Simony and Pet Doctrines

I was involved in a very fun discussion last night about faith. We eventually hit on Simon who believed God and was baptized (Acts 8:13). Later on, however, Simon tries to buy the power of the Holy Spirit.

At this point Peter says to Simon, “Let your money perish with you. Your heart is not right, your sins are not forgiven and you in trouble son” (Acts 8:20-23).

The fascinating point brought up was, which one do we throw under the bus here: justification by faith alone or eternal security?

If a man is justified by faith alone it would be hard to imagine Peter condemning the man to hell since he said he believed. If he was saved because he believed and Peter told him and his money to go to hell, well Simon just lost his salvation.

Which doctrine do we keep in this one? If you say Simon wasn’t saved, what was all the “Simon believed” business? The only other option to avoid chucking doctrines is to convince yourself that when Peter told him and his money to perish is that “perish” does not mean condemnation to hell.

You’d have to do some tricky non-literal interpretation things to get that meaning based on how the word is always used in regard to people: talking about their destruction in hell, Judas was a son of perdition. “Perdition” is the same word as Peter uses for “perish.”

Fun stuff!

4 thoughts on “Simony and Pet Doctrines”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    I have been lurking at you blog for a few years now and I have given you precious few comments (I think this is the third one). Your post on Simony caught my interest so I have have been trying to track down interpretations from other teachers I believe to be solid so I can see if they teach that this passage pits justification by faith against eternal security.

    I found one such study by the pastor of Fredericksburg Bible Church. To find the study you have to follow the link on the left hand side labeled “Lesson Library” then click on “Acts”. Then scroll down to the lesson on Acts 8:5-24.

    I apologize for the long build up but sometimes good things take time:-). Basically what pastor Thomas teaches is that Peter told Simon that “Let your money perish with you” means “You and your money can go to hell!” While we don’t think of apostles cussing out people this does make sense, preserves the doctrines of justification by faith and eternal security, and it does not require a non-literal interpretation.

    Glenn W.

  2. Simon’s faith was merely intellectual; like the kind of faith found in John 2:23-25. Outwardly he seemed like the rest, but inside he was not. Many believe intellectually, but not all have placed their trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.

  3. Interesting point, and interesting that I don’t recall hearing a Sunday morning sermon touch on this part of the story. :)

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: