Do people really have the right to title themselves Apostles?

I have a Christian preacher on my facebook likes because I enjoy his music and what he talks about. Yesterday he posted a picture of him and 2 men, ‘The Apostle___’ and ‘the Apostle___’. I often hear on Christian radio too that these men call themselves Apostles. They do it in a way where they are like "Join us next for the Apostle ___’ and these men call themselves that. Not just in a ‘jesus made us all disciples’ but as in a way that says ‘I am really an Apostle’

I dont know, to me it is just a big No No. Are they correct to be called Apostles?

No they don’t. An Apostle is someone who is directly sent by Christ as a shepherd, and not in the same way that the laity (disciples) are sent as members of the flock. The original Apostles, St. Paul and those they conferred the responsibility they had been given by Christ on directly, are only the true Apostles.(Apostolic succession) The rest may be disciples but that is different.


The apostolic succession is through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and my understanding is that only a validly ordained bishop could be considered an apostle - though there is a good reason if the Church employs the name bishop ever since the 1st century and limits the term “apostle” to those chosen by Christ personally.

Then again, the Greek word apostolos means “he who is sent somewhere”. This is why we refer, for instance to s. Faustina Kowalska as “apostle of Divine Mercy” - since the Church acknowledges she was sent to bring the devotion to the Divine Mercy of Christ. But in general I would not employ that term because it denotes my belief that I was sent by the Lord, and that does not go too well with the idea of humbleness.

From this link:

Now, what does “to be sent” mean, except that someone in authority over you has conferred the privilege and authority upon you? In fact, it goes without saying that the one who confers the authority must be superior in authority to the one being commissioned, since no one can confer that which he does not possess himself.

In other words, a congregation’s vote cannot suffice, Scripturally speaking, to appoint a man as “pastor,” since the congregation (of inferior authority) cannot confer superior authority upon a man.

What is the Scriptural pattern for such things? This we can ascertain by observing the mission of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is a pattern of Divine Succession:

God the Father (the superior authority) sends Jesus Christ “…these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me.” (John 5:36)

Jesus, in turn, sends the Apostles “…As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” (John 20:21)

Jesus sends these Apostles “as the Father has sent me,” that is, in the same manner, with the same authority: “all authority.”

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matt. 28:18)

The Apostles, then, did not take their office and authority upon themselves, but were appointed by a Superior Authority, Jesus Christ. The Scriptures attest to the unique authoritative status of the Apostles in several ways

Scripture shows that only the Apostles are “entrusted” with the care of the Gospel message

Scripture also shows that only the Apostles refer to the Gospel message as their own personal possession

[N]o man can take the responsibility or title of “pastor” to himself. Rather, he must be sent by God, either indirectly (via succession), or directly (via extraordinary calling). If he claims the latter, his mission must be accompanied by miracles, signs and wonders as proof of his Divine vocation.

Even Jesus submitted to this proof-test: “If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me.” (John 5:31-36)

I suspect these self-styled “Apostles” do not perform any miracles/signs/wonders.

Don’t be too upset by this. You’ve merely been exposed to a world-view markedly different from yours.

In small Protestant and non-denominational congregations, particularly in the black communities, you will often find the ministers titling themselves Apostle or Bishop. It’s part of their culture. In those congregations’ views, they believe the Holy Spirit has empowered their leaders to assume those roles, and the Holy Spirit has inspired the rest of the church leadership to affirm it.

Such churches find our use of the terms Priest and Father as troubling as we find their use of Apostle and Bishop.

The education and training of these Apostles and Bishops is as variable as the congregations themselves. Some have degrees from recognized institutions, some have merely taken informal classes.

Still others (particularly the ones which broadcast on small radio stations) have little more training than what they learned from the internet, don’t even have a viable congregation, and are using the radio to try to gather a following. Those are the ones to avoid.

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