Definition of an Apostle, or, The Apostolic Actions of a Mother and Child

Howard Jackson answers the question, “What is the definition of an apostle?”

His answer surprised me, and taught me something about the true  nature of a calling from God. To be a “sent one” means, at its root, to simply be obedient to the God who is doing the sending, much like a child obeys his mother when she tells him to do something. It’s not as grandiose a thing as some make it out to be. Rather it is an act of simple, humble obedience to a grandiose God.

I’ve heard it so many times, “An apostle is a ‘sent one’, but never saw that angle before. This helps me see apostles in a fresh way.


Signs of an Apostle

What are the Signs of an Apostle? Interview with Fred Herzog


Veteran prophet and apostle Fred Herzog details two signs of an apostle. His insights are often overlooked and thought-provoking. For sure, his humor comes through with the story at the end of the video. Fred speaks with the gentleness and authority that we would expect from a seasoned apostle and man of God. He takes only two minutes to lay out important Biblical signs of an apostle.  Watch the video here.

Fred’s insight into the question “What are the signs of an apostle?” may not convince the skeptic that apostles and prophets exist in the twenty first century. His thoughts, however, go a long way to help anyone with an open mind to discover the true heart and ministry of an apostle in any age.

What Does the Bible Say about the Signs of an Apostle?

“The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.” (1 Corinthians 1212). (Note: the King James Version uses the term patience instead of perseverance.)

In another letter, Paul details more of the work and signs of an apostle. Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he explains apostles are given “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ . . .”(Ephesians 4:12).

The Bible teaches, of course, through both word and example. By example we learn one of the signs of an apostle is to expand or open up new spiritual or geographical territory for the Kingdom of God. Barnabas and Paul are primary examples of apostles who opened new territory.

The signs of an apostle are summarized  in this definition:  An apostle is a Godly Christian leader called and supernaturally gifted by God to open new spiritual and geographical territory for the gospel, lay foundations, equip believers, and serve as catalyst and coordinator for churches and ministries.

If these thoughts interest you, Local Churches Global Apostles will open up new perspectives for newcomers and veterans alike.

Journey to Authenticity with Sonny Misar



Journey to authenticity with Sonny Misar

Journey to authenticity with Sonny Misar

Journey to authenticity describes the hallmark of Sonny Misar’s ministry. This phrase, “Journey to Authenticity” is loaded with meaning. It points to the goal we all want–to be our real selves. Not fake in any way. The phrase shows the road to authenticity is a process, not a once-and-for-all campground. This phrase distills Misar’s lifetime of ministry experience into a key issue for Christians today.

After twenty-five years of pastoral service Sonny now travels with his wife, Becky, speaks and writes regarding the issue of spiritual authenticity. Click here to watch the video.

View the Gail Ross interview of Sonny Misar on YouTube. I found several highlights. At about nineteen  minutes Sonny addresses the question “How can we be our unique selves and deeply spiritual at the same time?” Many Christians, young and old alike, remain confused about concepts such as brokenness and surrender to Christ. Sonny clearly outlines the stages all Christians go through on the road to authenticity. He gently explains the need and value of brokenness and surrender.

At about 19 minutes comes a valuable gem, namely understanding brokenness as a part of the roadway to authenticity. Sonny shares from his experience that perhaps 50% of all Christians are in the brokenness stage yet have no clue as to how to understand it nor move beyond it.

Many preachers and teachers contribute valuable insights to the church. Each has a calling and contribution. There exists, however, one particular calling that can add the depth of understanding and perspective that is much needed in Christian circles. That is the voice of the apostle. Sonny Misar moves in apostolic vision and anointing. He is gifted in his ability to help churches and individual Christians make sense out of the sometimes bewildering aspects of life. Sonny is worth listening to.

His book Journey to Authenticity is available for purchase on Amazon.


Apostles Come Forth!


Apostles Open Doors to New Territory

Apostles Open Doors to New Territory

Apostles come forth!

Here is an excerpt from my book Local Churches Global Apostles: How Churches and Apostles Related in the New Testament Era and Why It Matters Now. You can buy the book at Churches and Apostles.

Apostles come forth! “Unbind him and let him go” (John 11:44).

Just as Jesus raised the dead man Lazarus in the first century, God is calling apostles to rise up and come forward in the twenty-first century. The apostolic ministry has lain dead or dormant for so long that many devout Christians don’t believe apostles exist today.

This writer echoes Christ’s clarion call, “Apostles come forth!” Local Churches Global Apostles aims to underscore the Biblical basis for modern-day apostles and to “unbind them and let them go.” Too many churches–and too many men of apostolic calling–have been bound by unbiblical concepts which have hindered constructive church and apostle relationships and prohibited congenial working together.

In Section Two of the book, case studies of each church in the New Testament lay the groundwork  for understanding Biblical varieties and concepts of church and apostle relationships. The information in Section Three may “unbind” churches and apostles and offer greater freedom to work together in mutually beneficial ways.

Jerry Daley, gifted apostle and church planter, brings some current issues into focus.

The question, in my opinion, is how churches [and] pastors should take advantage of apostolic ministries. I’m not thinking of the authority side at all but rather the need for apostolic initiative, leadership, risk taking [and] faith to break out of boxes and move into new ways of reaching this generation. Most senior pastors are attempting to accomplish apostolic results and feel the pressure, [the] expectation, [to do so] without receiving the kind of help they need. Again, I’m not talking about authority.

These are my observations. Few senior pastors have mentors or coaches whereas [some men] have both who meet with [them] almost weekly.”

Apostles come forth!

The modern day apostolic movement began in the 1940’s . . .

B Mark Anderson Author PhotoThis eye-opening book may become a life-changer to some.

Marks of Apostleship

One of the marks of apostleship--open new territory for the Kingdom of God

One of the marks of apostleship–open new territory for the Kingdom of God






What are the Marks of Apostleship?

How can we tell a true apostle from the counterfeit? Good question. A conference recently convened to hash out these questions. No definitive answers emerged, so let’s go to the New Testament to find direction.

 Marks of Apostleship Summarized

Marks of apostleship are summarized  in this definition:  An apostle is a Godly Christian leader called and supernaturally gifted by God to open new spiritual and geographical territory for the gospel, lay foundations, equip believers, and serve as catalyst and coordinator for churches and ministries.

For another look at the marks of apostleship, click here.

The Bible teaches by both precept and example. I’m focusing on examples in this article–sometimes we concentrate on text alone and forget about examples.

Men Who Demonstrated Marks of Apostleship in the Bible

Check these examples of men who opened new territory, either spiritually or geographically. Pioneering a work in virgin territory characterized the Biblical men who bore the marks of apostleship. This aspect of true apostleship seems often overlooked by those trying to understand apostolic ministry today.

Andrew “found first his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ and ‘he brought him to Jesus.’” (John 1:41, 42) Andrew opened new gospel territory within his own family. Both of these guys eventually became disciples and apostles of Christ.

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45). Philip overcame Nathaniel’s original objection by inviting him to “Come and see” Jesus. Jesus’ words of revelation about Nathaniel’s nature sufficed to make a believer out of him. Both he and Philip later became apostles of Jesus.

When it comes to opening new territory, Barnabas shines as the example par excellence. Often overlooked as he traveled in the shadow of St. Paul, Barnabas actually recruited Paul and served as his mentor. Paul basically followed in the patterns Barnabas worked out.

Multiple examples of Barnabas’ leadership emerge as we investigate the pages of the New Testament. At Antioch he laid foundations into the first missionary church.  He established multiple leadership in the local church there(Acts 13:1). He set a pattern of churches helping churches as he carried relief money from Antioch to  Jerusalem.

Barnabas, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, took Paul with him. He led the tour and together they opened the island of Cyprus and portions of modern day Turkey to the gospel.

Barnabas set the pattern and example of ministers and missionaries being sent out and returning to the local church (Acts 13 and 14).

The best known example of any apostle who opened new territory is, of course, Paul. God used this man to evangelize much of the Middle East including modern day western Turkey, Greece, and Kosovo. Paul’s greatest legacy, however, lay in theology, even more than in the geographical expansion of Christianity. Paul did not originate the gospel of grace but he developed it more than any other New Testament writer. Without Paul and the letter to Romans and Galatians, our understanding of the gospel would be truncated and shallow.

Timothy and Silas worked with Paul to open up new gospel territory and expand the Kingdom of God.

Titus is not listed as an apostle, yet his work in Crete signifies he was doing the work of an apostle by laying foundations in the church there. He exhibited the marks of apostleship even though he is not named as an apostle anywhere in the pages of the New Testament.

The apostle James was the epitome of a New Testament pastor. He is the first and only example of a local church pastor in the Bible and is forever God’s stalwart pattern for what a pastor is and does.

Peter and John traveled on a mission to Samaria. There they ministered the baptism of the Holy Spirit to a group of believers who were lacking this experience. By imparting the Holy Spirit they became examples of apostles who solved major problems in a local church.

In all the examples of apostles where we have adequate information, the apostle opened up new spiritual or geographical areas for God.

Contemporary Men who Demonstrate the Marks of Apostleship by Opening New Territory

Some modern day examples of men who exhibit the marks of apostleship include Earl Kellum. This apostle pioneered over two hundred churches in Mexico. He also was either the first or one of the first to drop gospel portions from airplanes over remote villages in order to evangelize the people. I once flew with Air Mail from God Mission and dropped gospels of John over a village near Cuatla, Mexico. (I say once flew because the plane crashed after a few passes over the town. I survived, but  the plane was put out of commission.)

Paul Anderson, former Director of International Lutheran Renewal Services in St. Paul, Minnesota saw needs and met them. Among other enterprises he originated the Alliance of Renewal Churches (ARC) and began the Master’s Institute (MI), an innovative seminary for training ministers.

Just because a person pioneers a work or starts a program does not by itself indicate he or she is an apostle. All Christians need to open new territory and expand the kingdom of God in some way. Apostles are leaders of expansion. Wherever we find a true apostle we find a pioneer. There’s more to the apostolic calling than pioeering new works. To learn more about this God-appointed ministry, go to What is an apostle?



What are the signs of a true apostle? Part I

What are the signs of a true apostle?

What are the signs of a true apostle? B Mark Anderson interviews Jim McCracken

It’s one thing to ask “What is an apostle?”  You get a definition-type answer to that question as people try to narrow down and define what it really means to be an apostle. But it’s another thing to ask “What are the signs of an apostle?” To this question you get a wide variety of thought provoking answers as people delve into the actual things that an apostle does.

We have more videos to share, and this clip is Jim McCracken’s answer to “What are the signs of a true apostle?”

Jim McCracken is the leader of TrueBridge — A Family of Churches.

See Jim’s answer to the question “What is an apostle?” in this previous post.

I think it’s agreed that one sign of an apostle is they they are someone who moves in the supernatural. But in this clip, Jim adds some unique thoughts about signs of an apostle–that he is “one who builds”.

I also really like something that Jim says just in passing towards the end of the clip, “[an apostle is] one who is in touch with the design of the church.” That speaks to how an apostle has to be a big-picture thinker, a visionary, who sees God’s plan for the church from a different perspective than the local pastor.

What are the signs of a true apostle?

What would you say are the signs of a true apostle? Comments welcome!

Barnabas the Super Apostle

Barnabas opened up new territory for the gospel

Barnabas was the only man who ever led Paul



The apostle Barnabas opened up new territory for God. One of the key characteristics of an apostle in the Bible is the ability to expand the gospel into new areas, either spiritually of geographically.


How Do You Define Apostle?

Perhaps we need to come to a clear definition of apostle. What is an apostle?

An apostle is a Christian leader called and supernaturally gifted by God to open new spiritual and geographical territory for the gospel, lay foundations, equip believers, and serve as catalyst and coordinator for churches and ministries.” This is how I define apostle.

Does Barnabas fit this description of apostles? Most definitely. Let’s examine some Scriptures to discover and identify the various ways St Barnabas opened up fresh territory for God, both spiritually and geographically. (By the say, we often use the term “St Paul.” Why not St Barnabas as well?)

Barnabas Pioneered New Spiritual and Geographical Territory for God

Barnabas was the pioneer apostle to Antioch (Acts 11:22). He laid foundations in the fledgling church, foundations that became patterns for churches throughout the New Testament era and continuing to the present day.

Jesus recruited disciples. In the same way Barnabas recruited Paul (Acts 9:27). He served as catalyst and coordinator of Paul’s early ministry. In fact, Paul’s ministry “took off” after Barnabas connected with him. If there had been no Barnabas, there may have been no Paul. He was Paul’s leader and became instrumental in his success.

Friends nicknamed him “Son of Encouragement.”  He carried relief money from Antioch to the Jerusalem church. Continuing this pioneer legacy, many modern day churches have established a “Barnabas Fund” to help needy people (Acts 11:29ff).

He established multiple leadership in the local church in Antioch (Acts 13:1). apparently this was a new vision for church leadership. We certainly don’t find evidence of it in Jerusalem where James was predominant. Christ, the Head of the church uses this concept in New Testament type churches today.

Barnabas, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, took Paul with him. He led the tour and together they opened the island of Cyprus and portions of modern day Turkey to the gospel.

Barnabas set the pattern and example of ministers and missionaries being sent out and returning to the local church (Acts 13 and 14). Paul participated in and later followed this example.

This man was a tremendous leader and deserves far more credit as a leader and apostle than he generally receives. Barnabas was the only man who ever led Paul! Even that relationship didn’t last long.

Want to discover surprises about apostles in the New Testament? Local Churches Global Apostles is an eye-opener. You can pick up a discounted copy on Amazon.




False Apostles and True–What’s the Difference?



False apostles

False apostles

With the advent of modern day apostles and prophets, many are asking “What is a true apostle?” and “What are the signs of false apostles?” “How can we tell the difference?”

I have worked with apostles for over fifty years. I’ve seen the bona fides, and I’m sorry to say, I’ve also seen some wannabes whose claims of apostleship are questionable or fallacious.

As an aid to identify true apostles, let’s examine four types of false apostles.

False Apostles Pressure Donors

If any minister tries to pressure a person to give him money, stay a hundred yards away. Overt or subtle pressure to give money signals greed and is a sure sign of rottenness at the core. One veteran missionary told me, “Don’t give to any minister unless you personally know him or know someone who does know and approve him. It’s just too easy to exaggerate from the mission field when there is no one there to hold him accountable.”

Of course, it’s legitimate to request funds or take offerings. The pressure is the problem.

How a minister handles money reveals a lot about himself. Jesus noted, He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much (Luke 16:10).

Improper use of money is a flag flying high to reveal to churches and prospective donors the hidden nature of false apostles.

False Apostles Lack Christ-like Character

If any man fails to honor his marriage vows or he sinks into immorality, it’s time to jump ship. Character, not just charisma, is a sign of true apostleship.

But let’s be gracious in this matter of character. Just because a person makes some minor mistakes does not mean he is a fraud. We are speaking of repeated mistakes without repentance. We are speaking of conscious decisions that are contrary to Scripture.

False Apostles Preach False Doctrine

Paul identifies those who preach a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you (Gal 1:8) as worthy of being cursed.

False Apostles Exhibit Self-Serving Leadership

If any man claims to serve as an apostle, yet “lords it over” or dominates those he works with, watch out. All ministers are called to get underneath as servants to build up, not to dominate or tear down. Spiritual dictators dominate; true apostles build others up.

Self-serving leadership is an example of a character deficiency. It’s so egregious, however, that I have given it a separate category in order to highlight the problem. I have seen a man with a genuine apostolic calling ridicule and abase fellow pastors and turn them into virtual slaves. By so doing he has disqualified himself as a genuine apostle.

We’ve seen gifted men betray their apostolic calling by failing in one or more of these areas.

It’s imperative to remember while considering true and false apostles that gifts alone do not make ministers either true or false apostles. A calling from God of itself does not determine which are true or false apostles. Miracles and supernatural works of power do not determine either true or false apostles. Character alone does not determine true or false apostles. Doctrine by itself does not show who are true or false apostles. It is the combination of all the above we are looking for to determine who are true and who are false apostles.

Among false apostles and prophets in Scripture, Balaam stands out. He’s mentioned by name 61 times in the New American Standard Bible, three times in the New Testaments.

Then God came to Balaam and said . . . (Num 22:9)  Surprisingly, God appeared to Balaam. False apostles can hear God speak.

God met Balaam” (Num 23:4) God even meets with false apostles!

When Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD . . . (Num 24:1) Balaam was perceptive; he could see what pleased and displeased God. Some false apostles have great gifts and perception; that does not mean they are true apostles.

And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came upon him. (Num 24:2) Yes, the Holy Spirit can anoint even false apostles and prophets.

The following verses show Balaam was financially corrupt.  Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. (2 Pet 2:15)

Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam . . . (Jude 1:11)

False apostles often mix true doctrine with false teachings. Balaam counseled Midian to seduce Israelite men into sexual immorality. His seduction worked. False apostles can eventually get carried away into immorality.

But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. (Rev 2:14)

Even though Balaam gave true prophecies and God spoke glorious oracles through him, he was corrupt. He was financially corrupt, demonstrated self-serving character, and taught false doctrine.

Local Churches Global Apostles is my research-based book that answers many questions about true and false apostles. Get it from Amazon.

What Can An Apostle Contribute to a Local Church?


In Local Churches Global Apostles, Mark (that’s my father), focuses in on the relationship between local churches and apostolic leadership. It’s worth examining: just what can an apostle contribute to a local church? Steve Fatow offers his answers.

I recorded this interview between Dad and Steve. Steve talks with such passion that his voice distorts a bit on the recording. I didn’t have the audio settings adjusted quite right to be prepared for his enthusiasm! Fiery guy. He is an apostolic minister and leader of a ministry that holds crusades around the world called Evangelism of Earth.

“See the Lord”? Required to be a True Apostle?


See the Lord

Must a Man See the Lord to be a True Apostle?









Must Someone “See the Lord” in order to be a True Apostle?

This “requirement” has long been held as necessary to be an apostle. But in the light of the modern day New Apostolic Revolution, let’s revisit the question:  Must Someone “See the Lord” in order to be a True Apostle?

No, I don’t Think so. Here’s Why.

First of all, many of the 25 apostles mentioned in the Bible did not see the Lord in the flesh. Timothy, Titus, and Apollos were not in Judea or Galilee during Jesus’ ministry. Certainly, these men and other apostles named in the Bible could not see the Lord Jesus in the flesh as the original twelve saw Him.

Timothy was probably not even born by the time Christ was crucified. Paul connected with the young Timothy in Galatia (a part of modern day Turkey) about 51 AD and Christ was crucified in Jerusalem around 30 AD. That’s a span of about 21 years; it’s generally accepted that Timothy was a very young man when he began with Paul. Realistically, due to age and geography, there is no way Timothy could see the Lord.

Does “see the Lord in the Spirit” qualify? Paul first encountered Jesus on the Damascus Roadway. The three reports of this encounter state Christ’s “appearance” was a blinding light coupled with Jesus’ voice. Paul testifies that he did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision [emphasis added] (Acts 26:19).  Does a vision meet the standard that some require to “see the Lord” in order to be a true apostle?

If so, many could quality as modern day apostles because many men and women see the Lord in vision form.

What about the Other Appearances of Christ to Paul?

Could any of Christ’s other appearances qualify as to a time where he could say, “I see the Lord?” Christ appeared to Paul in various forms four recorded times in the Scriptures.

First, in the vision on the Damascus Road which we just examined. Next, at his first visit to Jerusalem shortly after his conversion. During this experience, Paul was “in a trance” (Acts 22:17) and did not see the Lord in the flesh.  The third appearance occurred in Corinth when the Lord spoke to Paul in the night “by a vision” (Acts 18:9-10). Christ’s last recorded appearance to Paul occurred in Jerusalem when “the Lord stood by his side” (Acts 23:11), but this took place about 59 AD or approximately eight years following the writing of I Corinthians 9:1 where Paul claims to have “seen the Lord.” Therefore, this last appearance could not be what Paul was referring to as a time where he could say, “I see the Lord.”

What does the Scripture say?

“Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” (I Cor 9:1). Here Paul asks a question. It is not a statement of who is an apostle and who is not. Can a question be turned into a qualification? Certainly, to “see the Lord” can add credibility to life. But to use a question to make a definite requirement that one must see the Lord in order to be an authentic apostle is not solid exegesis.

My Conclusions

Others may disagree, and Jesus will straighten us all out when we get to heaven, but here are my conclusions.

First, one questionable verse in the Bible can not and should not be used to determine the doctrine or definition of apostleship. It’s neither hermeneutically nor exegetically sound. Go to What is an apostle? to examine the definition of a true apostle.

Second, Paul himself states Christ’s appearance to him on the Damascus Road was a vision. If a vision qualifies, the basis for apostleship is rather low. In the days of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, many–even children, will prophecy and see visions (Acts 2:17).

Third, about half the apostles mentioned in Scripture could not have seen the Lord Jesus in the flesh. They are named apostles, yet did not see the lord; therefore the “requirement” which some maintain is necessary to be a true apostle is no requirement at all. Rather, Paul’s use of the phrase “see the Lord” is a rhetorical question meant to bolster his standing in the eyes of his hearers.

I have written a report many find fascinating. It’s entitled “How Many Apostles are Mentioned in the NT–Twelve or Twenty-five?” Get your copy by signing up on the sidebar for weekly goodies in your inbox every Wednesday morning.

If you’re really wanting to go into depth, here’s an eye-opening book about apostles. Check out Local Churches Global Apostles.

In this book you will find more info about ancient and modern day apostles and the Biblical patterns for church and apostle relations. Included are case studies of every church in the New Testament. Many ministers have written positive endorsements. Here are a couple.

This is a book written by a seasoned, wise, surrendered follower and minister of Christ.  It not only broadens our understanding and appreciation of apostolic ministry, it presents a powerful encouragement to grow and develop current and future apostolic ministers who will serve and relate to the church in ways that help care for and build Her His way.   Ben Goodman, Lewiston Idaho

A remarkable and refreshing view of New Testament apostles and their relationships with churches of their time.  A valuable resource book.

Ivan Sagal
Church planter, missionary and intercessor

I also recommend the book by C. Peter Wagner entitled Spheres of  Authority which is sold on

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