Since the 1990s, we’ve been witnessing the Lord restoring the office of the apostle to the church. Of course, the rise of true ministry gifts always prompts Satan to raise up a counterfeit anointing to pervert the pond.
The Bible warns of false apostles and I’ve certainly seen my fair share of them. But what does a false apostle look like? How do you recognize them? What does Scripture really say about these hucksters?
I decided to study this out after I saw several articles online arguing Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, was a false apostle. Between such odd assertions and the number of people claiming to be apostles without any evident fruit, I set out like a good Berean to offer some truth on false apostles.
There's a rich root of revival in Los Angeles—and women were a key part of it.
Assemblies of God history tells us the Azusa Street Revival brought women's ministries to the fore. Indeed, Jennie Evans Moore who married Daddy William Seymour in 1908, was a key figure. Her name is not as well known as Seymour's but she was in the revival trenches with him, along with Lucy Farrow and Julia Hutchins. These virtually nameless and faceless, yet faithful, women helped keep the fire burning.
Maria Woodworth-Etter was a mother figure in early Pentecost—John G. Lake called her "Mother Etter." Her trance-marked ministry helped pave the way for the Azusa Street outpouring and ultimately the birth of a movement that changed the world.
Bold women like Aimee Semple McPherson and Kathryn Kuhlman followed in Mother Etter's footsteps. McPherson's Angeles Temple is still standing in Los Angeles today. I stood behind her pulpit in her home, which the Foursquare denomination she started preserved for historical purposes.
When apostolic believers gather for a late night breakfast after a long day of church-building, there are a few threads that tend to get woven through almost every conversation: warfare, work and, if there's a prophet in the mix, perhaps casting out devils.
But seriously, even though one can't separate warfare from the apostolic—if we had a Christianese thesaurus these two words would surely be synonymous—apostolic living is not only about fighting principalities and powers over territories. (Really!)
So you don't have to be a skilled warrior to cross over to the apostolic. Your local apostolic church will equip you to submit yourself to God and resist the devil. You just have to possess a determination to be all you can be in Christ.
Doubtless, the warfare will come just as sure as Jesus will come for a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle. But it's not always the sharpest sword that wins the fight. The victor is just as often the one that can endure the longest. The apostolic grace is an enduring grace and apostolic living is a life of endurance. Jesus said he who endures to the end would be saved (Matt. 10:22).
Many lessons will spring from Trayvon Martin’s tragic death. It has opened up new discussions on race relations in America and served as a catalyst for a renewed emphasis on unity in the body of Christ.
Although I am grieved over Martin’s death, I am grateful that the church is beginning to rise up and respond. Racism is a heart issue. Ultimately, we will only emerge victorious over this demon-inspired mindset when we attack it as a unified front in the name of Jesus. We overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).
I’m nearly 42 years old … too young to remember the evils of segregation but not too blind to notice that Sunday morning is still the most segregated day in America—and it’s not just segregated by skin color or nationality, either. The body of Christ is splintered, with about 38,000 distinct Christian denominations preaching, praying and sometimes prophesying and casting out devils in the name of Jesus.
This is a bold statement and one that will probably anger many. But about seven years ago the Holy Spirit told me denominations were a tool the enemy uses to bring division in the church. I found out later that the very definition of denomination is “a division of part of a whole.” Selah.
It’s been said that Jesus didn’t come to start a religion. Well, I don’t believe Jesus meant for His body to be sliced and diced into 38,000 disagreeable parts, either.
Denominations breed a measure—and sometimes a large measure—of disunity because each denomination tends to think it adheres to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help them God.
Many, if not most, believe other denominations are flowing in some sort of error, whether that’s speaking in tongues, baptizing in the name of Jesus only rather than in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, how to receive salvation or the path to heaven, whether or not women can preach or some other doctrine. You know me. If there’s major delusions going on, call it out. But there are some issues over which it’s not worth making a mountain out of a molehill.
You don’t see denominations in the book of Acts. There’s no pattern for denominations in the Bible that I can find. Jesus never taught us to form sects based on the teachings of any bishop, apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher. Rather, Jesus prayed that believers may be one, even as Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one (John 17:10). Paul actually pled with the church at Corinth not to allow divisions.
With companies of young prophets rising up and armies of prophetic believers awakening to the order to establish the Kingdom of God throughout all the earth, spiritual guidance is vital to a stable Church that the world will look to for answers.
Governments and other secular leaders won’t bow their ears to the utterances of super spiritual fruits, emotional flakes and hypocritical nuts. The governing church demands unwavering voices that refuse to compromise in the face of opposition, yet with a wisdom and grace that persuades even the hardest heart’s that God’s will is the only way.
The manifestation of the sons of God depends on spiritual fathers who will invest time and energy into their spiritual children. So as we consider Elijah and his miraculous ministry let us also consider this powerful prophet’s role in shaping the life and ministry of young Elisha, who went on to do far greater things than his spiritual mentor.
Spiritual FathersYou don’t have to be an apostle to be a spiritual father or mother, but the apostolic reformation is surely ushering in a renewed focus on this relational dynamic that will prepare the Church for its Bridegroom. We are seeing the manifestation of the Malachi mandate that proclaims: “He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers...” (Malachi 4:6)
Living the Christian life is a journey toward maturity in Christ. That’s why Jesus gave His Church a handful of equipping gifts. But the practical aspect of being trained as a skilled servant that moves in rhythm with Christian brothers and sisters, (and husbands, wives, daughters and sons) is not always a textbook experience.
Let’s get real for a moment. Silly putty doesn’t sharpen iron. Plastic doesn’t sharpen iron. Not even sandpaper sharpens iron, although at times you may feel like a fellow believer is aggressively rubbing your soul with sandpaper. No, Solomon in his wisdom tells us that it takes iron to sharpen iron. “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 NASB). That implies pressure, abrasion, pressure, abrasion, pressure, abrasion, and so on until the knife is sharp.
You may be saying, “I don’t need to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.” Consider the alternative. Any five-star chef, or even a first-year fry cook, will testify to the fact that a knife is useless if it is not sharp. A sharp knife can cut a vine ripe tomato into thin slices suitable for gourmet salads. A dull knife, on the other hand, will simply crush the tomato and ruin your recipe.
The good news is that apostolic metal is as hard as it comes. The bad news is that apostolic metal is as hard as it comes. We need to be spiritually sharp with metallic souls set on God’s purposes in order to successfully live the apostolic life. It takes a special breed, and a heavy supply of God’s grace, to carry the cross over the finish line. Apostolic metal is hard enough to endure the persecution and subsequent suffering that comes with persisting in God’s will.
I received a disturbing e-mail today from a duo in Europe. The authors described their e-mail as a diamond among the spam and hoped I was worthy of receiving it.
The authors also claimed to be bishops and apostles who by “personal intuition” have been studying the secrets of the mystical world for more than a decade. They invited me to a web site that would prove mysticism’s truths. I never visited the web site. It’s a waste of time. My time is better spent exposing this darkness.
I don’t know if you get these sort of e-mails. It’s grievous that those who dabble in this spiritual junk would take on the titles of bishop and apostle. These are not true bishops and apostles. Did the Apostle Paul push mysticism? A resounding no.
In case others of you are receiving this deceptive gobbledygook, I thought it expedient to offer a few Scriptures that will help you guard your hearts and minds from the claims.
1 John 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Why do we have to test the spirits to see if they are from God? Because there are false prophets (and bishops and apostles) that have gone out into the world with spiritually perverted messages.
1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons…”
These are the latter days, and this Scripture is being fulfilled. Some are leaving the church, building communities of seekers, mixing New Age with Bible, and other grievous acts. Let’s read a couple of more Scriptures.
Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”