Yes, God did give the apostles and prophets for equipping the saints for the work of ministry but this is only two lines in a letter that has six chapters. It was not until the 13 th century that chapters were added to the original text. The first rule of hermeneutics is context. When Ephesians was written there were no chapters. It was one whole letter written to the Church at Ephesus, not so coincidentally the same church Jesus was writing to in Revelation when He commended them for determining false apostles among them. Let us go back earlier in the letter to understand the full context:
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. - Ephesians 2: 19-22 (ESV)
The apostles and the prophets are the foundation of the church with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. This language would not be lost on the original hearers of this letter. You do not lay a foundation twice. This is why Paul specifically mentions only the apostles and prophets here as foundational and then in chapter four he lists all of the positions God has provided to help the church.
It is at this point that charismaniacs like to point out the other handful of people referred to as apostle in the New Testament, such as James and Barnabas. Yes, the greek word for messenger does translate as apostle but the overarching point that they continue to miss is that the apostolic age had not come to an end yet. The foundation for the church was still being laid according to Ephesians 2. Thus I have no issue if there were other apostles listed during this time, whether or not they actually were on par with the 12 and Paul.
The word apostle means "one sent forth" and in this case they were sent forth by Jesus. We run into all sorts of authority problems when we take someone at their word, 2000 years later, that now they too have been sent forth by the Lord. I had written in the past about obvious charlatan apostleships who claim for $50 they can send you an "apostle kit" and you too can be an apostle. Instead today, let us look at what is considered the most recognized apostleship organizations, the International Coalition of Apostles:
Just in case you thought I was kidding, the above link takes you to their homepage, which reveals quite a bit about this false group of wannabe apostles. Remember now the Bible is our arbiter of truth. This organization makes many claims; including:
* That a second apostolic age started "somewhere around 2001."
* That the founder is what is known as a "convening apostle", which apparently gives him the right to decide who is called into the fellowship.