Here comes in the purely historical question. Had the Twelve or any of them preached beyond the limits of Palestine up to this time? High authorities give this extension to St Luke's simple if vague words about St Peter after his deliverance from prison, how he "went out (i.e. out of John Mark's house at Jerusalem) and went his way unto another place" (xii. 17). About twelve years are said to have then elapsed since the Ascension, and reference is made to one of the traditions current in the Second Century, to the effect that our Lord had bidden the Apostles go forth into the world after twelve years. There is, however, nothing connected with the tradition which gives it substantially more weight than the other fictions about the Apostles which soon flourished luxuriantly and in endless contradictions to each other. The omission of such a cardinal event from St Luke's narrative is, I think, inconceivable; and his whole story of the doings of the Ecclesia of Antioch and St Paul's first mission becomes unintelligible if similar missionary journeys of Apostles had preceded. We must, I think, conclude that up to the date of the great conference the Twelve had not believed themselves to have received any clear Divine intimation that the time was come for them to go forth in person among the nations.
 

 

 

from page 86-87, The Christian Ecclesia