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Apostolic Succession

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Loyal
Not sure where to place this, but I was wondering if any of you knew anything about this subject. I just became aware of this yesterday, so it is new to me. I did some research on it yesterday, but if you have anything to share with me on this subject, I would appreciate your input. Thanks.
 
Moderator
Staff Member
Greetings,

Ephesians 2:18-22
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

While there are many churches (congregations, assemblies), there is only one temple, which can only have one cornerstone and one foundation.

1Corinthians 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

2Corinthians 11:13-15
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Jude 17-19
17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
Revelation 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Bless you ....><>

Revelation 21:14
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
 
Loyal
Greetings,

Ephesians 2:18-22
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

While there are many churches (congregations, assemblies), there is only one temple, which can only have one cornerstone and one foundation.

1Corinthians 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

2Corinthians 11:13-15
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Jude 17-19
17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
Revelation 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Bless you ....><>

Revelation 21:14
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Thank you for all those scriptures. I appreciate this. God bless!
 
Loyal
When it was decided that another Apostle was needed to replace Judas, Peter said:

"For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take." Acts 1:20

He apparently was referring to these Psalms:

"Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents." Psalm 69:25

"Let his days be few; and let another take his office." Psalm 109:8

The work of ministers, which includes Apostles is described here:

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" Eph 4:11-13

They are still needed, so replacements are appropriate, but who other than God is qualified to ordain them?
 
Loyal
When it was decided that another Apostle was needed to replace Judas, Peter said:

"For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take." Acts 1:20

He apparently was referring to these Psalms:

"Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents." Psalm 69:25

"Let his days be few; and let another take his office." Psalm 109:8

The work of ministers, which includes Apostles is described here:

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" Eph 4:11-13

They are still needed, so replacements are appropriate, but who other than God is qualified to ordain them?
Amadeus, the Bible teaches the priesthood of the believer in Jesus Christ. We all have access to God through the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross for our sins. We are all servants of the Lord, and parts of his body, and we all have the Word of God living within us, and in written form in the Bible. We are all given the same Holy Spirit, and thus we are all able to hear the Word of the Lord speaking his words to our hearts. We are not to raise one follower of Christ above the other. One plants, another waters, but God is the one who makes all things grow. We are merely his servants. Within the church God has set down that we should have elders and deacons (overseers) to lead the people, but to lead in all humility and by personal example, not lording it over the people. We also have those who teach and who prophesy, i.e. who share the Word of God (from the Bible) to instruct, encourage and strengthen us in our walks of faith. They share the Word of God with us in very practical ways which we can apply to our daily lives. But, we all work together as one body.

From what I have learned so far of this "apostolic succession" is that it is about hierarchy in the church, and is a matter of pride that these people, they believe, have been given some special dispensation from God which they believe was passed down to them from one generation to another through a blood-line of sorts, which sets them apart from everyone else, and which gives them some special authority over the church which others don't have who have not come from this blood-line (of sorts). The Pope is an example of such a one who is believed to have this special authority from God over the church, and he is set up in such a position over people that they revere him as though he is God, and that his words are the very words of God, and that is dangerous.
 
Active
I don't think that is what Amadeus was saying.

I don't think there is some line of apostolic authority, like the pope or something.

I do have an example that may be relevant to something you said though. The scriptures clearly indicate that to be an elder (which is basically what we call pastors today because we don't follow the first century church model to a T) one must be male. The scriptures clearly indicate that women shouldn't be teachers of men or excercise authority over men in the church. Does the fact that only men are biblically allowed to hold the position of an elder in the church make them better than, or more special than, women?

Blessings,

Travis
 
Loyal
I don't think that is what Amadeus was saying.

I don't think there is some line of apostolic authority, like the pope or something.

I do have an example that may be relevant to something you said though. The scriptures clearly indicate that to be an elder (which is basically what we call pastors today because we don't follow the first century church model to a T) one must be male. The scriptures clearly indicate that women shouldn't be teachers of men or excercise authority over men in the church. Does the fact that only men are biblically allowed to hold the position of an elder in the church make them better than, or more special than, women?

Blessings,

Travis
No, it does not make them better. We are each given specific roles within the body of Christ, and only males are allowed to be in authority over the church, as a whole, and only males can have authority to teach (instruct) other males. Yet, we are all parts of one body, and we work together, and those who are in leadership should be humble and should lead the people by example, and should not lord it over the people.

The question posed here was concerning "apostolic succession," which, from what I have read so far, is not about the church appointing elders and deacons, i.e. overseers within the church body to lead the body of Christ in all love and humility, and as fellow servants of the Lord Jesus, but it is concerning those who believe they have come from some special line of apostles that came before them, and that raises them above all others, and places them almost in the position of God with the people, in that they believe their words to the people are the words of God, even if they are not. And, because of this special position they feel they hold, they see themselves in a hierarchy, above and separate from all us common people, and that is dangerous. This is a Catholic teaching, but it seems to be reaching into evangelical Christian circles, and that is why I brought it up, and because I am just learning what it is.

The scriptures Amadeus quoted are some of the ones those who follow this "apostolic succession" use in their arguments of support of such a position. Yet, I was not suggesting that Amadeus was holding to that line of thinking. I was not sure what he was thinking. He said he believes apostles are still needed in the church today, and so when one dies off (or leaves the office), they should be replaced with another, which leans towards this idea of "apostolic succession," i.e. keeping the blood-line (of sorts) going, though I am not certain that is what Amadeus intended. He did say that only God is the one to ordain them.

I believe it is important to distinguish between this doctrine of "apostolic succession" and the teachings in scripture concerning the appointing of elders and deacons (overseers) within the church to lead God's people, because they are not one and the same. One is not biblical. The other is. One sets itself above the common people, the other does not, but is humble, submissive, and is a fellow-servant of the people, as Paul always referred to himself as being. Paul had spiritual authority, but he was still one of the people. Those who believe they come from this line of "apostolic succession" believe they are separate from the common people, kind of like a king or a queen (royalty). Paul was open to having his words tested. Many of these who see themselves as in this line of succession are not open to being challenged, and they, in fact, rail against anyone who would challenge anything they say.

Anyway, this is what I am learning so far about this. I appreciate all the feedback and the discussion, because this is helping me to get an understanding of what this is all about. I am always learning, always growing. Thanks for your input.
 
Loyal
Greetings,

Ephesians 2:18-22
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

While there are many churches (congregations, assemblies), there is only one temple, which can only have one cornerstone and one foundation.

1Corinthians 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

2Corinthians 11:13-15
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Jude 17-19
17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
Revelation 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Bless you ....><>

Revelation 21:14
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
I have a question, maybe you can answer. The 12 apostles were the 12 disciples (-Judas) + Matthias, who was chosen to replace Judas, correct? All of them had been with Jesus, which was a requirement for apostleship, correct? These are the 12 apostles spoken of in Rev. 21:14, correct? Then, where does Paul fit in? He was an apostle of Christ, but not one of the original 12, so he was no. 13. Was he the last apostle? Was anyone after him called an apostle? Sorry for all the questions, but this is new territory for me, i.e. something I have not previously studied, and so I am trying to understand it. Any help would be appreciated, but I am going to do some research on this, too. Thanks for whatever help you can give. God bless!
 
Loyal
It is coming together now. The definition of apostle is key, as well is the priesthood of the believer. I will share what I have learned as soon as the Lord brings it all together for me in my mind.
 
Loyal
Thank you all for what you have shared. You have all made a difference, and I appreciate every one of you. Through all of your comments and verses the Lord is helping me to see how it all fits together, so I thank you from my heart. God bless!
 
Loyal
Amadeus, the Bible teaches the priesthood of the believer in Jesus Christ. We all have access to God through the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross for our sins. We are all servants of the Lord, and parts of his body, and we all have the Word of God living within us, and in written form in the Bible. We are all given the same Holy Spirit, and thus we are all able to hear the Word of the Lord speaking his words to our hearts. We are not to raise one follower of Christ above the other. One plants, another waters, but God is the one who makes all things grow. We are merely his servants. Within the church God has set down that we should have elders and deacons (overseers) to lead the people, but to lead in all humility and by personal example, not lording it over the people. We also have those who teach and who prophesy, i.e. who share the Word of God (from the Bible) to instruct, encourage and strengthen us in our walks of faith. They share the Word of God with us in very practical ways which we can apply to our daily lives. But, we all work together as one body.
I do not disagree, sister. My point was simply to respond to your question. What I wrote could be used to support a hierarchy of people who are lording it over others rather than working as God would have them to work. To please God always, we must always pray as Jesus did here:

"...nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matt 26:39

To do this we would have as Paul wrote: "Pray without ceasing".

For us alone these things are impossible but for God working in us what is impossible?

From what I have learned so far of this "apostolic succession" is that it is about hierarchy in the church, and is a matter of pride that these people, they believe, have been given some special dispensation from God which they believe was passed down to them from one generation to another through a blood-line of sorts, which sets them apart from everyone else, and which gives them some special authority over the church which others don't have who have not come from this blood-line (of sorts). The Pope is an example of such a one who is believed to have this special authority from God over the church, and he is set up in such a position over people that they revere him as though he is God, and that his words are the very words of God, and that is dangerous.
The Pope may as you say be an example, but he and many of his fellow Catholics are hardly the only poor examples, are they?
 
Loyal
Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:14-19​

In the past couple of days I have been made aware of the doctrine of “apostolic succession.” I was unfamiliar with this doctrine prior to a few days ago. Since it is being taught in Christian circles as truth, I felt the Lord would have me investigate it, and learn what it was about, and test it against the word of God to see if it was truth. So, I set out to do that a few days ago, and I will now share what I believe the Lord has taught me so far, because I believe this falls into this category of “worldly and empty chatter,” which is spreading like gangrene, or has the potential to do so, and is, or could possibly be a teaching that would upset the faith of some and lead them astray to a false gospel and a false belief.

Definition of Apostolic Succession: "The doctrine maintaining that present-day successors to Jesus's apostles, i.e. the bishops, have the same spiritual authority, power, and responsibility conferred upon them as did the original apostles" - Apostolic succession | Define Apostolic succession at Dictionary.com

From what I can ascertain about this belief, it appears that the thought is that there are those who have received the gift of apostleship by way of succession, much like a prince might receive the crown from his father who was the king, after the father dies. The thought is that Jesus passed his authority down to his apostles who then passed their authority down to other apostles, and so on and so forth, and that these who have received apostleship by way of succession are in a class all to themselves above others (a hierarchy), again much like royalty, as compared to or in contrast to the common person who is not royalty. A hierarchy is “government by an elite group; government by ecclesiastical rulers;” and/or “the power or dominion of a hierarch,” which is “a person who rules or has authority in sacred matters; high priest” - Hierarchy | Define Hierarchy at Dictionary.com.

I believe the Lord is saying this is a false doctrine, based in the lies of human beings, who have cooked this up out of their own minds. The foundation for this belief is not Jesus Christ, but it is man (human flesh), and this human flesh, from which this doctrine is coming, is at some of the highest levels in the land. Yet, there are those who are embracing this doctrine, and are holding on to it tenaciously, with their minds. Yet, the power through which this belief comes is not the Holy Spirit of God, but the flesh of man. These who are holding to the belief of “apostolic succession” have, thus, separated themselves from the body of believers in that they see themselves as superior, a class unto themselves, and there seems to be a desire among them, as well, to lord it over the people, rather than to humbly see themselves as one of us, i.e. as fellow-servants of Christ and of his gospel.

So, what is an apostle? “Apóstolos (from apostéllō, ‘to commission, send forth’) – properly, someone sent (commissioned), focusing back on the authority (commissioning) of the sender (note the prefix, apo); apostle; a messenger, one sent on a mission,” etc. - Strong's Greek: 652. ἀπόστολος (apostolos) -- a messenger, one sent on a mission, an apostle.​

So, to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, we need to be commissioned by Jesus Christ himself, to be sent on a mission, to be his messenger, and to represent him. This is not something someone can inherit from another human being, like in a blood-line, of sorts, but we must be called of God, empowered by the Spirit of God, and commissioned by God himself to do whatever it is he has called us to do. The Holy Spirit gives gifts as he chooses, and God assigns roles within the body of Christ as he determines, not as man determines, and not through some succession from one man to another to another. Let’s compare this to:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).

So, what is this saying? Under the old order of things, i.e. under the Old Covenant, there was an order of priests who served as mediators between God and man. They were the ones who would make sacrifices for people’s sins, once a year, and they were the only ones, I believe, who could enter into the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was housed, and in which was God’s presence. Yet, when Jesus Christ died, the veil that separated us from the Holy of Holies was torn in two. In other words, through Jesus’ death for our sins, the barrier that stood between humans and God’s presence was destroyed, and a way was opened up for us to be able to come into God’s presence, through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever” (Rev. 5:12, 13b). He is the one who is to be high and lifted up, not man. He is our only high priest!

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are indwelt with his Holy Spirit. We, thus, become the body of Christ, his church, the temple of God. The Holy of Holies now dwells within us. We no longer need human priests to mediate between us and God, for we can go directly into God’s presence. Jesus Christ is our hierarchy, not man. Since we are now the body of Christ, we are a holy and a royal priesthood, and we have been commissioned by God for his service, to proclaim him who has called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. We are all his servants and messengers. As his body, we are his representatives. We have the Word of God dwelling within us, so we no longer need prophets or apostles, in the sense of those who speak God’s God-breathed words to us. God can speak directly to each and every one of us. We have the written word of God, as well, in which we can be taught God’s words to us. And, the Holy Spirit is our primary teacher.

Now, within the body of Christ, the Holy Spirit gives gifts to all followers of Christ, as he chooses, and God assigns us the parts in the body, which he determines. But, we are all parts of one body, fellow servants together, chosen by God for his service, and not one of us is to be placed above another. One plants, another waters, but it is God who makes all things grow. We are all merely servants of God through whom he works for his purposes and for his glory. We do have teachers, but what they teach is the Word of God. We have those who prophesy, but what they do is proclaim the Word of God in very practical ways as is applied to our world and our lives today. We have appointed leaders, but they are to lead by example, and to not lord it over the people. Their purpose is to help nurture us in our walks of faith to maturity, to give guidance and direction, to keep order and discipline, and to direct the affairs of the church with love, justice and mercy. But, we are all fellow workers together in God’s kingdom, and all answerable to Christ, who is our only head.

So, if someone comes to you with this teaching of “apostolic succession,” reject it, because it is not of God. Jesus Christ is our only King and Lord, and He alone is to be High and Lifted Up! We are ALL his servants and messengers, commissioned by him for his service.

Your Servant Witness / An Original Work / March 13, 2012

Humbly I bow, Lord, before You,
Bringing my requests to You.
May I listen; hear You speaking.
May I follow You in truth.
Gently lead me in Your service.
Guide my steps and strengthen me.
Fill me with Your love and mercy.
May I live for Thee!

Let me be Your servant witness,
Telling others of Your grace.
May I always share the gospel
With those I meet face to face.
May I show the love of Jesus,
Caring for the needs of men;
Be Your servant witness always
For my Lord, Amen!

My desire to be like Jesus,
Living for Him ev’ry day.
May I obey all His teachings
Given me, so I’ll not stray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master.
You are the King of my heart;
Follow You where’er You lead me;
Not from You depart!

 
Loyal
I do not disagree, sister. My point was simply to respond to your question. What I wrote could be used to support a hierarchy of people who are lording it over others rather than working as God would have them to work. To please God always, we must always pray as Jesus did here:

"...nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matt 26:39

To do this we would have as Paul wrote: "Pray without ceasing".

For us alone these things are impossible but for God working in us what is impossible?



The Pope may as you say be an example, but he and many of his fellow Catholics are hardly the only poor examples, are they?
Thank you, Amadeus, for sharing these thoughts. I appreciate your input. God bless!
 
Loyal
Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:14-19​

In the past couple of days I have been made aware of the doctrine of “apostolic succession.” I was unfamiliar with this doctrine prior to a few days ago. Since it is being taught in Christian circles as truth, I felt the Lord would have me investigate it, and learn what it was about, and test it against the word of God to see if it was truth. So, I set out to do that a few days ago, and I will now share what I believe the Lord has taught me so far, because I believe this falls into this category of “worldly and empty chatter,” which is spreading like gangrene, or has the potential to do so, and is, or could possibly be a teaching that would upset the faith of some and lead them astray to a false gospel and a false belief.

Definition of Apostolic Succession: "The doctrine maintaining that present-day successors to Jesus's apostles, i.e. the bishops, have the same spiritual authority, power, and responsibility conferred upon them as did the original apostles" - Apostolic succession | Define Apostolic succession at Dictionary.com

From what I can ascertain about this belief, it appears that the thought is that there are those who have received the gift of apostleship by way of succession, much like a prince might receive the crown from his father who was the king, after the father dies. The thought is that Jesus passed his authority down to his apostles who then passed their authority down to other apostles, and so on and so forth, and that these who have received apostleship by way of succession are in a class all to themselves above others (a hierarchy), again much like royalty, as compared to or in contrast to the common person who is not royalty. A hierarchy is “government by an elite group; government by ecclesiastical rulers;” and/or “the power or dominion of a hierarch,” which is “a person who rules or has authority in sacred matters; high priest” - Hierarchy | Define Hierarchy at Dictionary.com.

I believe the Lord is saying this is a false doctrine, based in the lies of human beings, who have cooked this up out of their own minds. The foundation for this belief is not Jesus Christ, but it is man (human flesh), and this human flesh, from which this doctrine is coming, is at some of the highest levels in the land. Yet, there are those who are embracing this doctrine, and are holding on to it tenaciously, with their minds. Yet, the power through which this belief comes is not the Holy Spirit of God, but the flesh of man. These who are holding to the belief of “apostolic succession” have, thus, separated themselves from the body of believers in that they see themselves as superior, a class unto themselves, and there seems to be a desire among them, as well, to lord it over the people, rather than to humbly see themselves as one of us, i.e. as fellow-servants of Christ and of his gospel.

So, what is an apostle? “Apóstolos (from apostéllō, ‘to commission, send forth’) – properly, someone sent (commissioned), focusing back on the authority (commissioning) of the sender (note the prefix, apo); apostle; a messenger, one sent on a mission,” etc. - Strong's Greek: 652. ἀπόστολος (apostolos) -- a messenger, one sent on a mission, an apostle.​

So, to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, we need to be commissioned by Jesus Christ himself, to be sent on a mission, to be his messenger, and to represent him. This is not something someone can inherit from another human being, like in a blood-line, of sorts, but we must be called of God, empowered by the Spirit of God, and commissioned by God himself to do whatever it is he has called us to do. The Holy Spirit gives gifts as he chooses, and God assigns roles within the body of Christ as he determines, not as man determines, and not through some succession from one man to another to another. Let’s compare this to:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).

So, what is this saying? Under the old order of things, i.e. under the Old Covenant, there was an order of priests who served as mediators between God and man. They were the ones who would make sacrifices for people’s sins, once a year, and they were the only ones, I believe, who could enter into the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was housed, and in which was God’s presence. Yet, when Jesus Christ died, the veil that separated us from the Holy of Holies was torn in two. In other words, through Jesus’ death for our sins, the barrier that stood between humans and God’s presence was destroyed, and a way was opened up for us to be able to come into God’s presence, through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever” (Rev. 5:12, 13b). He is the one who is to be high and lifted up, not man. He is our only high priest!

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are indwelt with his Holy Spirit. We, thus, become the body of Christ, his church, the temple of God. The Holy of Holies now dwells within us. We no longer need human priests to mediate between us and God, for we can go directly into God’s presence. Jesus Christ is our hierarchy, not man. Since we are now the body of Christ, we are a holy and a royal priesthood, and we have been commissioned by God for his service, to proclaim him who has called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. We are all his servants and messengers. As his body, we are his representatives. We have the Word of God dwelling within us, so we no longer need prophets or apostles, in the sense of those who speak God’s God-breathed words to us. God can speak directly to each and every one of us. We have the written word of God, as well, in which we can be taught God’s words to us. And, the Holy Spirit is our primary teacher.

Now, within the body of Christ, the Holy Spirit gives gifts to all followers of Christ, as he chooses, and God assigns us the parts in the body, which he determines. But, we are all parts of one body, fellow servants together, chosen by God for his service, and not one of us is to be placed above another. One plants, another waters, but it is God who makes all things grow. We are all merely servants of God through whom he works for his purposes and for his glory. We do have teachers, but what they teach is the Word of God. We have those who prophesy, but what they do is proclaim the Word of God in very practical ways as is applied to our world and our lives today. We have appointed leaders, but they are to lead by example, and to not lord it over the people. Their purpose is to help nurture us in our walks of faith to maturity, to give guidance and direction, to keep order and discipline, and to direct the affairs of the church with love, justice and mercy. But, we are all fellow workers together in God’s kingdom, and all answerable to Christ, who is our only head.

So, if someone comes to you with this teaching of “apostolic succession,” reject it, because it is not of God. Jesus Christ is our only King and Lord, and He alone is to be High and Lifted Up! We are ALL his servants and messengers, commissioned by him for his service.

Your Servant Witness / An Original Work / March 13, 2012

Humbly I bow, Lord, before You,
Bringing my requests to You.
May I listen; hear You speaking.
May I follow You in truth.
Gently lead me in Your service.
Guide my steps and strengthen me.
Fill me with Your love and mercy.
May I live for Thee!

Let me be Your servant witness,
Telling others of Your grace.
May I always share the gospel
With those I meet face to face.
May I show the love of Jesus,
Caring for the needs of men;
Be Your servant witness always
For my Lord, Amen!

My desire to be like Jesus,
Living for Him ev’ry day.
May I obey all His teachings
Given me, so I’ll not stray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master.
You are the King of my heart;
Follow You where’er You lead me;
Not from You depart!

Thank you all so much for participating with me in this discussion. All of your scriptures and comments helped me in understanding this subject. I also spent much time with the Lord in prayer and in his word, seeking his face for understanding. The post (above) is what he taught me from this discussion.
 
Member
I know i sound angry even when i point these thing out.
But the popes like to brag about their authority being derived from apastolic succession to st peter.
that claim is very obviously false;
For church authority cannot come from man, but must come from the man Jesus through his Holy Spirit.
So i like to remind everyone that this present pope and his predeccessors are given their succession from those who murdered 100 million souls, many of them saints.

Estimates of the number killed by the papacy
( 100 million is one estimate 120 million another)
ESTIMATES OF THE NUMBER KILLED BY THE PAPACY IN THE MIDDLE AGES AND
LATER


In light of this fact of the fruit of the devil "murder" being common to papal apostolic succession , It is very fitting that the Papacy admits it climbed up into the sheepfold by some other way, namely by a man, st peter, and not by the good shepherd Jesus.

And Jesus warned of such an entry into the sheepfold, he said that any who like the popes who do that ; are thiefs : robbers and murderers.
Just like pope francis apostolic predecessors, as history attests indeed were ; thieves and murderers of the sheep!

One has to ask oneself, why would any man want to sit in the seat of such proven blasphemous evil and murder?
Why would the present man francis , so called, who like those before him claims to be the Holy father ( God's title ) and as such is indeed is a title of total full blasphemy ,one so outrageous it fullfills the warning of the man of sin St Paul wrote about, and St John in the book of revelation; where of the name of blasphemy on each of the heads is described.
why would he ; francis; knowing these things; be willing to sit in that seat of persecution and murder of the saints and such outright blasphemy?

1Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 6This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

7Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 10 KJV

Of course no man is the holy father.
For the only truly holy father is the father of our lord and saviour Jesus The Son Of God our Holy Father.

And no man is pope ( papa; daddy ) either
For we only have one abba father, The Lord God Abba Father.
 
Loyal
I know i sound angry even when i point these thing out.
But the popes like to brag about their authority being derived from apastolic succession to st peter.
that claim is very obviously false;
For church authority cannot come from man, but must come from the man Jesus through his Holy Spirit.
So i like to remind everyone that this present pope and his predeccessors are given their succession from those who murdered 100 million souls, many of them saints.

Estimates of the number killed by the papacy
( 100 million is one estimate 120 million another)
ESTIMATES OF THE NUMBER KILLED BY THE PAPACY IN THE MIDDLE AGES AND
LATER


In light of this fact of the fruit of the devil "murder" being common to papal apostolic succession , It is very fitting that the Papacy admits it climbed up into the sheepfold by some other way, namely by a man, st peter, and not by the good shepherd Jesus.

And Jesus warned of such an entry into the sheepfold, he said that any who like the popes who do that ; are thiefs : robbers and murderers.
Just like pope francis apostolic predecessors, as history attests indeed were ; thieves and murderers of the sheep!

One has to ask oneself, why would any man want to sit in the seat of such proven blasphemous evil and murder?
Why would the present man francis , so called, who like those before him claims to be the Holy father ( God's title ) and as such is indeed is a title of total full blasphemy ,one so outrageous it fullfills the warning of the man of sin St Paul wrote about, and St John in the book of revelation; where of the name of blasphemy on each of the heads is described.
why would he ; francis; knowing these things; be willing to sit in that seat of persecution and murder of the saints and such outright blasphemy?

1Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 6This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

7Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 10 KJV

Of course no man is the holy father.
For the only truly holy father is the father of our lord and saviour Jesus The Son Of God our Holy Father.

And no man is pope ( papa; daddy ) either
For we only have one abba father, The Lord God Abba Father.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. Yes, we only have one Father - The Lord God Almighty.
 
Moderator
Staff Member
Greetings,

@Sue J Love , it appears that you have quite adequately answered your own original question.

In response to the question(s) you asked me, may I respond by asking if you do or have you ever listened to Scripture?

By this I mean, have you actually heard Scripture being read?
May I encourage you to listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote regarding the Apostles (he boldly yet humbly includes himself)?

There is much in the verse, Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Ask the LORD to open your ears that you may hear what He says about His Apostles.
You also will hear when he is referring to you not us.

Here is a safe place to download audio Scripture :
The Bible in MP3 Audio Format - The King James Version of the Bible

Bless you ....><>
 
Loyal
Greetings,

@Sue J Love , it appears that you have quite adequately answered your own original question.

In response to the question(s) you asked me, may I respond by asking if you do or have you ever listened to Scripture?

By this I mean, have you actually heard Scripture being read?
May I encourage you to listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote regarding the Apostles (he boldly yet humbly includes himself)?

There is much in the verse, Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Ask the LORD to open your ears that you may hear what He says about His Apostles.
You also will hear when he is referring to you not us.

Here is a safe place to download audio Scripture :
The Bible in MP3 Audio Format - The King James Version of the Bible

Bless you ....><>
Brother Bear,

I grew up in the (institutional) church from infanthood, and I am 65 years old, so I have heard the scriptures read to me for many years. My husband also likes to listen to the bible on audio, so we have also listened to them together. We also listen to sermons online and we hear the scriptures read there, too. For my own personal times with the Lord, though, I prefer to read the scriptures and to take notes on what is being said in them. After all, hearing and listening are more about taking in what is being taught and applying it to our lives than it is about audibly hearing the word with our physical ears. Back then, when the New Testament scriptures were being written, everyone did not have a copy of these writings like we do today, so they had to rely on people to read them to them. We are very blessed here in America to have the Word of God so readily available to us. Yet, I agree that hearing the word read is different from just reading it, and sometimes we can hear things we might have missed when we just read it. So, I thank you for your suggestion.

With regard to my original question, I had just begun to research this subject when I asked the question. Everyone's comments here helped, i.e. they contributed to my understanding of a subject I had not previously studied. In the process, I researched all the verses I could find where it mentioned "apostles," though I can't be certain I read every one of them word for word. I am familiar with these scriptures from having studied and taught the New Testament (Matthew to Revelation) for many years now, but I had never really ever done a study on "apostles" before. I presumed the apostles were those who were called apostles in the New Testament, and that apostleship ended with them, for the church is built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. And, I believe no one is to subtract from or add to the teachings of scripture (Genesis to Revelation). I am reading in Hebrews 1 this morning, where it speaks to the issue of how God spoke to people in the past through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, who now dwells within us via the person of the Holy Spirit, who is given to us to teach us all things and to remind us of all that Jesus taught.

Anyway, after I asked the question, I researched the subject on my own, too, prayerfully, asking the Lord to give me insight. What I shared with regard to my understanding of the subject was what the Lord taught me through his word on that subject, yet everyone's input helped, too, and helped to lead me to look at things I might not have looked at had I not asked the question. So, I am very grateful for everyone's input.
 
Loyal
It's interesting that Rev 21:14; mentions the name of the 12 apostles.
I have wondered "which" twelve?

There are of course false apostles... ( Rev 2:2; 2 Cor 11:13; )
Both Judas and Paul could be considered #12, as they weren't both apostles at the same time.
Apostles could be married .. 1 Cor 9:5;

Besides these twelve (13?).. Barnabas is also called an Apostle in Acts 14:14;
 
Loyal
It's interesting that Rev 21:14; mentions the name of the 12 apostles.
I have wondered "which" twelve?

There are of course false apostles... ( Rev 2:2; 2 Cor 11:13; )
Both Judas and Paul could be considered #12, as they weren't both apostles at the same time.
Apostles could be married .. 1 Cor 9:5;

Besides these twelve (13?).. Barnabas is also called an Apostle in Acts 14:14;
Matthias was Judas' replacement. There were actually more who were called apostles besides the 12, Paul and Barnabas.
 
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