Dangers of joining churches that lack apostolic succession?

Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by Chartreux, Dec 27, 2020.

  1. Chartreux

    Chartreux Member

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    What I find strange, if I'm being honest, is that people here talk about the importance of apostolic succession in order to have valid sacraments, but I have never really seen any warnings as to the danger of joining churches that are lacking this. If this isn't that important or something entirely optional regarding salvation then why fight about it so much? If someone's soul is in danger because they choose to be baptist rather than old catholic or anglo-catholic, shouldn't this be brought up so as to prevent people's souls from being damned?
     
  2. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Because the truth is, it is as dangerous to join the Baptists as it is to join the Romans. Apostolic succession is not a balm of salvation or some mystical deposit of grace. All it means, as our Articles and Ordinal teach, is that a current ordination can only be performed by someone who’s already validly ordained. And them also, by those validly ordained before them, as far back into the past as time can go. The Ordinal adds that only an ordination by a bishop qualifies here.

    Anyway all that is crucial and essential, yes absolutely. Without apostolic succession we wouldn’t have any ministers in the Church, and thus no visible Church at all.

    But, the key here is not to confuse the matters of God with the matters of the Church. As a famous Episcopalian Presiding Bishop regretfully said in the 1970s, “I had served the Church, instead of serving the Lord of the Church.”

    We need to not only have right standing in the Church, but also have the right attitude towards God, one of repentance and complete self-effacement. A real easy way to break that relationship is to assign merit, good deeds and self-worth, which will force God to love us. That is precisely what works righteousness can do. This is an ill more prevalent among the Romans and the Greeks, than the Baptists.

    Works righteousness is deadly, which is why the Reformers made an issue out of it more than any other single issue that had to be fixed.

    So by that reckoning, yes the Baptists don’t have any valid ministry of the Church, just laymen as far as the eye can see, albeit repentant and self-effacing. But then the Romans are sitting in a valid Church but many of them completely rejected by God (despite dutifully performing all the prescribed rituals). I’m not even speaking of worshipping Mary. Idolatry is as offensive to God as anything Baptists can do.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That is a good question. For if apostolic succession is necessary to valid sacraments, one of which is baptism, then do Anglicans hold invalid the baptisms undergone by a great many Protestants? If so, then Anglicans would, of course, want to re-baptize these people if they should come to us.

    We have seen abundant evidence that apostolic succession does not assure doctrinal orthodoxy. Nor would the lack of succession necessarily preclude sound doctrine (excepting the very doctrine of succession, that is).
     
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  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Are you quite certain? Are Christ's followers on earth invisible? Doesn't His light shine through us (assuming we don't 'hide it under a basket')? At the very least, we cannot say that without succession there would be no Church on earth; 'wherever two or three gather in His name, He is in their midst,' and Christ did not qualify His statement with a need for an ordained minister on site.
     
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  5. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Baptism is the one sacrament that does not need an actual priest to perform.
     
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  6. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I think we should point blank say the being in a non apostolic church does not mean you can't be a Christian. In fact there are better Christians than I in other non apostolic churches. What it does mean that the means of grace that Christ instituted are harder to access. The Eucharist is a means of grace to strengthen us and to unite with Christ but it is not found in non apostolic churches. The confession and absolution are not offered as healings to the sinful soul. Yes forgiveness can be found outside of confession and absolution but it is harder.
     
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  7. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    But he did qualify it. Without the apostles there could not be even the Two or Three Christians for which Christ would be present. That’s why he left the ordained ministers.

    “How can I believe if I am not taught? And how will I be taught if there is no one who will teach me?”
     
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    How certain can you be that your assertion can be justified by Holy Writ?

    Can we have chapter and verse on the assertion that all other sacraments, (of which there is only one in the reformed tradition), require 'an actual priest' to make them effective and salvific.

    I know, and I accept that it is most certainly good and acceptable, but where in scipture is it laid out that in the New Testament Church it is essential.
    .
     
  9. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I don't recall any of the Apostles being present or any of their successors being mentioned when Paul was baptized in Damascus.
     
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  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I had written: At the very least, we cannot say that without succession there would be no Church on earth; 'wherever two or three gather in His name, He is in their midst,' and Christ did not qualify His statement with a need for an ordained minister on site.
    You replied:
    Let's examine the idea that there would not have been even two Christians to gather together, absent the apostles. So, you propose that, had all the Apostles been killed (by the Romans, or the Sanhedrin, or even a pestilence) six months after the Resurrection, the Church would have been ended and there would have not been even 2 or 3 Christians through whom Christ could be present? Let alone carry the Gospel to the world? That seems astounding in light of the 3,000 who joined the church on Pentecost, plus however many more came to faith in the months following. Since our Lord would not have died in vain, surely He would not have allowed the absence of apostolic succession to halt the spread of the Gospel.

    Indeed it would have been a terribly rocky start if we didn't have the apostles' teachings, but as your reference to Romans 10 highlights so aptly, the key was the teaching. Nothing in Romans 10 (or anywhere that comes to mind offhand) suggests that Christianity would have died out for lack of succession if the apostles had never chosen any specific people to succeed them. I think that God would still have worked through the laity to reach the lost with His message, and He also could have inspired the people to select certain ones as new leaders even though there'd be no apostle to 'ordain' them (and thus no direct succession).

    If this is conceivable, then is it not equally conceivable that God could choose (directly ordain) some new leaders outside of the existing line of succession? People whose hearts and minds He knows intimately and whom He foresees are needed for some portion of His body on earth? For example, during a time when the Roman hierarchy had so strayed from orthodox teaching, might our Lord have provided for His flocks by raising up new leaders from among the laity?

    I'm not saying that Anglicans (or any other group) are wrong to safeguard the relative orthodoxy of the faith by means of controlling their ordinations. But because God is the only one who is truly in charge of His Church, I wonder if it's really wise to 'look down' on other ministers just because we don't recognize their succession (or they don't recognize ours).
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
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  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    That was not an answer to the question I asked. Baptism has never required ordination of the baptiser. Was John the Baptist 'ordained' by a bishop of the church? Was Paul ordained by a bishop?

    My question was aimed at getting chapter and verse on whether Paul or any other Apostle or any other celebrant, celebrated Holy Communion, and was therefore recorded in scripture as having necessitated ordination by a bishop?

    If you can point us to such a scriptural proof then that would be a justification for requiring the ordination of ministers before being allowed to celebrate conmmunion on the grounds that the communion they consecrate would be 'invalid' and not salvific for those who receive it in faith.

    However if such a scriptural argument cannot be found it cannot be asserted justifiably that salvation is affected by the ordination and presumed sucession of ministers presiding at the eucharist.
    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
  12. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    We are Anglicans. Scripture is primary and everything has to be founded upon scripture but the question then remains how to interpret scripture. I could quote you scriptures and you could just say that proves nothing or I disagree with how you interpret it so in this case we should move on to the second part of the stool and that is tradition. Tradition helps us interpret scripture. Scripture and tradition all point to the necessity of apostolic succession.
     
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I know what tradition and common sense tell me on the matter of apostolic succession and its relevance to the question under discussion. What I have not so far seen is any scripture quoted in support of the notion that there is 'danger' in attending a denomination which does not claim Apostolic Succession as a tenet affecting the 'salvation' of their members.

    If you have some, let's have them.
    .
     
  14. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Hmm I did not say there was danger unless you mean that it is harder to access the sacraments and means of grace. Are we talking about the same thing here?
     
  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I was referring to the thread title, not to any particular assertion that you may have made. Clearly there are those who would not attend a church that does not claim apostolic succession and would not accept communion from an 'unordained' minister. Indeed there are members in here who will not accept comminion from a woman, who they believe would be incapable of being in apostolic succession. Clearly they believe this affects their and other's salvation. I would be interested to know on which actual scripture they would base, and thus justify, their behaviour.
    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
  16. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Hi everyone, would you please stay on topic, as I’d hate to have to move half the posts into another thread. If a new topic interests you, just feel free to hit the New Thread button and center your discussion there.
     
  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Dangers of joining churches which lack apostolic succession?

    That was the topic, so what exactly might such 'dangers' be?
    How might they affect salvation for the individual?
    How might apostolic succession be 'guaranteed' authentic?
    How does one 'get' and 'prove' apostolic succession?
    How is the idea and principle of apostolic succession supported and endorsed in Holy scripture?
    Who ordains and ultimately decides whether that ordination is apostolic?

    All on topic subjects for discussion in this thread, one might surmise.
    .
     
  18. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Let me rephrase your question: the apostles were and are basically optional to the life of Christianity, right? And if not, if they are essential, then you have the answer to your question as well.
     
  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The apostles were essential right up until they had completed the tasks they were 'sent' by Christ to do. All except John were martyred. What indications are there in the scriptures though that the apostles were told by Christ or apostles wrote scripture stating to others, that some special succession would have to proceed from THEM in order for ordinations to the priesthood to be 'valid'?

    In other words, where does the essential nature of the necessity of apostolic succession come from? Does it come from scripture?
    .
     
  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I think my rephrase of your statement was a lot phraseier than your rephrase... :laugh:

    In one aspect, God considers every Christian "essential," including lay people of course. At the same time, the only truly essential one is God Himself; if He didn't have Joe available He could work through Jill, or He could even have the rocks cry out.

    But lest we get too off base, we were exploring how essential (or not) succession might be, not certain individuals. :)
     
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