Posts Tagged ‘Matthias’


Judas and the Choice of Matthias: A Review

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in Mormonism, New Testament

Zwiep, Arie W. Judas and the Choice of Matthias: A Study on Context and Concern of Acts 1:15-26. WUNT 2/187. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004.


There have been very few books or even articles published that focus completely on Acts 1:15-26, the passage that narrates the choice of Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot following his betrayal and death. This is a crucial passage, however, for those who claim that the New Testament apostles understood their office as one that was to be perpetuated continuously from one generation to another. As I have explained in previous posts here, there are serious problems with the claim that Matthias’s appointment as apostle establishes a precedent for such an understanding of the office.

I have just finished working through Arie W. Zwiep’s academic monograph, Judas and the Choice of Matthias: A Study on Context and Concern of Acts 1:15-26. Read the rest of this entry »

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On December 22, the FAIR Blog—part of the Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research, a pro-Mormonism web site—offered a response to my series of posts here on Mormonism and apostles. The author of the blog, identified as Keller, summarizes my argument as follows:

Bowman’s posts so far have argued that contemporary Mormon practice deviates from what he finds in early Christianity: 1) Ordination to a priesthood office wasn’t always done by the laying on of hands by one holding the authority to do so and 2) The office of apostle in the sense of being a spokesman for the Lord was not meant to continue as such. Such deviations, he contends, make it impossible for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to make unique truth claims about exclusively having priesthood authority.

Keller’s first point in his summary of my view is a bit off, confusing at least some of his readers. Thus, a Mormon named Lance Starr comments, “I haven’t read Bowman’s arguments but isn’t he undermining [his] own evangelical position by arguing for any ordinations at all?” Evangelicals have somewhat varying views on the subject of ordination, but the point I had made was that the New Testament never associates a human ordination ceremony or rite (involving the laying on of hands) with a man becoming an apostle of Jesus Christ. Read the rest of this entry »

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When Mormons attempt to show from the New Testament that the church cannot function without a continuing office of living apostles on the earth, they invariably cite Matthias as precedent. Matthias is the man whom Christ chose to replace Judas Iscariot after he had abandoned his apostolic office, betrayed Christ to the authorities, and then committed suicide (Acts 1:15-26).

The main difficulty with this argument is that nothing in the passage indicates that Matthias’s appointment was precedent for anything. Indeed, everything about the passage argues against it serving as precedent. The passage presents an unusual and in some ways unique event. Read the rest of this entry »

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