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What Does the Bible Say About..Five Fold Ministry?

How do you feel about Five Fold ministries?


I have not been familiar with the Five Fold Ministries until I read about them to answer your question. In that research I also ran across articles at www.apologeticsindex.org and www.gotquestions.org with which I generally agree concerning what I see of the Five Fold Ministry.

In addition to the points made on those pages (that the apostles and prophets were offices for only a short time, until the Bible was completed) I do notice a few things on the Five Fold Ministry statement of faith about which I have questions.

First, they claim to be “restoring” the offices of apostle and prophet. This, to me, says that they agree that those offices ended at some time in the past. They agree, then, that God considered those functions to have met their purpose. If that purpose was, as they claim, “the perfecting of the saints,” (which many of us believe to have been accomplished with the completion of the New Testament) then they are saying that God’s word—the Holy Spirit—is so limited in power that he cannot accomplish his mission. Furthermore, if the offices of apostle and prophet need to be restored whenever there is division in the church, why did they go away in the first place? Why did they not continue through the Romanization of the church, the Reformation, and the movements that came out of upstate New York in the 1800’s? There is no more need for restoration of the apostles and prophets now than for centuries of division and fighting.

Second, their statement of faith contradicts itself. This happens more than once.

“We Belive [stet] that Satan is controlling and takes dominion over the present world and that those outside of the Faith in Christ are lead of this sinful spirit and are powerless against this leading. That they are held in captive bondage and kept blinded to the truth of Christ Jesus.
We believe in the great commission that we are to reach the entire world with the message of the Gospel of our Lord. That all should hear His message and make their choice, having full knowledge in the truth of the Lord.” (Source: www.fivefldctr.org)

If, contrary to the biblical position that Satan’s power has been limited by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Satan holds those “outside of the Faith” in bondage and blinded to the truth, then what is the purpose of the next paragraph about preaching the message so that people can make a choice? I they are blinded and kept captive, thus incapable of making a choice, then: 1) some people are predestined to be lost; 2) James 4:7 is a meaningless passage, since these people are “powerless against this leading”; and 3) preaching to these people is a waste of time. This is a variation on the Calvinist doctrines of Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, and Limited Atonement. In the last lesson of the book at It Is Believed I have addressed those doctrines separately.

“We belive [stet] that the Holy Bible is divinely inspired, the only infallible, final and authoritative Word of God.
We believe that the cannon [stet] of Scripture is a sealed and completed work from God.” (Same source as above.)

Spelling errors notwithstanding, if they believe this, what is the work of a prophet? Was it not to receive the word directly from God and pass it on directly and without comment to the people? That is what the prophets of the Old Testament did. From some of the Five Fold websites I consulted one could not be sure whether these people believe in the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, sometimes called the Apostolic or charismatic movement, or whether they reject the modern availability of these gifts. Another site claiming to be a Five Fold Ministry site makes the claim of the writer having seen Jesus and received direct divine revelation from him. The whole charismatic experience is contradictory to their statement that they believe the Bible to be “complete,” “sealed,” and “final.” As one of those rebuttal sites to which I referred you points out, if they are using the terms apostle and prophet in a different sense then there might not be a problem. If they use those terms in the biblical sense, then they cannot believe that the Bible is the final and complete Word of God.

Some of the followers of this church believe in premillennial doctrines, which I cannot accept. One article on the same site as the statement of faith quoted above claims “The Antichrist” is an individual yet to come, in clear opposition to the writings of John. (See Topical Index of Questions and look up “antichrist” for my previous answers with scriptures about how there is not one Antichrist and those that are antichrist are already in the world and have been for two millennia.)

What I can agree with the Five Fold Ministry about is the need for unity in the church. We must go back to the Bible to prove everything that we believe.

If it cannot be bound by scripture we cannot bind it on others.
If it cannot be found in scripture we cannot make it a requirement for salvation.
If we are not sound in scripture we cannot defend the church against assault.