(Image by hickory hardscrabble via Flickr)
Occasionally I still hear about, read about, or run across folks that question whether the 5-fold ministry from Ephesians 4 is for today.
Nobody has any trouble accepting the ministry of evangelists, pastors, or teachers of course. It is always apostles and prophets that folks gag on even in some Pentecostal and Charismatic circles.
I happen to believe that the answer to the controversy can be found in the scripture itself:
Ephesians 4: 11-13:
"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,…"
"to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…"
For how long? -Verse 13:
"Until we all reach unity in the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
Has the church ever reached "the whole measure of the fulness of Christ" at any point in church history? No! Therefore these functions of ministry are still with us if the Word of God is to be taken seriously.
It is my contention that these functions of ministry can be detected in every generation in various degrees down through nearly 2,000 years of church history. Most of the time the folks who personify these functions may have gone by different titles during their lifetime and ministry.
In fact today whether these ministries are in the church or not has nothing to do with ‘titles’ or the use thereof. It is all about specific ministry callings, and functions.
Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher -I believe that these ministries have always been in the church and will continue to bless the church wherever they are allowed to function until Christ comes back.