What is Apostolic Succession?

JeffLogan's picture

We've shifted the focus

reply to: another aspect Submitted by tomgroeneman on Tue, 2012-04-24 08:30.

Tom, it appears we've shifted focus in this thread from "What is Apostolic Succession" to "from which the Church derives her legitimate spiritual authority." Since this door has been opened I would like to step through it to give another perspective.

Recall that in the books of Acts we have an account of the eleven apostles, finding themselves absent of Judas, sought to elect their own 12th apostle. Here is the brief account from Acts 1: "23So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

Now even though they prayed for the Lord's will to be done in their work it wasn't Matthias that the Lord would chose but rather Saul of Tarsus, later Paul. Paul would refer to himself many times in his writings as, "Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God."

Now who has ever heard of the 13 apostles? What happened to Matthias? It's obvious the Lord chose Paul over Matthias and Paul became the 12th apostle, not Matthias. And of course we already know by the words of Jesus Himself that He chose all of the apostles. "Did not I choose you the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (Though Jesus did not actually choose Judas but rather Judas chose himself and kinda tagged alone hopping to force his own agenda which we see in the selling of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver--an attempt to force Jesus' hand and start the uprising on Judas' schedule.)

So what have we learned?

Rule #1: God chose each and every apostle and not one of them was chosen by men.

So even if good men laid there hands on other good men that is no proof that those men were chosen by God or that they were even doing the will of God. So there really is nothing credible in apostolic succession in the manner you described that we should stake our eternal destiny on the testimony of men that it is legitimate. Heaven forbid!

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV