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True2Ourselves Forums   > The Round Table > Theology 2  > Apostolic Succession

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  #1  
Old 05-05-2010, 10:32 PM
Linsinbigler's Avatar
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Default Apostolic Succession

It was brought up that a thread on Apostolic Succession would be good, since was being discussed on a thread of a different topic. Disclaimer: anyone who is not comfortable with this topic does not need to feel obligated to reply.

St. Clement of Rome, writing in the year 80, before the final books of the New Testament were written, wrote the following: "Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry" Clement I Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3 A.D. 80


And again, in the following century, St. Irenaeus writes the following: "It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about" Irenaeus Against Heresies 3:3:1 A.D. 180 AD

Here is a remark about St. Irenaeus of Lyons (writing between 160-180AD):

St. Irenaeus of Lyons in the second century defended Apostolic succession in response to certain Gnostics. These Gnostics claimed that Christ or the Apostles passed on some teachings secretly, or that there were some secret apostles, and that they (the Gnostics) were passing on these otherwise secret teachings. Irenaeus responded that the identity of the original Apostles was well known, as was the main content of their teaching and the identity of the Apostles' successors. Therefore, anyone teaching something contrary to what was known to be apostolic teaching was not, in any sense, a successor to the Apostles or to Christ.

This was understood in the very early church as being a special grace, as we see St. Paul writing:
For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 2 Tim. 1:6

This special gift of God of the Apostolic ministry is "bestowed" upon bishops and presbyters by "prophetic utterance" from Paul and the Apostles "through the laying on of the hands of the presbytery" and is not to be neglected (1 Tim. 4.14).

And we can't forget Acts 1:
15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers(a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 he was one of our number and shared in this ministry." 18(With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 "For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms, " 'May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, " 'Let another take his bishopric.' 21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." 23 So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. Acts 1:15-26

And another few points:

No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Acts 5:13 (Note: this shows that the early Christians had a reverence for them)

We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. Acts 15:24

As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem for the people to obey. Acts 16:4 (the presbyters appointed by the Apostles shared Apostolic authority even while the apostles were still living). This is seen also in Acts 20, where the apostolic shepherding of this church is shared by the bishops/presbyters:
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. Acts 20:28 (Note: this is a clear testimony that the Holy Spirit appointed the Twelve to be "oeverseers" and "shepherds of the church")

For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 2:17 (Note: this shows that the office they hold is more then self appointed authority).

"having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone" Eph. 2:20
For the Lord, this Apostolic ministry was likened unto His ministry:
"As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." John 17:18 As the Father sent Christ into the world (part of which was appointing apostles), so also Christ sends them into the world (part of which is appointing other apostles).
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:41 PM
CatholicCrusader
 
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Default Re: Apostolic Succession

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linsinbigler View Post
......This special gift of God of the Apostolic ministry is "bestowed" upon bishops and presbyters by "prophetic utterance" from Paul and the Apostles "through the laying on of the hands of the presbytery" and is not to be neglected (1 Tim. 4.14).......
That's it Padre !!! Through the laying on of hands!

And also this one:
"...what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). In this passage Paul refers to the first three generations of Apostolic Succession - his own generation, Timothy’s generation, and the generation Timothy will teach.

This is a very important subject.
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:52 AM
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Default Re: Apostolic Succession

May we start at the very beginning? Which "apostles"? The 12 or the 70? And do all groups who support Apostolic Succession see this the same way and agreed to who planted which church?
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:49 AM
diebamted21
 
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Default Re: Apostolic Succession

Fr Harry.
I am deeply indebted to you for your OP.
What can I say?
There remains two seemingly insurmountable reasons why I personally (and I emphasise 'personally') am unable to believe that Apostolic succession succeded and that the church did not radically change from what was God's and Christ's original intention.
But I hesitate (although you might not think that I do) to detail those two reasons because of the human limitation of explaining why I can't embrace either without it coming out like an attempt to win over to my way of thinking those who do accept both.
It's hard enough for me when I am talking, (without primary connection to apostolic selection and the integrity of Church development) about things like the canonisation of a selection of the apostles' writings, and the reproduction of them together with the 'Old Testament' in the form of a new 'Holy Text Book, because it is all so integrated.

The only person who would be helped (even if I were to detail why I can't accept the two elements in question) would be me simply because it is my habit to develop my convictions by slowing the thought process down to the slowness of my one finger typing limitation.
Then posting it to forum only slightly sharpens the process so you may never get to read of my resistence other than by inference from my posts on peripheral subjects.
That's why I have kept out of 'The Pope' thread. (except for two posts which ignored the core subject)

Maybe I should detail my resistence to you by PM then I can hardly be seen to be trying to undermine the faith of those who can't see it my way.

Trouble is that I am so verbose it might not fit into a PM.

Mike.

Last edited by diebamted21 : 05-06-2010 at 02:58 AM.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:36 AM
CatholicCrusader
 
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Default Re: Apostolic Succession

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Originally Posted by NotFinishedYet View Post
May we start at the very beginning? Which "apostles"? The 12 or the 70? And do all groups who support Apostolic Succession see this the same way and agreed to who planted which church?
The 70 were not Apostles. Unfortunately the Bible tends to interchange the word Disciple with Apostle sometimes. Probably because there are certain qualities of each that overlap. A Disicple is a student or a follower. An Apostle is one who is sent with authority, almost like an ambassador. And yet, the Apostles were also followers, and Disciples are called to go forth and share the good news. So there is a little overlap there.

As for who planted which church: That does not matter. I kinda need to address the Pope in this regard to clarify, but I'll refrain because I know Father L doesn't like his threads derailed. Let's just say, it doesn't matter. A bishop is a bishop.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Apostolic Succession

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Originally Posted by CatholicCrusader View Post
The 70 were not Apostles. Unfortunately the Bible tends to interchange the word Disciple with Apostle sometimes. Probably because there are certain qualities of each that overlap. A Disicple is a student or a follower. An Apostle is one who is sent with authority, almost like an ambassador. And yet, the Apostles were also followers, and Disciples are called to go forth and share the good news. So there is a little overlap there.

As for who planted which church: That does not matter. I kinda need to address the Pope in this regard to clarify, but I'll refrain because I know Father L doesn't like his threads derailed. Let's just say, it doesn't matter. A bishop is a bishop.
I have faded since I wrote this early this morning. I realize the difference and translation issue with Apostle vs apostle and the 12 vs the 70. However, what I was thinking at that time (and much evades me right now) was of an encounter I had read at some point of a Church Father (Eusebius maybe?). I believe a church had ousted its Bishop and appointed for themselves a new one. The old bishop had been in the Apostolic line, but the new one was not.... or only via the 70. Anyway, the final decree was that the authority of appointing the bishop was through the church members as the apostolic succession was to them and not an individual.

I'm sure I have at least some of this wrong with how tired I am right now, but that's the meat of what I was getting to. blessings, Peggy
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Last edited by NotFinishedYet : 05-06-2010 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Apostolic Succession

The Orthodox refer to them as the holy 70 Apostles. That is how they are commemorated in the calendar. The Latin west tended to prefer the term "disciples." But certainly the 12 and the 70 are among those who are enumerated as "the apostles and presbyters" who sent forth the dogmata of Acts 15-16 and could perform the "laying on of the hands of the presbytery" to "pass on" what was given to them to "others also."
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Apostolic Succession

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Originally Posted by Linsinbigler View Post
The Orthodox refer to them as the holy 70 Apostles. That is how they are commemorated in the calendar. The Latin west tended to prefer the term "disciples." But certainly the 12 and the 70 are among those who are enumerated as "the apostles and presbyters" who sent forth the dogmata of Acts 15-16 and could perform the "laying on of the hands of the presbytery" to "pass on" what was given to them to "others also."
Okay, so I wasn't really far off base, just depends on which church. Doesn't Anglican and Lutheran (or is it Episcopal) also believe in Apostolic Succession?

Is it seen more as a passing on of authority or passing on of the faith, or both or something else?
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: Apostolic Succession

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Originally Posted by NotFinishedYet View Post
Okay, so I wasn't really far off base, just depends on which church. Doesn't Anglican and Lutheran (or is it Episcopal) also believe in Apostolic Succession?

Is it seen more as a passing on of authority or passing on of the faith, or both or something else?
Anglican does and some Lutherans do, but not all (for example, the Lutherans of Finland, which, incidentally, has two "official" state religions, Lutheran and Orthodox).

It is a passing on of a particular gift of the Spirit. The faith is passed on to all in baptism/chrismation/communion. This gift of the Spirit involves a teaching authority and leadership within the royal priesthood.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:20 PM
CatholicCrusader
 
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Default Re: Apostolic Succession

Whoa, wait a sec: When Jesus empowered the Apostles with the authority to forgive sin at the end of John's Gospel, it was only the twelve. Same goes for the great commission to teach and baptise.
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