “apostolic-prophetic” church (though they might not identify themselves with that label).

Yet with all their talk about “apostles” and “prophets,” the churches generally place very little emphasis — if any —  on testing the claims of these individuals to see if they’re true. On the contrary, they often teach that questioning an “apostle” or “prophet” is sin.

This teaching is in stark contrast to the teachings of Jesus, which stressed the importance of testing so-called apostles and prophets. In His message to the first-century church of Ephesus — delivered by an angel to the prophet John — Jesus praised the church members for ferreting out false apostles. He said:

I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false. (Revelation 2:2)

But He rebuked another first-century church — the church in Thyatira — for tolerating a false prophetess (Revelation 2:20-23). By her teachings, this woman was leading the church members into sin. He gave them a stern warning: those people who continued to follow this so-called prophetess would face His judgment.

Jesus’ messages of praise and rebuke to these two churches would be well heeded by today’s churches. Don’t simply embrace the new “apostles” and “prophets.” Put them to the test.

  • No Related Post
Follow Discussion

20 Responses to “Putting Apostles to the Test”

  1. Adam Minneapolis Says:

    Amen! Discernment and critical thinking would go a long way with many of today’s self-proclaimed apostles and prophets. A lot of what they teach and practice, if tested by Scripture, would be found wanting, to say the least.

    Excellent job pointing to these two examples from the book of Revelation. No less of an authority than Jesus Himself commended His people for rightly declaring that the self-proclaimed apostles of their day were false. Today such an act would be highly frowned upon as daring to “touch the Lord’s anointed,” as if all believers aren’t anointed (I John 2:20-27).

  2. Roger Souden Says:

    Amen Holly and Adam  …and didn’t Jesus Himself warn of this very situation in Matthew 24:3-25..?  when He fully answered His disciples question “What will be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world”.

    Matt 24: v 5 and 23-25 really speak to me at this time, and even more so now that the leaders in the ’emergent church’ and the new NAR are so deceived and deceiving that they teach of ‘little christs’,  ‘cosmic christ’  etc.

    In the same way that many misled people flocked to recent so called ‘revivals’ where they received ‘anointings’, one can almost picture the next  ‘move’ where people flock to a place where a  christ (false) is revealed…  yet another fulfilled prophecy?

  3. Tom Says:

    The last apostle was John the revelator, the one who was exiled on Patmos and given the revelation by Jesus.  All other apostles are false.

  4. deepsquatter Says:

    Why do we need apostles and prophets?? For leadership and the Word of the Lord. The first century chuch demonstrated this. Everyone points out Paul, but what and how did he suffer, and how about the other true apostles? Most of them died gruesome deaths.
    I dont see some fat cat or slickster on tv or a website spouting ‘truth’  wearing a 5000 dollar suit suffering too much. What did John the Baptist wear? Did he have a big fancy church??Nope!  What did Jesus call him…THE GREATEST OF THE PROPHETS BUT THE LEAST IN THE KINGDOM OF HESAVEN IS GREATER THAN HIM. A prophet or apostle is a servant, do we know what that means???

    I don’t see much servants/service out there!!

    Were the biblical prophets strange, sure they were!  But strangeness does not make a prophet,suffering does. Being confronted with death not glamour, being imprisoned and not on a pulpit, being ridiculed and not understood.
    Look at human history and at over 6 billion people  who had lived or living on this planet less than a few dozens  are widely recognized or canonized as true prophets or apostles. Think about it.  THATS A MINORITY!!!

    I would be vary wary to call myself an apostle or prophet even if I was truly one (hypothetically speaking), just for the fact that i am going stand before the Judgement Seat and give a greater account for what I am living,and thats scary! 

  5. David Says:

    There is not a single suggestion in the New Testament, or any direction given, as to the appointment of apostles by the church.  The only apostles were the ones directly chosen by Jesus Christ.  There are the original twelve, minus Judas, plus Paul.  Forget about Matthias — he was presumtiously chosen by lot before Pentecost.   God never told them to do this.  There are no more apostles since.

  6. Paul Says:

    Thanks for putting the spotlight on this. When an ” Apostle “, or ” Prophet “, says that to question what they teach is a ” sin “, what they really mean is  ” don’t use your God given brains to think about what I say and do, or you might realize that I’m a fraud “.

    My personal favorite is ” Touch not the Lords anointed “, which is not only taken completely out of it’s biblical context, but also gives the impression that a self appointed ” Prophet ” hears directly from God. It is  tool that is used to silence criticism, and to separate the believers from their cash.

    This they do in the name of Jesus. A terrible fate awaits them all.

  7. friendofMuslims Says:

    Actually our Lord’s commendation “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false” would tend to indicate that it was still possible that there were real apostles around; if it was simply a question of the original “Twelve” and no others then there would have been little need for any testing. Actually there are at least 22 individuals, perhaps 24 in NT called apostles. But as “Deepsquatter” suggests, if there are such apostles today they would certainly not be going around saying they were; the NT reveals apostles as servants “at the bottom” not “at the top”. Perhaps the view that apostles are groundbreakers, planting churches where there are none before is a valid one (“missionaries”, “sent ones” in the Greek) but this would not be to put such brothers in the category of those receiving new revelation. Rather they would be “apostles” because they have soaked and saturated themselves in “the doctrine of the apostles” (Acts 2.42) which is what we most thankfully possess in the New Testament itself. To those apostles of our Lord from whom we have received “the deposit of truth” (1Tim.6.20, 2 Tim.1.12, 14) we should attach a very large letter “A”.

  8. lillyann Says:

    Thanks, Adam and Holly!  Apostles with a big A are no longer needed, because the Canon of Scripture is closed.  Yes, there are still “sent ones”, which is the definition of apostle, but they are being sent to people groups that have never heard the gospel, and they would define themselves as missionaries.  But as you all say, the hucksters have been around before the prosperity gospel, positive confession doctrine, and apostolic and prophetic movements.  Regarding the Matthew verse, sometimes I wonder if the contemplative movement, i.e., mysticism, won’t present itself with a mass proclamation by folks who have reached “enlightenment”, stating “I AM”.  Hindus know there is no such thing as Christian yoga.  It’s not a stretching exercise.  And occultists use the very same techniques as contemplatives do to practice their crafts.  Come quickly, Lord.

  9. Ray Walker Says:

    So, if I may ask, since you have been putting the ax to all of the false prophets, who are the real prophets? Who actually decides who the real prophets are and what or whose doctrine is the base line for deciding who is in error? According to Ephesians 4:11, Jesus gave us the Apostles, Prophets, as well as the Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher for the perfecting of the saints. If we only utilize three of the five ministry gifts that Jesus provided for us, we can only expect to operate at 60% of the best that the Lord needs us to operate at. The creation is groaning in pain, waiting for us to be the best we can possibly be. The world needs more than 60% of our best, they need to see us love one another. Doesn’t the word say that love COVERS a multitude of sin. It cannot when we are canibilistic christians. I get it, the Apostles and Prophets were done away with. If that were true, Jesus would have told us so. Hay, let’s read the Word for ourselves and the be a doer and not a hearer only.

  10. cozy Says:

    You just judget “apostles” and “prophets” the way the Bible does.  If they aren’t 100% acurate 100% of the time, they are false.  The Bible says if they are false, they are to be stoned – as in killed.  If they want to operate by O.T. principles (ie. there are modern prophets), then they should be held to O.T. law and principles.  Seem simple to me.

  11. Carolyn Says:

    But where are the prophets and apostles that point you to Jesus Christ and him crucified? Oh the depths of the riches and wisdom of God in Christ Jesus!!! Where are these false apostles taking us? Into the mystical depths of their occult teachings and away from the divinity of Christ. If it’s the Holy Spirit, he will lead us to Christ, not away from Him. And even if their prophecies come to pass, and they aren’t preaching the right message, that Christ has come incarnate, then they are still 100 % wrong. Deut. 13:1-4 And we should flee from them.  “Come out and be separate, Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you.” We should pay attention to what they are saying because it could mean the difference between being received by God and being rejected in the end.  Jeremiah’s prophecy from the Lord about these false prophets “The prophets prophecy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; and my people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?” Jer 5:31

  12. deepsquatter Says:

    If you look at the scriptural examples of apostles and prophets: Jesus himself warned of false ones and explicitly said “He knew them not!”, and this was before His seat of Judgement.  “All things(authority) have been given unto Me”, so first a true apostle or prophet ( if there is such a thing at this present time) is under authority.

     Now let us examine this fact. The first apostles including Paul were under the direct mentorship of Jesus  for years sometimes  alonre and seperated  and  eventually did  suffer and died for Christ.

     This was the hallmark of the Early Church.

    They were not afraid to die for Him, they knew the cost. Today in the Western Church that would be a tall order. OT prophets  also died for their obediance. What “modern day” prophet is ready to die for his LORD. Answer =none.

    Secondly the biblical example of a prophet or apostle is first revelation then discipline. I don’t find this in the so called prophecies or visions/dreams of these self -professed apostles/prophets. All the scriptural afore mentioned apostles and prophets were  filled with the Fear of the Lord when they had their first encounters!
    Even the disciples were at times overwhelmed and afraid ie.Jesus calming the storm,walking on the water and at the mount of transfiguration.

    Isaiah,Jeremiah,Ezekiel etc were all in awe of the spiritually encounters they had. Some were vexxed, others were humbled, another was pulled by his hair. Not really fun. Daniel was told to keep quiet and go his way. They were scared of God for good reason!! They knew that if they didn’t do their jobs, that a more severe plight may await them, more than the hearers.  Jonah knew this too well and ran!! I don’t see this today, there is no humility….

    It takes hundreds, if not thousands of years for true prophecies to be fufilled, and this is some in part and some in whole. Some prophecies may be for several events or a combination of charachters yet untold. To use human understanding for understanding Revelations or the Book of Isaiah is purely vain. One must have  spiritual ears disciplined by the Holy Spirit and under the authority of Christ to hear, see and understand.

    Today we have made the entrance into Christianity too easy. Just say a sinner’s prayer and BINGO Jesus loves and forgives you and you go into heaven, its that easy!!  North America’s quick fix for a life of endless idolatry, materialism and ignorance of the Holiness of God. Now we are  are told by preachers  that we can be materialistic and fat, we all arepromised to get raptured before things get too tough and its whoosh into the Kingdom of God.
    Jesus akaYeshua did not teach that.  There was a cross, a sign of torture used for hundereds of years. It  was a burden.
    There was also promised death, suffering and conflict.
     “I have come not to send peace but a sword”!
    Christianity is not a sunday religion. No mega-churches on tv, no lear jets limos and suits.

    Its a celebration of  dealth, life and Resurrection of Him that died for us and sits at the right hand of the Father. It’s about intimacy with a Saviour who expects all, chastens us, even scourges us that we may bear fruit.  And if we are found worthy, and are dressed in white linen ,we may enter into His Joy.  Now that is the spirit of prophecy.

  13. Bonnie Says:

    Deuteronomy 18: 22
    When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the  thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

    Jeremiah 28: 9
    The prophet who prophesies of peace , when the word of the prophet comes to pass , then that prophet will be known as one whom the LORD sent.
    So if there are any real prophets out there today then everything the prophecy had better come true or else they do not speak from God .

  14. Richar Taylor Says:

    I am a Pastor, and not of the charismatic persuasion….but I beg to differ with most the above mentioned responses (concerning their being NO MORE Apostles)…Paul himself was called after the day of pentecost and sent to be “a light unto the gentiles” Apostolos (One who is sent) Timothy was sent, Epahroditis was sent and the people were encouraged to entreat them as they entreated Paul…IT WAS NOT ABOUT THE TITLE IT WAS ABOUT THE FUNCTION…The charismatic age has distorted many things….But there is as much need for the Governing Function of Apostle and Prophet in the Church as their ever was…Trying the Apostles indicates that there will be some who PASS THE TEST…Otherwise JESUS would have said SHUN, or AVOID, or REJECT…I Know a few today that truely bare the marks of an Apostle, and they only need you  to call them brothers, because they are first servants…I could could support this much more from a scriptural standpoint but time does not allow…Love you all

  15. johnny Says:

    I have read alot of these comments and I,m a little confused is it simply because you really don,t know or are you just kidding or what . did not the word say that the five fold ministry is for the perfecting of the saints .well then quit discarding some and keeping the ones you are comfortable with and then maybe you will grow up an become mature an quit sounding like a bunch of babies

  16. Sean Gunn Says:

    Hi there.
    I have just come out of a church who followed the teachings of the NAR and all their “groupies.” They were ardhent followers of Chuck Pierce and Cindy Jacobs. They taught Dominionism from the pulpit and engaged in spiritaul warfare, mapping, territorial spirits and so on. The pastor went from being “pastor” to “senior pastor” and finally she elected herself as “an apostle.” They were into soaking and prophetic acts as well as dreams and visions. Blind submission was imperative as well as signing tithing and giving covenants. It was horrible. When certain members approached her and asked her for scriptual backup for what she was doing we were branded as rebellious, causing dissention and unrepentant. We were eventually disgraced publically and eventually “handed over to Satan.” Since then I have found another spiritual home and have been allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me as opposed to the teachings of men.
    Thanks for listening.
    Sean, South Africa

  17. Irma Alicea Says:

    The word is very clear in Eph 4, I can’t take away or add to it.
    we must be very careful in saying God doesn’t appoint prophets or apostols today,yes I agree that to many sad to say MANY are not,and to say that if a prophetic word doesn’t come to pasis makes that person a false prophet,lets read the Old Testament,MANY prophecies of the birth of our savior,there is a thing as time,I do agree test all thing,test EVERYTHING!! But to say that  there is no need for that today would make the word a lie, yes the word is clear VERY clear there are false prophets,but there are also false teachers,evangelist,as well,so does that mean we have no need for them,we should test ALL and EVERYTHING.
    There is major problem today and that is WE as a people don’t like correction!! 
    To be a prophetic person truly appointed by God,for the most part that will mean to correct and instruct, and sad to say that’s not very well liked!!!

  18. admin Says:

    Hi Irma,

    Thanks for your interaction with my post. I agree that Ephesians 4:11 speaks to a continuation of apostles and prophets in the church along with evangelists, pastors and teachers. I think the important thing to understand is that the word “apostle” had a somewhat flexible range of meaning in the early church. It was similar to today’s word “messenger.” An “apostle” was one who was sent. An apostle could be sent by Christ Himself or by a church. I believe the apostles referenced in Ephesians 4:11 were sent by a church and, thus, did not have the same roles or level of authority as the original 12 apostles and Paul who were commissioned directly by Christ. I believe the prophets in Ephesians 4:11 prophesied only to individuals and local churches and did not give revelation that was binding on the universal church like some of the well-known Old Testament prophets.

    Holly

  19. Irma Alicea Says:

    Hi!!! This is Irma
    To respond to your comment,I must ask a question,Does God still speak today to His children?
    I ask becauto to say that the apostles and prophets are not for today,that would also eliminate the,evangelist ,pastor,and teacher,we cannot say to have some and not others!!
    i truly agree that any word given to anyone should lead them back to Christ,and there will be times it will be a word of correction.
    Now how many  of the prophets in the Old Testament saw Jesus? And how many where lead by His voice,and spoken correction to the people?
    He was and always will be!!
    Its very clear the word says, His children hear His voice!!!!! 
    What I can say for myself, is I want and will obey His word!! 
    And I don’t take the ministry He placed in my heart lightly,true because of manipulation and those who deceive people,leaves those that speak truth looking bad,but I paise God i learned to always tell people ,don’t take my word for it,no matter what ANYONE says take it to The Lord in prayer,and He will reveal truth,today we have to many confused people and to many are hurt because of lies!!! 
    And for those who don’t believed there is a hell,I say ask God to show you!! We need Him more today than ever.

  20. Irma Alicea Says:

    Hello again,this is Irma,just need to make it clear i am not an apostle,nor do I claim to be one!!! I just am one person out of many that want people to walk in truth,and most of all know the only true God!!and His name is Jesus!!!!!

Leave a Reply

* Please read my Comment Policy