What is Apostolic Succession?
Continuation of: We've shifted the focus
Submitted by JeffLogan on Tue, 2012-04-24 12:59.
The Jews got so caught up in tracing their lineage back to Abraham to prove they were God's children and the Church is preoccupied with tracing her bishops back to Peter to prove they are God's church. Of course we who base our faith on scripture, apart from the ECF, realize that it's not by works that we are saved but is rather by faith. And so, even if your lineage could be traced back to Abraham or your bishops could be traced back to Peter or your church has Apostles--it really doesn't matter. To be children of Abraham, the man of faith, we must be so by faith. So because it is by faith and not works (read: affiliation) God can have His remnant in all churches.
Another reason I take no stock in the dogma of Apostolic Succession is that nothing prevents bad men from ousting good men and assuming their places in the church. During the time of Christ the priesthood was corrupt and high positions were purchased or bestowed for favor. During the Christian era the true saints went underground, hid in caves, and fled to the mountains. They were hunted down, tortured, and burned as heretics. Had the tables been turned I wonder if those men who gained the ascendancy in the church would have risked their lives for their beliefs. Do you think they considered those martyrs to simply be stubborn rebels? The masses weren't deceived because the blood of the martyrs returned a great harvest.
Now someone may argue that God promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church. Do I need to remind anyone of the fate that the Apostles met with or the persecution which occurred in the early church--how many gave their lives for their faith? With all this evidence its time for seriously godly people to reconsider that God was not promising to protect a sectarian institution, as is commonly supposed, but rather the patience and faith of the remnant in Jesus Christ. And yet, just as God will always have a people on this earth to the very end, so too the enemy will have his people and his churches to oppose God's work.
Another strike against the veracity of this dogma of the church is the very character of the church and those in high places. Can anyone conceive of the church of God having instruments of torture or consigning men to prison houses simply because they reject their teachings? Jesus rebuked His disciples when they wanted to call fire down upon a village because the people rejected Jesus. He said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them." So if it was at that time an evil spirit which prompted the disciples to seek to destroy their opposers, it is now an evil spirit that prompts a church to seek to destroy those who oppose her?
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“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."