In addressing the question of apostles and prophets today, we must carefully define our terms. Certainly the church today needs church planters, missionaries, or leaders who act as pastors over other pastors. Fortunately, when some people say that the church needs “apostles” today, that’s all that they mean. And while the usage of the term “apostle” is not biblical, certainly the church does need such persons.
Likewise, when some people say that the church needs “prophets” today, they mean that the church needs Spirit-filled leaders who can inspire the church with a vision for its mission, or who can challenge the church to deeper commitment to Christ. And again, while this many not be the most biblical use of the term “prophet,” there can be no doubt that the church does need such persons. On the other hand, if by “apostles” and “prophets” one means Christian leaders of the same kind as the twelve apostles or the apostle Paul, they are clearly mistaken.
There are no church leaders today whose authority cannot be questioned, or through whom new doctrinal revelations are given to the church, or whose teachings must be accepted by all Christians.
The New Testament teaches that the apostles of Christ were persons to whom Christ appeared after His resurrection and whom He commissioned to be His personal spokesmen (Acts 1:21-26; 5:32; 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:8). Ephesians 2:20 and 3:5 teach that the apostles and prophets had foundational offices through which Christ established the church as the newly constituted people of God, a church in which both Jews and Gentiles make up the singular body of Christ.
Clearly many men today who claim to be apostles have taken upon themselves authority over other people which has not been given to them by God.