Buying office and Apostolic Succesion?

Back when the office of bishop was at times purchased so I have read, wouldn’t this break a chain of apostolic succession?


1 Timothy 5:22
“Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.”

I would think buying and selling a sacred office or position would violate this.

Acts 8:20
But Peter replied, "May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought!

Peter didn’t seem to like the idea either.

Which has nothing to do with valid apostolic succession.

If a person was validly ordained and validly consecrated a bishop by a valid bishop, they too are a validly ordained bishop regardless of how they came to be. Succession is intact.

Wow - that seems to go against scripture pretty clearly.

Someone that would seek to buy or sell God given authority seems wicked to me.

So a wicked person could lay hands on another wicked person, and that person has God given authority? I can’t agree with that.

The sin of the person does not intrude on the power and authority of God. If a bishop is validly ordained by a wicked bishop, that new bishop is still in line with Apostolic succession because sin of the ordainer does not interfere with validity (in this situation anyways)

Help me here - is there any case in the New Testament that would support this?

In the case of buying an office, it would seem the buyer and seller are both wicked - not a case of a good person subject to a bad one.

Technically valid, but probably excommunicated automatically, however many were able to “get away with it”


Forgot, also still really seems to go against scripture. Also, God sees everything, I don’t think we “get away” with anything other than fooling men.

Yes, granted. Such a practice is wicked.

Still, why would this be a problem when it comes to validity?

When Peter ordains, Jesus ordains. When Judas ordains, Jesus ordains.

Did Judas ordain anyone in scripture?


Scripture states that Jesus knew “from the beginning” who would betray him – namely Judas, whom Jesus calls a “devil” (cf. John 6:64–71). This fact is significant, since Judas was selected as an apostle even though Jesus knew that he was corrupt.

Another example would be found in Jesus’ teaching on “Moses’ seat” found in the opening verses of Matthew 23: “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.’” (Matthew 23:1-3)

“Moses’ seat” is a phrase that referred to a position of legitimate teaching authority held by the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. Later, Jesus condemned these men as “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “blind fools,” “serpents,” and a “brood of vipers.” But in the passage above, Jesus specifically instructed the crowds and his disciples to obey these leaders – despite their corruption – because of the authority of their position. That is sobering stuff.

If it were true that immorality invalidated a religious leader’s authority, then why did Jesus command his followers to “obey and do everything” the scribes and Pharisees tell them? Jesus merely admonished his followers not to follow their hypocritical example. There is not even the slightest hint that their positions had been forfeited or abrogated because of their hypocrisy or immorality. If anything, the reverse is true because Jesus validated these leaders’ office by telling people to obey them. From this, we see that sin and corruption found in the individual office holders has no impact whatsoever on the authority of the office itself.

What have you found from your own study?

There is more than 1 person named Judas in scripture - for example see John 14:22

Judas, not the Iscariot,* said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”

It is suggested that this particular person called here by the name Judas was also know to us as Thomas (yes, that Thomas). Given the presence of the Christian Church in India, I don’t think there is any doubt that Thomas ordained people.

What you are suggesting is the heresy the Donatists professed - the working of a sacrament depends upon the worthiness of the minister.

Came here to say this. What if what OP is suggesting applied to the other Sacraments? I was baptized by a priest who ended up getting defrocked for something that was going on around the time of my baptism. Should the priest have done what he did? Of course not! Should I worry about the validity of my baptism? No, because God is more powerful than human failings. At the end of the day, Jesus through the working of the Spirit is who is actually administering sacramental grace to me.

That’s not the point. The point is that a validly ordained bishop validly ordains, regardless of the worthiness of the minister or the recipient.

Can you imagine the chaos that would ensure if sacraments were invalidated simply because the minister is a sinner?

OK, on that note - if the one giving the sacrament - say baptism - is wrong enough to get excommunicated, and the one receiving it is doing it with the same level of wrong motive - is it still valid?

If someone is baptized by an excommunicated priest, are they baptized?

If they did it for money, is it still valid?

In fairness my baptism example isn’t a perfect example - while ordained people are the proper ministers of the sacrament, just about anyone can baptize. But yes, if an excommunicated priest or priest was paid money, he would validly baptize if 1) he intended to “do what the Church does” and 2) baptized with the proper Trinitarian formula. So far as I know, the faith and motivation of the recipient doesn’t necessarily invalidate a baptism. We baptize infants who don’t know much of anything, after all. All that said, it doesn’t mean that an adult who has bad motives SHOULD get baptized, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible for it to happen.

From what I have been taught, when someone is ordained, he takes that to his grave even as ex-communicated. So Luther could still validly baptize or consecrate even after his split. But it stopped with him.

Because the office is what is important, not the individual. Peter was a mess, IMO, yet Jesus handed him the keys. He uses the weak to confound the wise 1 Corinthians 1:27

Also important to note how God changes hearts seemingly with ease sometimes. How many hard-hearted sinners have you known that came to Jesus and turned their life around, now all they do is talk about Jesus? I’ve seen this in both the Catholic church and Protestant churches. So even if some shady business took place to get a position, that doesn’t mean our omniscient God doesn’t see it and wont do anything to correct it.

It’s like the scandals that took place, some of those folks did horrible and reprehensible things. But I wont give up on medicine just because I have encountered bad doctors and nurses. Likewise, the Church still stands with the same promise today as yesteryear MATT 16

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