Summary: Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great. - Acts 8:9 Most evangelicals have heard the story of "Simon the Sorcerer" who was amazed by the power the .
Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great. - Acts 8:9
Most evangelicals have heard the story of "Simon the Sorcerer" who was amazed by the power the Apostles had and offered money to them for such a power. But the story does not begin there but with the deacon Philip who was ordained by the original Apostles in Jerusalem. Philip at some point went out preaching the Good News abroad and ended up in Samaria. He had great success in a certain area where many committed to the Lord and were baptized. Even this sorcerer who was deceiving the peoples: "Simon himself believed and was baptized" (Acts 8:13). Now we revisit what happened to this man who believed in the Lord, he was fascinated by the power the Apostles had to lay hands on people and they received the Holy Spirit. That desire that he had when unconverted to have the attention of the people came back and "he offered them money" so that he could get this power too. The Apostle Peter discerned his wrong dangerous motives of his heart and gave him a very stern warning that he was "full of bitterness and captive to sin" (Acts 8:23). Essentially he was bitter and envious that others had the crowds attention. He did not want to elevate the Lord but himself. He starting as a believer then took the road of an apostate starting to teach false heresies in the Church.
In Church history he is also known as "Simon Magus" or "Simon the Magician" and it was believed that most heresies in the Church arose from this individual. His influence grew to a place were a sect known as Simonians, the sect flourished in Syria, in various districts of Asia Minor and at Rome. And was an early Apostolic belief that from Simon's teachings "whom all sorts of heresies derive their origin" according to Irenaeus. This is again proof that all wrong teachings in the Church begin from within the Church and from believers who depart from the faith. Justin Martyr said of Simon Magnus: "This man, then, was glorified by many as if he were a god; and he taught that it was himself who appeared among the Jews as the Son, but descended in Samaria as the Father while he came to other nations in the character of the Holy Spirit. He represented himself, in a word, as being the loftiest of all powers, that is, the Being who is the Father over all, and he allowed himself to be called by whatsoever title men were pleased to address him." It perhaps is not surprising that the first false teacher in the Book of Acts is one that preforms great outward signs, for our Lord says in the last days: "False messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect" (Matthew 24:24). The enemy never truly changes his tactics. It is also not surprising that money was used to try and be spiritual before men and that error of "simony" continues.