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The Five-Fold Ministry

August 21, 2018

 

 

 

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and

some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.

Ephesians 4:11 (NASB)

 

Today we will look at the Five-fold ministry from the NAR point of view and from the viewpoint of traditional Christianity. The basic concept is found in  Ephesians 4:11.

 

THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY ACCORDING TO BILL HAMON

 

Dr. Bill Hamon is a leading prophet in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). He teaches that Jesus divided all the spiritual gifts into five categories after He ascended to heaven and He gave them specific names: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Hamon refers to them as the "fivefold" [1] In fact, Bill Hamon is considered the Father of the Prophetic Movement.

 

In 1988, at the International Gathering of Apostles and Prophets conference, the Lord came upon Dr Bill Hamon and he began to travail. Dr Hamon knew he was experiencing ‘birthing pains’ and that night the Prophetic Movement was birthed and restored to the Body of Christ. [2]

 

What does Hamon mean by "restored?" He claims that prophets prepare the way for Christ to return by revealing essential truths to the Church. These truths aren't necessarily new because he says they were taught in Scripture and understood by early Christians, but were lost during the Dark Ages of the church.  Now they are being restored. Hamon believes God has ordained a period of 2000 years for the "Mortal Church" to remain in existence until Christians receive their immortal bodies. Therefore, according to Hamon, it's possible all truths will be restored by the year 2030. [3] Here is part of a timeline he gives of truths he says have been restored:

 

1500--Salvation through faith by grace (Protestant Movement)

1600--Water baptism, separation of church and state (Evangelical Movement)

1700--Sanctification, the church set apart from the world (Holiness Movement)

1800--Divine physical healing in the atonement (Faith Healing Movement)

1900--Holy Spirit Baptism with unknown tongues (Pentecostal Movement)

1950--Prophetic presbytery, singing praises, and Body of Christ membership (Latter Rain Movement)

1950--Evangelist ministry and mass evangelism reactivated with miraculous healings (Deliverance Evangelism Movement)

1960--Renewal of all restored truth to all past movement churches. "Pastors were restored to being sovereign head of their local churches." (Charismatic Movement)

1970--Faith confessions, prosperity, and victorious attitude and life. "Teacher ministry reestablished as a major fivefold ministry." (Faith Movement)

1980--Prophetic, activating gifts, warfare praise, prophets to nations. "Prophet ministry was restored, and a company of prophets brought forth." (Prophetic Movement)

1990--Apostolic, miraculous, networking, great harvest. "Apostolic ministry restored to bring divine order, finalize restoration of fivefold ministers for full equipping of the saints." (Apostolic Movement)

2007--"Saints manifesting mightily, and harvest reaped!" (Saints Movement) [4]

 

A few things I want to point out about Hamon's timeline are, as the time grows nearer to the end, you see truths being restored more rapidly. Also, did you notice the progression of the five-fold being restored? The first was evangelist in 1950, followed by pastor in 1960, teacher in 1970, prophet in 1980, and finally apostle in 1990. During the Latter Rain Movement, the Body of Christ membership refers to each member having a gift in the five-fold ministry. Hamon says all truths were restored to all past movements through the Charismatic Movement. In other words, even Evangelical and Protestant churches accepted all restored truths revealed up to that point, meaning today, they are practiced in all Christian churches. Of course, this isn't entirely true, but great strides have been made to this end. Truths that have been restored since the Charismatic Movement have not yet been accepted across all movements or denominations; truths such as the teachings of the Faith Movement and the restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets. NAR believes the five-fold ministry will be in effect until the Church has reached unity based on Ephesians 4:12; meaning the whole Body of Christ accepts all restored truths revealed by the prophets.

 

A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF EACH MINISTRY GIFT

 

  • Apostles are like fathers and mothers who impart to the Body of Christ and raise them up as sons and daughters in the faith [5]

  • Prophets bring supernatural revelation and insight, giving vision of the times and seasons of God so the saints know what to do [6]

  • Teachers teach the Word of God with simplicity and wisdom [7]

  • Pastors nurture the Body of Christ with counseling, clothing them with Christlike armor and garments [8]

  • Evangelists impart zeal for souls to be saved and equip the saints with wisdom and anointing in winning the lost [9]

 

Since all the spiritual gifts fall into one of the five categories of the fivefold ministry, all Christians or "saints" as Hamon refers to them, will move in at least one of the fivefold gifts. "All five ministries need to be fully active in the 21st century Church, especially for the purpose of equipping the saints to be participants in the coming return of the Lord." [10] In 2018, Bill Hamon is still talking about these things. Take a look here.      

 

 

THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY ACCORDING TO TRADITIONAL EVANGELICALS

 

I really didn't find much on the Five-fold ministry outside of what is taught by NAR leaders. Most evangelicals don't accept the restoration of apostles and prophets as governing the church. The closest I could find is those who follow a loose five-fold ministry by saying church planters or missionaries have an apostolic gifting but would rarely be called apostles. And the prophetic gift is based on 1 Corinthians 14:3, which talks about prophecy being used to strengthen, encourage, and comfort; not to bring new revelation or restore truth.

 

The NASB Ryrie Study Bible says about Ephesians 4:11: "The two ministries are linked together here, though separated elsewhere." This means there are only four ministries, not five.

 

The Bible Knowledge Commentary by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck says Ephesians 4:11 is talking about five kinds of gifted people, not five ministries. It goes on to explain why apostles and prophets are no longer needed. Based on Ephesians 2:20, the church was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ as the chief Cornerstone. Since there is no new revelation being given, we have no need for apostles or prophets in a governing sense. The foundation is built, and believers are moving on into maturity.

 

A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF EACH MINISTRY GIFT

 

  • Apostles, as an office were part of the foundational gifts given to the church and today, are ones who are sent out as church planters or missionaries

  • Prophets, as an office were part of the foundational gifts given to the church and "true prophetic ministry today, is simply the preaching of the Bible accurately and clearly. The gift of prophecy today is the 'speaking forth' of the written Word" [11]

  • Evangelists are those who proclaim the Good News. They may be a preacher of the gospel, a missionary, or one who travels from place to place to tell others about Jesus and call for repentance

  • Pastors are those who guide and shepherd a local body of believers. It may include preaching, counseling, or administration

  • Teachers are those who instruct others in what the Word of God says. It involves preparation and imparting knowledge

 

There is some disagreement among evangelicals on what the gift of prophecy is today. More and more evangelicals are embracing a prophetic ministry that allows one to speak words they hear from God to others to encourage and let them know how much God loves them. Either way, most within evangelicalism would say the office of prophet does not exist today nor do prophets hear new revelation from God.

 

I also think many evangelicals would disagree with aspects of Hamon's timeline. For example, on what basis does Hamon say the truth of "salvation through faith by grace" was lost during the Dark Ages and needed to be restored? Or water baptism? Wikipedia says, "Baptism has been apart of Christianity from the start," and even to this day, there are varying beliefs about it. Martin Luther believed baptism to be a sacrament [12], but that's hardly the same as restoring a lost truth. Sanctification is the process of being made holy, but the details of what this means have often been debated throughout history. Still, this doesn't mean the doctrine itself was lost nor that there is 100% agreement now. I suspect Hamon is saying these doctrines have been restored to NAR's way of thinking. And I would venture to say that many evangelicals don't even know what some of the terms Hamon uses are such as prophetic presbytery or deliverance evangelism. And I am certain not all evangelicals agree with Holy Spirit baptism, unknown tongues, or miraculous healings. Therefore, how can he say all these truths are accepted across the board? It would be more accurate to say significant inroads have been made. Still, they have reason to be encouraged and to keep believing they will be successful in the other areas as well.

 

What we can all agree on is believers are given one or more gifts as the Holy Spirit determines. The purpose of the above gifts is "for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:12). Believers are given spiritual gifts to serve others, and when everyone is working in their gifting, the body is built up, and there is unity.

 

SUMMARY

 

The five-fold ministry which includes the restoration of apostles and prophets is mainly a doctrine held by NAR. Evangelicals mostly fall into two categories: those who believe the five ministries exist but not as offices and those who would further say there is no need for prophecy today as Scripture contains all the revelation we need. There is much less disagreement between the other three ministries listed.  All would agree the gifts are given to benefit the Church and not ourselves. They are given to build up the Body of Christ and promote unity. But only NAR would claim it's purpose is to restore lost truths and prepare the way for Christ to return.

 

What are your thoughts on the five-fold ministry?

 

 

[1] CBN: Dr. Bill Hamon: Restoring the Fivefold Ministry

[2] Christian International (CI): Dr. Bill Hamon's History  

[3] A New Apostolic Reformation? A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement, copyright 2014 by R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec, p.110-111

[4] A New Apostolic Reformation, p. 111-112, quoting from a list that was adapted from a list featured in Hamon, Prophetic Scriptures Yet to Be Fulfilled, p. 127-128

[5] Fivefold Ministry  

[6] Fivefold Ministry    

[7] Fivefold Ministry

[8] Fivefold Ministry

[9] Fivefold Ministry

[10] Fivefold Ministry

[11] Got Questions: What is Prophetic Ministry?

[12] Wikipedia: History of Baptism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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