Apostolic Succession, Some Arguments
by Catherine Fournier
The question of apostolic succession is at the heart of many arguments in defense of 'the One True Church.' Is the Catholic Church the faithful continuance of the church founded by Christ? This is a huge apologetics topic, full of evidence and counter-argument. I present here some simple arguments and some starting points for further research. I hope they prove useful to you.
Although we have the Bible now and many Protestant faiths base their doctrine upon Scripture alone, it is important to realise that when the last Apostle died, the New Testament as we know it did not yet exist. There were a number of Epistles and Gospel accounts circulating among the faithful of the Church (who called themselves Christians,) but not all of them were recognized as inspired. All were written by 125 AD, and recognized as inspired by 200 AD. The complete canon (Old and New Testaments) was listed by the Councils of Hippo and Carthage, 393 and 397, respectively. For Bible-only faiths, that is a long time to be without a Bible!
In one of the Epistles of St. Paul he teaches and exhorts those receiving the letter to hold on to the traditions from the first Christian communities, both oral and written traditions. This passage gives strength and legitimacy to the selection of texts for the New Testament. In addition, documents of the Early Church demonstrate that the Church Fathers all believed in the primacy of the Pope and the Pope's succession to Peter. According to the Gospels, the apostles were give the necessary authority to train teachers to spread the faith. It seems that if the apostolic sucession of the Church ended with the apostles then so would have the teaching authority.
The links below have further information about apostolic succession
How Old Are Other's Churches?
Lutheranism was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517.
The Church of England was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.
Presbyterianism was founded by John Knox in Scotland in the year 1560.
The Episcopalian church began as an offshoot of the Church of England founded by Samuel Seabury in the American colonies in the 17th century.
Congregationalism was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.
The Methodist Church was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.
Theophilus Lindley founded the Unitarian Church in London in 1774.
Mormonism (Latter Day Saints), was started by Joseph Smith in Palmyra, N.Y., in 1829.
Baptists owe the tenets of their religion to John Smyth, who founded it in Amsterdam in 1605.
Those of the Dutch Reformed church recognize Michaelis Jones as founder, because he originated your religion in New York in 1628.
Worship with the Salvation Army began with William Booth in London in 1865.
Christian Scientists look to 1879 as the year their religion was born and to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy as its founder.
The numerous religious organizations known as 'Church of the Nazarene," "Pentecostal Gospel." "Holiness Church," "Pilgrim Holiness Church," "Jehovah's Witnesses," are some of the hundreds of new sects founded by men within the past century.
If you are Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ the Son of God, and it is still the same Church.
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