"Why were there no more "apostles" appointed after the apostles. Why were they only bishops?


Reading Early Church Fathers writings has led me to consider converting to Catholicism, but conversations with mormons have led me to this question. They say bishops don’t have authority to set up a church/lead it, only apostles do, and a few apostles were appointed after “the 12” but then they stopped so once the apostles were dead, the authority was lost. I just figured if that were so, God would just restore it w/someone else like he did w/Paul, but then again, as a non-Catholic, I didnt know about Earthly “authority,” just that of the Bible and God. Thanks!


The church has never stopped functioning or fallen into error. Therefore there is no reason to start a new church. We still have the one Jesus founded.
Apostolic succession is still intact.


Saint paul firstly visited the apostles to be baptised by them, he then had hands laid on him before preaching his main course, he further visited them to check he was in line with them, but found no difference.

scripturelink.googlepages.com/scripturalproofs will show proofs

http://scripturelink.googlepages.com/whyi’mcatholic and kindstuff.googlepages.com/thecatholicequation will prove beyong doubt that the Mormon, God lost all christian theory is off, and also prove the church.

kindstuff.googlepages.com/(bibleonbaptism will prove there is one fullness of truth, ours.

More than this, Paul was approved by Peter, and subject to him, Judas was replaced by mattias in acts, why not keep this tradition up, and Timothy had St.Pal lay hands on him too. The apostles were all of one mind (which paul advised people to be), and Paul JOINED THEM, was BAPTISED by their followers, PROFESSED their faith, and was one with his heros (least of the apostles- hey 14 apostles already?).

for more search here
or see


Please read, The Continuity of the Catholic Church

CONTINUITY OF ORGANISATION The officials of the Church organisation are, and at all times have been, priests and bishops, among the latter there being one chief or primate, the Bishop of Rome. I am not unaware that in the narratives of the early Church other titles are mentioned, such as prophet, evangelist, teacher and pastor, but it is evident that these do not refer to officials who were distinct from priests and bishops. Let me explain further that, if in these pages I give exclusive attention to bishops, it is not to imply a lesser importance of priests. It is rather that bishops have as their function to ordain priests and consecrate successors. In performing this function they play the essential role in perpetuating the organisation of the Church, thus assuring the all-important continuity.

Incidentally, because of an impression that the titles “Apostles” and “Bishops” are not identical in office, I call attention to a few pertinent facts. The first officials of the Church were known as Apostles, from the Greek word which means “one who is sent”. The successors of the Apostles were and are known as bishops, from the word which means “an overseer”. Both titles refer to the same office, the ruling office which our Lord created as an essential part of His Church. Once it is recognised that He established a visible organisation and put it under the charge of especially authorised officials, it makes little difference what the officials are called, whether managers or governors or directors or overseers or something else. The important thing is the office, only that.

This importance is clearly indicated in the instructions given by our Lord to the Apostles. To them, and to no others, He said: “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (The Acts 1:8)…“All power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Go ye therefore, and teach to all nations… Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Matt. 28:18-20). This last statement is of special importance because it indicates that our Lord had given commands for His Church and people, commands which the Apostles were to explain and enforce.

As already noted, the first officials were the Apostles, consisting of the original twelve and St. Paul. No less than the others, St. Paul was a witness of the resurrected savior and was appointed by Him. St. Barnabas, also, was called an Apostle, but in a restricted sense. Thereafter the successors were known as bishops, the title “Apostle” being reserved as a token of reverence for the first fourteen. If the reader is not convinced of these facts, let him consider that if the original Apostles were not the same as bishops there were no bishops during our Lord’s ministry and that if bishops were not the successors of the Apostles there have been no successors. Each of these hypotheses is wholly untenable.

The responsibility of the Apostles to perpetuate their office is illustrated by what they did at the first meeting after our Lord left them. Presided over by St. Peter, they were instructed to choose a successor to Judas. Quoting from the Psalms, with an interesting application to Judas, St. Peter said: “Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take” (Acts 1:20). The chapter closes with the statement that St. Matthias was chosen and was “numbered with the eleven apostles”. This was the first step in Apostolic succession.

That bishops were to enjoy the same authority as that entrusted to the Apostles is attested by our Lord’s several statements about the future of His Gospel and Church, statements which will be quoted later. Moreover, it is confirmed in the understanding and functioning of the early Church. One reference will suffice. In his address to the clergy of Ephesus, St Paul gave this advice: “Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God…” (Acts 20:28). It is worthy of note that the Greek word which is translated as “overseers” is “bishops.”

In brief, our divine Lord created a visible society, His kingdom on earth. Over it, He appointed certain officials, giving them full authority to “teach, govern and sanctify.” This authority, handed down generation by generation without a break, comes to us today with the same force and meaning that it had in the beginning.

And also, please read Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth


*Matthew Chapter 28:

1**6 And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And seeing them they adored: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. 19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 20 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.

Notice Jesus said He would be with these Apostles (11 of them at the time this was said ) till the consummation of the World after saying “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”. Well we know the Apostles would die before this consummation, so we have to reason that Jesus was talking about their successors as well, being sufficient enough to carry along these teachings He has commanded His Apostles.
We also know it would be impossible for the Apostles to teach all the nations of the world during their time on earth so again, He must mean their successors as well to carry on what the first Apostles were doing.

Jesus was not talking to the average Bible believing Christian here but to the core of the Church who had the Authority to forgive sins, to bind and loose, handed down by Him to build up the Church of God.


:cool: :thumbsup: Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, does that answer the q OP?:rolleyes: :thumbsup:


Yes! Thank you to all. This is very helpful. I will be busy reading some of your links provided now :thumbsup:


I would like to add that when the 11 decided with the help of the holy Spirit to choose someone to replace Judas one of the requirements was that the candidate had been with them from the beginning. That he be someone who had experienced an intimacy with Jesus similar to theirs, This event reveals the exclusive characteristic of the original 12. St john also spoke of the unique quality of their authority.

*1 John *
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life: 2 For the life was manifested; and we have seen and do bear witness, and declare unto you the life eternal, which was with the Father, and hath appeared to us: 3 That which we have seen and have heard, we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

This relationship with jesus was necessary in order to authentically teach what jesus taught ‘publicly’. The 12 held within them, because of their intimacy with Jesus, what Jesus’ word’s meant. Jesus revealed His teaching to them as friend to friend as much as teacher to student.

There can be no ‘new apostles’ because their is no new public revelation given by God in the flesh on earth.

No one can meet the requirement of having been with Jesus since the beginning of His earthly ministry. No one can receive their faith directly from it’s source again. The rest of us receive the faith of our father’s.


if Jesus passed divine authority to men on earth it is eternal authority that cannot corrupt or be lost. To believe that is to not understand it’s source. It makes sense though that Mormon’s would not recognize the nature of the authority of Jesus because they don’t understand His divinity. It’s funny that they would attach that kind of authority to a vision of Jesus and deny it from Jesus in the Flesh.:shrug:

St Paul knew better than that,:wink: Joseph Smith should have submitted to the authority that was given to men from Jesus in the flesh as well.


That would mean that Jesus set up one-generation Church… interesting


if you mean the generation the Apostles lived that would be incorrect. If you mean the generation of Adam that is correct. Also if you mean the community that is generated by Christ in one faith.


Obviously, “keep what you heard from the beginning” and “my words will never fade away” (huge role in my revertion), so private revelation never contradicts the apostles (“one spirit to drink”), but they still handed over many parts of authority (I timothy chapter 3 verse 15), which is actively controlled in God (“with you…”, “Messenger”); without the effect of which no salvation exists (Romans 10).


Ask your Mormon friends, if St. Paul describes the office of Bishop (and Priest, see further) and Deacon in I Timothy, when they were obviously offices that the Apostles intended to continue, as Titus 1:5-9 (where St. Paul speaks of the priests and the bishop: often bishops in the early Church acted as parish priests) shows, why no description of the office of Apostle and the qualifications, if that office was intended to continue?

I was with my sons recently in Salt Lake City. My one (11) said to me, “they use the same words, but they don’t seem to mean the same things.” Out of the mouths of babes.

I don’t think it has ever been put better than by St. Clement, a man who knew the Apostles, was appointed and ordained by them personally, and whose letter was read like Scripture for many centuries, yet he never claimed the title "Apostle."
I Clement (c. 95, i.e. while the last Apostle John still lived):

…42 The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the command of the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture in a certain place, “I will appoint their bishopsin righteousness, and their deacons in faith."…44 Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties and presented the offerings. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.

I’d also say why are not more books in the Bible since the Apostles, but with the Mormons that’s a dangerous question:eek:


Actually, setting up a church (if one’s not already there) and leading it is exactly the job description of a bishop. Every diocese is a church, in the sense of the churches of e.g. Revelation.


Jesus founded the New Israel. Just as Jacob had twelve sons from which the twelve tribes of Israel sprung, just so Jesus selected twelve Apostles to form the foundation of the New Israel, the Catholic Church. That is why the eleven found it necessary to select a twelfth to replace Judas. They were to be the Foundation stones of the Church with Jesus himself being the corner stone. Paul was an apostle by the fact that he was sent directly by Jesus, but by this time the Church was already well off the ground and growing. We are the living stones in this New Jerusalem. Study the Scriptures. Much of the New Testament reprises the founding and growth of the Israelite nation in the Old. You might say God had a definite plan. :slight_smile:


This was exactly the book that “enlightened” me to the idea of church authority. Actually, the most pivotal moment of my journey. I read it and jaw dropped, “God, you really did appoint earthly leaders! You really did establish a kingdom here on Earth!” That night I had a dream that also was very symbolic for me and I interpret it to be God leading me to the Catholic church. Anyway, just wanted to share that. I still don’t see why the only Christians now who use the word “apostle” for any of their current leaders are mormons. I haven’t read all the links included yet, but so far haven’t read a straight answer as to why no “apostles” succeeded apostles. Just Bishops, etc,.succeeded them. Is it because “apostle” is just the term for someone who knew Jesus and saw the resurrection?


The encyclopedia on apostle:

I found this link on a similar thread someone else posted. It has a helpful explanation, but looks like historians aren’t 100% sure why the term did not continue.


I believe the title apostle is no longer used for several reasons. One, to honor those that carried the title, much like a great football players’ number is retired. Also the time period of the Apostles is passed and others have taken their place but not the title. The line of the Apostles continues today with the people who carry the title of bishop. I would not put too much in a title as Jesus warned us of using titles to promote ones self, "call no man Father, teacher etc. Anyone can assume the title of Apostle but that doesn’t make him one. The Mormens believe that if they assume that title that it actually makes that person one. Instead of putting so much emphasis on titles, concentrate on the actual history of the Apostles and the passing on of their authority which Jesus said would last till the end of the world, uninterrupted.


Apostle means one who is sent out. Christ sent the Apostles out, to teach the Gospel.

Every Latin Mass ends with, “Mass has ended, go in peace”, which, is telling us the same thing. We are all apostles, ie, ones who are sent into the world to teach the Gospel.

The actual title Apostle has been given to those who were sent out to the world, by Christ Himself. They passed on their authority, what we call Holy Orders or Priesthood, by laying on of hands. The apostles appointed those they had ordained as overseers. It was the Apostles themselves who named their successors “overseer”, or bishop.

Every bishop in the Catholic Church can trace their ordination to a bishop before them, to a bishop before them, to a bishop before them, until you reach an Apostle and Christ Himself.

Mary Magdalene we call the apostle to the Apostles, as our resurrected Lord appeared to her first, and sent her out to tell the Apostles of the good news of His Resurrection.


Yes,.I forgot to meniton St. Mary Magdalene is called “the Apostle to the Apostles,” and several saints through the ages (Cyril and Methodios, Nina, Constantine and Helen, Vladimir and Olga etc.) are called "Equal-to-the-Apostles).

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