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Letter From Bob LaForge To Jim McCotter

(Written in response to "Leadership: Elders And Apostles.")

March 7, 1985
1118 Bertrand #2
Manhattan, Ks 66503

Jim McCotter
406 E. Franklin
Silver Springs, Maryland 20901

Dear Jim,

I have studied your book, Leadership: Elders and Apostles, quite thoroughly [sic] several times. I can appreciate your desire to understand Biblical doctrines and your willingness to express your opinions. However, in your book I have found, what I believe to be, quite a number of errors concerning apostles especially when your points are weighed against what the Bible says. If I am wrong then I need to be corrected so that I might be able to more fully obey the scriptures and by doing so glorify God. However, if I am right, then you have made a very large error which should be corrected. If you are wrongfully exalting yourself then that has serious implications.

I have recently committed a great deal of time to this topic and am enclosing a copy of my results. It is my prayer that you will seriously consider what I have to say and respect my efforts.

I have divided my study into two main parts. The first is principly [sic] a study on the subject of who and what the apostles were and why God created their office. The second part addresses specific points in your hook which I believe are Biblically in error. In this part I wound up covering only about half of the points in your book which I felt were incorrect. I did not believe it to be necessary to cover everything at once.

I, myself, have written a 200 page book entitled, Contemplating the Almighty, which I believe you might have a copy of.

If I am wrong in my conclusions then you are commanded in 2 Timothy.2:25-26 to correct me that I might be lead [sic] away from the snare of the devil and to the knowledge of the truth.

If, however, you are wrong then it would be necessary for you to confess it and to withdraw your book [from] the market and announce to the churches your error.

Either way would require a response from you to me. I have enclosed a stamped, self-addressed post-card for you to check and return. Please return this as soon as possible. If I do not receive it then I will assume that you considered my efforts not worthy of your attention.

In Christ,
Bob LaForge

 

In considering the truth of any spiritual concept, it is necessary to place, by far, the greatest emphasis on what the totality of the Scriptures say concerning this area. Acts 17:11 establishes the standard for this, "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so." Though it is very important to consider the thoughts of other men, especially those who have established themselves by devoting many years to the studying of the Bible, this is no substitute for an honest and intense, personal investigation.

We must be careful, as we do this research, to consider the entirety of the Bible on this subject. To place the burden of proof on any one verse, especially one which is not extremely clear or which is subject to other reasonable interpretations, would, generally, demonstrate a weak case.

The following list is believed to be all of the instances where the words "apostle", "apostles", "apostles'", and "apostleship" are used in the Bible. It is hoped that any system of thought concerning the concept of "apostles" would be consistent with all of these verses.

Apostle

Ro. 1:1 Paul, ..., called as a apostle, set apart for the gospel of God
Ro. 11:13 Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry
1 Cor. 1:1 Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother
1 Cor. 9:1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?
1 Cor. 9:2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
1 Cor. 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
2 Cor. 2:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia.
I Cor. 12:12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.
Gal. 1:1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men, nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead) Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints ...
Col. 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
1 Tim. 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope;
1 Tim. 2:7 And for this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle ...
1 Tim. 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
1 Tim. 1:11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher
Titus 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, ...
Heb. 3:1 ... consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest ...
1 Peter 1:1 Peter, and apostle of Jesus Christ, to thos2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those ...

Apostles

Matt:. 10:2 ... the names of the Twelve apostles are as ...
Mark 5:32 And the apostles gathered together with Jesus; ...
Luke 5:13 ... and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles:
Luke 9:10 And when the apostles returned, ...
Luke 11:49 ... I will send to them prophets and apostles, ...
Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, ...
Luke 22:14 ... and the apostles with Him.
Luke 24:14 ... telling these things to the apostles. Acts 1:2 .. after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.
Acts 1:26 ... and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Acts 2:37 ... and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles ...
Acts 2:43 ... and many wonders and signs were taken place through the apostles.
Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving witness ...
Acts 4:36 ... who was also called Barnabas by the apostles
Acts 5:12 And at the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; ...
Acts 5:18 ... laid hands on the apostles, and put then in a public jail
Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered ...
Acts 5:40 ... after calling the apostles in, they flogged them ...
Acts 6:6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, ...
Acts 8:1 ... except the apostles.
Acts 8:14 How when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God ...
Acts 9:27 But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles ...
Acts 11:1 the apostles and the brethen [sic] ...
Acts 14:4 ... and some with the apostles,
Acts 15:2 ... should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders ... Acts 15:4 ... they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, ...
Acts 15:6 and the apostles and the elders ...
Acts 15:22 ... good to the apostles and the elders ...
Acts 15:23 ... The apostles and the brethern [sic] ...
Acts 16:4 ... had been decided upon by the apostles and elders ...
Ro. 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, ...
1 Cor. 4:9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles lest of all, as men condemned ...
1 Cor. 9:5 Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
1 Cor. 12:28 12:23 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles ...
1 Cor. 12:29 All are not apostles ...
1 Cor. 15:7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
2 Cor. 11:5 For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.
2 Cor. 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
2 Cor. 12:11 ... for in no respect was I inferior to the post eminent apostles, ...
Gal 1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, ...
Gal 1:19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother.
Eph. 2:20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, ...
Eph. 3:5 ... as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
Eph. 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, ...
1 Thess. 2:6 ..., even though as apostles of Christ we night have asserted our authority.
2 Peter 3:2 ... the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
Jude 17 remember the words spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Rev 2:2 you put to the test those who call themselves apostles,
Rev. 18:20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, ...
Rev. 21:14 ... twelve names of the twelve apostles ...

Apostles'

Acts 4:42 ... apostles' teaching ... A
Acts 4:35 and lay them at the apostles' feet; ...
Acts 4:37 ... laid it at the apostles' feet.
Acts 5:2 ... laid it at the apostles' feet.
Acts 8:13 ... through the laying on of the apostles' hands, ...

Apostleship

Acts 1:25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship ...
Ro. 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship ...
Gal. 2:8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in His apostleship to the circumcised ...

 

It is necessary to begin this study by determining what an apostle is, why their office was created by God, and who could be an apostle.

The creation and purpose of apostles.

The office or position of apostles was started by Jesus Christ in the New Testament (NT). This was after the Old Testament (OT) period and several years before the Church Age.

In Matthew 10:1-8 we see the creation of this office. Christ named the 12 apostles and told them what their function was. The Twelve were instructed to go and preach saying "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." They were to take the new revelation which Christ had given them concerning the Kingdom of Heaven and concerning Himself and bring it to the people. These apostles were not responsible to do anything else. They were not instructed to start new churches, but were only to proclaim and establish, among the peoples, new revelation.

Since there would be no reason for people to believe the apostles, God gave them the ability to perform signs and miracles and wonders. This validated their ministry.

It should be noticed that the men called by Christ to be these apostles were not elders or spiritual leaders or men of any distinctive spiritual qualifications. They did not need to work their way through any artificial, man-made system first. These men were made apostles because God chose them to be, even though they were merely fishermen, tax-gathers, and other types of secular professions. There were no character qualifications required. God's choosing was everything — man's merit was nothing.

Then came Christ's rejection, death, and resurrection. Because of this, the message of the Jewish kingdom was delayed and replaced by a new message and revelation concerning the gospel of Christ, the church, and other doctrines. The 12 were given a new message to preach, but their function and everything else concerning their office of apostle remained the same. Their responsibility as apostles was still to proclaim and establish new revelation. They were given no new responsibilities concerning this office.

The Post-resurrection apostles.

After Christ's ascension several more men became apostles (Paul, Andronicus, Junias, Barnabas, Silas, Apollos, James). However, and this is a very important point, these men were also called apostles as were the original Twelve. This was not after the Twelve had died and a new type of office with the same name was created but while the Twelve were still alive. This means that these post-resurrection apostles were added to the core of the original Twelve to form, not two separate types of groups each with the same title "apostle", but one larger group with each member having the same office and responsibility. If this were not true then God would have named this second group differently. We can further see in the "Book of Acts" and in the letters that there is no differentiation between the Twelve and the other apostles. They were all apostles forming one collective group.

Throughout his letters, Paul mentioned his role as being to preach new revelation and establish doctrine (1 Cor. 1:17, 2 Cor. 4:1-5, Romans 1:1-5, 1 Timothy 2:3-7, and many others), but he did not mention that, as an apostle, he was responsible to form local churches. He did accomplish the latter but that was as he carried out his function as an apostle in doing the former. If there was any task necessary to forming new, local churches this would have been to baptize those who had become saved. It would have been impossible to start a church without recognizing and initializing new members. Yet Paul said that he was not sent even to baptize (1 Cor. 1:17). The many passages in scripture connecting Paul's apostleship with proclaiming new revelation solidifies that this was the only responsibility of the office of an apostle.

In examining what the role of an apostle was during Christ's walk upon the earth (i.e., the Twelve) and what the role was of an apostle after His ascension we see only one common responsibility. This was to proclaim God's new revelation to the people. If the task of an apostle was to create local churches then the Twelve could not have been apostles because not only did they not form any new churches (or even anything similar) but the church had not even been introduced yet. Therefore, this could not have been why God created apostles. It would be a hollow argument to say that the Twelve had a different responsibility as apostles than those who came after the church age started because different people in a completely different role would not be called by the same title. This would not only be inconsistent with the rest of God's methods of administration in the Bible (not to mention confusing which He is not) but an unreasonable and ridiculous assertion.

After the OT period God had new revelation to deliver. He needed a group of men to accomplish this task. This was the apostles. The Tyndale New Bible Dictionary says that "The primary function of the apostles was witness to Christ." and "They are the touchstones of doctrine, the purveyors of the authentic tradition about Christ." Martin Luther in his Sermons on the Gospel of John said "We merely contend for and hold to the old truths bequeathed to us by Christ and His apostles."

The apostles and prophets.

One issue that it would be important to evaluate is the doctrinal connection between apostles and prophets since they are linked uniquely together in several verses such as: Ephesians 2:20, Ephesians 3:5, Luke 11:49, and 2 Peter 3:2. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says:

The parallel between the apostles and the prophets which we see in Paul rests on the fact that both are exclusively bearers of revelation, the prophets of revelation still in progress and the apostles of completed revelation. Perhaps the different temporal relationship to the same thing explains why the NT preaching office could not use the ancient title for God's messengers to describe the messengers of Jesus. It needed a new term corresponding to the new and altered situation and yet still referring to the commission which Jesus gave to His disciples. Yet here, too, we probably have the explanation of the linking of the two from the standpoint of their historical significance for the origin of the community as presented in Eph. 2:20. In the circumstance as we have outlined them, this mode of expression is possible not only on the lips of the first generation of Christians but also of Paul himself.

We can see in the scriptures that the offices of prophets and apostles were similar in that they both were heralds of God's revelation, but they also had some differences (for example, apostles were administratively linked to Christ and functioned in an organized manner as a group, whereas the prophets generally worked alone). It is because of these differences that it would have been wrong for Jesus to call the Twelve "prophets", so He gave them the new title of "apostle."

Was the apostoltic office continued?

The Dictionary of New Testament Theology says, "The NT never betrays any understanding of the apostolate as an institutionalized church office, capable of being passed on."

The Tyndale New Bible Dictionary in its conclusion writes, "the office [of apostleship] could not be repeated or transmitted.

Nor was such transmission necessary. The apostolic witness was maintained in the abiding work of the apostles and in what became normative for later ages, its written form in the NT. No renewal of the office or of its special gifts has been called for. It was a foundational office: and church history ever since has been its superstructure."

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible states in the conclusion, "It was through the apostles that Christ continued much of His work. Their position was unique and normative and many of their functions were not transmissible. There is no evidence that their numbers were to be made up as the original loyal apostles died." and "They appeared at a turning point in history, and they, through the Spirit, both founded the Church and, with their companions left the NT for us."

John Calvin, one of the leading Reformers who reestablished the NT truth which we now cling to, said on 1 Cor. 12:28 that apostles were temporary because "such as were appointed at the beginning for the founding of the Church, and the raising up of Christ's kingdom; and these, in a short time afterwards, ceased." Concerning Ephesians 4:11 Calvin wrote, "Apostles, Evangelists, and Prophets were bestowed on the church for a limited time only."

Also regarding Ephesians 4:11 the Bible Knowledge Commentary writes, "Since the apostles and prophets were foundational, they did not exist after the first generation believers."

And Smith's Bible Dictionary concludes that as regards the apostaltic office, "It ceased, as a matter of course with its first holders; all continuation of it, from the very conditions of its existence, being impossible."

These above conclusions all point to one fact: the function of the apostles, as seen in the scriptures, was to herald the new revelation of the NT and, in so doing, to establish the doctrinal foundation of the Christian Church. Since this new revelation was completely proclaimed and the Christian Church established, the need for the apostaltic office ceased.

Re: Concerning pages 87-88 on whether an apostle had to be called.

It is clear that in Romans 1:1 and 1 Cor. 1:1 Paul says that he was "called as an apostle". In order to determine what this means it is necessary to understand what the word "called" means as used in the Bible. The Greek words in these verses are used in three ways in the scriptures:

(1) To invite, e.g. into a house, to a feast. This word came to mean chosen such as Homer's use in the Odyssey. It was also used as a military summons by a recognized authority.

(2) Used for the summoning of one's adversary or of witnesses before a court of law.

(3) To name, as when a man is being addressed or when a name is being bestowed.

The word "called" places its emphasis on the one doing the calling and not on the one called. A person cannot initiate a "call" since it originates from God and does not depend on whether the person wants to be "called" or not. In none of these uses do we see any condition of desire. To include the condition of desire would, in fact, work against the meaning of this word. Based on how the Bible uses the word "called" there is no room left for considering how the person being "called" feels about it.

To be "called" is very different from the concept of being "asked." God did not ask anyone to be an apostle, He told them. In your book you are confusing your terms. If your definition were true then Paul would have used an entirely different concept involving different Greek words other than "called."

The Dictionary of New Testament Theology says, "When in Ro. 1:1 and l Cor. 1:1 he declares himself to be 'called to be an apostle', he is stressing that he owed his office as apostle to a special call by God."

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible says, "The apostleship of Paul was also due to the divine choice and he was often at pains to point this out, both to emphasize the wonder of the grace of God and to maintain the authority of his own message. There could be no substitute for a personal call from Christ to this service."

Apostleship was an office bestowed by God, not earned by man.

In commenting on Romans 1:1 John Calvin said, "it was of great importance that he should be deemed and Apostle through God's call." and "He therefore says, that he was a servant of Christ, and called to the office of an Apostle, thereby intimating that he had not presumptuously intruded into that office." Calvin goes on to say that Paul "simply glories in having God as the author of his call, lest any one should think that he had through his own rashness taken this honour to himself." This is an important point. Paul was not one of the original Twelve and so, when he used the authority of an apostle, the people had good reason to question his authenticity. Paul was forced to prove that his apostaltic office was from God.

Calvin finally adds:

We must here observe, that all are not fitted for the ministry of the word; for a special call is necessary: and even those who seem particularly fitted ought to take heed lest they thrust themselves in without a call. But as to the character of the Apostolic and of the Episcopal call, we shall consider it in another place. We must further observe, that the office of an Apostle is the preaching of the gospel. It hence appears what just objects of ridicule are those dumb dogs, who render themselves conspicuous only by their mitre and their crook, and boast themselves to be the successors of the Apostles!

Turrettin said Paul was, "an Apostle by divine vocation."

Re: Concerning pages 79-87 on the qualifications of an apostle.

It should be obvious that nowhere in the Bible are there any qualifications listed for an apostle. There are qualifications listed for elders, deacons, even widows who should be put on "the list", but none at all for apostles. It would be very strange and unlike God to expect us to appoint men to an office and not tell us what is required for that office, especially since He does tell us for other offices. There is not one word or even an implication to help men as to what they should look for to appoint an apostle. The reason for this should clearly be because there were no qualifications for an apostle. It does not say in the NT that an apostle must first be an elder or have the qualifications of one. The scriptures nowhere say that in order to be an apostle he had to desire the office (see comments concerning 1 Cor. 12:31; 14:1), have character, be fruitful, be appointed (although he did have to be called), or confirmed. By saying that these are qualifications you are confusing cause and effect. It is true that they did have character and that they were fruitful but this was the result of their being Spirit-filled and obedient to God. These were not the causes of them becoming apostles. They first became apostles and then these results came after. The original Twelve were certainly not elders nor were they very fruitful spiritually, but they were still called apostles by Christ.

This relates back to apostles needing a "calling." The only qualification a person needs when he is "called" to be saved is that he be a sinner. In the same way, the only qualification a person needed when he was called to be an apostle was that he be a believer.

So we can see that there are no requirements listed for an apostle. That the good works which they did were the result of their Christian lifestyle and not the cause of their apostleship; and that since the Bible says that they were called, merit meant nothing. A list of the qualifications for an apostle is purely an invention of man and goes against what the Bible says on the subject.

Re: Concerning pages 50 and 87 on the need for apostles to have written revelation.

It is not said anywhere in the Bible nor have I ever read anyone who thought that it was necessary for an apostle to write revelation. There is a big difference, however, between proclaiming new revelation and having it canionized [sic]. The latter was not the function of an apostle but the former was. The Twelve definitely spread the new revelation which Jesus Christ gave them. This we can see throughout the Gospels. An apostle did not have to write down the revelation he had, but the whole reason for his office was to proclaim it.

Re: Concerning 1 Cor. 12:31; 14:1 on whether an apostle had to desire the office.

In order to properly determine what Paul meant in 1 Cor. 12:31; 14:1 the purpose of this letter to the Corinthians must be examined. Scripture must always be studied in context or its interpretation will have no controls.

We can see by reading the letter itself one of the problems in the Corinthian church. From 1:10 to 4:21 (a good 25% of the letter) Paul deals with the subject of leaders and authority. Specifically in 2:1-5, 3:1-10, and 4:1-21 we see that Paul felt it was necessary to validate his authority and ministry as being from God. This was due to a lack of respect and understanding on the part of the Corinthians. We can still see the same thing in Paul's second letter to them.

The Corinthian church was very carnal and immature. They had a wrong understanding of some important doctrines, had many bad attitudes, and they also viewed the spectacular gifts (tongues, healing) as being more important than the others. Paul addressed all of these problems in this letter.

This brings us to what Paul was getting at and his reason for writing 1 Cor. 12:31; 14:1. Paul was either telling the Corinthians to desire to have the gift of an apostle for themselves as individuals or that they should desire to have those who already have the gift of an apostle to be involved with their church. Since Paul was attempting to correct the Corinthian's lack of respect for authority and their emphasis on the spectacular gifts it is more consistent that he would be telling them that they should esteem and desire those who already were apostles (Paul, Peter, the Twelve, etc.) more highly. The Corinthians were selfish; Paul aimed at unity.

The Zondervan Bible Knowledge Commentary supports this by commenting that the apostles, prophets, and teachers "may have been relegated to a lesser role by the Corinthians." and that Paul "said that the church should eagerly desire the exercise of those gifts in the assembly. Gifted apostles, prophets, and teachers characteristically ministered to a whole church, and so would engender unity and mutual edification. The gift of tongues, on the other hand, suited the Corinthian penchant for self-expression and the pursuit of personal freedom."

John Calvin, regarding these passages, wrote, "He [Paul] does not, however, address individuals, as though he wished that every one should aspire at prophecy, or the office of teacher; but simply recommends to them a desire to promote edification, that they may apply themselves the more diligently to those things that are most conducive to edification."

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says that 1 Cor. 12:31 "is not to be understood along the lines of an idealistic individual ethics, which would be contrary to the basic position of the NT."

Considering the carnality, immaturity, and selfishness of the Corinthians and that many even denied the Resurrection (chapter 15 especially verse 12) it would be very illogical and inconsistent for Paul to exhort them to strive to become apostles. Paul was struggling with trying to get them to accept and apply some vital basic Christian doctrines and attitudes. Even Timothy failed in his mission to Corinth and so forced Paul to send Titus later on instead. It is much more consistent with the tone and exhortations of this letter that Paul in 1 Cor. 12:31; 14:1 was exhorting them to respect and desire more highly than they had been the authorities which God had sent to them. To tell them this would have aimed at correcting their attitude problems concerning authority; to tell them that they should become apostles would have been playing right into their hands as self-seekers.

Re: Concerning page 48 on whether "apostle" is a special word or not.

The word "apostle" in the Greek does basically mean "to send forth." Its original use was as a verb and was mostly bound up with sea-faring and more particularly with military expeditions.

Christ, however, took this word and gave it a special meaning using it as a noun. Whereas it was previously used almost exclusively as a verb (the ships were sent on a military expedition) it now was used very differently. "In the NT 'apostle' never means the act of sending, or figuratively the object of sending. It always denotes a man who is sent, and sent with full authority. Thus the Greek gives us only the form of the NT concept." — Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.

What is important to realize is that Christ and the NT often took common (or sometimes uncommon) words and gave them new, technical, spiritual meanings. If we are going to use them in the NT sense then we must use them according to this technical NT meaning. To do otherwise is a wrong use of the word. Some examples of this are as follows:

- Baptism means "to put into" yet, in the NT, it has the technical meaning of either being placed into Christ or immersed in water after salvation as a sign of this new life. To use "baptism" in its NT sense as a adverb would mean only one of the above. We do not, and should not, use it in its basic Greek meaning. For example, it would not be proper to say "I baptized the Word into my heart this morning." This would have been acceptable before Christ's time or if using the word in its base meaning but not if using it in a spiritual context because then you are violating its technical NT meaning.

- Jesus Christ took two common Greek words and created a new term "born-again." To use this word in a spiritual context, the NT meaning of "a new life given from above" must be used. For a secular source to adapt this word and say something like, "the economy has been born-again" does not violate the NT usage because the word is not being used in a spiritual sense and so it is permissible to modify its usage. But it would be wrong to adapt this word and say something like, "we must be born-again in our evangelism." In this case, the word is used with a false spiritual context since our evangelism cannot gain a new birth from God. We are limited by its technical, spiritual meaning.

- The two common words "Second Coming" in the Bible refer only to Jesus Christ's return to the earth in His full glory. Even though these words have a very simple meaning it seems that it would almost be blasphemous to speak of a pastor's "second coming." Even though the root meaning, by itself, permits this, the NT usage forbids it.

Other examples of Christ or the NT taking words and giving them new, technical meanings are "antichrist", "millennium", "church", and others.

Therefore, "apostle" is a special word with a special technical meaning. To use it as "sent ones" or in its base Greek meaning is to use it as the heathens did before Christ. The Christian must honor Christ's new technical definition. If we do not then we are not following the NT.

What does Ephesians 2:19-22 indicate about apostles?

To determine if Ephesians 2:19-22 is discussing the whole Christian church or the local church at Ephesus it would be necessary to understand two things: (1) to which of these two churches are the many references about the church in this letter speaking and (2) what is the context of Ephesians chapter two.

Examining the first issue we can see in Eph. 1:22-23 an obvious indication that the whole Christian church is in mind, since the Father did not just give the Ephesian church to Christ, But He gave the whole Christian church. Also, since there is only one body of Christ (Colossians 1:18} this must be speaking of the Christian church.

In Eph. 5:22-32 the church is the bride of Christ. Since Christ has only one bride (Revelation 19:7) this must also be speaking of the Christian church.

In all the references to "church" in this letter (1:22: 3:10; 21; 5:23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 32), Paul never says "your church” which would indicate that Paul was specifically referring to the Ephesian church) but always says “the church" (meaning the Christian church). In addition, the context of each of these uses is very much more understood as speakinww[sic] about the Christian church.

Therefore, Paul, when discussing the theology of the church, never applies it only to the Ephesian church but always discusses it in terms of the one Christian church.

The second issue deals with the context of chapter two. Verses one through ten are clearly speaking about anyone who has become a Christian. In none of the conditions discussed, both those describing the unbeliever's life and those describing a believer's, are there any which were unique to the Ephesian church. We were all dead in our trespasses and sins, by nature children of wrath, loved by God, saved by His grace, etc. Of course, this applied to the Ephesians also, but we know that it is describing Christians in general and not Ephesians in particular because there are no specific references mentioned which were unique to the Ephesians such as there are all through much of 1 and 2 Corinthians and Galatians.

Verses 12 through 18 are even more clearly speaking of doctrines relating to the Christian church. Here, Paul was teaching the Ephesians about a particular doctrine of which they were a part and was not relating to them their specific church history. For example: it would be very difficult to prove that the Ephesians were the only Gentiles God reconciled with the Jews or that, in verse 17, Christ only came and preached to the Ephesian church. Nobody should even consider these last ideas to be true, yet verses 19-22 are directly connected with these verses not only by being in the same paragraph but, also, because there is no change in perspective or in person. The context of chapter two demands that verses 19-22 be speaking about the Christian church and not the local church. To insist on the latter would require either: {1) proof that verses 1-18 are speaking only about the Ephesian church (which would involve quite a reworking of your theology) Or (2) proof that verse 19 breaks from the other verses by changing perspective and person (which can only be done if you manage to find a new and different Greek manuscript).

If we desire to use proper Biblical interpretation, it is almost impossible to claim that Eph. 2:19-22 is talking about a local church and not the universal church.

Now we should investigate verse 20 more closely. In this verse the phrase "having been built" is in the first perfect plural participle. Mastering New Testament Greek says that the perfect (which this phrase in Eph. 2:20 is) there is a combination of point and linear action, to indicate a state of completion which continues (for example, "it is written") or action which has just now come to a state of completion ("It is finished" -- John 19:30). Another source says that the perfect indicates an action completed in the past and leaving behind its completion a more or less lasting result. This idea can be seen in the second example ("It is finished.") in that the act of Jesus Christ dying on the cross was started and finished in the past, but the effects of it are still, presently, being felt. He is not still dying but that this has been finished. In Eph. 2:20 this tense shows that the foundation was already completely built by the time "Ephesians" was written. The lasting result of this already-built foundation is defined as the whole building which is still being fitted together. This phrase "being fitted together", which is in the present tense, is an important contrast to the tense described above. The present tense means that this is an action started in the past but which is still actively going on.

Therefore, these two phrases when properly paraphrased according to the way they are in the Greek is: A foundation now exists that is already completely built; upon which the superstructure of the church is continuously being fitted together.

The foundation has already been built (past) and the church (the result of this foundation) is growing (present).

It is true that the foundation is Christ, but it is also true that the gospel and person of Christ was established as the true Christian doctrine by the apostles and prophets. The prophets began to lay the foundation in the OT through their Messianic prophecies, and the apostles completed the revelation through the NT doctrine given by Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Because of the tenses of the Greek words used, the structure of the sentence, and the context of this passage it can be concluded that this verse says that the apostleship was only given for a limited time and has ceased.

Re: Concerning page 49-50 on the validity of categorizing apostles.

In order to conclude that apostles should be categorized into three tiers it must be shown that each group differed in its use of that office.

Of course, Christ, as God, is different from men, but His function and office of an apostle was the same as men's, in that He proclaimed new revelation validated with signs and miracles and wonders. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus Christ did anything different, in carrying out His role as an Apostle, than those whom He gave this office to. He did many other things different but those were apart from this office and involved other offices such as: High Priest, Messiah, Prophet, etc. If the function of an apostle was to form local churches then how could Christ be an apostle since He did not start any local churches? He did start the one universal church but that is something very different.

The function of the post-resurrection apostles was the same as the original Twelve (as we have seen above). This was to proclaim new revelation. The Twelve originally heralded the coming of the Kingdom, but after Christ's rejection, death, and resurrection the revelation changed. The Twelve, as apostles, proclaimed this new revelation and were joined by a few others. As one group they were proclaiming such new revelations as the gospel of the . resurrected Christ, the church, and additional doctrines such as the rapture, the end-times. They all (the Twelve and the others) had the same new message, proclaimed it in the same way, and were, in no way, distinguished from each other as apostles. Just like the Twelve, the post-resurrection apostles were called by God and were not required to have any qualifications. The post-resurrection apostles were also validated by miracles as was Christ and the Twelve.

Since there were not any differences in the roles of Christ, the Twelve, and the post-resurrection apostles in fulfilling the task required of this office we can conclude that categorizing the office and function of an apostle into three tiers is artificial and not in the Bible.

Re: Concerning 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2:7 and whether Timothy was an apostle.

This letter was written from Corinth around 51 A.D. very shortly after Paul's initial contact with the Thessalonians. This letter addressed what transpired during that initial visit. This is important in determining who the "we" refered [sic] to. There is strong indication that Timothy did not accompany Paul and Silas (Silvanus) on this first visit. Acts 17:1-9 discusses this first visit. It is said in verse 4 that many joined Paul and Silas (not Timothy), but eventually (verse 10) Paul and Silas (again no Timothy) were forced to leave Thessalonica and go to Berea where Timothy was at (verse 14). Remember that previous to going to Thessalonica, Paul and Silas were separated from the other brethern [sic] when they were thrown into jail. It is thought (Smith's Bible Dictionary) that Timothy might have remained in Philippi and later joined Paul and Silas at Berea. Paul left Silas and Timothy in Berea and went alone to Athens where he sent for Silas and Timothy to come to him (verse 15). After Athens, Paul, still alone, went to Corinth where Silas and Timothy met him (Acts 18:5) and where 1 Thessalonians was written. Thus Timothy was not among those whose actions are discussed in 1 Thessalonians 2. This is further seen in 1 Thessalonians 3:2 where the same "we" being Paul and Silas) sent Timothy to Thessalonica.

Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians was written very shortly (possibly even a few months) after he picked up Timothy (Acts 16:1). It is, therefore, very unlikely (especially in view of your qualifications for an elder and that Timothy was not even an elder yet) that Timothy could have been an apostle.

In the 24 places where Timothy is named he is called:

- "our brother" (2 Cor. 1:1, Philemon 1, Colossians 1:1)

- "my true child in the faith" (1 Timothy 1:2)

- "my son" (1 Timothy 1:18, 2 Timothy 2:1)

- "my beloved son" (2 Timothy 1:2)

- "my fellow-worker" (Romans 16:21)

- "my beloved and faithful child in the Lord" (1 Cor. 4:17)

- "bond-servants of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:1)

- "our brother and God's fellow—worker in the gospel of Christ" (1 Thessalonians 3:2)

- an elder (1 Timothy 4:14) I

- "a good soldier of Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:3)

It is not by coincidence that of all of these titles given Timothy he is not once called an apostle. Paul even seems to go out of his way not to call Timothy an apostle. In the salutations of Paul's 13 letters he directly calls himself an apostle in nine of them. In two of these nine (2 Cor. 2:1 and Colossians 1:1) he and Timothy are co-authors, but Paul takes the pains to separate his name from Timothy's, calling himself and [sic] apostle but Timothy only a brother. Why did he not write "Paul and Timothy, apostles of Jesus Christ" instead of "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother"? This is because Timothy was not an apostle and Paul wanted to make this clear. In the three salutations where Paul immediately links his name to Timothy's (Philippians 1:1, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, and 2 Thessalonians 2:1) he does not call anyone an apostle. Considering how Paul was always trying to build up Timothy both in Timothy's own eyes and in other's it would have been much more natural and logical for Paul to call Timothy an apostle along with himself - but he did not. Paul seemed free to call Andronicus and Junicus apostles (Romans 16:7), yet why not Timothy? Even in both of Paul's letters to Timothy, Paul refers to himself as an apostle (1 Timothy 2:7 and 2 Timothy 1:11) but does not also Call Timothy this.

The Theological Dictionary of New Testament Theology says, "Again, Timothy is not an apostle, although he is actively and successfully engaged in missionary work (e.g. in Thessalonica). Instead he is called an brother (2 C. 1:1; Col. 1:1; Phlm. 1), a bond-servant (Phil. 1:1), and even a fellow-worker of God (1 Th. 3:2). But these are no substitutes for the title of apostle."

Tradition holds that Timothy continued on as the elder of Ephesus before dying a martyr's death under Domitian or Nerva (Smith's Bible Dictionary). He was called an elder but never an apostle by church history.

Re: Concerning page 98 on whether it is apostles we are told to imitate.

There are about six places in the NT where the writer of the epistle encourages his readers to imitate his life, 1 Cor. 4:16, 1 Cor. 11:1, Philippians 3:17, Philippians 4:9, 1 Thess. 1:6, and 2 Thess. 3:9. This involved four separate epistles. Of these six references, only one (1 Cor. 4:16) has the word "apostle" in the same chapter, and of these four epistles, two of them (Philippians and 2 Thessalonians) do not even use the word "apostle" anywhere in them. What we are told to imitate is the life and faith of these men - not their office of apostle.

That Paul, who wrote these, was an apostle is true, but he was also many other things including a bond-servant, a disciple, a godly man, an evangelist, a Spirit-filled man, a fellow-worker, a brother, a soldier of Christ, etc. It is poor exegesis to strain scripture and force it to comply with our own doctrines simply to make ourselves seem right. When an entire letter never mentions the word "apostle" it is going way to far to say that it was this one particular aspect of Paul's life that his readers were expected to imitate.

We are also told to imitate Christ (1 Cor. 11:1 and Eph. 5:1). Are we unable to do this because Christ is no longer walking among us? Of course not. We are to follow Christ's example of godliness and faith as we can see in the scriptures.

Re: Concerning page 57 regarding the use of the word "denomination."

A denomination is a religious group of people having a common leadership, a set of opinions, philosophical doctrine, etc (Webster's New Universal Dictionary). According to this, the proper definition of what a denomination is, what you are purporting to establish in this book amply meets these requirements for a denomination. Your concept of apostles certainly fulfills the first; you are laying down in this book a set of opinions concerning a great number of subjects meeting number two; and pages 63 - 66 easily meet the requirement of philosophical doctrine. These requirements for a denomination are good things to have, but you should not pretend to not be what you, in fact, are. If you are going to use an English word then you need to be careful to use it according to its proper definition.

The first century church was also a denomination, having fulfilled these requirements even perhaps more zealously than any other group. It is true that . denominations are not seen in the NT but one denomination is and God used it greatly.

Since a denomination is chararacterized [sic] by a group of people who hold to a strict set of doctrines and so have separated or distinguished themselves from other groups, there is no such thing as a nondenominational religious church.

Re: Concerning page 49 on how apostles were commissioned.

It is not true that the Twelve were the only ones appointed by Christ while "All other apostles are unique in that they are commissioned by the Holy Spirit", because in Acts 25:16 Jesus Christ tells Paul that "I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister." Christ appointed Paul, not the Holy Spirit.

Re: Concerning page 86 regarding whether Paul's inability to heal proves that miracles were unnecessary for apostles.

It is not true that when the sign gifts were definitely in use that "no one would have been left unhealed." In Matthew 17:14-18 (when sign gifts were definitely in use (Matthew 10:1)) the disciples could not cure the epileptic and so Christ had to. The Bible never says that, when available, healing was absolute in its effectiveness.

It is important to realize that God does have plans and desires, also, and is not at the demand of everyone's application of the gift of healing. It may be His will for someone not to be cured and, if this is the case, then no amount of laying on of hands will supercede this. God does use illness and His method of (or of not) curing it to His glory. Witness the case of Lazarus. God delayed here because He had other plans. This could easily have been the case with Epaphroditus, Timothy, and Trophimus. We are all appointed to die and so illness will catch up to all of us eventually.

Just because someone has the gift of teaching does not mean that every sermon he gives has to be great, and that, therefore, if he gives one bad sermon (or five or ten) that he has either lost his gift or never really had it to begin with. The person with the gift of giving is not immune from failing and being selfish sometimes. Gifts are not absolute in their effectiveness -- only God is absolute.

Re: Concerning page 86 regarding 2 Corinthians 12:12.

Immediately, it should be pointed out that signs were not just for the Jews.

First Corinthians 14:22 says that "tongues" are a sign for unbelievers (It does not restrict this to Jewish unbelievers).

Romans 15:18-19 states the opposite of your conclusion in that the signs Paul demonstrated resulted in the obedience of the Gentiles (not the Jews).

Hebrews 2:1-4 states that God gave signs and miracles as a confirmation of the salvation which He has provided to ALL.

Second Cor. 12:12 reads, "The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles." Because "apostle" has the genitive ending it shows possession of the signs. The noun "signs" is a direct object of a verb and so is in the accusative state. The accusative is also usually the form a noun takes when it is being possessed by something else. Another example of this grammarical structure would be the Greek sentence, "the child of Nicodemus" where Nicodemus has the genitive ending and the child has the accusative ending showing that Nicodemus is the father of the child.

The Zondervan Bible Knowledge Commentary says that, "The supernatural acts accomplished through God's grace should have sufficed to quiet all suspicion about Paul's apostleship." Signs; wonders; and miracles — "all these are the evidences that mark and apostle."

John Calvin wrote concerning 1 Cor. 12:12, "By the signs of an Apostle he means — the seals, that tend to confirm the evidence of his Apostleship, or, at least, for the proofs and evidences of it."

Re: Concerning page 98 on whom Matthew 28:20 was addressed to.

To say that Matthew 28:20 was specially addressed to the position of an apostle is to add to the scripture what it does not say. No where in the context does it indicate that Christ was making this promise only to those who hold the office of an apostle.

Jesus was also speaking to Christians. Why could not Christ be saying that He would be with Christians to the end of the age? This would be more consistent anyway since in verse 16 they are distinguished as being disciples. Therefore, those whom He will be with to the end of the age are disciples — not apostles. If these verses were to be distinguished as being addressed to apostles then in verse 16 they would have been called apostles and not disciples. Jesus Christ also tells them in verse 19 to go out and make disciples of all the nations - not apostles. It is these disciples, then, that Christ will be with till the end of the age. You must be careful to interpret scripture in its context and not force it to comply with your own doctrines. Also, if your interpretation is correct then this means that Christ is only with apostles till the end of the age and not with any other Christians. This is obviously wrong

Since many passages in the Bible talk about how Christ is with all Christians (1 Cor. 3:16, Hebrews 13:5, Colossians 2:10).

The answer to your question, "Who are the apostles He is with to the end of the age?'" is "nobody", but He is with all Christians till the end of the age as He promised in Matthew 28:20.

Re: Concerning page 95 on no record of some apostles seeing the risen Christ.

Simply because we have no record of Barnabas, Apollos, Andronicus, or Junia seeing the risen Christ does not emphatically mean that they did not. They could have been among the 500 who saw the risen Christ mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:6. Since very little is recorded of these men (especially the last three) there was basically no opportunity to deal with any issue concerning them. For some it does not record that they were baptized so can we dogmatically say that they were not? It also never says that Andronicus or Junia ever started any churches so does that absolutely mean that they did not and so prove your statement on page 85 ("If a man moves into a country and sees churches raise up, he's definitely an apostle.") is definitely wrong? The Bible does not detail every man's life whom it mentions. Where issues had not had the opportunity to be addressed we cannot draw conclusions from them.

This would be in distinct contrast to whether Timothy was an apostle or not. Paul called Timothy many titles and much was written concerning Timothy's life and position, yet he was never called an apostle.

Re: Concerning page 85 regarding the argument that not everyone who saw the risen Christ was an apostle.

I have not found, in the Bible, where it says that everyone who saw the risen Lord was an apostle, so it really makes no difference if thousands saw Him or not.

I would also like to know your reference, either Biblically or historically, which enables you to state that Silas (or in fact any of those who were called apostles) never saw the risen Lord. I could not find any and would be interested in the references which you have verifing this. if you do not have these references then you should not make such a statement.

Re: Concerning page 85 on what makes an apostle.

I would like to see clearly in scripture where you can take such a dogmatic and absolute statement that "If a man moves into a country and sees churches raise up, he's definitely an apost1e." I get the feeling that this definition was more derived from preconceived doctrine and opinion than from proper Biblical exegesis.

You seem to contradict yourself regarding this statement and that on page 99 which section starts with "Missionaries are inexperienced." According to you, these missionaries (whom you seem to condemn) would be apostles since they are definitely moving into another country and a great number of them are starting Christian churches. According to your unconditional statement they would definitely then be apostles. So we would have "so-called theologically trained, but... not... God-trained" apostles. This is interesting.

Re: Concerning page 72 regarding the analogy of the judge.

The analogy on page 72 is inaccurate. The reason why most of us do not flee the country even though a judge can sentence us to death is because we have not done anything which would require this sentence. Therefore, it is not true that a heathen judge could sentence me or you or almost anyone else to death. This type of sentence requires a certain type of crime. The great majority of us have not committed this certain category of crime and so there is no reason to fear the death penalty. I, and probably most people, are not fearful that we may be dragged out of our homes tomorrow and be executed. Trying to equate this I analogy to a person's attitude toward spiritual authority is to use a false premise and is begging the question.

You say that "If I can accept godless civil authority" · then I should be much more willing to "accept spiritual authority", and yet, I would very much more fear and distrust (and rightfully so) a man like Diotrephes, God's appointed elder in 3 John 9-11, than I would some “godless civil authority" judge who could not execute me even if he wanted to.

The historical record.

A very important source in determining the issue of the continuity of apostleship would be the writings of those men who were the personal disciples of John, Peter, Paul, Luke, etc. — the disciples of the men who were with Jesus and who laid the foundation of Christian doctrine. This class consisted of Barnabas, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Hermes, and Papias. What is important is that they never call themselves apostles either in their salutations (as did Paul) or in their letters. For example, Polycarp who was a disciple of John wrote in an epistle, "Polycarp, and the presbyters that are with him, to the church of God sojourning in Philippi." Polycarp's title was the presbyter—bishop over the church of Smyrna in Asia Minor. Likewise Papias, also a disciple of John, was the bishop of Hierapolis. Clement who was a disciple of Paul and Peter was the bishop of Trajan. None of these men nor the others listed above ever called or refered to themselves as apostles nor were they called that by anyone else. In their writings they refer to the apostles in the past tense. In fact, as a group, they are called the "post-apostalic fathers."

Since during their time (around 100 A.D.) the Christian church was still young there were plenty of opportunities to start new churches and especially because of their close association with the apostles of the Bible it would have been obvious that these men would have been called apostles. Yet, they were not either by themselves or by others. This is because it was clearly taught to them by Paul, Peter, John, and the others that the apostleship had ceased. There were no successors. If Ignatius, who was considered to be Peter's first successor, was not an apostle then how can anyone else properly claim this title? Early church history speaks out against the concept of any more apostles then the first ones.

It is clear from the letters which they wrote that the brothers in the first century would not have said that "apostles are mainly mature elders that have been sent out." as you claim they would have on page 82.

If the task of establishing the new revelation of the NT was not the responsibility of the apostles then whose was it?

It is obvious that the revelations concerning the church, the life of Christ, the effect of the crucifixion and resurrection were all new doctrines and issues at the start of the NT era. These new revelations had to be taught and spread by a particular group of people whose divine authorization had to be unquestionable. This is true because, otherwise, there would be no way to determine if the "Christian truths" being proclaimed at the time were really from God or were simply the proclamations of false prophets. So a small, distinguishable group of people had to be entrusted with these new valuable truths, validated in such a way as to prove that they were authorized from God as to this specific mission. This was an awesome task and responsibility.

The question is: If this group was not the apostles then who was it? The group whose responsibility was to proclaim this new revelation either had to be the apostles or it was not. However, there was not another group of people in the NT who were clearly distinguished from others (including other Christians since these could easily produce wrong or skewed doctrine), had marks of validation from God, and who performed this mission. It is obvious that this group was the apostles. Therefore, the primary responsibility of the apostolate was to establish this new revelation, and since no more new revelation is being given by God this task is no longer required and so neither are apostles.

It may be argued that apostles did other tasks also and so, even though new revelation is not being proclaimed, the performance of these other tasks would constitute an apostle. The error with this kind of proposition is that the office of apostleship cannot be separated from the proclaiming of new revelation. These other tasks (whatever they are thought to be) were not the main function of an apostle and so performing these would not make one an apostle. This would be like arguing that simply because someone is not addicted to wine or pugnacious that they should become an elder.

The confusion of "Paul/Apostle" with "Paul as an apostle".

Perhaps, one of the problems which is leading to your misuse of scripture is a confusion of Paul's relationship to his office as an apostle.

What you seem to be saying is that everything which Paul did, he did as an apostle; that "Paul" and "apostle" are synonymous terms. This can be seen as follows:

 

However, not everything which Paul did was within the responsibility of the office of an apostle. This office was only one of many positions which Paul held, each of which involved different responsibilities and actions. This would be seen as follows:

The difference between these systems of thought should be obvious. In the first, everything which Paul did was equated with his being an apostle. So when he taught it was as an apostle; when he evangelized it was as an apostle; etc.

In the second, each thing which he did was the fulfillment of a different office or position. As an elder, he taught; as an evangelist, he evangelized; as a priest he prayed and worshiped; etc.

In order to properly understand what the specific office of an apostle entailed, we must determine what things Paul did in fulfilling only the office of an apostle and all the other things he did in fulfilling his other offices and positions.

CONCLUSIONS (This page was not included in McCotter and Clark's letters)

- The position or office of apostle in the NT was created by Jesus Christ. Its function was to proclaim the new revelation of Jesus Christ's ministry. Once this foundation was laid and no more revelation was given the position ceased.

- Neither the Bible nor Christian history records any continuation of apostles after the NT period.

- It is clear from Romans 1:1 and 1 Corinthians 1:1 that apostles had to be called (see also the end of Acts 1).

- Apostles were a gift of God to the church and was not something earned.

- The Bible never lists the qualifications of an apostle or even hints that such a list even exists. The qualifications which McCotter lists are exactly that — McCotter's qualifications and not the Bible's. If the office of an apostle is a gift (as McCotter states) then how could there be qualifications? Nowhere in the Bible for the gift of salvation or the gifts of the Spirit are there ever qualifications listed -- so it is the same for apostleship.

- The office of apostleship was a special office with very special authority. If an apostle is (or was) simply a "sent one" then why write a book about it?

- In Ephesians 2:19-22 the tense of the Greek words clearly show that the foundation which the apostles had laid was already complete and that though the foundation continues on the apostleship does not.

- In Ephesians 4:11-14 it is clear that God will continue to give men to the church to build it up "until we all obtain to the unity of the faith." The apostles laid the foundation. Only one foundation is laid. One does not build a house by laying one foundation on top of another. The apostles have done their part — the others are now building the superstructure (see Eph 2:19-22).

- Timothy is never called an apostle in the Bible neither directly nor by implication.

- In the six places in the Bible where we are told to imitate Paul no mention is ever made of apostleship and three of those references are in books that do not ever even mention the word "apostle." We are never told to imitate the office of apostleship.

- Great Commission International is definitely a denomination at least according to every dictionary which I have read.

- Second Corinthians 12:12 very clearly points out that signs validated apostleship.

- It is absurd to claim that Matthew 28:20 was written for apostles.

- Apostles did have to see the risen Christ; which Paul did and he pointed it out to show that he could be an apostle.

- Everything which Paul did he did not do under the office of an apostle which is what McCotter seems to be saying.

- The final conclusion is that the office of apostleship ceased after the NT period and is not valid for today. The scriptural evidence for this seems to be overwhelming.

Response From Jim McCotter To Bob LaForge

Brother,

We read through your paper. We think you have some good thoughts though we believe some things are not right-on according to our understanding of the Word.

If you are ever out in this area feel free to give us a call we would be glad to talk. Thank you for your study.

If & until we would have opportunity to talk I would suggest you pursue reaching the lost & building the brothers.

Also we think its best you be positive with the brothers you're with, if you do not feel you can be, in a spirit of peace & respect, then it would be important you be with a group you can be.

We'll pray God will bless you & your life will be a blessing to Him.

For His glory,

Jim McCotter

See Also

Letter From Bob LaForge to Elders of Great Commission International
Bob LaForge, September 30th, 1985

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