Apostolic Succession

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Toma, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Come on brother Consular you know you love the banter...

    I will concede the one about the flat earth - although I do come up for re-eclection as the president of the World is Flat Society next month. ;) Basically what I am saying is that what was declared as truth in times gone past may not necessarily be the truth in the future, simply because something is declared as the truth does not make it so.

    You know yourself that Spong denies the Divinity of Christ so how can that make him a Christian - this is an example of the bad fruit I was talking to Stalwart about.

    But hey don't let me stop you from trying to fathom the unfathomable. :)
     
  2. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This does not account for the phenomenon of apostolic bishops creating schism between each other, as with the East-West split in 1054. Corporate unity, which you say Apostolic Succession was designed to maintain, has not been maintained between bishops of the 'valid' succession (whatever that means, since there's still no proof, only bold assertions).

    If this can be applied to the Presbyterians, it can certainly be applied to those with the Episcopacy. There have been schisms out of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and all the rest. Why, the CoE itself made a formal act of schism in 1533.

    Ah, so the Divinity of Christ is a thing that must be affirmed? What about the Trinity? It's not just simply there in the text of Scripture. We had to make up a whole system of reasonings to explain how "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" = "Trinity". Theology gave us the things and arguments which are not presented openly in Scripture. Without our attempts to "fathom the unfathomable", you would have no orthodoxy, just total universalism and open fellowship without meaning. I doubt Christianity would've gotten out of the front gates of Jerusalem with this "love, peace, no-theology" mindset.
     
  3. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Actually we didn't have to make up a whole system of reasoning to explain the Trinity, but we did people do that it is human nature to that.

    So now we are getting closer to the core reasoning here - we have to create systems to believe in something because the simplicity of Christ's message has to have a structure around it for people to hang on to it. So some people the message is not enough, I think that is what you are saying. :think:

    I would suggest that you are probably - just we fall back into sin by our nature we also require fixed boundaries by our very nature.

    Alas though I believe that is what Jesus was trying to tell us but we fell back into the same patterns but with a different Deity. One thing I will say though is that we manage to hold it together a little better then our Israelite brothers did in their continuing battle with the inability to adhere to the Law of Moses. ;)
     
  4. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    That said look what popped us as my quote of the day.... :D

    Quite apt I would say....

    The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is,
    because man is disunited with himself.

    - Ralph Waldo Emerson
     
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  5. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    well, I can't argue with the apostles, they certainly were unique. If the 72 represent modern day ministers then it seems to undermine apostolic succession. Christ Himself appointed them rather than through the apostles. Also notice how He gave the apostles power to cast out demons in the previous chapter. In Luke 9:49 there was a man with no connection with the apostles casting out demons, like the apostles did and yet Christ said "do not stop him, the one is not against you is for you" Do you think this would apply to leaders of other churches without sucession?

    The crowds are a mixed bunch, some interested in finding out more, others coming for the wrong reasons, some would denounce Him later - they strike me more like the crowds Whitefield and Wesley would preach to rather than a settled congregation. We have to wait until Pentecost for the church to begin to take shape properly. Notice how in Acts 1 the apostle Peter calls the 120 followers brothers and the inference is that they all prayed and cast lots to decide who would replace Judas. Again the picture of the church in 1 Corinthians is one of equality. Some may have the gift and calling of leadership, others may have the gift of healing, another encouragment but all are serving in their own capacity. Perhaps this is more semantics but I think it's wrong to view the church as having different classes of christians

    There is also a recurring idea on this thread that only the Eucharists that are consecrated by a minister with apostolic sucession is valid. Now I think this too is unscriptural.

    Nowhere in Christ's insitution does He state that a priestly consecration is required, he merely says "do this in remembrance of me" If we follow the requirements Christ gives then we can have full confidence in Christ's promises. This has always been the protestant position that the sacrament gains it's power not through priestly consecration but by the attached Word of God.
    Christ may have passed this on to the disciples only in that room but the apostles passed it on to the whole congregation and not just to the bishops as in Corinthians 11:23
    "For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you [the congregation]"
     
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  6. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree with you SK this argument of who has the right to consecrate the Eucharist is totally man made doctrine, which I would suspect was used to keep control over the congregations and those who would want to minister to the people. In the time of our Blessed St. Francis only those who open quotes "noble blood" could be Bishops in the Church. It is ego at it's worst and although I do respect the culture of our Church I do think we have inherited some pretty outlandish doctrine.

    Ladies and Gentleman - the litmus test for all these questions is scripture...
     
  7. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Gordon and SK, your arguments are respectable. So far no one on the "pro"-apostolic succession side has given any historical arguments, other than how "fitting" it is, and how it "makes sense". Of course the burden of proof is on the side which claims an unbroken succession. Other than having faith that it has been maintained, however, there's little we can do - records simply don't exist.

    One point: in the first Council/Synod of Arles in 314, it was decided that three bishops (preferably seven) should always be present to consecrate a new bishop. What reason could there be for this, except that the Church was set on preserving a certain lineage, and was incredibly cautious about it? One invalid bishop? Even two? Well, the last one is there for safety. They took this very seriously, so if we are going to argue that Apostolic Succession was invented by man, we'll have to go quite far back.
     
  8. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Actually I think what SK and I are saying is Apostolic Succession is irrelevant in the big scheme of things therefore there is no such thing as an invalid Bishop/Priest/Pastor/Lay Person in regards to who can or cannot consecrate the Eucharist or administer the sacraments. That is not to say that one should not respect the procedures of the Church that they belong to. (which I do).
     
  9. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    For extremist young people like myself, excessively focused on "authenticity", we cannot respect something that we think contrary to the truth. If lay people can consecrate the Eucharist, it would be a horrible insult to the dignity of Christ in us to limit it to clergy.

    The only real objection to the necessity of apostolic succession is the simple fact that it is not explicitly required for the sacraments in the New Testament. Philip the deacon baptised the Ethiopian eunuch, so clearly any old bloke can baptise. This leaves the "breaking of the bread". One of the "errors of Vatican II" trumped out by Traditionalists is the Council's naming priest "Presider" over the Eucharist - as if anyone could do it, but only one man is chosen to lead the congregation.

    I think one objection to the anti-succession argument is that Matthias was given to take the office left vacant by the death of Judas Iscariot. Why fill his position? Why were they keen on preserving the original number of twelve? More importantly, why did they consider it necessary that Judas be succeeded to at all? If they did it for Matthias before Pentecost, why not other bishops after Pentecost?
     
  10. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Here in lies the issue - you throw around the word TRUTH like what you are saying is the TRUTH, where in what I am saying may in fact be theTRUTH, but then again it may not. So what you say maybe someones TRUTH, but it may not be mine and this is where we need to be careful and take heed of what our Lord Jesus said....

    I see the word orthodoxy thrown around in here like it is an absolute wherein it is only absolute relative to what you believe. My sound doctrine is not necessarily the same as your sound doctrine or what you perceive to be sound.

    The other word "authenticity" you use that in your post and say you are extremely focused on it - my question what "authenticity" is you are referring to? I know it is not mine....
    I really find it difficult to comprehend why people just don't get that we don't think and believe the same. :(:think:
     
  11. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Are you being serious? I can't tell... I've never actually encountered this argument before and it just doesn't seem serious to me.

    Someone's truth? Your truth? My truth? Two and two is four, regardless of who is doing the addition. This world-view you're putting forward really horrifies me, I have to be honest. It's relativism, and it is certainly not the solid, unchanging affirmations and condemnations that came from the Lord Jesus' mouth. He loved truth on Earth, and loves it still in Heaven.

    If you think we all just have our own truths or our own way of seeing truth, you don't need to try to convince anyone of that worldview on this thread. :p Doesn't your logic defeat the point of posting anything?

    The Lord does not say "you may never point out your brother's faults and errors", but "get rid of the same fault in yourself, if you have it, and then point it out in him". To assume that anyone who is judging you commits the same error in himself, is in fact doing exactly what you are condemning in him: judgment of his character. That Gospel quote is so very misused.

    Indeed not, if we are wrong. There is a sound doctrine somewhere though. Even saying "the greatest of all these is charity; he who has not charity has nothing" is a doctrine. It's an affirmation about the truth of the supremacy of love above all gifts. It's not wishy-washy on truth.

    I respect and love you as a dignified creation of God, Gordon, but I think your idea of truth is positively harmful to souls. I must be honest and not hold back where this is concerned.

    Oh we get it, but we know it's not right that things should be this way. As C.S. Lewis said: if you think the Sun is just an illusion, you may well do some very foolish, harmful things to yourself and others. The sun of truth shines brightly in the Gospel and in human logic, if we reason honestly and debate charitably. God didn't make clay pigeons, but men! Glorious! :)
     
  12. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    I actually need to come back to this one...

    Why would you regret that a person born in the late 12th century left his home, gave up everything he had even though his family was quite well off, and decided he would strive to live a life of poverty, chastity and obedience and give what ever he had to the poor?
     
  13. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Actually yes these are really serious questions. I am sorry that no one has ever asked these questions before, because in my humble opinion they are very very relevant, and in my opinion these were the questions that our Lord came and asked of this world and yet they still have not been answered.

    All God Fearing Christian men and women would better off if they realised that the "Truth is the truth no matter what you or I or anyone else believed to be the Truth"... come to think of it all people would be better off if they realised that.... :)
     
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  14. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    The first point:

    When do you know really know you have got rid of the same fault in yourself? No knee jerk reaction here my brother - please tell me when you know you have reached that point of pure perfection.

    So you are saying out there somewhere is "The Sound Doctrine" so how do we know when we have found it?

    Actually that brings to mind another Dr. Suess quote:

    I would hazard a guess when we die and return to the Father who is in heaven we will know most it not all...
     
  15. Andy Cothran

    Andy Cothran Active Member

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    Alright Gordon :)
     
  16. mark1

    mark1 Active Member

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    How important is Tradition? Are we the interpreters of Scripture or is the Church as the Holy Spirit has guided it through the ages?
    Bishops and priests have been important in our liturgy since the beginning.

    IMHO, to choose ourselves (and our pastors) as the arbiters of Scripture may be very evangelical.

    It seems that Tradition is a convenient cloak to be worn when it suits, as when we oppose women's ordination or SSB's. Otherwise, we seem to want to find the Scriptures that support our views, as evangelicals have done for a century.
     
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  17. mark1

    mark1 Active Member

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    1) The laying of hands to anoint presbyters has been the way of the Church since the beginning. We certainly did this when I was a Baptist.

    2) I will need to pray more about the issue of apostolic succession. The larger issue is the need for the visible Church and the sacraments. We must avoid the Baptist and non-denominational solution. Hierarchy/structure does not require that we trace our line of bishops back to the apostles. That is a red herring. What is being questioned is the need for hierarchy at all. Some call this an issue of power. I would call it an issue of authority and chaos.

    3) So, when the people don't like their bishop, they'll get together and vote him out? This sounds very much like a Baptist church, or perhaps a group of Baptist churches.

    4) I believe that we have a crisis of authority. Some believe that primary authority rests in an individual's interpretation of Scripture, of traditions and/or of the Articles. Others believe in the authority of the local church of like-minded congregants. Others believe in the authority of the bishop. Others put primary authority in the primates. Others put primary authority in the instruments of the Communion. ALL believe that they have Scripture on their side. Ask them; they will have lots of Scriptural swords ready.

    All of these choices have their severe problems. In the US, we see what happens when we put too much power in the hands of the primate and the national provincial organization (although one must note that SSB is a choice for bishops to make). We see in Sydney what happens if the power/authority is put in the bishops. If we were to choose congregational authority, we can look to the Baptists and non-denominational evangelicals to see how well that works.

    MY BOTTOM LINE AS OF NOW is that more power should be put in the primate and in the instruments of Communion. Folks may be right in that we should affirm the Articles. We also should have at least ONE service where everyone in a province uses the same BCP. I may like having more power in MY local bishop, but Sydney shows that this route leads to schism and chaos. The emasculated authority of primates (e.g Australia) may have already doomed the Communion.

     
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  18. DavePotter

    DavePotter New Member

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    We must have Faith. We as Anglicans belive in the creed yes? First Council of Constantinople 381AD added
    "We Believe in one holycatholic and apostolic Church."
    Should we not then accept that this council had the proof of succession and it may not survive to this day?
     
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  19. Scottish Monk

    Scottish Monk Well-Known Member

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    I just read through this thread for the first time. I am sorry that I missed the discussion as it was happening. I see some very good points in the posts. My likes tended to go to some of you more than others. At least that is what I remember as I enter this post. However, I also like the points raised by all the posts. For some reason I just failed to mark those other posts with likes. Sorry guys. If I reread the complete thread I would probably remove some of my likes and add likes to other posts.

    Currently I am struggling with this issue. I ask that everyone pray for me during this struggle.

    ...Scottish Monk
     
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  20. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Why, the CoE itself made a formal act of schism in 1533.
    Consular!

    Interesting, but untrue as far as I can see. The Church in England at no time broke off from the Continental Church, or from the Bishop of Rome, the Anglicans simply implemented the doctrine of the Council of Nicea,(I think,) that no bishop has authority to interfere in another bishop's see, without his permission.
     
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