Do Lutherans have Apostolic Succession

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by bwallac2335, Sep 3, 2020.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    and how do they define it?
     
  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    The Scandinavian Lutherans (Sweden and Finland) never rejected the historic episcopate. Other high church synods like Evangelic Catholic Church and Lutheran. Orthodox Church have reclaimed it. The union between TEC and ELCA has brought it into the Apostolic College. I imagine they consider it bene esse, a good thing but not absolutely necessary, which is what the Book of Concord says:

    "If the bishops would be true bishops [would rightly discharge their office], and would devote themselves to the Church and the Gospel, it might be granted to them for the sake of love and unity, but not from necessity, to ordain and confirm us and our preachers; omitting, however, all comedies and spectacular display [deceptions, absurdities, and appearances] of unchristian [heathenish] parade and pomp." (Smallcald Articles, Part 3, Art X)

    The loss of apostolic succession to Lutherans was more political than theological.
     
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  3. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Lutherans tend to think of apostolic succession in terms of the teaching office of the apostles. Naturally, Lutheran teaching is the pure apostolic teaching. American Lutherans are particularly resistant to assigning anything more than a function of good order and expediency to the episcopate. ELCA and TEC had some friction for quite a while because ELCA was never very concerned with coming into compliance with the agreement to have their bishops consecrated sub conditione in the TEC succession. The NALC has never been concerned about it. It is still a topic of discussion in ELDoNA, with the sentiment being that it would be preferable to pursue the Swedish succession rather than Anglican lines.

    The European churches are more amenable to apostolic succession, and the Scandinavians and Baltic states have maintained an episcopate if not always in an historic line of succession. Most of the Scandinavians that had a Catholic understanding of the apostolic succession found their way into the Nordic Catholic Church, which is the European member of the Union of Scranton (Old Catholic). My own communion is in full communion with a Lutheran body which operates in European Russia and the disputed Crimean territory.

    For your reading enjoyment:https://www.amazon.com/Holding-Fast...hful+word+john+rutowicz&qid=1599177172&sr=8-1

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Atkinson unfortunately presents a distorted view of the Anglican view of apostolic succession, by taking some quotes from the divines (especially John Jewel) out of context. Yes of course apostolic succession doesn't protect one from the antichrist, which is what Harding asserted and is the only thing which Jewel denied. Apostolic succession only means that you have to be ordained by someone who was himself already previously ordained. And on and on, all the way back two thousand years to our Lord himself. That's all it means. It is there to limit the ranks of ordained ministry to those who have been ordained by those who were already validly ordained beforehand. Articles of Religion teach this quite strongly, and Apostolic Succession is taught in Article 23:

    "It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the Office of publick Preaching, or Ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully Called and sent to execute the same: and those we ought to judge lawfully called & sent, which be chosen & called to this work by men who have publick Authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord’s Vineyard."

    It is taught in the Prayer book and the Ordinal as well. And of course you can go to Thomas Bilson and others who have written specifically on this topic (when Jewel had not), and they explicitly outline apostolic succession and its functioning throughout the ages.

    Anyway, sorry, I know this thread isn't about that, so I'll get off my hobby horse...
    :gramps:
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
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  6. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I've always felt that arguments that Apostolic Succession is esse or absolutely necessary for the Church were weakened by Luke 9:49-50:

    "And John answered and said, 'Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.' And Jesus said to him, 'Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is for us'." (Luke 9:49,50, NKJ)

    Though the man was not an apostle nor sent by them, Christ validated his minstry nonetheless, not through tactile apostolic pedigree but by his boldness of faith and agreement with God's word.
     
  7. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I don't see that are undermining Apostolic Succession at all. Apostolic succession is about Bishops and leading the church and being able to confer the gifts(Sacraments of the Church) upon the church. It has nothing at all to do with lay ministry and lay works.
     
  8. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Then please do tell me, what does it have to do with?
     
  9. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This seems like an entirely different case or group of people. This is your lay minister, or a layman doing work in the community. Exorcism, not that I know much about it, but does not seem like cardinally rooted in ordained ministry.

    Consider the two groups of people: first, those in the verse who are doing exorcisms or (more broadly) work on the behalf of the Church in the community; and second, the ordained ministers whom Christ chose himself, by hand, those and no others. He would have never said that his Twelve, or the Seventy Two (the bishops, and the priests) are just anyone who wants to step up. They were all, especially the bishops, hand-picked by him. Once Judas fell out, his replacement was hand-picked by the remaining Eleven.

    If we applied the logic of your verse to the behavior or the Twelve, then anyone could just step up and become a Thirteen, and a Fourteen, and an Eighteenth. They would just select themselves. But nothing like that happened; the ordained ministry of the Church was carefully guarded, and curated through hand-picked nominations. While the laymen acting on the behalf of the Church were countless, new people constantly stepping up and nominating themselves, without anyone's prior authorization.
     
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  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I agree, a member of the laity was casting out demons by the power of Jesus' name. This scripture helps us to see that the authority to do good in the name of Jesus is given not just to the twelve, but also to the laity.
     
  11. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Respectfully, I think you're wrong, Stalwart. In Mark 3:13-19 we see that the authority to drive out demons was one of the 2 authorities specifically granted to the 12 Apostles by Christ when he appointed them. According to Scripture, driving out demons is quintessentially an Apostolic Act. That Our Lord permitted a layman to do that and admonished his Apostles not to hinder him is telling. While church tradition may have relegated the office to the background of ministerial duties for the clerical class, this wasn't the case during the Apostolic age. If Our Lord did not limit Apostolic acts to the Apostles or their designees, then it follows that membership in the Apostolic College must not be an absolute requirement to validly operate in the Apostolic charism. Rather, as in all things having to do with the Church, following in the Apostles' faith is the ultimate requirement.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
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  12. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I appreciate our talks as always! Now to the Scriptures:

    Looking at Mark 3:13-19, I don't see there anything like the exclusivity and priority which you ascribe. Nor has the church read these verses in the way you read it. Let's consider all of the outward-facing Apostolic gifts which the Lord commanded to the Twelve:
    -spreading the Gospel
    -baptism in the name of the Trinity
    -preaching in public places
    -interpreting the Scripture (Philip the Ethiopian; "how will they hear if they won't be preached to")
    -healing the sick
    -and exorcising demons (as in your verses)

    All of these, every single one, can be done by laymen. Even baptism, in extraordinary circumstances, as high a commission as that is, is not ontologically restricted to the ordained ministry.

    In short, practically all outward-facing acts of the Church are open to the ordained and the lay alike.

    The only things which are restricted to the ordained are things happening inside the Church, in and for the Church. When the Lord's Supper takes place it takes place privately. When St. Paul describes it and its awful gravity, he never describes it in terms of public-facing; those outside the Church are actively forbidden to partake (and even be present) at the Lord's Supper. And we know that offering the Sacrament is restricted to the ordained ministers.

    Similarly with ordination: it is a private matter, in and for the Church. Judas falls out, and another is put in his place by those who have the authority; no johnny-come-latelies have the right to add to the ranks of the Apostolic College, but only those who already had the authority. St. Paul teaches of the awful gravity of the ordained ministry and the high requirements for it, framing it as an internal matter within the walls of the Church, and not a public-facing act like something like evangelism. And this act of ordination, just like the Lord's Supper, we see limited to those who are already-ordained (eg. Apostolic succession).

    We may even include confession here as well; it is not a public-facing act, but solely internal, for the absolution of the sins of the congregation. And again, it is restricted to the ordained ministers.

    In short, the pattern seems be as follows: outward and public-facing acts are given to the whole Church at large, while the inward and medicinal acts (giving the Sacrament, or performing absolution); or orderly acts (populating the ranks of ordained ministry) are committed solely to those who are already ordained.

    Nor is this my own interpretation, but was taken as such in the history of the Church; and most especially in the Anglican tradition.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2020
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  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Careful now, Stalwart. Looks to me like you just undermined any biblical basis for restricting sacramental duties to the clerical class. If things which Our Lord specifically authorized the Apostles to do can be done by lay and ordained alike, certainly those acts for which no specification exists are at least as universal within the church...as far as the outward/inward distinction you make, that's new to me. Where in scripture is that found?
     
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  14. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I'm not though. I am careful to point out that the Eucharist is limited to the ordained only. But as we all know, Baptism is ontologically available to the laity, and there needs to be an explanation for that.

    My claim is that the explanation for why baptism is available to the laity, while the eucharist is not (etc) lies in the outward/inward distinction. Things which the Church does in and for the world are available to the laity; even if they were commanded to the Twelve. That command to the Twelve does not preclude those things from being done by the laity. Since your case rested on the existence of those commands, that's why my point is pertinent: the mere existence of the commands to the Twelve is not indicative of the exclusivity of those commands to the Twelve.

    In order to understand what is exclusive to the Twelve (and to the ordained more generally), we have to look not at the commands of our Lord, but the functions within the Church. Those functions which are outward facing (preaching, baptism, exorcism, evangelism) are available to the ordained and the lay alike. Those functions which are inward facing (eucharist, ordination, confirmation, absolution) are only available to the ordained.
     
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  15. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry Stalwart, I still don't see the distinction between outward vs inward as being anything other than arbitrary. As I said, nothing in scripture appears to me to restrict presiding over eucharists or ordinations to the Apostles and their clerical descendants and yet where Christ only specifically authorized Apostles to do certain acts, you say these are permitted to be performed by both clergy and laity. Moreover, the "outward facing functions" as you call them are just as important to those within the Church as for those without.

    The saving answer I think lies in Apostolic Tradition, not in either scripture or in this outward/inward notion you're proposing. It is the tradition of the Church catholic that sacramental functions are properly relegated to the Episcopate and to those they designate.
     
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  16. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    We've been through this in 1517, my friend. Apostolic Tradition actually doesn't have any contents of its own. It is a non-objective concept, and not even the most zealous Roman apologists have managed to objectively show what precise contents it has. We are always, as the Church Fathers did, to ground our faith on the Scriptures. There are the permissive and the prescriptive dimensions, so we don't follow the so-called 'regulative principle', but even the permissive dimension must be grounded in the Scriptures.


    Look, it's pretty evident from natural reason alone, and the Articles of Religion outline the reasoning perfectly. You can only do something, anything, if you are authorized for it. To do anything you first need a prerequisite authorization. When Judas was expelled from the apostolic college, could a Bob Smith nominate himself? No, he wasn't authorized. Only those already authorized could consecrate a new member of the apostolic college. This is evident from natural reason alone, which is why no one ever needed to spell out a supernatural principle for it.

    Apostolic succession is a natural principle, not a super-natural one.


    Christ also commanded the Apostles to baptize. The case with baptism, a holy sacrament, seems to overturn your point.

    Traditionally marriage is not a sacrament, but to an Anglo-Catholic it would be one; in either case, with marriage you also have the laity potentially capable of officiating it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
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  17. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Let's be honest, Father Martin Luther did the heavy lifting back in 1517. England was still very much in the clutches of the overly-ambitious Bishop of Rome. And while Luther started a well needed conversation on the primacy of Scripture as an authority, Anglicans never NEVER abandoned the wisdom of Apostolic Tradition. Rather, we put it in its proper place, weeded the garden, and rid ourselves of those medieval innovations which krept in over time. The Articles of Religion, in its quoting of Church Fathers as authoritative, in its reception of the historic creeds as authoritative (Article VIII) and its admonition in Article XXXIV that: "Whosoever through his private judgement, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like)", only reinforces the power and authority of Tradition. The great Anglican Reformer, Lancelot Andrewes, charted the bounds of our faith to include "One canon reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period – the centuries that is, before Constantine, and two after". Clearly, Tradition is apart and parcel of Anglicanism.

    Where do the Articles of Religion refer to Apostolic Succession?

    You claim that preaching is already a function of both the clergy and the laity because it was outward facing, but that contradicts Article XXIII, which says "It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of publick preaching ... before he be lawfully called, and sent."

    Which again only strengthens my statement that Anglicanism aligns with the Tradition of the Church catholic in keeping sacramental functions limited to the Episcopate (as the Apostles' Successors) and to those they designate.


    How so? The Apostles were given the authority to baptize, an authority that they delegated to others (i.e., priests, deacons, and in cases emergency, laymen). We receive that as a Tradition of the Church, not through natural reason or because it was expressed in Scripture.


    Respectfully, wrong. Tradition teaches that matrimony is a sacrament, though not one "ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel", as are baptism and the Lord's Supper. It is one of the 5 "commonly called Sacraments but not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel". Here again we see the appeal to Tradition. Though they are not found in the Gospel, they are recognized as sacraments by the "common authority" of the Church passed down through time. I would also point out here that while some of the common sacraments may be performed by laity, it is only with the license of the Bishop of the doicese, or his designee. NOT because they are outward facing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
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  18. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Absolutely! No argument from me. I quote the fathers more than anyone else I know. I only said that Tradition has no (revealed) contents of its own. All it is is the tradition of the Church. That’s a very different concept from the medieval error of “Apostolic Tradition” which posited that there was divine revelation outside the Scriptures, this undefinable source from which the scholastics pulled out, like from a hat, various miraculous powers and abilities (purgatory, indulgences, etc). That’s the error I was pointing to.

    Quoting the Church Fathers is not making that error; their words are not divine revelation. The only divine revelation we have in the world is the Scriptures.
    So for the argument you’re (or I) are making, it has to be grounded in Scriptures to have any validity. Either something is prescribed in Scripture, or permitted in Scripture (left to the discretion of the Church, or natural Reason). So we do retain Scripture, Tradition, Reason, but they aren’t a stool (it never was a stool). Scripture stands above all else, alone and perfect; the Church stands below, submissive to Scripture; and Reason stands below, submissive to both.

    I’m ready to stand corrected on that point. However an easy case could be made that this prescription is of church discipline: to minimize impact of nascent dissenters and heretics in the 1500s, and leave the preaching to the orthodox party; rather than than itself divine revelation. For example at a different time it could perhaps (I don’t know?) permit it to laymen. There doesn’t seem to be a case from natural reason either way; but again I’m happy to admit ignorance on this, and limit preaching to the ministry.

    I describe it in my first post:


    I opened a new thread for this: https://forums.anglican.net/threads/is-marriage-a-sacrament.4032/
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
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  19. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Duplicate, please remove