I have recently run into the above term which for me is not new but I am not that familiar with the broader understanding of it. After reading some articles I decided to use our ‘best’ friend google to find out more about it.
I found that as usual the term is quite complex, not as simple as I had thought before I googledJ. But I decided to write some of my personal discoveries, partly new to me.
Apostolic succession is a term used to describe the continuation of the apostolic ministry since the first church. So the ministry of the Christian Church is to be traced back to the first 12 Apostles. This process or method described as apostolic succession is no simple thing I’ve found out. It starts with the first bishops in the see’s started by one of the apostles and then transferred by laying on of hands to the next appointed bishop in a new see and so on.
I won’t say more because then I get hanged on social mediaJ.
Now there are three spheres of apostolic succession, bishop, see and teaching. Different churches have naturally different views of apostolic succession by nature. We all want to be authentic and faithful to the original faith given by Jesus to the apostles of course. So the question is, how do we guarantee this?
Apostolic succession is normally the term used as a method to safeguard this continuity. My brief reading found three areas of succession.
- Mechanic – A unbroken chain of laying on of hands from Jesus to the apostles, bishops all the way until today
- See – The succession has its origin in one of the see’s founded by one of the apostles and then transferred from there further down the history
- Teaching – An adherence and obedience to the faith and teaching once given through Jesus and the apostles.
I do believe in apostolic succession and the importance of standing in the original faith. Then it has to be transferred to us, delivered to us, we cannot find out our own little belief. The bible settled by the church councils are in my belief the very most important source of information in safeguarding this teaching. And even though the bishops decided what books where to be in the bible they did not write the texts.
Of course it’s possible to wrongly understand the scripture but I think the biggest danger is when we all together leave the scriptures. As long as we in fellowship discuss and talk about it the Holy Spirit is in us and among us and He is mighty to keep us on the right track.