Oyewole Sarumi, a pastor, certified coach, and Chief Strategy Officer of the Christian Leadership Institute of Management Development has observed that there are only two recognised church titles from the reading of the New Testaments.
He made the observation in an interview with Church Times while reacting to claims by some men of God that they are apostles.
Oyewole who is also a Professor of Strategy and Leadership, ICLEID Business School, Lekki, Lagos stated that the two titles from the reading of the New Testament are: Bishop and Deacon.
Titles, invention of men
He said any other title that people use in the church other than these two are inventions of men that have no bearing with the New Testament
Giving further insight into his position he said Apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher, and pastor are not titles, but specific offices and platforms that have dominant or specific gifts of the Holy Spirit for the one called to be able to perform all that is stated in Ephesian 4:11-12.
The scripture from the NIV reads, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
Jesus called the 12
While insisting that only the titles of Bishop and Deacon are recognised in the New Testament he said “Jesus was the one who called the 12 men we know as apostles to be witnesses to his ministry so that they can relate what they experienced after he might have left the world. This is fulfilling Deuteronomy Chapter 19v15 which says out of three witnesses shall the truth be established.
He states, “Those who are in the mould of Apostleship are WITNESSES of the actual work of the Lord Jesus Christ if you care to read this from the pages of the New Testament. The last of them Paul, was called personally by Christ Himself. Mathias the one that the eleven chose through the ballot in Acts 1 was never known in Ministry. Why? He wasn’t a personal witness of the work of Christ throughout his three and half years of ministry.”
“In Acts 26v16 Paul mentioned that he was called as a witness. Jesus also told Ananias that Paul had been appointed as a chosen vessel and his instrument according to Acts 9:15.”
Sarumi stressed further, “Jesus chose the 12 to witness his work so they will report accurately what they had experienced while they were with him. Each of them was not chosen because of any particular gift they had. They were chosen because of what Jesus wanted them to do after he might have left the world.”
No office is greater than the other
He said the offices mentioned in Ephesians 4v11 and 12 are not offices that you graduate into, they are offices one is called to. “It’s not a question of being a teacher first, then you grow to become a pastor, and so on. No. People are called to operate on each of those platforms. It is not a title that we can now start bearing as we bear Mr. So those who go about calling themselves Apostle this and that are not following scriptures.”
Sarumi emphasised that any church leader today who lays claim to being an apostle does not fit into what the New Testament regards as an apostle.
Apostle, sent one?
When reminded that the dictionary defines an apostle as a sent person, he said, “The dictionary meaning is the corrupted inoculation of the falsehood propagated by those who are looking for titles and positions before serving in the Body of Christ.”
On whether these offices are gifts as noted by some translations of the Bible, he said, “They are not gifts in the sense of gifts. They are offices. They were not used in the sense of being a gift like the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge stated in 1 Cor 12v8-10.
“They were used as gifts in the sense of being offices believers are called into. After the 12 disciples called including Paul, no other person qualified to be apostle. As a matter of fact, Paul did not put the prefix apostle to his name. He introduced himself as: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God. We are the ones who called him Apostle Paul. Unfortunately, many people carry the title of apostle these days”
Office of the prophet
Sarumi also decried the way the prophetic office is being used in the church. He said many are confusing the New Testament prophet with that of the Old Testament. “In the Old Testament, we had prophets who were mouthpieces of God and they were put over nations. They also prophesied concerning the world. In the New Testament, the prophetic office is planted within the church.
“They are meant to edify, build, and strengthen the church. If their prophesies do not edify the church then they are not using that office well. Even when Agabus prophesied about famine in the New Testament, it was within the church that he made the prophecy. And that helped the church to prepare for the famine”