Matthias: the First Serious Error of the Apostles
This series is Part 1 of a planned 2-part series.
A common error of many Christians and "theologians" is the failure to recognize the difference between inspired history and inspired doctrine, and how each is to be used to establish "sound doctrine". The Bible, of course, is filled with both; however, the distinction is that there are many examples in the Bible of genuine people of God doing stupid, silly or sometimes even evil things. A few, very well-known of the latter are:
- Moses did not treat the Lord as Holy (OT: Deu 32.48-52)
- Ancient King David committed adultery/rape and murder (OT: 2 Sam 11).
- The Apostle Peter denied the Lord prior to the crucifixion (NT: Mat 26.69-75).
- Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit (NT: Act 5.1-11).
- The Apostle Peter, with other Jewish Christians, acted hypocritically in Galatia and were "not straightforward about the truth of the gospel." (Gal 2.11-14)
All are examples of what actually happened.
None represent behavior that Christians of the then current or latter generations should emulate simply because ancient believers did so.
These accounts are historic, nothing more or less, recorded at least to warn future believers of what not to do.
There is, however, another example of what not to believe that careless Christians have maintained for nearly two millenia: namely, to maintain the myth that the selection of Matthias by the remaining eleven apostles (Act 1.15-26) was legitimate. The reason for this thoughtlessness is simply that "that is what the early Apostles did", therefore, it must be OK.
While maintaining this typical error, Christians (astonishingly!) fail to look at "the big picture" concerning the proper use of inspired history.
Here are a few elements to consider:
- Why does this event matter?
- Was the Apostles' decision to select Matthias binding?
- Why did the Lord Christ not handle this personally while He was with those early disciple and Apostles for 6 weeks!?!?
- Why was the "criteria for Apostleship" so different for Matthias when compared to the original twelve?
- Why was the selection of Matthias so careless when compared to the selection of the original twelve?
- Why is the typical impetuous nature of Peter not considered an important facet of this historical event?
- Why is Peter's citation from a pair of imprecatory Psalms not considered out-of-context by typical Christians?
- Why are several early Christians (who were not part of the twelve) called "apostles"?
Simply stated: the error of the eleven was to presume an authority that the Lord Christ alone possesses: namely, to select His own apostles at the time, place and manner of His own choosing.
The purpose of this article (Part 1 of 2) is:
- to demonstrate from the Scripture that the early Apostles acted impetuously and foolishly based on the fact of what the Bible teaches concerning the number of Apostles that was established for all time;
- that their decision was both wrong and absolutely non-binding;
- to establish the carelessness of those who maintain this error;
- to state the true qualification (singular, not plural!) for the office of Apostle.
The series is presented in five chapters:
- The Verb and Noun Forms Used (ἀποστέλλω, ἀπόστολος, ἀποστολή).
- A modern defense of Matthias as the replacement Apostle via the misguided and surprisingly careless assertions of Dr. Wayne Grudem, “Systematic Theology”, Zondervan.
- The biblical rebuttal of Dr. Grudem’s assertions.
- The biblical statement of the single, biblical qualification for the Office of Apostle of Jesus Christ.