Apostolic Succession Claim

I would like to understand what are other christians (non-catholics) explanation of Apostolic Succession in their very own Churches. Did the Early Church vanish, and no more succession? Is there another definition of succession? and so on…

Catholics may join to explain our claim.

We (that is, Lutherans), do not define apostolic succession as a succession of men, but a succession of doctrine (I know that Catholics also include doctrine in their understanding as well). We don’t place any emphasis on the individual minister as having been ordained by a specific individual, but rather, in as much as that minister holds to and teaches apostolic doctrine, he is their successor.

I was raised baptist and that subject was never even brought up. It was one of those “catholic traditions.”

I was raised as an Anglican.
We recited the Nicene Creed most weeks. **My **understanding was that ‘succession’ referred to the teaching of the Apostles, nothing more.
However, it was a couple of Anglican friends that planted a different idea of Apostolic Succession in my head that eventually brought me home to the Catholic Church a decade and a half later.
[Who really knows what the Anglicans teach … ;)]

Every Church which claims apostolic succession claims it the same way as Catholics - through validly ordained Bishops.

As far as I’m aware, Anglicans are the only ones who claim it that the Catholic Church does not recognize as holding it.

As a former Protestant, my churches didn’t care a whit about “apostolic succession.” They have the Bible, or what’s left of it in their denominations, and interpret that.

As far as I know only the Orthodox, and Catholic claims are the more likely by far compared to Protestants if we follow the historical argument.

Apostolic Succession is not really something that Pentecostals think about. We focus on Apostolic Faith, meaning that we continue in the Apostles teaching. When Pentecostalism emerged as its own movement in the early 1900s, it was called the Apostolic Faith Movement and was envisioned as a return to New Testament faith and power.

Pentecostals do recognize that the five ministry gifts (Ephesians 4:11) of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher are being fulfilled in the body of Christ today, even if there is no official office to correspond to those ministries. However, if you asked a dozen Pentecostals to describe what an apostolic role should look like in the Church today, you will probably receive a dozen answers.

God has that authority, and he has given us his word to be a standard, rule, and law. Those who proclaim what his word says are following in the apostle’s footsteps.

Exactly, the Bible says nothing about infant baptism. It doesn’t really matter how long the Catholic Church has been doing something. What matters to Pentecostals and other evangelicals is that we find no evidence of it in the Bible. What we find in the Bible is the call to “repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The “apostolic” teaching is for believers capable of repenting of sins to be baptized. Therefore, to us, infant baptism is a post-biblical practice that was not part of the apostolic teaching.

We know what the Bible says about those gifts and ministries. To know who is an apostle, we look at what an apostle does in scripture. If it quacks like a duck . . . Similarly, if someone functions as an apostle then they are an apostle. If someone functions as a prophet then they are a prophet. And so on.

Different Pentecostal/charismatic groups have different ecclesiologies. Classical Pentecostals do not use the title “apostle,” even though we do see functional apostles at work. At the very least, an apostle is a pioneer missionary/church planter called, commissioned, and empowered by Christ. Certainly individuals fitting that job description have existed throughout Church history and continue today, but classical Pentecostals have been reluctant to create fixed offices of apostle and prophet for fear that the gifts associated with those offices would be monopolized by the officeholders and the Spirit quenched.

Nevertheless, there are groups today in the Pentecostal/charismatic world who do entitle certain persons “apostle.” Presumably, these people would possess much power and respect among their religious communities.

And Anglicans are the only Protestants I know of who actually claim it.

Some Lutherans might, I don’t know for sure.

The Bible is a Book, the work of the Catholic/Orthodox Church. Without there understanding of it, yours is lacking at best or a complete misunderstanding at worst. The Book is based on a Tradition, and if you do not see the Tradition, then you view aspects of the Book on an individual basis which make no sense. Thats “why” you here Protestants" say we don’t need this or that, I don’t read it that way. Most Christians rationalize out of lack of understanding in a vain attempt at a short cut to salvation by creating salavation in accord to what you can conceive and believe thus “accept”.

Baptism is a great agrument from the book, many aspects are. But you see the book came 382 years after the Tradition. So who would we say knew the Tradition, the Book which was not there, or those souls practicing this Faith for 300-years? And btw those inspired Souls by God who wrote the Canons…in the Apostolic Churchs they practiced their faith.

Fact is its so bad out here right now in Christianity that “if” the correct message of the Cross is preached it considered an accomplishment.

The Book is a Book which if sits on the Table un-opened will remain for “eternity” un-opened on that table. Its is “not” its own authority.

And someone or anyone who decides to pick up that Book is “certainly” not the authority. I would think real hard about this folly.

In fact the Book tells you it is not its own authority.


So anyone can step up and proclaim what His word says and be following in the apostle’s footsteps. What do we do when such people teach contradicting doctrines? How do we know which one is right? There were doctrinal disputes among Christians even when the apostles were alive. How do we know who has the correct apostolic teaching?

This argument works both ways: churches which claim to be the one true church teach contradictory things… One still has to make a fallible decision on which church to follow and accept. Claiming to follow an infallible church gives no more certainty, as the decision to follow it was fallible, to quote Dr White there.

The Bible does not say infants should not be baptized. It says entire houisehold were baptized. In the year 100 there are letters from bishops who were taught directly by apostles proclaiming the Church baptizes babies. If you decide in the year 1900 this is wrong, it should be stopped and everything all Christians always did, not only Catholics, but all Protesstants up till that time is declared wrong. Jesus promised his Church’s doctrine would be true untilk the end of time.

Household baptism is an endless debate i find… But on this 100AD letter speaking of infant baptism; which one? I’m aware of the odd bit in Irenaus and Origen, but nothing prior to this?

Entire households were baptized almost three hundred years BEFORE the Church decided what books should be included in the New Testament. What would you have done to determine your doctrine in the year 200 or 325 AD? Do you realize that the New Testament was declared in 396 by bishops of the Catholic Church with the pope?

As Protestants we see more of a “receiving” of books rather than a “declaring” of them. I recommend “The Heresy of Orthodoxy” on this one for a Protestant perspective on this topic.

Those who received their faith from the apostles baptized babies long before the New Testament was canonized. Acts says entire households (families) were baptized. It does not say entire households except for the children. Do households normally have people of all ages.

Again the household thing is generally quite an endless debate, Karl Barth has a very interesting essay on it simply called “The teaching of the church regarding baptism” which I would recommend. But I must stand with Itwin, the repent and be baptised statements sway it for me.

We know there are false prophets. How do we know which one’s are the real deal and which are false? Please do not say if they agree with scripture. In the Bible it was prophesied that a famine was coming and people should store food. It happened. Suppose someone said that again today. I have Pentecostal firends whose entire congregations did this. They all were getting ready for the tribulation. They bought flour mills and stored up diapers and food. That was thirty years ago. There was nothing in the Bible to be able to know this would or would not happen. The guy who claimed the world was ending last year claimed to be a prophet. You just can not say if someone functions as a prophet or apostle that makes him one.

Well scripture is the rule of faith and the infallible guide… Can people get stuff wrong? Indeed they can. Doesn’t mean anything is wrong with the guide. Plus with respect sir, there is a slight misunderstanding of what sola scriptura is in this paragraph.

Does that mean they do not have unity in faith?

Is the NT materially sufficient or is tradition and scripture more a partim partim thing?
If two Catholics don’t agree on this, does that mean they don’t have unity in the faith? Or a legitimate differing view on something? Same thing with two Catholics, one who may hold more Thomist views on predestination, another Molinist views on the same topic. Are they no longer united?

Kind regards


At this point it would appear we are turning two threads into one or the same agrument exists on two.

The issue is this, we say the church did this or that wrong. The fact is all churchs do this or that wrong. Sad agruement in light of the Tradition which is still intact. Men make mistakes its a fact of life since Adam and Eve. The idea as with Luther is never to create a “correct” conception of a church, hence its always existed. Its to correct existing mistakes within the One Church of the Lord.

One does not acheive the postion to partake in this process by leaving in protest, but by effectively making your point in conjunction with the living breathing church. Luthers claim of church error didn’t go un-noticed, it created the counter reformation. Luther wasn’t “all-correct” he was right in specific area’s, and completely wrong in others.

When we say; is NT material sufficient, what does the West/East and in particular the USA/Europe indicate in this regard? I don’t believe its ever been, I would say one can find Salvation, however its a contrary path which certainly makes the path more difficult. In some case’s outright impossible.

One can find Salvation by Invincible Ignorance but it is not a path to Salvation.

Very different spin today.

This would be correct. In Scandinavian countries, Lutheran bishops and pastors can trace their lines of succession. In America, ELCA pastors (at least many of them) now trace their lines through Anglican/Episcopal lines, which include the “Dutch Touch”.

It is also important to point out that the Lutheran confessions support AS. Here from the Apology of the Augsburg Confession.

The Fourteenth Article, in which we say that in the Church the administration of the Sacraments and Word ought to be allowed no one unless he be rightly called, they receive, but with the proviso that we employ canonical ordination. Concerning this subject we have frequently testified in this assembly that it is our greatest wish to maintain church-polity and the grades in the Church [old church-regulations and the government of bishops], even though they have been made by human authority [provided the bishops allow our doctrine and receive our priests]. For we know that church discipline was instituted by the Fathers, in the manner laid down in the ancient canons, with a good and useful intention.


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