Answer 24: 27 proofs of “The First Church”
24. They had business meetings (Acts 1:15-26).
While this does occur after the eleven are indeed a church, it occurs before they are empowered to do anything:
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:15-26)
If we recall, the Lord Jesus expressly instructed the eleven:
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:7-8)
Now, it is impossible to determine precisely how the eleven took that instruction, but it appears they only took it to mean “don’t go anywhere” instead of “don’t do anything.” Hence, they conducted a “business meeting” without the direction of the Holy Ghost that we see so prominently in the rest of Acts. Being a business meeting of men, it had the same result that the efforts of men, absent the LORD’s guidance and approval, always have. Hence, we never hear of Matthias again.
Since this meeting was conducted without being empowered to accomplish the work of the church, its choice of the twelfth apostle was nullified by the Lord Jesus Christ when He personally chose Saul on the road to Damascus:
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (Acts 9:15-16)
The apostle Paul confirmed his understanding of this later in his ministry:
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. (I Timothy 1:1-2)
Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. (I Timothy 2:7)
Thus, we are free to raise the question:
Does holding business meetings prove anything pertaining to the existence of a New Testament church?
Well, since the company I work for has business meetings, to follow S.E. Anderson’s logic, I would be forced to conclude that the company employing me is indeed a church. The truth is, holding business meetings doesn’t make them (or any other entity) a church. Business meetings are something men engage in, and are a generic utility to make decisions and issue directives. This is not to say that business meetings are wrong, it is just to state that holding a business meeting, regardless of the setting, proves nothing one way or the other about the existence of a valid New Testament church.