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Ambassador4Christ
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« on: March 11, 2004, 03:41:21 PM »

Does The Bible Teach Apostolic Succession?

There are two answers to this question. 'Yes' ! and 'No' !

'Yes' , the Bible does teach apostolic succession, but 'No', not really as it might be understood and taught today. The Mormons, Roman Catholics and many smaller "Apostolic' church groups teach that there are indeed apostles today, just as there were in Bible times. (The Charismatic believers seem a little lacking here, (to me) in not claiming all the gifts, which should include apostles. Cf. Eph. 4:11 By the same token, dispensationalists need to be well aware of the reasons why they do not believe apostles are with us today, as well as the many/any of the gifts and sign-gifts that are mentioned in Paul's writings.)

But, Biblically speaking, there was only one occurrence of this happening, as is found in the first chapter of Acts. In this case, we find the infamous Judas replaced after his apostasy and suicide. In spite of Judas' betrayal, he was a bona fide apostle.

The Lord chose twelve of His disciples to be 'sent ones'. Luke 6:13-16. Judas is listed as one of them. Cf. Matt. 10:2-6; Mark 3:13-19. Matthew 26:14 states "Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot.." cf. Matt. 26:47; Mark 6:7; 14:10 & 17 & 43; Luke 22:3. The Lord said, 'Have not I chosen twelve, and one of you is a devil ?' He refers to Judas. Jn. 6:70-71

There are several reasons why the Lord chose Judas. There is the integrity of the scriptures. He chose Judas because the prophetic plan outlined the facts of a betrayal. Cf. Ps. 41:9; John 13:18-19; 17:12. It is worth our time and effort to study, know and believe the word. There is also the integrity of the living Word. Our Lord states that he chose Judas and then told the disciples of Judas' betrayal before it came to pass, so that when it did come to pass, they would have reason, evidence, memory and confidence to believe all that the Lord claimed to be and say, and find Him worthy of their loyalty, trust and dedication. Finally, we may deduce that it should give cause to reflect on our own loyalty, trust and dedication to Him.

Peter begins the process to select another to replace Judas. Acts 1:15-20.The qualifications for this replace- ment are given in 1:21-22. A1- must have been in company with the rest of the disciples/apostles all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us.A2- 'all this time' is defined as 'beginning with the baptism of John unto that same day that He was taken up from us. A3- out of such a group, must one be a witness with us of the resurrection of Him (the Lord).

The number 12 is important here. There were to be a witness of twelve voices to the nation of Israel, made up of the twelve tribes. There were twelve thrones for these twelve apostles. Matt. 19:28 The candidates were Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus and Matthias. In 1:24-25, they asked the Lord to show them whether of these two, he hast chosen, that would take part in the ministry and apostleship that Judas had fallen from in transgression.

In 1:26, there was the casting forth of lots, which fell on Matthias, who was numbered with the (other) eleven apostles (making now the number twelve.) cf. Acts 2:14, where Peter stands up with the eleven. Peter as one plus the other eleven makes twelve. Acts 6:2 mentions the twelve.

The last paragraph was due to the teachings of two great Bible teachers( in my estimation) :the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee and the late Dr. M. R. De Haan, who both taught that Peter (and all the others) were out of order when this selection/election took place.(See Pentecost And After Studies in the Book of Acts by DeHaan ) Their claim is that Paul was the Lord's choice.
These following reasons should be sufficient to demonstrate that these brethren made an error here:

a. Peter and the other Apostles were under the teachings of Christ from the time of John's baptism until the day the day he was taken up.
b. Christ promised them the Comforter, who would lead them into all truth. John 16:13
c. After Christ's resurrection, he breathed on them and said, 'Receive ye the Holy Spirit' (John 20:22)
d. After Christ's resurrection, he opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45
e. After Christ's resurrection, he spent forty days with them, teaching (1:1) and giving commandments (1:3) speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (1:3)
f. After Christ's resurrection, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. If they were out of God's will by having an election, why would God stillgive them the Holy Spirit on Pentecost ?
g. Why did not God ever bring this to their attention. There is no record that He was displeased with their action here.
h. This statement just does not seem to fit the facts : After Christ's ascension, he left in the hands of a bunch of incompetents, a few simple orders and within less than 10 days they were out of order.

William R. Newell in his book, Paul vs. Peter ( published by Bible Doctrines To Live By Publications Grand Rapids, MI) discusses this matter on Matthias and Paul. Paul always distinguishes himself as distinct from the twelve. In I Cor. 15, Paul mentions the 'twelve' 15:5, then he mentions 'all the apostles' 15:7, without a whimper that he was not accorded a place with them. He never intimates that the twelve stole his place or acted outside of honesty in their dealings with the matter of Judas and his replacement. Paul would have a problem with McGee and De Haan, but not with Peter amd Matthias.

There is a final consideration concerning James in Acts 12:2. He was killed, but never replaced. There was no council called for a new election. So, we find one case, and only one, of an election to replace an Apostle. But, just as James was killed and NOT replaced, so all the twelve passed on and their offices were NOT FILLED.

JERRY W. STERCHI
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michael_legna
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2004, 04:42:30 PM »

Is there a succession of Apostles?

Point 1
Succession is clearly intended as we are told to strive after the best gifts and Apostleship is top of the list.  There is no way to reasonably covet after something that is no longer to be made available.

1 Cor 12:28-31
27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?  30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Point 2
If no succession was intended then there would have only been the 12 original Apostles.  But in the New Testament there are at least 18 Apostles mentioned.

Christ is included in the number in Hebrews 3:1
1Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

The original twelve are listed in Matthew 10:2 and again in Luke 6:13
2Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Matthias is elected to replace Judas in Acts 1:15-26
15And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said,  (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) 16Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. 17For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. 18Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 19And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. 20For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.  21Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Paul claims to be an Apostle in Romans 1:1
1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

Barnabas is listed as an Apostle in Acts 14:14
14Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,

Andronicus and Junia are listed among the Apostles in Romans 16:7
7Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Though not as clear, there is reference to others who seem to share the ministry of spreading the Gospel that was reserved to the Apostles.  

They include: Silvanus and Timotheus who were commissioned in 1 Thessalonians 1:1-6
1Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 4Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.  5For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 6And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

Timothy and Erastus who were commissioned in Acts 19:22
22So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.

As well as Titus who was commissioned in 2 Corinthians 12:18
18I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2004, 04:43:07 PM »

Point 3
If there were to be no succession to the Apostolic line then there would have been no need to warn others to test those who claimed to be Apostles to see if they were false, but this warning is made repeatedly. Such as in :Rev 2:2
2I 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:

…and in: 2 Cor 11:13
13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.


The qualifications used to select candidates for the first replacements is delineated in Acts 1:21-22
21Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

But these were simply qualifications.  They can not be shown to be requirements as Paul and the others listed above did not meet these qualifications, and many who did were not automatically made Apostles.

This succession was accomplished through a laying on of hands.

1 Timothy 4:6-14
6If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.  9This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 11These things command and teach. 12Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

Acts 8:14-18
14Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Without this laying on of hands there is no rightful succession.
Hebrew 5:4-5 no one takes the honor upon themselves but is called by God
4And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.

So without an unbroken line of succession, through the laying on of hands, that goes all the way back to the original Apostles there is no legitimacy to a ministry.

These Apostles or Bishops of the Church acted as the leaders to resolve disputes within the membership of the Church as instructed in Matthew 18:15-17
15Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Point 4
For this verse to make any sense the Church must be a physically identifiable entity one can appeal to, otherwise how do you bring your brother in front of it?  The true Church on earth MUST be a physical hierarchy that claims this authority and responsibility or it is not fulfilling the Gospel.  For a physical hierarchy of the Church to exist there must be a succession of those in power.

Christ established His Church for this very purpose and then equipped it to be the pillar and ground of the truth.
1 Tim 3:15
15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

…and since the Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth
John 16:13
13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Then the Holy Spirit must be in the Church – which coincides nicely with the promise of Christ that He made to Peter and the other Apostles, that whatever they bound on earth would be bound in heaven and whatever they loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven.  A promise that, given man’s failings, could only be accomplished through the protection of infallibility, a gift only accessible through the Holy Spirit.

The use of this authority occurred first in the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15:1-21
1And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 3And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 5But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.  6And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. 12Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 13And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 19Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

As the Council of Jerusalem was attended by Apostles and elders – these elders must have been Bishops else why were they presiding over a council with Apostles, above the Bishops – what office put them above Bishops?  There is none so they must have been Bishops.

But it was clear the Apostles utilized this authority in other instances as the faithful are told to obey their commands as in 2 Pt 3:2
2That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

…and this is not the only instance of us being told to obey the leaders of the Church.
Heb 13:17
17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2004, 04:43:40 PM »

Point 5
The keys given to Peter signify succession by their very nature because keys were handed down from one generation to another
Mt 16:18-19
18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Is 22:15-25
15Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say, 16What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?  17Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.   18He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house.  19And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down. 20And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: 21And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. 22And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. 23And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house. 24And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.  25In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.

The Apostles were the ministers of the new covenant
2 Cor 3:5-6
5Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Without their successors who is qualified to carry on their ministry?

Peter was given a special commission to feed His sheep
John 21:15-17
15So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Without a successor for Peter who will feed the sheep.  Jesus would not have told him to do it if the sheep could feed themselves.
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2004, 04:47:35 PM »

michael_legna, are you here to save and convert all of us poor Christians? Grin
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2004, 04:56:07 PM »


Quote
Does The Bible Teach Apostolic Succession?

There are two answers to this question. 'Yes' ! and 'No' !

Quote
But, Biblically speaking, there was only one occurrence of this happening, as is found in the first chapter of Acts. In this case, we find the infamous Judas replaced after his apostasy and suicide. In spite of Judas' betrayal, he was a bona fide apostle.

Actually that is not correct as we see in my posts above that there are more than twelve Apostles listed in the New Testament.


Quote
Peter begins the process to select another to replace Judas. Acts 1:15-20.The qualifications for this replacement are given in 1:21-22.

A1- must have been in company with the rest of the disciples/apostles all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us.

A2- 'all this time' is defined as 'beginning with the baptism of John unto that same day that He was taken up from us.

A3- out of such a group, must one be a witness with us of the resurrection of Him (the Lord).

Remember these are qualifications - not requirements.  You have added the word MUST it is not in the scriptures.

Quote
There is a final consideration concerning James in Acts 12:2. He was killed, but never replaced. There was no council called for a new election. So, we find one case, and only one, of an election to replace an Apostle. But, just as James was killed and NOT replaced, so all the twelve passed on and their offices were NOT FILLED.

Oh but his office was filled there was another Bishop assigned in Jerusalem.  Just as Matthias took the bishopric of Judas so another took James.  

Also while the gathering of the elders to elect Matthias is not
technically a council, the real point is just because it didn't get recorded in the New Testament does not mean a similar gathering and election did not happen.  You don't hear about the gathering and election of the other Apostles listed in the New Testament.
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2004, 05:49:54 AM »

Does The Bible Teach Apostolic Succession?

Enjoyed Ambassador, Good Study

Amen
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2004, 06:03:32 AM »

Does The Bible Teach Apostolic Succession?
 NO!!!!!!!!!!!

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