He Gave Gifts Unto Men
A Biblical Perspective of Apostles, Prophets, and Pastorsby Kenneth E. Hagin, 1992
With the recent rise of the apostolic and prophetic offices in the Church, much confusion exists regarding the proper roles in which apostles and prophets should function. Most of the erroneous teaching in this area advocates replacing pastors, either with a “plurality of elders” or with a prophet or apostle as the highest authority in the local church.
In He Gave Gifts Unto Men, Kenneth Hagin gives some much needed Biblical teaching on this subject, dispelling many of the false claims put forth by these groups. There are legitimate roles for apostles, prophets, and pastors. This book provides the scriptural basis for recognizing these ministry gifts as well as their proper function and describes the ways in which these gifts can work together for the building up of the Church in love.
- Section One: Apostles
- Ranks or Classes of Apostles — There are four classes of apostles with different degrees of anointing within each. The first three classes are: Jesus Christ, Apostles of the Lamb, and Other Foundational Apostles. There are no foundational apostles today, but we are to build on their foundation.
- Fourth Class of Apostle: Non-Foundational Apostles — Those in the apostolic office today are commissioned by the Holy Spirit to bring a specific message or ministry along a certain scriptural line to the Body of Christ.
- Characteristics of the Apostolic Call — Called and separated by God, confirmed by man; first a preacher or teacher of the Word; signs, wonders and mighty deeds. A true apostle plants and establishes, a false apostle tears up works with division, strife, and false teaching.
- Qualifications for the Apostolic Ministry — God equips ministry officials spiritually, but the minister is responsible for being faithful and exhibiting the character necessary to qualify for an office of trust and responsibility.
- Section Two: Prophets
- The Office of the Prophet Contrasted in Old and New Testaments — Prophets under the Old Covenant were the only ones who could speak for God as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Under the New Covenant, believers have the Holy Spirit within and are to be guided by their own spirit rather than by a prophet. The New Covenant role of non-foundational prophets is to edify or build up the body of Christ.
- What Is a New Testament Prophet? — First a preacher or teacher of the Word. Prophecy is divinely inspired speaking in a known tongue based on a sudden revelation of the moment with little or no forethought. A prophet also sees into the realm of the spirit through the gift of discerning of spirits.
- Prophets Are Not to Guide and Direct New Testament Believers — Believers must prove all things to see if they are of God. Seeking guidance from prophets rather than directly from God through their own spirit can lead the believer to ruin. Prophets who seek to control or direct the lives of others open themselves up to occult powers and familiar spirits.
- Performing in the Flesh vs. Ministering in the Spirit — When a minister gets performance-oriented, he will be very susceptible to manufacturing spiritual gifts and listening to counterfeit spirits. As long as a minister stays close to God, stays in the Word, and seeks to exalt God rather than himself, he will keep from getting off and listening to voices other than the Holy Spirit, even though he may still make mistakes from time to time.
- Foretelling Versus Forthtelling — The word of wisdom (manifested as the Spirit wills) enables a prophet to foretell future events, but the main emphasis of the ministry of a New Testament prophet is forthtelling (preaching or teaching the Word by inspired utterance).
- God Does Not Put Novices In Positions of Authority — As a person is faithful to study, grow and mature spiritually, and to serve the Lord, God will develop that person and the ministry to which He has called him or her.
- Section Three: Pastors
- Church Government — The pastor of a local body is responsible for exercising the ministry gift of “governments,” which is not a human, natural government but rather is a divine spiritual oversight that nurtures the body in an attitude of love. Prophets and apostles are sent to the Church as a whole, but they are not to exercise authority over the pastor in the overseeing of a local body. According to Acts 20:28 and an understanding of the Greek terms used, “bishop,” “overseer,” “shepherd,” “pastor,” and “elder” all refer to the pastoral office.
- The Pastor and the Local Church — A pastor should not be a dictator, lording over the congregation and mistreating them. A good shepherd sees his flock through the eyes of faith as they could be with the right nurturing and spiritual diet. Much of the business of local church operation in the Bible was delegated to deacons.
- Different Church Structures — God blesses us in spite of our church structures, not because of them.
- Ministerial Accountability — A pastor is accountable to his congregation in matters of ministerial ethics and integrity. A ministerial fellowship can also be a blessing to pastors as they offer support and relationships in which they can maintain some accountability. If ministers need discipline or correction, they should be lovingly restored, not judged, criticized, and destroyed.