What is Apostolic Succession?

ElderDad's picture

re: reply to 14 apostles


Thank you for responding to my "14 apostles." Having grown up under teachers, including my father, who numbered Paul as the twelfth apostle, I realize many do not agree with my numbering system. Nevertheless, I will try to take each of your points and see if I can clarify further.

re: Peter stated 12 must be present-- Acts 1:15-22 Peter establishes the shortage by one apostle because of Judas' departure and suicide. Then he states the need for a 12th apostle and establishes his understanding of the criteria for appointment. 1) present during the ministry of Jesus from beginning to end of His public ministry (vv. 21-22), witness of the resurrection (v. 22), and selected by God (v. 24). After these criteria were fulfilled, where is there any statement by Peter that he had made a mistake in this matter?

re: Do we have a record that Matthias was present at Jerusalem? Most assuredly, we do. Peter stated the requirement that the new appointee must be present with Jesus from the baptism by John to the resurrection. How would we conclude he was not present in Jerusalem if he was present for the crucifixion? After establishing the criteria, would Peter have gone forward with someone not qualified?

re: "We have evidence that Paul was there because . . . " The meeting to which you refer was significantly later. We have no indication of which I am aware that Paul was present in Jerusalem at the time of this pre-Pentacost meeting.

re: the acceptance of Paul as an apostle. You are correct that the apostles accepted Paul as an apostle, which is not in disagreement with my assessment of 14 apostles. There is no indication, however, that they made a substitution and said, "Okay, Paul is the twelfth, not Matthias."

re: designation of Barnabas as an apostle -- As I indicated in my previous post, in Acts 14:14, Barnabas and Paul are called "apostles" by Luke.

re: nothing heard of Matthias -- Yes, you are correct that scripture doesn't tell us about later activities of Matthias. But this could be said regarding about half of the apostles. For example, what does the book of Acts say about later activities of Simon the Zealot (not to be confused with Simon Peter)? Or perhaps, Thaddeus? While these apostles are not mentioned in the rather narrow range of Luke's narrative, they appear to have been very active serving the Lord, according to tradition. While tradition never takes precedence over inspired scripture, it does provide possible historical data.

I believe that the Holy Spirit aided their selection and He aided the recording of scriptural history. As I mentioned, replacing Matthias with Paul would cause me to have to accept those five points, and I am unable to accept them.

The only place I see the numbering as a major issue is when we get down to the book of Revelation and assign 12 apostles to 12 tribes. It would surely have been nice if John had done us the favor of listing them in that book. (Then that brings up the problem of the number of tribes, but let's not go there.)

As to my final statement about Apostolic Succession, that was the only point I made that was just kind of a breeze blowing past my middle ear. Since I don't accept the assumptions of Apostolic Succession, it makes little difference to me if it is 2, 12 or 14 apostles who are succeeded. Lest anyone take that as being critical of the belief, I am not being critical of it; I just don't agree with it.

Submitted as a poster,

Dave S.
Senior Moderator, Volunteers for Proofreading
2 Tim. 3:16--All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
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