Apostolic Succession


It seems like posters on this site refer often to the authority of the Catholic Church citing Apostolic succession as the reason. Usually the surnaming of Simon Peter is given as the reason for the authority of the pope. Also the appointment of matthias in the beginning of acts is cited as a scriptural account of apostolic succession. however, there is a particular difference between the mathias-judas story and the peter-lionus story (sp?). Judas apostleship was forfeit (acts 1:20) and the qualifications of the replacement was that he should be an eye-whitness of jesus’ ministry and resurection–he was taught directly by jesus himself.

I hav’nt heard that these qualifications apply to bishops of the catholic church since Paul was appointed on the road to demascus.

it seems adequate to me on the sources I’ve seen that peter fullfilled his appointment in his lifetime and that no appointed bishop after him need take the same place but that each bishop fill an office pertinate to the time but none be replaced.

  ----------------------Here's the question:

Can anyone document for me that Christ or Peter intended for Peter’s particular office and authority to continue in a successive bishop until the return of Christ–if that is what the catholic church teaches will happen.

I’m not interested in a regurgetation of “the pope is peter.” I’m more interested in we know the pope is peter because we have this copy of teaching from year x by person w that authenticates the dogma of apostolic succession. preferebly by someone who was a close companion of the first generation of apostles if possible.


Scripture provides a clue to the ‘office’ in Issiah. The prime minister is provided with the keys to the kingdom,what he opened none could shut, what he opened none could close. The people recognized this ‘prime minister’ as a father, abba, papa, all synonyms for pope…

You see christians shoud recognize the quotations from scripture and the reltionships involed. It is not just the giving of the keys that Issiaih images for us that the prophets speaks of. He asks and answeres the question of “how the people would recognize” the one who holds the key [probably not even a physical ‘key’ evenin the days of the prophet]?

The people recognize the one refered to as “Abba”

When an office implied here in the prophet and the successor to Judas chosen in Acts, what more could a person ask for?

Oh, I get it Matthias was an eye witness to Christ…now how long could the apostolic succession have lasted if only “eye” witnesses were chosen…50 years…90 years max?


thanks y, could you provide that reference in Isaiah. also could you follow up on the eyewitness thing. I noticed you did’nt notice that until you had almost finished posting. Personally, I don’t think being an eyewitness is important for every office of bishop but it looks from acts like it was imperetive for the 1st 12 offices.


Pope Clement I

“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]).

Pope Clement I

“Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . . Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us *, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy” (Letter to the Corinthians 1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80]).


“Therefore shall you [Hermas] write two little books and send one to Clement [Bishop of Rome] and one to Grapte. Clement shall then send it to the cities abroad, because that is his duty” (The Shepherd 2:4:3 [A.D. 80]).

Ignatius of Antioch

“Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father” (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]).

“You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force” (ibid., 3:1). *


You are looking for a history of the apostolic succession? The first thing that comes to mind is the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius. But I’m sure there are others. The Roman church was quite careful to keep the records of succession, from Peter to Linus to Cletus to Clement, etc., all the way to the present day.

It is like asking, how do we know that the current U.S. president is in the line of succession from George Washington. Well, because we have the history of his successors up to the present day.



I apologise for the delay in response…very busy at work…

From Isaiah Chapter 22

On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; 21 I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. 22 I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; ***when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open. ***

And from Acts Chapter 1

During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said, … And: ’May another take his office.’ 21 Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection." 23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” 26 Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven aostles. /QUOTE]

The ***Office ***of the Kings representative holds the keys [even hre probably figuratively] to the Kingdom. He [the Office Holder] is to be a Father to the people.

Peter receives the keys in a unique way [he name is changed and he is identified as the foundational stone for the Church which Jesus builds [and yes, Jesus is the ROCK and ALSO the MASTER BUILDER]. It is a reference to an Office.

In Acts, Peter stands up and addresses the brothers…and sets in motion the choosing of a succerssor to Judas, who shared in “this ministry”. Notice it is an apostolic office and Peter acts in a leadership role. And as the Church grew more than 12 Bishops were needed, just as the Church devveloped the role of Deacons to care for the widows and orphans as the Apostles were busy with other tasks later in Acts…


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