Reply To: Pastor Teun J. Ruiter  ~  From: Brother Randall A. Muse
September 3, 1997

Dear Pastor Ruiter,

I have been meaning to give more detailed explanations to my beliefs, as well as more detailed answers to your questions concerning my definition of an Apostle. But first of all I would like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ, and you Pastor Ruiter, for having and acting on the vision to build a platform of discussion to Glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and to edify His Saints, through this much needed mailing list. I pray more will greater vision and determination to advance the Gospel of our Precious Savior, In Jesus' Mighty Name, Amen.

First of all I would like to start out by saying, that I consider these discussions we are having, not as arguments nor as attacks upon one another, but rather as the Book of Proverbs records:

Prov 27:17
17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

1 Cor 12:28-30
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

1. The first point which I would like to address concerning a comment you made in your letter published August 30, 1997(Re: Apostolic Doctrine), is this, 

"Once again may I point out there is no such thing in the New Testament as a 'doctrine of apostles." 

I want you to know that I did not make these words up, but got them straight from the New Testament: 

Acts 2:42
42 And they continued steadfastly IN THE APOSTLES' DOCTRINE and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

2. In the second paragraph of this article you said, 

"I do point out that an apostle is a 'sent one' and the name 'missionary' denotes the same function." 

While I do agree that apostles and missionaries do have similar functions, I will point out why I believe they do not have the same functions.

According to Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, a missionary is defined as, 
1: "relating to, engaged in, or devoted to missions" 
2: "a person undertaking a mission and especially a religious mission" 

A mission is defined as, 
1: "the act or instance of sending" 
2a: "a ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate its faith or carry on humanitarian work" 

According to Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, an apostle is defined as, 
1: "one sent on a mission as: 

(a) one of an authoritative New Testament group sent out to preach the gospel and made up especially of Christ's 12 original 
disciples and Paul, 
(b) the first prominent Christian missionary to a region or group." 

2: "one who initiates a great moral reform or who first advocates an important belief or system." 

3: "the highest ecclesiastical official in some church organizations".

I think is it is quite clear from these definitions that there are some similarities in the words apostle and missionary, but it is equally true that an apostle stands out as being more authoritative, not as a dictator, but as an officer of God's Army. Not once in the definition of a missionary or mission is there mentioned any authoritative office being held or implied by either word, but this is not the case in the definition of an apostle.

The Bibles says the we are all ministers of reconciliation, sent by God to reconcile the World to Himself. In Luke 10:3, Jesus said, "Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves." The Greek word used for 'send' is 'apostelloo', meaning that His Lambs are SENT ONES among wolves. Does this make us all apostles? You are confusing the definition of the word apostle with the meaning of the word that distinguishes the office of an apostle. The word apostle serves several purposes. 

It was used to simply imply that one was being sent on a specific assignment (as used in Luke 10:3), but it was also used to define an officer of the Church, and make no mistake about it, nobody misunderstood the authority that the office of an apostle represented. As in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, its 
authority even brought with it the sentence of death to the one who lied to the Holy Spirit (see Acts 5:1-11). Or are passages like these best left out of the New Testament and our discussions?

While I do not agree with Mormon practices, even they distinguish the difference between apostles and missionaries. The Mormon Church has 12 apostles residing in their Government, but all Mormons are required to complete missionary assignments. Does this make all Mormons apostles? And does this make all apostles Mormon since the Mormons complete missionary assignment? Are the words apostle and Mormon synonymous terms since they both are active in missionary assignments at least in some part of their 

As a father of 4 children, part of my assignment as a father is to shepherd my family, as they are God's sheep. I am obligated to lead them to green pastures or a local assembly where the Word of God is both practiced and preached. But even though I perform functions similar to a shepherd (protecting my family from the evil of this world through the example of Christ I live, and through prayer; to protect them from the devouring wolves of life designed 
by Satan to lead them away from serving God and murder their souls), does this qualify me to obtain the office of a Shepherd or Pastor in the local assembly? Because I am leading and protecting my natural children as God's sheep, does that make me the office of a Pastor because I am shepherding their souls as their father? In the same way, not all who function like Apostles 
are Apostles.

In 2 Timothy 4:5, the Apostle Paul charged Timothy to " the work of an evangelist" to discharge all the duties of his ministry. Does this mean that because Timothy did the works of an evangelist that he held the office of an evangelist? If I pass out Bible tracts on the street, does that qualify me to hold the 5-fold office of an evangelist also? And if we all do the work of ministering to others for the salvation of their souls, are we all Evangelists too? We are all missionaries and the world is our mission field. We are citizens of Heaven, sent ones of God, but we are not all holders of the office of the Apostle. Acts 5:12 defines part of the function of an Apostle is to have "signs and wonders" following their ministry, other wise known as "the signs of an Apostle" (2 Cor. 12:12). The signs of an apostle I have heard of, but tell me, what are the signs of a missionary that they should be qualified as equal to the signs of an apostle, that is if you are still implying equality in their ministerial authority? 

(Note: ministerial authority has nothing to do with ministerial IMPORTANCE! Please do not confuse the two.)

Eph 2:19-20
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, 20 having been built upon THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner {stone} (NAS)

Ephesians 2:20 defines the office of the apostle as a foundational ministry Gift equal to that of a Prophet. Do all missionaries that you term "apostles" qualify to be equal in gifting to the foundational ministry of a Prophet? 

(Please note that I am not here denying that any of those you mentioned are genuine in their gifts whether they are apostles or not.) 

It is obvious that missionaries and Prophets possess 2 different classes of ministerial function though both are just as valuable to Christ. But while Prophets and missionaries are two different classes of ministerial function, the apostles are here pictured on the same level of ministry as prophets. 
3. The third point I want to note in your writing is this: you wrote, 

"In the calling to be a missionary (or in your case an 'apostle') or pastor several aspects play a role: A personal revelation or sense of calling and the recognition of a Christian body, a church board, or a whole congregation, or a national church board etc." 

On this point I agree and the church I attend practices these very things.
4. Pastor Ruiter: 
When you write: "A pastor is an overseer of sheep, instituted by apostles," you cannot make this a hard rule, or teach it to be a firm established principle in the New Testament, for Paul gives glory to the Holy Spirit that He appointed leaders in churches, Acts 20:28."

My reply: 
Apostles institute (to establish in a position or office) not by their own authority, but by the authority given to them by the Holy Spirit. Apostles who men or women who cooperate with the Holy Spirit and are co-laborers with Him. As in the incidents of Scripture recorded in 1 Timothy 4:14 and Titus 1:5, Timothy's Gift was given to him "by prophecy with the laying on of hands
of the presbytery (or eldership)", and Titus was appointed by Paul to ordain elders in every city (and this was a commandment from Paul to Titus). So we have learned that when the Eldership cooperates with the Holy Spirit they are able to impart spiritual gifts to others through prophecy and the laying on of hands, and we also learn from this that the Holy Spirit uses men like Paul 
to appoint men like Titus to ordain Elders or Overseers (as described in Acts 20:28). So it is not men or the Holy Spirit alone appointing leaders in churches, but rather men and the Holy Spirit cooperating together to establish and set in place the leadership of the Body of Christ. Notice also, that not only does the apostle have the authority to appoint leadership in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, but he also possesses the authority to appoint others (Titus) to ordain leaders in the local assemblies. And I'll bet that most local assemblies don't practice laying hands on others and prophesying over them to impart spiritual gifts as they should also, as the Elders did to Timothy. Imagine if Timothy would have never have had that impartation through the laying on of hands and the prophetic ministry taking place in that local assembly?
5. In another part you wrote: 

"Timothy was a church leader, is not named an apostle, and he was instructed to train others, 2 Tim 2:2, so also Titus, another disciple of Paul, was instructed to appoint men in churches to be elders, Titus 1:5." 

If you will notice, neither Timothy nor Titus were acting on their own authority, but were ministering in submission to the leadership of the Apostle Paul. This does not make Paul a dictator. 

According to 1 Thess. 2:6, Paul states, "Nor did we seek glory from men...though WE might have made DEMANDS AS APOSTLES of Christ." The WE that Paul is referring to, who are Apostles of Christ, are the ones who are writing the letter, whose names are mentioned in 1 Thess. 1:1 (Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy). Traditionally Timothy is referred to as a Pastor, but according to these passages of Scripture, Paul calls his spiritual son an 
Apostle of Christ.
6. Pastor Ruiter: 
"Those who emphasize today the 'fivefold' ministry as the answer for all the weaknesses in the church I point also to 1 Corinthians 12:29 (?), where we find nine ministries."

I agree, the 5 Fold are not the answer to all the weaknesses but they are called to be the chief equippers of the saints to enable them to do the work of building each other up in love, according to Eph. 4:11-12.
7. Pastor Ruiter: 
"The church will function properly and efficiently when all members serve out of love for Christ and his church with their individual abilities and gifts."

I agree that the Church will function properly, etc., but this will never be achieved without Governmental order in the Body of Christ. Sheep cannot reject the leadership of 5-Fold Ministry Gifts like Pastors and go out and equip themselves, rebelling against God's commandment to assemble with the rest of the Church, and expect maximum results. God wouldn't have 
appointed men to be Pastors if Sheep could reach maximum potential in their giftings and abilities without them. Besides that, sheep don't have the same level of anointing that Pastors do to protect themselves from wolves. Pastors, like shepherds in the natural, are equipped with abilities to protect that sheep don't have.
8. Pastor Ruiter: 
" where is stated that somebody who is an apostle has all authority over others and over churches."

Everyone has individual authority over their own life that can only be willingly submitted to the order that Christ has established. Not even Christ Himself has authority to force others to attend Church and obey His Word. You have confused my understanding of submission to mean dictatorship. Is God a 
dictator to as you to submit to Him and resist or stand against the Devil? Will you ordain Elders in your Church who do not submit to the practices of a holy life? And if you require that others submit to an example of a life of holiness in order to be appointed a leader, does that make you a dictator of your leadership under you?
9. Pastor Ruiter: 
"If there are apostles today, I have this question: who checks them and has authority to correct them?"

Most of the Apostles I know have been ordained by an Eldership (have ministries and character that are approved by their mentors) and are Pastoring Churches of their own, and have met the legal obligations of the non-profit organization laws of the U. S., and are established legal entities...probably not much different from your own. The Apostle I am most familiar with holds 
meetings with his Eldership and he openly allows them to discuss their likes and dislikes, and areas they think he is missing it. I have even discussed doctrinal differences with him, and he received my teaching on a particular issue that I believe that he was not entirely correct. Not only that, but these Apostles submit to other Apostles and even other Pastors and ministry leaders. They all love each other enough to correct one another, and they 
even hold conferences at each other's churches. They are also mature enough to receive correction from others without egos and pride.

1 Pet 5:5
5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

10. Pastor Ruiter: 
"I do not know in which church body you operate..."

I was born-again and immediately began attending a Pentecostal Church that taught not only the spiritual gifts, but also that the 5-Fold ministry, including the apostles and prophets, are in effect today. I have been studying on the Apostles ministry for the last 8 years and I am currently an Overseer of over 19 church assemblies in Ghana West, Africa. This is all being done with approval of my Spiritual Father and Pastor, the Apostle Emil Cedeno. The Church in Ghana is an established legal entity (as well as the ministry I affiliate with in the U. S.) and I am currently involved in sending hundreds of Bibles to Ghana each year, FREE OF CHARGE. In fact, I still work full time at a secular job so that according to 1 Cor. 9:18-19, "That in my preaching I 
may make the Gospel Free of Charge, not making full use of my right in the Gospel, for though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more." I do not make my living by the Gospel because I would rather "endure anything rather that put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ." (1 Cor. 9:12) Many today accuse Christians of being an organization of money collectors, but I am proving by my example that I preach the Gospel for Christ and not for financial gain.

11. Pastor Ruiter: 
"Do you hold a similar view in your 'doctrine of Apostles' are they (perhaps in your denomination or movement) above the church, local or national or international?"

We are not above the Church, local, national or international, but are servants of the Body of Christ. We are part of the Bride of Christ and the Blood bought Church. The work of true apostles brings love and unity to the entire Body of Christ, something that is very lacking in these days. In Ghana, West Africa, more churches and ministries are bonding together and coming into Covenant Relationship with one another, to help advance the Gospel, and other ministries are also aiding in the distribution of FREE Bibles, Christian Literature, and clothing for the poor in Africa. Locally, my Pastor works in aiding the restoration of other Pastors who are spiritually burned out or emotionally beat up from ministry. Other ministries desire to come under his leadership. A true Apostle would never even suggest that you must submit to them. We are simply teachers of God's Word, and it is His Word that you must obey or reject, not us. Besides, it is God who chooses who your Apostle and Spiritual Father should be. When Apostles come into covenant 
relationship with other ministers willingly desiring to come under their leadership, it is not to be ruled by an Apostle, but rather to receive the benefit that the Gift of Apostle can produce. If you'll notice in "The Doctrine of the Apostles", I emphasized the benefits and the power available to the Saints, and that is the goal of a true apostles heart: Not to lead others, so much as to cause them to Triumph in Christ.
12. I pray that our writings will contribute on this list to a deeper  understanding of the original teachings of Christ and His apostles, In Jesus Mighty Name, AMEN.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Randy Muse