Intro

These posts come from several sources. The blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. I am slowly blogging through Steele's Answers, posting each Q & A in the order in which they appear (whether I personally agree with the answer or not). I also post particularly eloquent passages from Dr. Steele's other writings. Occasionally I post "guest blogs" from other holiness writers.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Apostolic Succession

QUESTION: Does the election of Matthias to be an apostle prove the so-called apostolic succession claimed by prelatical churches?

ANSWER: It does not. It rather was a human attempt at substitution, for the apostles were still in condition of pupils. They had not yet begun their work. The apostles had no successors. When James, the brother of John, was killed quite early in the history of the church, when he was most needed, no one was chosen as his successor. To choose apostles is the exclusive prerogative of the head of the church, whether he is on earth or in heaven. In the account of Acts 1:15-26 there is no intimation that the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to do the work which properly belonged to his Lord and Master. He certainly was not inspired to change his boarding house as he did in Gal. 2:11-14, nor to "go a fishing" when they did not catch so much as a smelt till Christ appeared on the scene after their all night's toil. It does not look like heavenly wisdom to inspire men to limit God's choice to one of two. It looks very human for two parties to nominate two candidates, and failing to secure an election, to resort to the lot to decide. This putting forward two candidates is the only instance of a competitive ecclesiastical election or nomination in the New Testament. We could wish it had been the last in church history. Matthias was probably an excellent man, but he is not mentioned again n the New Testament. This may be because he was a man-made apostle. Paul was not such; he was the real twelfth apostle, see Gal. 1:1. He is thus counted in the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem and twelve apostles of the lamb spoken of in Revelation. The claim that the presbyters, elders, sometimes called episcopoi or bishops, are the successors to the twelve apostles is true chronologically, but not officially. All preachers of the Gospel are successors to the apostles in time.

— From: Steele's Answers.