Apostolic succession

Recently, I had a discussion with a Protestant friend and tried to address apostolic succession. I used Scripture where it teaches the office of Judas is vacant and the Apostles choose Matthias to replace Judas in his office as Apostle. The response was the Holy spirit had not yet come upon the Apostles and, as such, that should not be considered a doctrinal teaching. How should I respond?

I suppose like this:Acts 1

15 In those days PETER stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said,
16 "Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus.
17 For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry.
18 (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.
19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Akel’dama, that is, Field of Blood.)
20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it'; andHis office let another take.

Also: John 20

21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.

God Bless:)

I’ve heard that response before, too. :stuck_out_tongue:

I would ask what they thought the purpose of that story’s inclusion would be. Matthias is not mentioned again in the book of Acts. So it is not as though Luke is introducing him there as a means of setting up a later story. So the story is included for its own sake because it is important.

John 20

21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.

Thank you , the above verses are exactly what I am looking for to help in these discussions. Thank you all and God bless.

I think your Protestant friend would even have a hard time getting other Protestant’s to agree with him on his reasoning. The Holy Spirit certainly was already at work in the Apostles, how do you think Peter was able to recall that Old Testament quote of David concerning the replacement of Judas? The Spirit prompted him to quote it.

The Holy Spirit’s action was not limited to Pentecost. For instance, even in the OT, the cloud following the Jews was a manifestation of the Spirit. (see CCC#697 for analysis). And in addition to John 20, you have Jesus telling the Apostles that the Spirit speaks through them (e.g. Matt 10:20). Pentecost was a universal outpouring, but not the first outpouring.

As well, Paul describes four generations of apostolic succession to Timothy:*2 Timothy 2:2 …and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.*There you have succession from Paul - Timothy - faithful men - others. Elsewhere, Paul confirms that he occupies an “office,” (e.g. Col. 1:25) which is something that has occupants pass through, i.e. succession. Even in the OT, the priests held “office.” (eg. read through Heb. 7:5ff) That is a Biblical type of the NT office, which is singular, in one high priest, Christ, in whom all ministerial priests serve in persona Christi.


After reading some of the replies to your original post, I’d say you have your answer. There have been some really great replies from individuals belonging to this forum.

Apostolic succession is a very clear… and it starts with St. Peter.

This seems to be a difficult reality to accept for some Protestants.

Growing up in Utah has been an experience to say the least, in regards to “apostolic succession.”

For as long as I can remember I’ve been grilled, talked down to, lectured and such as to why the Catholic Church has lost that succession. However, not one Mormon can provide me an exact date or event that would constitute a total apostasy.
To this very day, even while I’m at work, they (Mormons) continue to try… I give them an “A” for effort.

Even if we assumed that argument had a leg to stand on that would mean would should likewise dismiss all other doctrines demonstrated or taught before Pentecost.

Clearly, even after Pentecost their was a hierarchical structure. See

The need for an authoritative teaching Church, as opposed to each person using his own interpretation, is demonstrated by the following.

2 Timothy 4:1-4
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.”

Titus 1:5, 9
“This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you…9 he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it.”

See more New Testament quotes supporting Apostolic Succession at



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