The true foundation of the Church is God and his Revelation in Christ, who died and rose from the dead.
But I’m talking about the foundation of the church in the sense of the Catholic Church’s self-understanding as the ONE true church, maintained via apostolic succession. Now, I believe in apostolic succession.
But really, what separates a Catholic perspective on the church and a Protestant one is the idea that Apostolic Succession is necessary for a legitimate leadership and sacramental celebration. If apostolic succession is NOT true, then it would seem any form of church governance is legitimate – as long as there are “elders” of sorts who can preside over the Eucharist, and so on.
SO what reasons are there to think Apostolic Succession is true?
A “Eucharist” in the scenario you describe is not a valid Eucharist at all, and those who receive are literally just eating bread and drinking wine.
That’s a circular argument. In the scenario I’m talking about, apostolic wouldn’t even be necessary for a Eucharist (if Apostolic Succession is not true). The notion of a valid Eucharist presumes apostolic succession, you see?
The historical practice of laying on of hands in passing on their authority perhaps most clear biblically from the two letters to Timothy. It is also clear from the Bible that those in positions of authority settle doctrinal disputes (Acts 15). This is a classic example of Apostolic Succession as not only the Apostles are present, but also the elders. It wasn’t decided just by the Apostles, but also by their successors and those they had appointed as elders (Acts 15:6, 15:22). When the apostles died, the elders didn’t stop being elders or lose their ability to join in council to make binding decisions, and neither did the men they appointed when those elders died. This is even commanded in 2 Timothy 2:2.
Anything outside of the appointed authority are creating divisions and schisms and is a rejection of that authority. Rejecting the authority of the elders/bishops is rejecting the authority of Christ (Luke 10:16).
I think this is a good question. I think that most Protestants who don’t worry about Apostolic Succession don’t look at the Church as a visible institution. Even if we didn’t have Apostolic Succession we would need some way to pass on authority if the Church is a visible institution. We would need some way to know who is in the Church or who has authority to make decisions regarding the Church.
For general authority I think Matthew 18:17 is sufficient:
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
For this verse to have any meaning you need a visible Church which can exclude people. The Church determines who is in it and not the individual. If a man could be excluded from the Church but then go set up his own then this verse would be stripped of any meaning.
As for Apostolic Succession Acts 1:15-26 demonstrates this. The Apsotles chose a success for Judas.
And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Matthias was counted with the Apostles. He was chosen by the Apostles to fill an office.
Even though it is not called as such, “apostolic succession” shows up clearly in the Bible with the apostles appointing new leaders, plus it was the “mark” of the apostolic church, not the Bible itself. The latter wasn’t chosen to form the Christian canon until three centuries later, and it was done by the church itself.
“Apostolic Succession” refers in one way to individuals, bishops who are, as persons, successors to the apostles, by a valid bishop to bishop, laying on of hands.
But Apostolic Succession also refers to a body of bishops. In the NT there was only one body of apostles, in union and ongoing cooperation with each other, as apostles or descendents we now call bishops.
So what body of bishops today has direct descent from the apostles, as an apostolic body or college?
We can debate whether this Anglican or Lutheran or PNCC bishop may or may not have, as an individual, apostolic succession. We can also acknowledge the certainty that bishops in certain spin off Catholic groups have, as individuals, apostolic succession. But they are not part of the corporate apostolic succession, from the body or unity of the apostles.
Here my friend is the very shot course on proving that not only in the RCC the ONE True Church & Faith of GOD; but Jesus Himself Ordered /Commanded Papal succession;
Mt 10: 1-8  And having called his twelve disciples together, he gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of diseases, and all manner of infirmities.  And the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, 5] These twelve Jesus sent: commanding them, saying: Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles, and into the city of the Samaritans enter ye not.
 But go ye rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And going, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils: freely have you received, freely give
 Sanctify THEM in truth. Thy word is truth.  As thou hast SENT ME into the world, I ALSO HAVE SENT THEM into the world.  And FOR THEM do I sanctify myself, that they also may be SANCTIFIED IN [MY] TRUTH.  And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me
Hence the RCC is the only Church; only Faith that can claim & prove that Jesus HIMSELF is the personal warranty of teaching His Truths on Faith and Morals infallibly when teaching in conformity with the Catholic Magisterium
Mt 28:19-20 [compare this to Mt 10:1-8 above]
 Going therefore, TEACH YOU ALL NATIONS; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Teaching them TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS whatsoever I have commanded YOU and behold I am with YOU all days, even to the consummation of the world.
Eph 2: 19-20 “ Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners; but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God,  Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone
**Eph 4: 1-7 ** “ I therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called,  With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity.  Careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  ONE BODY=CHIURCH and ONE Spirit; as you are called in ONE hope of your calling.  One Lord, ONE FAITH [SET ON FAITH BELIEFS], one baptism.
 ONE God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all.  But to every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the giving of Christ.
By both scripture and tradition, Jesus founded an apostolic Church. Matthew 28:19 and Luke 10:16 are examples.
Jesus never wrote a thing to be recorded. He never commanded the writing of anything. He never taught that the believer is to run to the printed page to either know doctrine or resolve disputes. He established His Church, i.e. Matthew 18:18 and gave all authority to it.
After his conversion, Paul went to Peter and James to ensure that his gospel accorded with theirs. Timothy and Titus are examples of the hierarchy via the laying on of apostolic hands. This video by former Lutheran Dr. William Marshner sums it up nicely: