What is Apostolic Succession?

JeffLogan's picture

Reply to: 14 Apostles

Reply to: 14 Apostles
Submitted by ElderDad on Tue, 2012-04-24 18:21.


You are not a man who posts lightly so I am assuming you want me to respond. I'll respond within the context of your remarks below.


If, indeed, Paul was supposed to have been the 12th apostle, then we must conclude that Peter was way off base when he said the 12 must be together before the Holy Spirit would come. I'll have to ask him someday if he ever regretted that decision and conclusion. There is no Scriptural evidence that he regretted or renounced his view. It is hard to imagine that there is nothing in the book of Acts correcting the "mistake," if it was one. Why, when Paul showed up in Jerusalem, did he not say, "I'm the 12th apostle; Matthias, please leave"?

    I don't find that Peter insisted that 12 be present. Where is that account recorded?

    Do we have a record that Matthias was even present at Jerusalem? We do have evidence that Paul was there because the meeting was convened on his behalf to settle a dispute among the Jews and Gentiles regarding the laws of Moses.

    When Paul went up to Jerusalem the first time to meet with the apostles they accepted him as an apostle chosen by God to preach to the Gentiles and Peter as an Apostle to preach to the Jews. This passage demonstrates this:

      Galatians 2
      6As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message. 7On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles,a just as Peter had been to the Jews.b 8For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9James, Peterc and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.

The second problem we have with excluding Matthias on a "12 apostle" basis is that it strips Barnabas of his title as an apostle (for example, Acts 14:14). With the overall direction of apostolic activity and claims made by Paul, I think we might not be too far offtrack in concluding that there were the 12 apostles to the Jews, present at the arrival of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, and 2 apostles to the Gentiles.

    I never realized the Bible called Barnabas an apostle. Do you know when and how he was chosen?

    What you say certainly makes sense that Paul and Barnabas were 2 apostles to the Gentiles. However, I am still impressed to believe that the 12 (including Paul, excluding Matthias) that were chosen by God, rather than men, are the foundation of the church which was built upon the Rock, the Chief Corner Stone, Jesus Christ. Mainly because each of them were chosen directly by Jesus. And partly because we hear a lot from Paul and nothing from Matthias.

As far as Peter was concerned, Matthias was chosen by God through the method Peter used (Peter assumed God controlled the event in response to a prayer of faith and trust). Please notice the words, "Show us the one you have chosen." Luke seems to have agreed, or he would certainly have said something to correct the "error." So, was Luke not inspired and without error after all? At the time Matthias was chosen, Paul was still Saul and wasn't eligible.

    Your argument and that of another author I was reading regarding this matter have convinced me that the Holy Spirit did aid them in the selection.

Folks from many Christian backgrounds want Paul instead of Matthias among the twelve. But over the years, I have concluded that it is extremely hard to accept:
1. God didn't answer the pray in vv. 24 and 25;
2. Peter lacked wisdom to understand what must occur before the Holy Spirit would descend;
3. Luke misrepresented the status of Barnabas when he called him an apostle;
3. Peter was wrong that the 12th apostle had to have been among Jesus' followers; and
5. The Holy Spirit didn't care enough about the truth to make sure the errors in the first 4 things were cleared up in Scripture.

    Well, these are good points. I admit that you have helped convince me that the Holy Spirit did indeed aid their selection. Now I must reflect on how my confusion has impacted other things I believe.

In all honesty, however, I must admit this viewpoint doesn't help the "Apostolic Succession" teaching, because the Church has been basically a ministry to the Gentiles, having very little impact on the Jews. That would make the succession have to come down from Paul and Barnabas, not Peter and the other 11.

    That is a good point when you take things literally, as the doctrine tends to do. However, eventually all of the Apostles turned their primary attention to the Gentiles once the 70 weeks allotted to the Jewish nation expired around 34AD with the stoning of Steven. It is a recorded fact of scripture which I will demonstrate if you care to see it.

    Thanks for you kindness and patience.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV