The Zealot and the Traitor

Have you ever stopped to think about the 12 guys Jesus stuck together? Some fisherman, craftsmen, farmers but there are two guys we sometimes miss.  The was Simon the Zealot, a political revolutionary who wanted to see Rome overthrown and kicked out of Israel. A Jew for the people. Then there was Matthew. He was a tax collector, a traitor to the Jewish people, collecting taxes for the enemy, the ruling Roman empire.

I can’t imagine these two guys were close friends. They probably didn’t like each other at the beginning, but even after the death of Jesus, they were in the upper room together. Think of the breadth of ministry these two men could reach together, both extremes. They didn’t have to agree, to like one another’s opinion or view. They did have the same allegiance to Jesus Christ and gave their lives to follow and serve Him.

So, Calvinist and Traditionalist you think you have anything on these two? I hear the Ts talk about the Cs and vice versa. If Jesus called a Tax Collector and a Zealot, it’s time to recognize He is using Traditionalist and Calvinists (and the occasional Wovenist) to reach people. The question is, when the time comes, are we going to be in the Upper Room together? Will we stand faithful together, or are our differences larger than our allegiances? Some days I have little hope for us, but I am holding on to that hope. What do you think?


  1. says

    Couple of principles that might apply here. One is that Jesus told us to be unified, coupled with the fact that Jesus told us we had to come to Him as little children or we wouldn’t even see the Kingdom. Coupling those two, it seems our unity must be based on something a little child can understand. Certainly not on traditionalism vs calvinism.

    The other is that doing what we want to do is easy. The hard part is doing what we don’t want to do. So when folks have trouble acting Christlike toward each other, and just getting along well in general, it’s because they don’t want to. They want something else more than they want that.

    I doubt rational discussion is ever going to overcome that, let alone the sort we’re seeing about this topic.

    • Christiane says

      I think you are right about the ‘rational’ not being enough, BOB.

      Christ’s ‘peace’ was present among His disciples . . . a strange peace that defied ‘rational’ explanation

      We have some testimony of this peace in sacred Scripture:
      “And the peace of God,
      which surpasseth all understanding,
      keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. ”
      (Philippians 4:7)

      The earliest Christians had a greeting for one another . . .
      ‘The peace of Christ be with you’
      and the response was
      ‘And with your spirit’

      I think the only real communion Christians have ever had with one another is ‘in Christ’ . . .

  2. says

    Dan – I would say “Good Word,” but this post goes beyond that…

    GREAT WORD!!!!

    However, I think it will again fall on deaf ears. Most of the usual suspects on both sides of this debate hail from the hippie generation of baby boomers. And, you know as well as I that if they can’t compartmentalize each and every one of us into neat little lines and rows and categories, then they become apoplectic.

    I think this debate will simmer until some of them move into retirement and then we can get back to working for Jesus instead of fighting each other like a bunch of elementary kids over who will be first in line… Kind of like a couple of other disciples we’ve heard about.

  3. Jess Alford says

    what is so interesting to me is when Jesus sent the diciples out two by two.
    This is when Judas was paired off with Simon the Canaanite (Zelotes). Matt. 10:4, Mk. 6:7.

    In rour reference, and in this one. Judas never learned his lesson.
    Calvinists and Traditionalist will never learn their lesson either.

    • says

      Do you realize you’ve made a covert implication that either the trads or cals fall into the category of having never been orthodox a la Judas was never a believer?

      I’m sure this was unintentional…

      I believe the warring parties can cooperate if those who keep lobbing shells let go of their need to classify everyone into neat little understandable boxes and just work with those who are like minded in wanting to preach the good news of salvation come.

      • cb scott says

        Greg Buchanan,

        It may be hard for you to believe, but here was a time in the SBC when Trads and Cals did work together, and for the most part they were Boomers.

        • says

          I do believe, but where did the wedge come from and who is swinging the hammer?

          And the Sunday School answer (/church lady voice “Satan”) isn’t enough. I don’t think that this is a real issue, I think it is a club for beating on people. Which means someone i using it… clubs don’t just get up off the floor ans whack people… someone has to wield it.

          And as for baby-boomers, there are two sets: leading edge boomers (b. ~1945-~1958) and trailing edge boomers (b. ~1959- ~1968). The LEB group tends to be harder working and more like the WWII generation, but they are more willing to try new things and embrace technological change. The TrEB group is more likely to go for change first, but they have to compartmentalize and classify everything so they can then make a choice; if there is no label, then it is an aberration or a lie. That is why so many of the TrEB group are more likely to see or be swayed by potential conspiracies: the participants aren’t easily classified and therefore MUST be hiding something from the public.

          Dan – Please correct me on the LEB/TrEB descriptions if I’ve forgotten.

  4. Jess Alford says


    Are you a calvinist? If so, what would it take to iron out your differences with Traditionalists?

    • says

      I’m neither and have no issues one way or the other.

      Many have posted here or elsewhere something to the effect:

      – I have no problem with Calvinism/Traditionalism per se, some of my best friends are Calvinsts/Traditionalists, but what I don’t like are those condescending, arrogant, dirty-rotten-scoundrel types (apologies to Han Solo) who try to make everyone agree with them.

      My “issue” is just with the condescending arrogant types who think they can nail everything down into neat and tidy rows. I believe there is much in scripture that we can KNOW without a doubt:
      – God is good and Holy
      – Jesus claims to be and is God
      – He forewent His prerogatives as God to become a man and give His life as a ransom for many; to all who call on the name of the Lord

      However, to think that we can tidy up or sum up scripture into this box or that box and never the twain shall meet has, in my opinion, a low view of Holy Scripture. I think we could lock ourselves in a room with the autographa (say it is discovered tomorrow) a 21st centurey English to Autographa dictionary with the exact meanings of every word and idiomatic phrase (even the meaning of Selah is there), have a life time supply of Mt Dew and KitKats so we can stay awake forever…

      Sorry I’m beginning to feel like Alexandre Dumas… Anyway, if we studied the entire Bible form beginning to end with all of the original manuscripts, I believe that we could NEVER exhaust all that God can show or tell us.

      I think it is time those who would argue for this or that orthodox point against another equally orthodox point (both can be supported in scripture with out twisting anything) need to humble themselves and recognize that none of us are known-it-alls… even those with a PhD.

      I’d rather take a position (whether I believe it or not; especially if I don’t) and try to challenge others and myself to support or refute it and it’s opposite in order to dive deeper into His word. Unfortunately, most people only ever play in the shallow waters. Many think they are in the deep water (can’t touch the ground) but they refuse to take off their water wings for one reason…


      I think most who argue the Trad/Calv battle are deeply afraid to be wrong. Because if they are wrong about this point, what else do they have wrong… eventually leading to the biggest question: do I really know Jesus.

      I think most people are afraid to go down that road for fear of the answer. I’d rather face that fear and find that I don’t know Him and repent than think I’ve got the tiger by the tail only to hear: “I never knew you.”

      So, lets put down the sword, stop being afraid, and pick up some sandpaper and oil and stone and sharpen one another instead of trying to dismiss one another.

      • says

        In the interest of full disclosure…

        I am a confessed condescending arrogant type who fights against my sin nature all the time, but not always very well. I generally have a short fuse and follow in my father’s footsteps in judgement too closely. I hate those parts of myself and confess my shortcomings to my kids and wife as often as I finally decide to get off my high-horse when I’ve gotten angry too quickly or judged harshly or wrong.

        I know what it is like to be the guy who is afraid to be wrong.

    • says

      That’s it….. That’s all the discussion this challenge is worth?

      What, should Dan have come out and accused the Calvinists of being the Zealots and the Traditionalists as Tax Collectors?

      Or vice versa? Does it have to be outlandish to merit participation?

      Has this considerable challenge if not rebuke from scripture against the venom and ire usually seen here and @ SBC Today really silenced everyone in shame?

      Disappointed to be sure…