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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

26 November 2005

Modern Apostles

Q: Why don’t we have Apostles? Do you know of any churches with Apostles?

A: “Apostle” means one who is sent. In a strict Biblical sense, only those who were specially schooled and sent by Christ are given that title. At times, those who worked with the Twelve were also called “Apostles.” It appears that the special gifts of the Holy Ghost were always dispensed either directly by Christ or by this first generation and that once those who’d been in contact with the Twelve directly died out, so did the special gifts. Thus, most churches do not have people called “apostles” as part of their structure.

However, since all who are called to work in the Christian Church are “sent” by the Holy Ghost, you might say that pastors are a continuation of the Apostolic Office. In the final sense, there is one great Apostle: He is the One sent by His Father to accomplish mankind’s salvation through a perfect life and through His innocent suffering and death. Of course, this means Jesus Christ.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


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