Unsubstantiated claims made by Non-LDS Christians that God has changed his mind about appointing divinely commissioned Apostles and Prophets in these last days beggar belief when compared to references made to these essential ministers that were set in the Church of Jesus Christ for specific reasons for a specific duration.
An evangelical Christian correspondent insists that these officers were not required after the advent of Jesus Christ because he enfolded their functions in himself. The Holy Bible disagrees with this premise.
Jehovah called and commissioned Divinely Inspired Prophets during the times of the Patriarchs and during what has been terms Israel's prophetic Breakthrough to guide the People of God anciently and Jesus called both Prophets and Apostles when he established the Church of Jesus Christ in the Meridian of Time. It is plainly evident from the New Testament record that Prophets and Apostles were intended to remain in the Church of Jesus Christ until certain purposes and criteria were met. That these purposes and criteria have not yet been satisfied is clear from the Bible and from the details of Ecclesiastical History.
The inspired words of the Apostle Paul remind those that might have forgotten that it is God and Christ that established these holy offices with the specific purpose of drawing all that relied on Christ for their salvation to be made into one body, closing those chapters in which God's People Israel were augmented by Gentile converts and forged into one People.
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off [Israelites and Gentiles] are made nigh [brought together into one people] by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity [between Jew and Gentile] thereby:
And came and preached peace to you [Gentiles] which were afar off, and to them that were nigh [Israelites]. For through him we both [Jew and Gentile] have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. --Ephesians 2:13-22
Clearly, the purpose of Apostles and Prophets was to unite the world's people into the People of God, Apostles and Prophets being the foundation upon which the Church of Jesus Christ, the vehicle for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is founded with Jesus Christ identified as the 'Chief Corner Stone' from which the whole foundation is trued and maintained correctly and properly according to the will of Almighty God.
Later in Ephesians, Paul returns to Apostles and Prophets to expand their role in the Church of Jesus Christ and to further delineate their purpose and the duration in which they are intended to remain in the Church of Jesus Christ.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. --Ephesians 4:1-6
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. --Ephesians 4:11-16
This last passage is essential to our understanding of the reason Apostles and Prophets were instituted as the standing ministry of the Church of Jesus Christ. A brief analysis reveals they were to:
- Perfect the members of Christ's Church, called saints.
- Be ministers of the Gospel of Christ in the Church of Christ
- Edify the Church of Jesus Christ
- Lead all saints into a unified body of one faith
- Lead the saints to know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is a perfect man
- Teach the saints the fulness, brightness, and perfection of Jesus Christ the Son of God
- Teach the saints not to be influenced by false teachers and tossed about like a rudderless ship on a stormy sea by false teachers that seek to drive them from their true course
- Help them avoid false doctrines taught by false teachers that troubled the Church and perverted the doctrines and rites of the Church of Jesus Christ
- Aid Church members in avoiding the sleight and cunning craftiness of false teachers that wold come into the Church to deceive the saints and cause them to leave the true path for false doctrines
- Teach the saints to speak the Truth in Love
- Lead the saints to spiritual maturity as the Lord Jesus Christ is mature and keep them true to the faith until they reach the stature Christ has reached
- Enable them to maintain perfect unity among each other until they are Christlike, appropriately unified and fitted together into a perfect Christlike whole as The Church of Jesus Christ without division, party, or schism in the perfect Love of Jesus Christ so that no power can rend them asunder.
Nothing is as obvious as the ineradicable truth that these conditions have not been reached. Therefore, the divine offices of Apostles and Prophets are not redundant, have not been removed, and are unlikely to be removed until the Christian world moves from its present disunification, its internecine hatred, and self-evident apostasy to fulfilling the many conditions for which Apostles and Prophets were placed in The Church of Jesus Christ by a wise and loving Father two millennia ago.