Apostolic succession and the eyewitness requirement


#1

The one clear example of apostolic succession that I am aware of was when Matthias replaced Judas. When this happened they required an eyewitness. When did this requirement get dropped?
“For,” said Peter, "It is written in the book of Psalms, "‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, “‘May another take his place of leadership.’ Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus as taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” - Acts 1:21-22


#2

[quote=Angainor]The one clear example of apostolic succession that I am aware of was when Matthias replaced Judas. When this happened they required an eyewitness. When did this requirement get dropped?“For,” said Peter, "It is written in the book of Psalms, "‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, “‘May another take his place of leadership.’ Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus as taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” - Acts 1:21-22

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We moved from an Apostolic age to a new Church age governed by Bishops as successors of the apostles, not apostles themselves with the death of St. John. St. Paul also calls himself “an Apostle”.


#3

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]We moved from an Apostolic age to a new Church age governed by Bishops as successors of the apostles, not apostles themselves with the death of St. John. St. Paul also calls himself “an Apostle”.
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Yes, but St. Paul did see the Risen Christ, giving him a certain eyewitness perspective. Bishops are not apostles technically, in that they had eyewitness accounts of Christ, but they have the authority of the apostles in terms of making decisions for the Church. Note Acts 15 where the Apostles AND elders colelctively make their decisions for the Church. Tha authority of the Church leadership ordained by the apostles is what we refer to as “the apostolic succession,” not a line of aposles descended from others.


#4

Timothy, as far as I know, was not an eyewitness. He was therefore not an Apostle, but St. Paul clearly treats him as one with authority, because the leadership of the Church was not to end with the death of the last Apostle. He speaks of Timothy’s ordination in 2 Timothy, saying, “For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands” (1:6). He also tells Timothy, “What you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well” (2 Tim 2:2). The bishops were to have a teaching role in the Church, even when the Apostles were no longer able to be physically present with them.


#5

There was a definate need to replace Judas before the Pentecost, so that there would be twelve apostles. This was because the twelve apostles of the New Covenant were replacing the twelve tribes of Israel in the Old Covenant.

After the Pentecost, there was no longer a need to replace an Apostle upon his death because the New Covenant had already been fulfilled.

NotWorthy


#6

[quote=Grace and Glory]Timothy, as far as I know, was not an eyewitness. He was therefore not an Apostle, but St. Paul clearly treats him as one with authority, because the leadership of the Church was not to end with the death of the last Apostle. He speaks of Timothy’s ordination in 2 Timothy, saying, “For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands” (1:6). He also tells Timothy, “What you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well” (2 Tim 2:2). The bishops were to have a teaching role in the Church, even when the Apostles were no longer able to be physically present with them.
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That doesn’t really leave the door open for “Tradition” does it? Timothy is told to teach about what he has heard from Paul and many witnesses. This is what Protestants attempt to do when we rely on the writings of those witnesses (aka Sola Scriptura).


#7

[quote=Angainor]That doesn’t really leave the door open for “Tradition” does it? Timothy is told to teach about what he has heard from Paul and many witnesses. This is what Protestants attempt to do when we rely on the writings of those witnesses (aka Sola Scriptura).
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Well, as a Catholic, I believe that public revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle. Not everything the witnesses saw was written down (see John 21:25). Furthermore, as time goes on, we need some way to settle controversies. Was Jesus a divine Person or a human person? Was he a hybrid, or was he fully God or fully man? Was he both? These are questions that arose early on in the Church, and a living teaching office was needed to more fully explain what was already known. I don’t think this verse excludes Tradition, especially because St. Paul elsewhere says, “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you” (1 Cor 11:2).


#8

I was thinking about this. The requirement was to have seen Jesus and be taught by Him. Then technically each fathifully informed Catholic has fulfilled this. They have seen Jesus in the Eucharist and are taught His infallible teachings by the Magisterium.

Not to say we’re all apostles, but you know, its scary to think that technicallywe have fulfilled the requirements, from a certain point of view.


#9

He also tells Timothy, “What you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well” (2 Tim 2:2).

[quote=Angainor]That doesn’t really leave the door open for “Tradition” does it? Timothy is told to teach about what he has heard from Paul and many witnesses. This is what Protestants attempt to do when we rely on the writings of those witnesses (aka Sola Scriptura).
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The problem with your theory there is you are assuming everything taught to Timothy by these witnesses was put in writing in the New Testament. I don’t recall seeing that anywhere. Can you show me in the Bible where is says that?

NotWorthy


#10

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]We moved from an Apostolic age to a new Church age governed by Bishops as successors of the apostles, not apostles themselves with the death of St. John. St. Paul also calls himself “an Apostle”.
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I asked about Apostolic succession and the eyewitness requirement for a reason.

Jesus was talking to the twelve when he said “Whatever you bind on Earth…” and he gave Peter the keys to the kingdom. How can we be sure these abilities were handed down two the Bishops, who do not meet the eyewitness requirement for succession that seens to be established precident in the case of Matthias?


#11

The way I see it is not an eyewitness requirement, let me look a little closer but it seems to me in Acts they are talking about being witnesses of the truth, which fully fits in with being able to entrust to other men who will be able to teach others.

We would have to trust this as this is what is preserved to us in order for the Bible to be true. We depend on these witnesses and them handing on their witness to others to maintain the truth.

After a few hundred years they had disagreements with which scripture should be read in the liturgy. They had to rely on what taught sound doctrine and what was considered scripture according to tradition.

With Apostolic succession then we are able to have the Bible from the Council of Carthage and then everyone was clear on what was appropriate to be used in the liturgy.

God Bless
Scylla


#12

I see the Risen Christ every Sunday at mass. Don’t you think the bishops do as well? Is this qualitatively any different than the way St. Paul encountered Jesus (i.e., not in the Incarnate Flesh)?

God bless,
RyanL


#13

[quote=Angainor]I asked about Apostolic succession and the eyewitness requirement for a reason.

Jesus was talking to the twelve when he said “Whatever you bind on Earth…” and he gave Peter the keys to the kingdom. How can we be sure these abilities were handed down two the Bishops, who do not meet the eyewitness requirement for succession that seens to be established precident in the case of Matthias?
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Think real hard about that question. What do you think the “power to bind” is. The apostles had the power to create “Apostolic Succession” which is what they did. After all, whenever a bishop died, they selected a new bishop to replace him, hence “Apostolic Succession”.

NotWorthy


#14

[quote=Angainor]I asked about Apostolic succession and the eyewitness requirement for a reason.

Jesus was talking to the twelve when he said “Whatever you bind on Earth…” and he gave Peter the keys to the kingdom. How can we be sure these abilities were handed down two the Bishops, who do not meet the eyewitness requirement for succession that seens to be established precident in the case of Matthias?
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Of course he left the binding authority to the apostles directly. Then they passed that authority to other men. They could do this, because they had this authority. Heb 13:17 says that we are to obey our leaders. We do. Our leaders in matters religious are those the apostles appointed, who appointed others, and so on.

Contrast this with the Catholic monk Luther. He had ecclesiastical superiors. Did he obey them? Did he follow Heb 13:17? No. On the contrary, he rejectted Hebrews as part of “his” canon of Scripture. He instead placed himself as his own superior, contary to Heb 13:17 and the apostolic ecclesial authority that came before him.

So, Jesus appoints apostles and says “He who hears you, hears me, he who rejects you rejects me.” Then the apostles appoint bishops with the authority to teach in the name of the Church. Then Luther rejects this authority. Have you ever read of the sin of Korah’s rebellion (Num 16, Jude 11)?

From the first century, we have the Epistle of Clement (AD 80), which states:

“Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that,*** if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry***” (*Letter to the Corinthians *42:4–5, 44:1–3 [A.D. 80]).

Clement wrote this during apostolic times. Funny how nobody objected *then *to this understanding of apostolic succession.

Luther’s rebellion and Korah’s rebellion have much in common, I think.


#15

[quote=Angainor]I asked about Apostolic succession and the eyewitness requirement for a reason.

Jesus was talking to the twelve when he said “Whatever you bind on Earth…” and he gave Peter the keys to the kingdom. How can we be sure these abilities were handed down two the Bishops, who do not meet the eyewitness requirement for succession that seens to be established precident in the case of Matthias?
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Jesus was talking to only his apostles at the last supper, when He said, “Do this in memory of me.” So, did that establish a condition that only the apostles could “do this” referring to the Holy Eucharist? Or perhaps did the apostles appoint other presbyters to do the same? Scripture and ecclesial history overwhelmingly states that they did. Nobody objected to apostolic succession until it was “convenient” to do so in order to promote their novel doctrines. If find that rather suspicious.


#16

[quote=NotWorthy]Think real hard about that question. What do you think the “power to bind” is. The apostles had the power to create “Apostolic Succession” which is what they did.
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Did they? The only time I see them replacing an Apostle they required an eyewitness.

[quote=NotWorthy]After all, whenever a bishop died, they selected a new bishop to replace him, hence “Apostolic Succession”.
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Sure, they appointed new bishops, but did the new bishops also get “authority” handed down? Did Peter’s keys get handed down to a non-eyewitness? Did the power to “bind and loose” get handed down to non-eyewitnesses? Judas was intentionally and specifically replaced with an eyewitness. We can be sure of Matthias’ authority.

Were the new established Bishops there just to carry on the administration of the new church? Paul tells Timothy: “What you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well” (2 Tim 2:2)

Timothy is presumably a new bishop. He has been told to teach “what he has heard through witnesses”. This does not sound like Timothy had any authority of his own. It is “what he has heard” that holds the authority. Timothy just passes on the info.


#17

The problems with these arguements is that you must reject all the Christians for the first 1500 years of Christianity in order to have your theory. Consequently, you must also reject the bible because the bible was given to us by these “apostolic Christians” who believed that bishops succeeded from the apostles. You must reject Irenaeus when he says,

[font=Arial]2. Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority,(3) that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere. [/font]

  1. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles. In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome despatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things. To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephorus, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him, Anicetus. Sorer having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.
  2. Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life.(1) For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account are we bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the thing pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth. For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question(2) among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?

#18

I looked and looked at those verses and still do not see the word or the meaning eyewitness as a requirement.

I see witness and the meaning of being able to pass on an oral account of truth, but no physical eyewitness requirement.

If I have missed something please let me know, but in addition to this I cannot recall any of the Church Fathers having this as a requirement. This seems like a illogical requirement in that the Church would lose all direction as soon as the eyewitnesses died, and no-one would be able to pass it on the truth.

Again if I missed something please let me know, I just see direct evidence for apostolic succession.

God Bless
Scylla


#19

[quote=scylla]I looked and looked at those verses and still do not see the word or the meaning eyewitness as a requirement.
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“For,” said Peter, "It is written in the book of Psalms, "‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, “‘May another take his place of leadership.’ Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the [size=2]men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus as taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” - Acts 1:21-22[/size]

[quote=scylla]I see witness and the meaning of being able to pass on an oral account of truth, but no physical eyewitness requirement.
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“…men who have been with us the whole time…” Is a little more than being able to pass on an oral account.


#20

[quote=Angainor]“For,” said Peter, "It is written in the book of Psalms, "‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, “‘May another take his place of leadership.’ Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the [size=2]men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus as taken up from us.[/size] For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” - Acts 1:21-22

“…men who have been with us the whole time…” Is a little more than being able to pass on an oral account.

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That verse does not make it a requirement that all successors must be eyewitnesses though. To make that claim is to add your own opinion to what has been said. It became necisary to select a successor to Judas. Therefore they picked someone from the disciples who were with Christ from the beginning. This does not say, “Only eyewitnesses are allowed to succeed us.” It is your own interpolation.


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