Is Bill Johnson an Apostle? Are Apostles for today? Bill Johnson and Bethel Associate Pastor and Dean of BSSM Dann Farrelly discuss the Five-Fold Ministry and how it is active and moving in the Church today.

where the apostle and the prophet tend

to see more

future type things uh

wisdom enables us to see

a structure order uh

the but it’s a it’s like you stand here

tell us what you see yeah you stand here

tell us what sort of pastor says well i

see these people are hurting the apostle

says well i see this is what god is

building into the earth it’s not a

competition it’s together we bring the

whole picture and i just think it’s

necessary and beautiful


bill we are here again uh having

conversations about topics that are

meaningful to us things that we’ve been

learning about you for 40 plus years

yeah me i’m much younger so less time

is on camera i have to be honest so the


but we’ll get a chance to talk about

some of the things that people wonder

and some things we’ve been learning

about so thanks for being here yeah


we got a chance to touch on some of this

with chris but uh some folks think that

we’re part of nar the new apostolic

reformation and it was a title i hadn’t

heard about until somebody thought we

were a part of it and so it’s it’s you

know kind of interesting where are you


that discussion i don’t i didn’t even

know what it was uh until not too long

ago somebody asked me if i belonged and

i asked well what is that so i i don’t

we don’t belong to anything

of that nature but we hardly agree with

many of the things that some of our

friends in different organizations are

really pursuing just trying to become


biblical and fully living out what is in

in scripture and sometimes we get it

right sometimes we don’t but we’re on

that journey of are trying to explore

what god has laid before us yeah and i

think part of it is it in do it in

tandem with the rest of the body of

christ i would even say the catholic and

the orthodox church and with i just

there’s 33 000 i think denominations

protestant denominations or something

like that so like we’re trying to walk

with all those guys there’s a lot of

apostles there i don’t know

but um

so we’re trying to do it uh not as the

way but as just part of the lord’s team

as he’s bringing the good news the

message to the earth

and so part of that just can you talk

about the fivefold ministry and how you

see it is it is it for today oh yeah how

do you you know understand your own role

in that

absolutely uh

the scripture says ephesians 4 is our

primary text for this that these gifts

were given until

we come to unity of faith to the

knowledge of the son of god to a mature

man and we’re not quite there yet and so

those gifts were in operation they were

released but for a specific purpose they

were released to equip the saints to

carry out the work of service they’re

not titles of identity they’re not

titles of exaltation

it’s not a hierarchy where we grow from

this position to that position they are

specifically graces that god puts on the

life of an individual to demonstrate

what jesus did in the earth what because

he was all all five obviously it was the

best of all five and i would say good

apostles have an evangelist took part as

well and good teaching i mean you’re

you’re a great teacher you’ve got that

component so yeah it’s it’s not like

this this is my lane everybody’s down on

my lane

no yeah it’s not it’s not to be used for

self-promotion it’s not to be used for

you know this is who i am everybody else

stay away it’s you know it’s just it’s a

grace it’s a function it’s a perception

on life that enables us to serve well

yeah and to impact people and that’s the

main deal i i really don’t care if i’m

called anything in fact i prefer people

just call me bill this is true he likes

people to call him bill and it’s hard

for some people so they some people just

apologize he’s like i have to call you

pastor bill at least that’s fine that’s

fine i’m called all kinds of things


some of them are good well you were

called a pastor when you first came here

because coming out of the assemblies of

god yeah denomination


but i mean you’re you’ve got some

pastoral but maybe not

maybe not a ton of pastorals

what are you trying to tell me no i love

your stories about counseling about how

not great you were at it but the uh

but partly i was here when we were on

this journey when people started calling

an apostle i remember you being super

uncomfortable with it it wasn’t a title

you put you could grab for yourself

just coming to terms with like do we

even do this what are the implications

can you do you mind talking some about

your own personal journey sure how you

let people call you that and what that’s


what do you want to say i uh

i’ve believed in fivefold ministry as we

call it for as long as i can remember

certainly 40 45 years ago i had no

problem with it but when you’re called a

specific title that makes you


i don’t review it theologically i just

review it as

you know i

i that i don’t like it you know i i i i

it makes me feel real uncomfortable and


and they’re trying to honor and so what

i’ve what i’ve been learning to do is uh

is allow people

to address me in a way that’s most

comfortable for them but whenever they

ask me what do you want to be called i

mean i have this when i go to other

churches or conferences say i say do you

want to be called the apostle bill do

you want to be called pastor bill let me

smile just thinking about that but oh

well it’s true and they’re just all

they’re trying to do is just is honor

and respect whatever tradition i come

from and i tell them every time i say

you know i just i prefer you just call

me bill yeah and sometimes they can’t do

that so i let them run with whatever

title but that’s not the point the point

is just uh is that we have that kind of

a respect and a value for one another

and i don’t mind calling you know

somebody else an apostle prophet or

pastor or whatever

i i do that all the time we have friends

that uh they go by the title bishop and

and i i honor them with that absolutely

with that talent it’s in the bible you


yeah so that’s my approach so what are

the uh marks that have apostle paul

talks about he bears the marks and that

the i think the marks of an apostle were

done amongst you or like so what are

some of the things that you think kind

of characterize that because we’ve been

comfortable with pastors and teachers

and evangelists yeah but we were

uncomfortable and part of the church

says prophets and apostles were a

foundational gift

that just was for a season and ended and

that now it’s the season of pastors

teachers and evangelists and we would

say no that we don’t think that’s the

way it is and yeah but

it doesn’t say that no it doesn’t say


i think they look around the lack of

them and go i guess they’re gone and um

and i think i talked about this with

chris last time in that in the age of uh

heresy you had to kind of enforce who’s

in charge of who and and what do we

actually believe with the teacher and

preacher and in the age of persecution

as well you’re like what should i die

for that this codifying like this these

are the things these are people who are

powerful and this is what we hold to

what is important for the for the church

but i digress you’re going to talk about

what one of the marks of apostle how do


what makes them unique do you know what

to talk about this you just roll your

eyes no


it’s just a it’s a huge it’s a bigger

subject than we have for this but and

chris carries really a great great

clarity on this more than i do to be

honest but uh the way i look at the the

apostolic gift the apostolic calling is

that both the apostle and the prophet


a their position gives them a perception

of heaven and how it’s to affect earth

it’s a culturizing role it’s not that

the prophet is more spiritual than the

evangelist who is all about souls it has

nothing to do with who’s more spiritual

it has to do with perception yeah it has

to do with impact the pastor is moved by

the needs of the sheep as he should be

you don’t want him dreaming about

you know 100 years down the road and and

you you want him caring uh for the flock

and so he has he’s got a perception on

the here and now the pain of this person

the success of this one yes and that’s a

gift that god’s given him it’s a

position of

perception yeah

where the apostle and the prophet tend

to see more

future type things

wisdom enables us to see

a structure order

these steps brings about this result and

and again it’s not a more spiritual

position i don’t believe i don’t think

it’s a hierarchy but it’s a it’s like

you stand here tell us what you see

yeah you stand here tell us so the

pastor says well i see these people are

hurting the apostle says i see this is

what god is building into the earth it’s

not a competition it’s together we bring

the whole picture and i just think it’s

necessary and beautiful yeah absolutely

i mean i have more of a pastor teacher

gift to me so i i do when i when i first

kind of you were in my world because i

was here you were actually here way

before me but then

whatever but then i was on staff and

then you came and can retain me on the

staff but i much more pastor teacher i

was like where are the sermons about how

how to deal with anger like you know

where are the sermons about how to

have build a good family which weren’t

you were talking about heaven and

miracles and the transformation of

society and i’m like

do we even like society i thought we

were uh i thought we were against him so

the uh

in some ways that what you brought was

so different than my kind of

denominationalism that i was raised in

where it was just like we’re focused on

the sheep and the bible and maybe the

evangelist believes in the loss but this

idea of like god’s still communicating

through prophetic insight sometimes or

that he has a blueprint um and a kind of

a culture i think we happen upon this is

that through our time together and in

scripture i think paul created a culture

right like think totally and that’s what

i see in you and us i think paul

manwaring was one of the first ones in

our meetings to go like

people like our miracles but they love

the culture that we’ve created yeah and

so that role of the apostle to gather a


and enculturate him maybe something

isn’t super obvious in scripture but i

do think it’s what you saw when paul and

his his entourage his posse rolled into

a place they were like the way these

people relate the way they do scripture

together the way they they work and

labor so they don’t get up we don’t they

don’t take an offering from us they’re


you know trying to work for free in our

midst and build something in our midst i

think that culture is actually

contagious that exactly the apostle

prophet pastor teacher and evangelist

build together exactly

and when you embrace

what we would refer to as a kingdom

culture it gives you hope because you’re

building unto something

you’re not just hoping to be rescued

you’re actually

you you’ve embraced the assignment to

bring about change in the world around

us and and that for me

is the real mark of the apostolic and

the prophetic is is there is a heart for

the world around us

and there is a plan a plan not to

dominate or take control but a plan to

influence and to serve well and i think

that’s the beautiful part of those gifts

so for me that’s what i think of when i

think of apostle and prophet yeah and i

i think there’s a mistake in the church

that the apostle is scrambling to get on

top of the pyramid

when paul clearly said he’s the servant

of all you’re like we’re the least

they’re the fools for christ so uh the

idea of like the it’s the chief servant

in the midst which actually kind of

helps create that culture as well so

wherever that anxiety is like i would

say that marks a true apostolic

leadership or servanthood and humility

that should be part of it the ability

the ability to endure suffering for the

for the cause of the kingdom

we see signs and wonders are a part of

it as well i think paul

and peter interpreted old testament

scripture for their communities you know

so there’s a measure of that obviously

the teacher does that as well but the

apostle is doing some of that so

i do think it’s important gift for today

and that the church

is going to continue to become even more

beautiful as we kind of rediscover

without anxiety

without domination people sometimes

afraid apostles are going to control and

dominate i’m like there’s a whole lot of

churches where pastors

were leaders or the board yeah or just a

mean person in the congregation

is controlling and dominating so you

don’t need the label to actually have

that happen it’s it’s a tragedy of some

of our

spiritual environments