Fantastic to see someone like Ed Stetzer giving room on his blog to the idea that apostles today are critical:
Let us be quite categorical here: We are in no way suggesting that the ongoing and legitimate role of the apostolic person in the life of the church in any way adds to, alters, or subtracts from the original canon of Scripture. We don’t know of anyone within broad evangelical circles who would say this. Any such claims should be dismissed immediately.
What we are saying is that the work of the original apostles went beyond simply writing the Bible. If that is not so, them most of them failed because most did not write the Bible. The apostles in the Bible clearly had other functions that related to the church’s innate capacities for advance, doctrinal integrity, networking skills, creating translocal organization, etc. These are clearly necessary in any form of advancing movement…and they are necessary today more than ever as the church experiences increasing marginalization and has to adopt a missionary stance in relation to our culture.
Furthermore, we believe that the distortions of apostolic ministry found in some extreme circles of the charismatic church are dangerous caricatures of a extremely important function. But since when has extremism stopped us from trying to understand a function better. In fact it should drive us to clarity.
For instance, just because the Grand Inquisition was a severe distortion of the pastoral and teacher function (a violent demand for conformity of behavior and thought) doesn’t mean that we jettison the ongoing vocation of the shepherd and teacher! Just because some Tele-Evangelists abused the evangelistic ministry, doesn’t mean we reject the incredible work of Billy Graham as illegitimate ministry. Why do this with apostlic and prophetic people?
We believe that whatever ministries we have now (all APEST functions) can derive their archetype from Scripture. This is true for the apostolic (what we call extracting small “a” from big “A” apostles) but is also true of the teacher (small “t” from big “T”), etc. The same interpretive rules should be applied to all the vocations……READ MORE AT Ed Stetzer – The Permanent Revolution: An Interview with Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim – Part 2.