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An Examination of Kingdom Theology - Part 3/3


Five-Fold Ministry

Those whose teachings center on or are substantially concerned with the five-fold ministries (Ephesians 2:20; 4:11) as the foundation for our faith are convinced that there can be no unity in the Body of Christ until all Christians, or at least a vast majority of us, submit to the authority of the present-day "apostles" and "prophets" without questioning. There is to be no judging of doctrine, or of personal lifestyles, or of fund-raising methods. There is to be no attempt to understand the Word of God apart from the teachings of the apostles and prophets.

The "five-fold Ministries" teaching as it is interpreted within Dominion Theology is specifically a Manifested Sons of God teaching. It states that the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (not Jesus) comprise the foundation of the Church. It is affirmed that Jesus is the foundation of creation, but not of the Church.

Before we examine the Dominion Theology position on this subject, we should put Ephesians 2:20 within the context it was written in order to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

Wherefore remember, that ye being time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh 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 thereby:
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
For through him we both 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

Hearing Ephesians 2:20 taken out of context, one might fall prey to the teaching that the "five-fold ministries" as enumerated in Ephesians 4:11 comprise the foundation of the Church. But let's examine exactly what Paul was saying in Ephesians 2:11-22.

In the first place, we see that it is not the so-called "five-fold" ministries to which Paul assigned the status of "foundation," but rather the offices of apostle and prophet only. Because these offices are mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 in connection with those of evangelists, and pastor-teachers (the latter being one, not two distinct offices), doesn't necessarily mean that the evangelists and pastor-teachers are numbered in the foundation.

In the second place, if we put Ephesians 2:2 in the context of the thought expressed in verses 11 through 22, we see that Paul was specifically addressing the Gentiles at Ephesus regarding their being joined in one body with the Jews through whom came the revelation of God's Truth. Having been grafted into the true faith (Christianity) which is the continuation of God's revelation through the prophets who preceded Christ, not something distinct from it, the Gentiles were built upon the foundation of the apostles (New Testament) and prophets (Old Testament) combined. In other words, the teachings of the apostles and prophets, the Spirit and the Law, comprise the foundation through which the believing Gentiles (the Uncircumcision) are joined with the believing Jews (the Circumcision). As the Cornerstone of that foundation of teachings, Jesus is the element that holds all truth together, and to whom we look for all guidance through the Holy Spirit.

To take a single verse out of Scripture and build a doctrine as serious in its consequences as that of the "five-fold ministries" of Dominion Theology is contrary to even the most basic principles of biblical exegesis. This error is compounded by the suggestion that today's so-called apostles and prophets are the foundation for the Church. If anything, the Lord's apostles would be the ones spoken of since it was through them that He gave His revelation contained in the written Scriptures known as the New Testament. By equating today's teachers with the early apostles, we open ourselves up to their new revelations, many of which are not based on God's Word, but are totally subjective. Certainly such subjective teachings can be recognized by the fact that they are learned from certain people and propagated apart from independent study of the Bible. The "five-fold ministries" doctrine is one such that is parroted by dominion teachers who have not learned it from Scripture, but from others who have learned it from others, ad infinitum. We have been able to trace it back to Franklin Hall, but that's not to say that it doesn't go back to an earlier teacher.

We will look now at a few who propagate this particular doctrine to see how it fits into the overall scheme of Dominion Theology.

Earl Paulk

That's what we're doing as the five-fold ministry - the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers - is equipping the saints, maturing the Body of Christ. But see, even that frightens us because we say we've got pastors, we've got evangelists - we talk about apostles and prophets, we get afraid. And yet they've got to come back with authority and power.

Ephesians 2:20 says the Church is built not on Jesus (a lot of folk don't know that), but it's built on the apostles and prophets, and Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. He's the cornerstone, but the apostles and the ministry of the prophets is [sic] the foundation.

What God is doing today is raising up prophets. I don't have any doubt in my mind that Oral Roberts is a prophet to the Church to bring us back to the healings.

Many of them - Branham and many others - I believe that the Hagins and the Copelands, we have varying doctrines here, but I believe they brought us back to understanding the power in God's Word. They were apostles toward that. I believe there are other apostles and prophets God is raising up.

If we apply any formula for consistency to Paulk's words, we would have to assume that Jesus has taken a minor role in the governing of His Church. The following statement, taken with the understanding that Paulk considers not Jesus, but the apostles and prophets, to be the foundation of the Church, removes Jesus from the position of the Rock upon which the Church is built (Matthew 16:18), and assigns that position to the five-fold ministries.

THE FOURTH ISSUE AT STAKE IS THE TRUE UNITY WITHIN THE BODY OF CHRIST. To build upon anything less than the true Rock, the only lasting foundation, would be only to see the entire building fall. Paul made it clear that the Cornerstone had been 'rejected by the builders.' The only solution was to bring forth new builders - whom Paul defined as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers - to build up a people fitly joined together whose head is Jesus Christ Himself. We are further given the warnings as to how we build on this foundation. To talk of unity without truth is to build with wood, hay and stubble (I Corinthians 3).

Some logical, deductive reasoning would assume that Paulk is calling the five-fold ministries the Rock of our salvation: Jesus is not the foundation, He is the Cornerstone; the five-fold ministries comprise the foundation; the Rock is the only lasting foundation; ergo, the Rock is the five-fold ministries.

In all fairness to Paulk, I don't believe he has fully thought out the implications of his statements. They reflect a carelessness in the bandying about of terms that cause confusion. During a 'Praise The Lord' program on TBN in July, 1987, Paulk was challenged by Hal Lindsey regarding some serious errors in his teachings. Paulk denied believing what was written in his own books. He suggested that Hal wasn't able to perceive the true meanings of those writings because people who do not have the Spirit of God (i.e., non-charismatics) cannot understand the things that can only be spiritually discerned. In other words, Paulk placed his own writings on a level equal to Scripture, while limiting spiritual understanding of his esoteric teachings to charismatics. Such statements hinder greatly our attempts to bring unity to the Body of Christ.

Royal Cronquist

(Former apostle of John Robert Steven's Living Word Church, headquarters for the Manifested Sons of God)

Cronquist, though having left the covering of John Robert Stevens, continues to maintain most of the Manifested Sons of God doctrines. His interpretation of Ephesians 2:20 is classical manifested Sons of God:

...Who is the foundation? The apostles and prophets. Is Jesus Christ the foundation? No. He is the foundation of all things, but literally, to the church, He is the cornerstone, and upon Him come the foundation of the apostles and prophets to put the foundation of all doctrine, of all revelation, of all experience, of all truth, of all anointing, of all authority, of all power, not only upon, but under all the people of God.

Cronquist does say that upon Jesus "come the foundation of the apostles and prophets." Certainly we can find no fault with that order. As is the case with dominion teachers, however, he assigns to the latter-day apostles and prophets powers beyond those assigned by God's Word. He believes that the apostles and prophets are not only the foundation of our very lives, he also believes that they create God's will for our lives:

...The whole purpose of the foundational ministry, and especially the foundational ministry, is to equip you in a very private, particular way to inform, to undergird, to strengthen, to encourage, to qualify, to create the will of God for your life. Can you imagine how the body of Christ is still in the baby infancy stage, because they have really denied the foundation that is to their lives, and if they deny the foundation of their life, there is no way that the foundation can be built within them.

Cronquist errs in suggesting that the five-fold ministry is "the foundation of their life." Those in whom God has placed responsibility to build up the saints and bring them to maturity are to be honored and obeyed insofar as they teach and practice truth. But Jesus is the only foundation of not only our spiritual lives, but it is to Him that we owe our very being and substance (Acts 17:28).

And how can the apostles and prophets "create the will of God" for our lives? Only through total submission of our minds and wills to theirs will we be made to believe that they are ordained by God to direct our every move. While submission to authority in the Body of Christ is of great importance, it is within the local body that that submission must take place, and only to the degree that that authority operates in conformity to God's Word. It is only in the local body that anyone ministering the prophetic gifts or administering authority can know enough about the believer to guide him. But the dominion people want us to believe that there are apostles and prophets at large who are coming on the scene with new revelations to which every believer must adhere without question. There is no accountability of these apostles and prophets to the Church, but only to one another. This very subjective authority must be taken on faith by the individual at the risk of his being deceived.

...And so we are going to have to be willing to let our mind be changed by the Holy Spirit in the way that we think and the way we under- stand. He did promise that 'albeit when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.' In 2,000 years no one has ever been guided into all truth. Why? The only thing I can think of - and I don't know everything yet because I haven't yet become glorified, but I believe that God is now beginning to remove the seals from the secrets that have been hid from the foundation of the world. I believe that He is now going to begin to reveal unto the holy apostles and prophets the foundation of the kingdom that will unfold the truths of God to His people so that they can literally become the very divine substance of Jesus Christ in their spirit, soul, heart, mind, and body.

According to Cronquist the Holy Spirit did not guide the writers of the Scriptures into all the truth necessary for the maturing of the saints. Evidently God planned that, for 2,000 years, the Church would walk in darkness, unable to grasp the truths necessary to conform them into the image of Christ. But what do the Scriptures say?

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou has learned them;
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works

It is not the apostles and prophets who are going to perfect us (bring us to maturity). The Word of God, working on our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit, will bring us to maturity as we submit ourselves in love to God. All any apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher can legitimately do is point us to the Word of God and encourage us to follow its directives with pure motives. There are no new revelations by which we must be saved or grow to maturity.

Now, however, we are asked to believe that men who cannot rightly divide the Word of Truth where its meaning is obvious even to the babe in Christ, are going to give us "new truths" by which they will direct our paths toward perfection. What Cronquist means by saying we will become "the very divine substance of Jesus Christ" is not clear. But this statement fits the theory of the deification of man held by many dominion proponents. How will we achieve this? Cronquist says,

...You therefore shall be complete, even as your heavenly Father is complete. How do you suppose that is going to be done? It's going to be done by holy apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers who become the experience themselves, who equip you with the experience that they have, who give you the rules, the laws, the ways, and the how-tos to literally cooperate with God's Holy Spirit so that it again can be performed.

The rules and laws by which we exercise our faith are already established in God's Word (Revelation 22:18-19). Those who would today burden the Church with new, man-made rules and laws according to their own experiences are legalists of whom Paul warned:

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power

How are we to recognize who the apostles and prophets are? Cronquist says our hearts will know:

The knowledge of a person as a prophet or apostle of God must be a heart revelation....I could come to you and tell you that I am an apostle, but that doesn't mean a thing. Someone else could tell you they are an apostle; that doesn't mean a thing, but I will only be an apostle to you when you have heard from God's Holy Spirit that I am an apostle of God, and if you believe I am a false prophet, to you I would be a false prophet whether I am or not. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

Roman Catholics believe in their hearts that the Pope is an apostle of God; Mormons believe their apostles are from God, as do Jehovah's Witnesses, the Moonies, and every cult that lays claim to apostles. Our hearts are deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). We will believe what we want to believe unless we have an objective standard of truth to which we are willing to submit ourselves.

The only standard given to us by God is His Word. And the tests for prophets are found in Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:22, and in Galatians 1:8.

Who Are The Apostles And Prophets?

Since the late 70s and early 80s there have been increasing but still vague references within the dominion camp to certain men as "apostles" or "prophets." Yet there has been no definitive list from any authoritative source within that camp as to who currently comprise that august body. Nevertheless, there are certain leaders who are increasingly supportive of each other, and referring to one another as "prophet," or "apostle." Although some are more visible than others, these same leaders are showing up on the same platforms in varying numbers and orders. They are on a constant circuit, conducting "leadership conferences" for pastors from all over the world.

At these leadership conferences the pastors and teachers in attendance are instructed in the latest methods on how to make their churches grow, how to take dominion over their cities, how to institute proper worship and praise in order to move God, how to work miracles, signs, and wonders, and other things related to church ministry and administration.

The most comprehensive organization conducting these leadership conferences is Charismatic Bible Ministries, founded in 1986 by Oral Roberts. This organization is a coalition of the most visible leaders in the Charismatic Movement, a large segment of whom fall into the dominion camp. Although not all the members of Charismatic Bible Ministries have overtly stated belief in Dominion Theology, there is certainly no hiding from them the teachings of those who have.

The officers and trustees of Charismatic Bible Ministries at the time of this writing [1986] are:

Oral Roberts* - Chairman
Ken Copeland* - Secretary
Jack Hayford* - Vice Chmn.
Billy Joe Daugherty* - Treas.
Paul Yonggi Cho
- Intnl. Honorary Chairman
Charles Green
- Exec. Committee Member
Marilyn Hickey*
- Exec. Committee Member
Karl Strader*
- Exec. Committee Member

Jim Ammerman
Happy Caldwell*
Freda Lindsay*
Tommy Barnett*
Francis MacNutt
Charles Blair
Ralph Mahoney
Jamie Buckingham*
John Meares*
James Buskirk*
Mike Murdock*
Morris Cerullo

Paul E. Paino
Charles Nieman
Charles Capps
John Osteen*
Ed Cole
Earl Paulk*
Paul Crouch
Carlton Pearson
Gerald Derstine
Fred Price
Richard Dortch
Tommy Reid*
Ed Dufresne
Evelyn Roberts*
Quentin Edwards
Richard Roberts*
Mike Evans
Roy Sapp
Kenny Foreman
Jerry Savelle*
Gerald Fry
Charles Simpson
John Gimenez*
Carlton Spencer
Kenneth Hagin, Sr.*
Stephen Strang*
Ronald Halvorson
Lester Sumrall*
Buddy Harrison*
Hilton Sutton*
James N. Haynes
Vinson Synan*
Wallace Hickey
Robert Tilton*
Roy Hicks
Larry Tomczak
Benny Hinn
Casey Treat
Charles Hunter
Ron Tucker
Frances Hunter
Tommy Tyson
Dick Iverson
Jeff Walker
Vicki Jamison-Peterson
Paul Walker
G.L. Johnson
Bob Weiner
James E.'Johnny' Johnson
Austin Wilkerson
Larry Lea
Ralph Wilkerson

* = Founding Trustees (31)

I cannot stress enough the fact that not everyone involved with CBM is an advocate of Dominion Theology. If the reader wants to know where any of these people stand on the subject I advise that he write and ask them directly. Of great significance, however, is the fact that fully half of the founding trustees of Charismatic Bible Ministries openly profess belief in major aspects of Dominion Theology, as does approximately the same percentage of the overall members. In addition, some among them espouse other questionable doctrines such as the "Jesus died spiritually" heresy. Specifically, Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland teach that Jesus died spiritually, and had to be born again in hell by subjecting Himself to torment by Satan and his demons.

Copeland has gone so far as to say that we are not saved spiritually by Jesus' death on the cross; otherwise any righteous man could have died for our sins. [See: Word-Faith Movement]

This teaching will be covered in an upcoming Special Report. I pray that those who espouse it are not consciously aware that this teaching effectively denies the blood of Christ as payment for their sins.

Several members of CBM have been approached with information regarding the heretical beliefs of many in this organization, but none have acknowledged the need to take a stand for sound doctrine.

"Unity at the cost of truth" is the mindset of many of today's "leaders" in the Church.


- Footnotes -

  • 24 Earl Paulk, guest appearance on "Praise The Lord," Trinity Broadcasting Network, March 4, 1986.
  • 25 Earl Paulk, 'The Betrothed' (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers, 1985), p.7.
  • 26 Royal Cronquist, "Your Daily Cross Is Giving Up The Throne Of Self" (Spokane, WA: Love Ministries), p.3.
  • 27 Ibid., p.4.
  • 28 Ibid., p.7.
  • 29 Ibid., p.6.
  • 30 Ibid., p.4.
  • 31 Ad for Charismatic Bible Ministries, "Charisma," May, 1987, p.53.

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