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apostolic succession
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Episcopal consecration of Deodatus; Claude Bassot (1580-1630).
Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is held to be derived from the apostles by a continuous succession, which has usually been associated with a claim that the succession is through a series of bishops.F.L. Cross, E.A. Livingstone (editors), The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 {{ISBN|978-0-19-280290-3}}), article "apostolic succession" This series was seen originally as that of the bishops of a particular see founded by one or more of the apostles. According to historian Justo L. González, apostolic succession is generally understood today as meaning a series of bishops, regardless of see, each consecrated by other bishops, themselves consecrated similarly in a succession going back to the apostles. According to the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, "apostolic succession" means more than a mere transmission of powers. It is succession in a Church which witnesses to the apostolic faith, in communion with the other Churches, witnesses of the same apostolic faith. The "see (cathedra) plays an important role in inserting the bishop into the heart of ecclesial apostolicity", but, once ordained, the bishop becomes in his Church the guarantor of apostolicity and becomes a successor of the apostles.{{citation |title=The Mystery of the Church and of the Eucharist in the Light of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity |chapter=II,4 |url=http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/ch_orthodox_docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_19820706_munich_en.html |year=1982}}{{citation |title=The Sacrament of Order in the Sacramental Structure of the Church with Particular Reference to the Importance of Apostolic Succession for the Santification and Unity of the People of God |chapter=Apostolic succession |url=http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/ch_orthodox_docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_19880626_finland_en.html |year=1988}}Those who hold for the importance of apostolic succession via episcopal laying on of hands appeal to the New Testament, which, they say, implies a personal apostolic succession (from Paul to Timothy and Titus, for example). They appeal as well to other documents of the early Church, especially the Epistle of Clement.Adam, Karl. The Spirit of Catholicism Doubleday & C°, Inc: 1957 p. 20 In this context, Clement explicitly states that the apostles appointed bishops as successors and directed that these bishops should in turn appoint their own successors; given this, such leaders of the Church were not to be removed without cause and not in this way. Further, proponents of the necessity of the personal apostolic succession of bishops within the Church point to the universal practice of the undivided early Church (up to AD 431), before being divided into the Church of the East, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Christians of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Old Catholic, Anglican, Moravian, and Scandinavian Lutheran traditions maintain that "a bishop cannot have regular or valid orders unless he has been consecrated in this apostolic succession."BOOK, Guidry, Christopher R., Crossing, Peter F., World Christian Trends, AD 30-AD 2200: Interpreting the Annual Christian Megacensus, 1 January 2001, William Carey Library, 9780878086085, 307, A number of large episcopal churches (e.g. United Methodist Church, USA) have maintained a succession over 200 years but are not concerned to claim that the succession goes back in unbroken line to the time of the first Apostles. Very many other major episcopal churches, however-Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Old Catholic, Anglican, Scandinavian Lutheran-do make this claim and contend that a bishop cannot have regular or valid orders unless he has been consecrated in this apostolic succession., Each of these groups does not necessarily consider consecration of the other groups as valid.BOOK,weblink Apostolic succession, Encyclopædia Britannica, However, some Protestants deny the need for this type of continuity,WEB,weblink "Apostolic Succession" in The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition (Columbia University Press 2004), Questia.com, 18 July 2013, and the historical claims involved have been severely questioned by them; Eric G. Jay comments that the account given of the emergence of the episcopate in chapter III of the encyclical Lumen Gentium (1964) "is very sketchy, and many ambiguities in the early history of the Christian ministry are passed over".Jay, Eric G. The Church: its changing image through twenty centuries John Knox Press: 1980, p.316f

Various meanings

Michael Ramsey, an English Anglican bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury (1961–1974), described three meanings of "apostolic succession":
  1. One bishop succeeding another in the same see meant that there was a continuity of teaching: "while the Church as a whole is the vessel into which the truth is poured, the Bishops are an important organ in carrying out this task".
  2. The bishops were also successors of the apostles in that "the functions they performed of preaching, governing and ordaining were the same as the Apostles had performed".
  3. It is also used to signify that "grace is transmitted from the Apostles by each generation of bishops through the imposition of hands".
He adds that this last has been controversial in that it has been claimed that this aspect of the doctrine is not found before the time of Augustine of Hippo, while others allege that it is implicit in the Church of the second and third centuries.Ramsey, Arthur Michael. The Gospel and the Catholic Church (translated from the Spanish edition published in the Dominican Republic: 1964, pp.134ff)In its 1982 statement on Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches stated that "the primary manifestation of apostolic succession is to be found in the apostolic tradition of the Church as a whole.... Under the particular historical circumstances of the growing Church in the early centuries, the succession of bishops became one of the ways, together with the transmission of the Gospel and the life of the community, in which the apostolic tradition of the Church was expressed."WEB,weblink Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (Faith and Order Paper no. 111, the "Lima Text") — World Council of Churches, www.oikoumene.org, It spoke of episcopal succession as something that churches that do not have bishops can see "as a sign, though not a guarantee, of the continuity and unity of the Church" and that all churches can see "as a sign of the apostolicity of the life of the whole church".Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, 38The Porvoo Common Statement (1996), agreed to by the Anglican churches of the British Isles and most of the Lutheran churches of Scandinavia and the Baltic, echoed the Munich (1982) and Finland (1988) statements of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church by stating that "the continuity signified in the consecration of a bishop to episcopal ministry cannot be divorced from the continuity of life and witness of the diocese to which he is called."WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2012-09-12, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20120305095653weblink">weblink 5 March 2012, , WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2012-09-12, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20120305094958weblink">weblink 5 March 2012, , sec. 49Some Anglicans, in addition to other Protestants, held that apostolic succession "may also be understood as a continuity in doctrinal teaching from the time of the apostles to the present."Donald S. Armentrout, Robert Boak Slocum An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church (Church Publishing 1999 {{ISBN|9780898692112}}), p. 25 For example, the British Methodist Conference locates the "true continuity" with the Church of past ages in "the continuity of Christian experience, the fellowship in the gift of the one Spirit; in the continuity in the allegiance to one Lord, the continued proclamation of the message; the continued acceptance of the mission;..."Jay, Eric G. The Church: its changing image through twenty centuries. John Knox Press: 1980, p.228fThe teaching of the Second Vatican Council on apostolic successionessentially Lumen Gentium, 19–21 has been summed up as follows:
Bishops have succeeded the apostles, not only because they come after them, but also because they have inherited apostolic power. ... "To fulfil this apostolic mission, Christ ... promised the Holy Spirit to the apostles...". [These were] "enriched by Christ the Lord with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit ... This spiritual gift has been transmitted down to us by episcopal consecration".Wells, David F. Revolution in Rome, Tyndale Press: 1973, p.36

In the early Fathers

According to International Theological Commission (ITC), conflicts could not always be avoided between individuals among the New Testament communities; Paul appealed to his apostolic authority when there was a disagreement about the Gospel or principles of Christian life. How the development of apostolic government developed is difficult to say accurately because of the absence of certain documents. ITC says that the apostles or their closest assistants or their successors directed the local colleges of episkopoi and presbyteroi by the end of the first century; while by the beginning of the second century the figure of a single bishop, as the head of the communities, appears explicitly in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch ({{circa}} 35-107). In the Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Ignatius wrote about three degrees ministry:"See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop."{{citation |chapter=The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans |author=St. Ignatius of Antioch |title=Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1 |editor1=Alexander Roberts |editor2=James Donaldson |editor3=A. Cleveland Coxe |location=Buffalo, NY |publisher=Christian Literature Publishing Co. (retrieved from New Advent) |edition=1885 |chapter-url=http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0109.htm}}{{rp|Ch.8}}Ramsey says that the doctrine was formulated in the second century in the first of the three senses given by him, originally as a response to Gnostic claims of having received secret teaching from Christ or the apostles; it emphasised the publicBOOK, Early Christian Doctrines, Kelly, J.N.D, A&C Black, London, 1965, 37, manner in which the apostles had passed on authentic teaching to those whom they entrusted with the care of the churches they founded and that these in turn had passed it on to their successors.WEB,weblink Justo L, González, Essential Theological Terms, Westminster John Knox Press, 2005, 978-0-664-22810-1, 15, Google.com, 18 July 2013, WEB,weblink Walter A, Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Baker Academic, 2001, 978-0-8010-2075-9, 89, Google.com, 18 July 2013, BOOK,weblink Merrill F. Unger, Roland Kenneth Harrison, The New Unger's Bible Dictionary, Moody, 1988, 978-0-8024-9066-7, Apostle, Google.com, 18 July 2013, Ramsey argues that only later was it given a different meaning, a process in which Augustine (Bp of Hippo Regis, 395–430) played a part by emphasising the idea of "the link from consecrator to consecrated whereby the grace of order was handed on."Ramsey, Arthur Michael. From Gore to Temple. Longmans (1959)Writing in about AD 94, Clement of Rome states that the apostles appointed successors to continue their work where they had planted churches and for these in their turn to do the same because they foresaw the risk of discord: "Our Apostles, too, by the instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ, knew that strife would arise concerning the dignity of a bishop; and on this account, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed the above-mentioned as bishops and deacons: and then gave a rule of succession, in order that, when they had fallen asleep, other men, who had been approved, might succeed to their ministry."The First Letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians, chapter 44 According to Eric G. Jay, the interpretation of his writing is disputed, but it is clear that he supports some sort of approved continuation of the ministry exercised by the apostlesJay, Eric G. The Church, John Knox Press (1978). p.31ff citing Ad Cor. xliiff which in its turn was derived from Christ.Hegesippus (180?) and Irenaeus (180) introduce explicitly the idea of the bishop's succession in office as a guarantee of the truth of what he preached in that it could be traced back to the apostles.Woollcombe, K.J. "The Ministry and the Order of the Church in the Works of the Fathers" in The Historic Episcopate. Kenneth M. Carey(ed) Dacre Press (1954) p.31f and they produced succession lists to back this up.WEB,weblink Bernard B, Prusak, The Church Unfinished, Paulist Press, 2004, 978-0-8091-4286-6, 125, Google.com, 18 July 2013, That this succession depended on the fact of ordination to a vacant see and the status of those who administered the ordination is seldom commented on. Woollcombe also states that no one questioned the apostolicity of the See of Alexandria despite the fact that its Popes were consecrated by the college of presbyters up till the time of the Council of Nicaea in 325. On the contrary, other sources clearly state that Mark the Evangelist is the first bishop of Alexandria (Pope of Alexandria),"MEMBERWIDE">FIRST1=MATTHEW FIRST2=MARGARET FIRST3=STEPHEN PUBLISHER=OUR SUNDAY VISITOR PUBLISHING DIVISION PLACE=HUNTINGTON, INDIANA ISBN=0-87973-588-0, then he ordained Annianus as his successor bishop (2nd Pope)TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF COPTIC CHRISTIANITY >AUTHOR=OTTO FRIEDRICH AUGUST MEINARDUS YEAR=2002 PAGE=29, as told by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica 2.24.1).James F. Puglisi, director of Centro Pro Unione, made a conclusion about Irenaeus' writings: "the terms episkopos and presbyteros are interchangeable, but the term episkopos [bishop] is applied to the person who is established in every Church by the apostles and their successors".BOOK, The Process of Admission to Ordained Ministry, James F. Puglisi, Liturgical Press, 1996, 9780814661284, 20, According to Eric G. Jay,{{who|date=August 2015}} Irenaeus also refers to a succession of presbyters who preserve the tradition "which originates from the apostles".Jay, Eric G. The Church, John Knox Press (1978). p.47f citing Adv. Haer. III.ii.2 and IV.xxvi.2 respectively and later goes on to speak of their having "an infallible gift of truth" [charisma veritatis certum]. Jay comments that this is sometimes seen as an early reference to the idea of the transmission of grace through the apostolic succession which in later centuries was understood as being specifically transmitted through the laying on of hands by a bishop within the apostolic succession (the "pipeline theory"). He warns that this is open to the grave objection that it makes grace a (quasi)material commodity and represents an almost mechanical method of imparting what is by definition a free gift. He adds that the idea cannot be squeezed out of Irenaeus' words.{{rquote|right|Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop of theirs] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic menWEB,weblink The Prescription against Heretics: Chapter 32, Newadvent.org, 26 July 2011, |Tertullian}}Writing a little later, Tertullian makes the same main point but adds expressly that recently founded churches (such as his own in Carthage) could be considered apostolic if they had "derived the tradition of faith and the seeds of doctrine" from an apostolic church.Jay, Eric G. The Church, John Knox Press (1978). p.51 citing De Praescr. xx,xxi His disciple, Cyprian (Bishop of Carthage 248–58) appeals to the same fundamental principle of election to a vacant see in the aftermath of the Decian Persecution when denying the legitimacy of his rigorist rival in Carthage and that of the anti-pope Novatian in Rome; however, the emphasis is now on legitimating Cyprian's episcopal ministry as a whole and specifically his exclusive right to administer discipline to the lapsed rather than on the content of what is taught.Jay, Eric G. The Church, John Knox Press (1978). p.67f Cyprian also laid great emphasis on the fact that any minister who broke with the Church lost ipso facto the gift of the Spirit which had validated his orders. This meant that the minister would have no power or authority to celebrate an efficacious sacrament.Woollcombe, K.J. "The Ministry and the Order of the Church in the Works of the Fathers" in The Historic Episcopate Kenneth M. Carey(ed) Dacre Press (1954) pp. 56–7

As transmission of grace

For the adherents of this understanding of apostolic succession, grace is transmitted during episcopal consecrations (the ordination of bishops) by the laying on of hands of bishops previously consecrated within the apostolic succession. They hold that this lineage of ordination derives from the Twelve Apostles, thus making the Church the continuation of the early Apostolic Christian community. They see it as one of four elements that define the true Church of Jesus ChristOskar Sommel, Rudolf Stählin Christliche Religion, Frankfurt 1960, p.19 and legitimize the ministry of its clergy, since only a bishop within the succession can perform valid ordinations, and only bishops and presbyters (priests) ordained by bishops in the apostolic succession can validly celebrate (or "confect") several of the other sacraments, including the Eucharist, reconciliation of penitents, confirmation and anointing of the sick. Everett Ferguson argued that Hippolytus, in Apostolic Tradition 9, is the first known source to state that only bishops have the authority to ordain; and normally at least three bishops were required to ordain another bishop (First Council of Nicaea, can. 4). Cyprian also asserts that "if any one is not with the bishop, he is not in the church" (Ep. 66.9).BOOK, Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Volume 1, Everett Ferguson, Taylor & Francis, 1998, 9780815333197, {{rp|184}}This position was stated by John Henry Newman, before his conversion from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, in Tracts for the Times:We [priests of the Church of England] have been born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. The Lord Jesus Christ gave His Spirit to His Apostles; they in turn laid their hands on those who should succeed them; and these again on others; and so the sacred gift has been handed down to our present bishops, who have appointed us as their assistants, and in some sense representatives. ... we must necessarily consider none to be really ordained who have not thus been ordained.WEB,weblink Tracts for the Times: Nos. 1-46. Records of the church, nos. I-XVIII, John Henry, Newman, John, Keble, William, Palmer, Richard Hurrell, Froude, Edward Bouverie, Pusey, Isaac, Williams, 28 October 2017, J.G. & F. Rivington, Google Books, Ferguson, in Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, says that example of James and the elders of the Jerusalem Church (Acts 21:18) may have provided a model for the development of 'monepiscopacy', in which James' position has figured conspicuously in modern theories about the rise of the monepiscopacy.{{rp|183}} Raymond E. Brown says that in the earlier stage (before the third century and perhaps earlier) there were plural bishops or overseers ("presbyter-bishops") in an individual community; in the later stage changed to only one bishop per community. Little is known about how the early bishops were formally chosen or appointed; afterwards the Church developed a regularized pattern of selection and ordination of bishops, and from the third century on that was universally applied. Brown asserts that the ministry was not ordained by the Church to act on its own authority, but as an important part to continue the ministry of Jesus Christ and helps to make the Church what it is.BOOK, 101 Questions and Answers on the Bible, Raymond E. Brown, Paulist Press, 2003, 9780809142514, 119–122, Raymond E. Brown also states that by the early second century, as written in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch, in the threefold structure of the single bishop, plural presbyters, and plural deacons, the celebration of the Eucharist is assigned to the bishop alone; the bishop may delegate others when he goes away. At the Last Supper, Jesus says to those present, who were or included the Twelve Apostles, "Do this in commemoration of me," Brown presumes that the Twelve were remembered as presiding at the Eucharist. But they could scarcely have been present at all the Eucharists of the first century, and no information in New Testament whether a person was regularly assigned to do this task and, if so, who that person was. After all the Church regulated and regularized the celebration of the Eucharist, as that was an inevitable establishment if communities were to be provided regularly with the 'bread of life', since it could not rely on gratuitous provision.

Objections to the transmission of grace theory

According to William Griffith Thomas, some Protestants have objected that this theory is not explicitly found in Scripture, and the New Testament uses 'bishop' and 'presbyter' as alternative names for the same office.Thomas, Griffith. The Principles of Theology. Church Book Room Press:1963, p.357 Michael Ramsey argued it is not clearly found in the writings of the Fathers before Augustine in the fourth century and there were attempts to read it back as implicit in earlier writers.Ramsey, Arthur Michael. The Gospel and the Catholic Church (translated from the Spanish edition published in the Dominican Republic: 1964, p.136)For example, C. K. Barrett points out that the Pastoral Epistles are concerned that ministers of the generation of Timothy and Titus should pass on the doctrine they had received to the third generation. According to Barrett, teaching and preaching are "the main, almost the only, activities of ministry." He argues that in Clement of Rome ministerial activity is liturgical: the undifferentiated 'presbyter-bishops' are to "make offerings to the Lord at the right time and in the right places" something which is simply not defined by the evangelists. He also mentions the change in the use of sacrificial language as a more significant still: for Paul the Eucharist is a receiving of gifts from God, the Christian sacrifice is the offering of one's body (Romans 12:1).Barrett, C.K. Church, Ministry and Sacraments in the New Testament Paternoster Press: 1993{{rp|92f}} Moving on to Ignatius of Antioch, Barrett states that a sharp distinction found between 'presbyter' and 'bishop': the latter now stands out as "an isolated figure" who is to be obeyed and without whom it is not lawful to baptise or hold a love-feast.{{rp|94f}} He also points out that when Ignatius writes to the Romans, there is no mention of a bishop of the Roman Church, "which we may suppose had not yet adopted the monarchical episcopate."{{rp|95}} Jalland{{who |date=August 2015}} comes to a similar conclusion and locates the change from the "polyepiscopacy" of the house church model in Rome, to monepiscopacy as occurring before the middle of the second century.Jalland, Trevor Gervaise. The Church and the Papacy. SPCK: 1944, pp.80ffSimilar objections are voiced by Harvey{{who |date=August 2015}} who comments that there is a "strong and ancient tradition" that the presence of an ordained man is necessary for the celebration of the Eucharist. But, according to him, there is "certainly no evidence for this view in the New Testament" and in the case of Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch the implication is not that it cannot be celebrated by anyone else, but that it ought not. Harvey says in the third century this "concern for propriety" begins to be displaced by the concept of 'power' to do so which means that in the absence of such a man it is "literally impossible" for a Eucharist to be celebrated.Harvey, A.E. Priest or President?. SPCK:1975, pp.45f

Apostolicity as doctrinal and related continuity

Some Protestant denominations, not including Scandinavian Lutherans, Anglicans and Moravians, deny the need of maintaining episcopal continuity with the early Church, holding that the role of the apostles was that, having been chosen directly by Jesus as witnesses of his resurrection, they were to be the "special instruments of the Holy Spirit in founding and building up the Church".Litton, E.A. Introduction to Dogmatic Theology. James Clarke & C°: 1960, p.388-389 Anglican theologian E. A. Litton argues that the Church is "built upon 'the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles' (Ephes. ii. 20), but a foundation does not repeat itself"; therefore he says that when the apostles died, they were replaced by their writings. To share with the apostles the same faith, to believe their word as found in the Scriptures, to receive the same Holy Spirit, is to many Protestants the only meaningful "continuity". The most meaningful apostolic succession for them, then, is a "faithful succession" of apostolic teaching.Max Thurian, before his conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1988, described the classic Reformed/Presbyterian concept of apostolic succession in the following terms. "The Christian ministry is not derived from the people but from the pastors; a scriptural ordinance provides for this ministry being renewed by the ordination of a presbyter by presbyters; this ordinance originates with the apostles, who were themselves presbyters, and through them it goes back to Christ as its source.".quoted by Thurian from a report to the 1911 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Then he continued:
"it does not guarantee the continuity and faithfulness of the Church. A purely historical or mechanical succession of ministers, bishops or pastors would not mean ipso facto true apostolic succession in the church, Reformed tradition, following authentic Catholic tradition, distinguishes four realities which make up the true apostolic succession, symbolized, but not absolutely guaranteed, by ministerial succession."Thurian, Max. Priesthood & Ministry. Paula Clifford (tr) Mowbrays: 1983, pp.167f At the same time Thurian argued that the realities form a "composite faithfulness" and are (i) "perseverance in the apostolic doctrine"; (ii) "the will to proclaim God's word"; (iii) "communion in the fundamental continuity of the Church, the Body of Christ, the faithful celebration of Baptism and the Eucharist"; (iv) "succession in the laying on of hands, the sign of ministerial continuity".
According to Walter Kasper, the Reformed-Catholic dialogue came to belief that there is an apostolic succession which is important to the life of the Church, though both sides distinguish the meaning of that succession. Besides, the dialogue states that apostolic succession "consists at least in continuity of apostolic doctrine, but this is not in opposition to succession through continuity of ordained ministry" (Ref I, 100).BOOK, Harvesting the Fruits: Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue, Walter Kasper, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2009, 9781441136817, {{rp|85}} While the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue distinguishes between apostolic succession in faith (in substantive meaning) and apostolic succession as ministerial succession of bishops; agreed that "succession in the sense of the succession of ministers must be seen within the succession of the whole church in the apostolic faith" (Ministry, 61; cf. Malta, 48).{{rp|84}}Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church asserts that apostolic succession means something more than just a transmission of authorities; it witnesses to the apostolic faith from the same apostolic faith, and in communion with other Churches (attached to the apostolic communion). Apostolic tradition deals with the community, not only an ordained bishop as an isolated person. Since the bishop, once ordained, becomes the guarantor of apostolicity and successor of the apostles; he joins together all the bishops, thus maintaining episkope of the local Churches derived from the college of the apostles.

Churches claiming apostolic succession

Churches that claim some form of episcopal apostolic succession, dating back to the apostles or to leaders from the apostolic era,Apostolicity Catholic Encyclopedia article include the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Church of the East, the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches (see below), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,WEB,weblink Restoration of the Priesthood, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, ChurchofJesusChrist.org, and Old Catholics and other Independent Catholics (those incorporating the term "Catholic"). The Anglican Communion (see below) and those Lutheran churches which claim apostolic succession do not specifically teach this but exclusively practice episcopal ordination. While some Anglicans claim it for their communion, their views are often nuanced and there is widespread reluctance to 'unchurch' Christian bodies which lack it.Ramsey, Arthur Michael. From Gore to Temple Longmans: 1960, pp. 119–24Roman Catholics recognise the validity of the apostolic successions of the bishops, and therefore the rest of the clergy, of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Old Catholic Church (Union of Utrecht only),{{citation needed|date=August 2015}} and Polish National Catholic Church{{citation needed|date=August 2015}}. The Orthodox generally recognise Roman Catholic clerical orders as being of apostolic lineage, but have a different concept of the apostolic succession as it exists outside the canonical borders of the Orthodox Church, extending the term only to bishops who have maintained communion, received ordination from a line of apostolic bishops, and preserved the catholic faith once delivered through the apostles and handed down as Holy Tradition. The lack of apostolic succession through bishops is the primary basis on which Protestant denominations (barring some like Anglicans and Old Catholics) are not called Churches, in the proper sense, by the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, the latter referring to them as "ecclesial communities" in the official documents of the Second Vatican Council."Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church", published 10 July 2007.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also claims apostolic succession. According to Mormon tradition, in 1829, Joseph Smith received the priesthood from Jesus' disciples Peter, James, and John. After its establishment, each subsequent prophet and leader of the church have received the authority passed down by the laying on of hands, or through apostolic succession.{{Citation needed|date=May 2019}} Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Christians reject the claim that Smith possessed direct or indirect apostolic authority.

Apostolic founders

File:Peter_as_Pope_.png|thumb|180px|Saint Peter portrayed as a Pope in the Nuremberg ChronicleNuremberg ChronicleAn early understanding of apostolic succession is represented by the traditional claims of various churches, as organised around important episcopal sees, to have been founded by specific apostles. On the basis of these traditions, the churches claim to have inherited specific authority, doctrines or practices on the authority of their founding apostle(s), which is understood to be continued by the bishops of the apostolic throne of the church that each founded and whose original leader he was. Thus:

Teachings

Teachings on the nature of Apostolic Succession vary depending on the ecclesiastic body, especially within various Protestant denominations. Christians of the Church of the East, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church all recognize the validity of each other's apostolic succession. Among the previously mentioned churches opinions vary as to the validity of succession within Old Catholic, Anglican, Moravian, and Lutheran communities. Roman Catholics deny the validity of all Sacraments by Protestant Churches with an "episcopal polity" whilst the Church of the East has very little stance on the matter entirely. Opinions within the Orthodox churches are often inconclusive. Episcopal Protestants typically recognize the validity of the four traditional apostolic churches.

Catholic Church

|source=Irenaeus}}In Catholic theology, the doctrine of apostolic succession is that the apostolic tradition - including apostolic teaching, preaching, and authority - is handed down from the college of apostles to the college of bishops through the laying on of hands, as a permanent office in the Church.BOOK, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2002, Catholic Church, Vatican City, 77, 861, Historically, this has been understood as a succession in office, a succession of valid ordinations, or a succession of the entire college. It is understood as a sign and guarantee that the Church, both local and universal, is in diachronic continuity with the apostles; a necessary but insufficient guarantor thereof.{{citation|publisher=International Theological Commission |title=Catholic Teaching on Apostolic Succession |url=http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_cti_1973_successione-apostolica_en.html |year=1973 |url-status=dead |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20151004010314weblink |archivedate=4 October 2015 |df=dmy }}(File:Ordenados.jpg|thumb|Catholic ordination ceremony)Papal primacy is different though related to apostolic succession as described here. The Catholic Church has traditionally claimed a unique leadership role for the Apostle Peter, believed to have been named by Jesus as head of the Apostles and as a focus of their unity, who became the first Bishop of Rome, and whose successors inherited the role and accordingly became the leaders of the worldwide Church as well. Even so, Catholicism acknowledges the papacy is built on apostolic succession, not the other way around. As such, apostolic succession is a foundational doctrine of authority in the Catholic Church."If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church’....{{Bibleref2c|Matthew|16:18}} Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement, Clement by Anacletus, Anacletus by Evaristus..." (St. Augustine; Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).The Roman Catholic position is summarised this way: "The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it ....’{{bibleref2c|Mt.|16:18}} On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep,{{bibleref2c|Jn|21:17}} and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity.... If someone [today] does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (Cyprian of Carthage; The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; first edition [A.D. 251]). Peter's Successors {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20150920072354weblink |date=20 September 2015 }}. Catholic Answers.Catholicism holds that Christ entrusted the Apostles with the leadership of the community of believers, and the obligation to transmit and preserve the "deposit of faith" (the experience of Christ and his teachings contained in the doctrinal "tradition" handed down from the time of the apostles and the written portion, which is Scripture). The apostles then passed on this office and authority by ordaining bishops to follow after them.WEB,weblink Catechism of the Catholic Church, #861–862, Old.usccb.org, 14 December 1975, 18 July 2013, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20120729121143weblink">weblink 29 July 2012, dmy, Roman Catholic theology holds that the apostolic succession effects the power and authority to administer the sacraments except for baptism and matrimony. (Baptism may be administered by anyone and matrimony by the couple to each other.) Authority to so administer such sacraments is passed on only through the sacrament of Holy Orders, a rite by which a priest is ordained (ordination can be conferred only by bishop). The bishop, of course, must be from an unbroken line of bishops stemming from the original apostles selected by Jesus Christ. Thus, apostolic succession is necessary for the valid celebration of the sacraments.On 29 June 2007, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explained why apostolic succession is integral to, and indeed, "a constitutive element" of the Church. In response to the question why the Second Vatican Council and other official statements of the Catholic Church do not call Protestant Christian Communities "Churches", it stated that "according to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called 'Churches' in the proper sense".WEB,weblink Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine of the Church, Vatican.va, 18 July 2013,

Views concerning other churches

{{multiple image
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| image1 = Saint Raphael Catholic Church (Springfield, Ohio) - stained glass, Upon this Rock, detail - St. Peter's Basilica.jpg
| caption1 = Stained glass window in a Catholic church depicting St. Peter's Basilica in Rome sitting "Upon this rock," a reference to (:s:Bible (King James)/Matthew#Chapter 16|Matthew 16):18. Most present-day Catholics interpret Jesus as saying he was building his church on the rock of the Apostle Peter and the succession of popes which claim Apostolic succession from him.


| image2 = AugsburgConfessionArticle7OftheChurch.jpg
| caption2 = A 17th century illustration of (:s:Augsburg Confession#Article VII: Of the Church.|Article VII: Of the Church) from the Augsburg Confession, which states "...one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered." Here the rock from Matthew 16:18 refers to the preaching and ministry of Jesus as the Christ, a view discussed at length in the 1537 Treatise.Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, paragraph 22 and following}}
In the Catholic Church, Pope Leo XIII stated in his 1896 bull Apostolicae curae that the Catholic Church believes specifically that Anglican orders were to be considered "absolutely null and utterly void."His argument was as follows. First, the ordination rite of Edward VI had removed language of a sacrificial priesthood. Ordinations using this new rite occurred for over a century and, because the restoration of language of "priesthood" a century later in the ordination rite "was introduced too late, as a century had already elapsed since the adoption of the Edwardine Ordinal ... the Hierarchy had become extinct, there remained no power of ordaining." With this extinction of validly ordained bishops in England, "the true Sacrament of Order as instituted by Christ lapsed, and with it the hierarchical succession." As a result, the pope's final judgment was that Anglican ordinations going forward were to be considered "absolutely null and utterly void." Anglican clergy from then on were from then on to be ordained as Catholic priests upon entry into the Catholic Church.{{rp|105}}A reply from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York (1896) was issued to counter Pope Leo's arguments: Saepius officio: Answer of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Bull Apostolicae Curae of H. H. Leo XIII.weblink {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20090807095328weblink|date=7 August 2009}} They argued that if the Anglican orders were invalid, then the Roman orders were as well since the Pope based his case on the fact that the Anglican ordinals used did not contain certain essential elements but these were not found in the early Roman rites either. However, Catholics argue, this argument does not consider the sacramental intention involved in validating Holy Orders. In other words, Catholics believe that the ordination rites were reworded so as to invalidate the ordinations because the intention behind the alterations in the rite was a fundamental change in Anglican understanding of the priesthood.Franklin, R. William. "Introduction: The Opening of the Vatican Archives and the ARCIC Process" in Franklin, R. William (ed)Anglican orders Mowbray:1996(File:Leo XIII.jpg|thumb|upright|Pope Leo XIII rejected Anglican arguments for apostolic succession in his bull Apostolicae curae.)It is Roman Catholic doctrine that the teaching of Apostolicae curae is a truth to be "held definitively, but are not able to be declared as divinely revealed," as stated in a commentary by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.{{citation |chapter-url=http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFADTU.HTM |chapter=Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio fidei |author=Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith |title=L'Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English |edition=15 July 1998 |pages=3–4 |publisher=EWTN}} Cardinal Basil Hume explained the conditional character of his ordination of Graham Leonard, former Anglican bishop of the Diocese of London, to the priesthood in the following way: "While firmly restating the judgement of Apostolicae Curae that Anglican ordination is invalid, the Catholic Church takes account of the involvement, in some Anglican episcopal ordinations, of bishops of the Old Catholic Church of the Union of Utrecht who are validly ordained. In particular and probably rare cases the authorities in Rome may judge that there is a 'prudent doubt' concerning the invalidity of priestly ordination received by an individual Anglican minister ordained in this line of succession."NEWS, Statement of Cardinal Hume on the Ordination of Anglican Bishop Leonard as a Roman Catholic Priest,weblink The Catholic Resource Network, Trinity Communications, 1994, 22 February 2015, At the same time, he stated: "Since the church must be in no doubt of the validity of the sacraments celebrated for the Catholic community, it must ask all who are chosen to exercise the priesthood in the Catholic Church to accept sacramental ordination in order to fulfill their ministry and be integrated into the apostolic succession." Since Apostolicae curae was issued many Anglican jurisdictions have revised their ordinals, bringing them more in line with ordinals of the early Church.Timothy Dufort, writing in The Tablet in 1982, attempted to present an ecumenical solution to the problem of how the Catholic Church might accept Anglican orders without needing to formally repudiate Apostolicae curae at all. Dufort argued that by 1969 all Anglican bishops had acquired apostolic succession fully recognized by Rome,Timothy Dufort, The Tablet, 29 May 1982, pp. 536–538. since from the 1930s Old Catholic bishops (the validity of whose orders the Vatican has never questionedweblink have acted as co-consecrators in the ordination of Anglican bishops. This view has not yet been considered formally by the Holy See, but after Anglican Bishop Graham Leonard converted to Roman Catholicism, he was only reordained in 1994 conditionally because of the presence of Old Catholic bishops at his ordination.The question of the validity of Anglican orders has been further complicated by the Anglican ordination of women.R. William Franklin(ed). Anglican Orders. Mowbray 1996 pp.72,73(note 11), 104 In a document it published in July 1998, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that the Catholic Church's declaration on the invalidity of Anglican ordinations is a teaching that the church has definitively propounded and that therefore every Catholic is required to give "firm and definitive assent" to this matter. This being said, in May 2017, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, has asked whether the current Catholic position on invalidity could be revised in the futureweblink

Orthodox churches

(File:Cheirotonia Presbyter 2.jpeg|thumb|Ordination of an Orthodox priest by laying on of hands. Orthodox Christians view apostolic succession as an important, God-ordained mechanism by which the structure and teaching of the Church are perpetuated.)While Eastern Orthodox sources often refer to the bishops as "successors of the apostles" under the influence of Scholastic theology, strict Orthodox ecclesiology and theology hold that all legitimate bishops are properly successors of Peter.See Meyendorff J., Byzantine Theology This also means that presbyters (or "priests") are successors of the apostles. As a result, Orthodox theology makes a distinction between a geographical or historical succession and proper ontological or ecclesiological succession. Hence, the bishops of Rome and Antioch can be considered successors of Peter in a historical sense on account of Peter's presence in the early community. This does not imply that these bishops are more successors of Peter than all others in an ontological sense.Cleenewerck, Laurent. His Broken Body. Washington, DC: EUC Press, 2007 {{Self-published source|date=June 2015}}{{rp|86–89}}According to ancient canons still observed with the Orthodox communion, a bishop must be consecrated by at least three other bishops; so-called "single handed ordinations" do not exist. Moreover, bishops are never ordained "at large" but only for a specific Eucharist community, in due historical and sacramental succession.{{Citation needed|date=February 2010}}

Views concerning other churches

The Eastern Orthodox have often permitted non-Orthodox clergy to be rapidly ordained within Orthodoxy as a matter of pastoral necessity and economia. Priests entering Eastern Orthodoxy from Oriental Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism have usually been received by "vesting" and have been allowed to function immediately within Eastern Orthodoxy as priests. Recognition of Roman Catholic orders by the Russian Orthodox Church was stipulated in 1667 by the Synod of Moscow,{{rp|138}} but this position is not universal within the Eastern Orthodox communion.WEB,weblink Validity of Roman Catholic Orders, 1996, Orthodox Church in America, English, 3 March 2016, Some Orthodox would say that Roman Catholic priests do possess grace; others would say that they do not., For example, Fr. John Morris of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, states that "Apostolic Succession is not merely a historical pedigree, but also requires Apostolic Faith. This is because Apostolic Succession is not the private possession of a bishop, but is the attribute of a local Church. A bishop who goes in schism or is cast out of office due to heresy does not take his Apostolic Succession with him as a private possession."WEB,weblink An Orthodox Response to the Recent Roman Catholic Declaration on the Nature of the Church, Morris, John, October 2007, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, English, 4 March 2016, The validity of a priest's ordination is decided by each autocephalous Orthodox church.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110723002517weblink">weblink 23 July 2011, Internet Archive Wayback Machine, Web.archive.org, 23 July 2011, 28 September 2012, The Armenian Apostolic Church, which is one of the Oriental Orthodox churches, recognises Roman Catholic episcopal consecrations without qualification.{{Citation needed|date=February 2010}}In 1922 the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople recognised Anglican orders as valid, holding that they carry "the same validity as the Roman, Old Catholic and Armenian Churches possess".BOOK, Franklin, R. William, Anglican Orders: Essays on the Centenary of Apostolicae Curae 1896-1996, 1 June 1996, Church Publishing, Inc., English, 9780819224880, 117, In 1922 the Ecumenical Patriarch and Holy Synod of Constantinople were persuaded to speak of Anglican orders. They did so in Delphic terms by declaring that Anglican orders possessed "the same validity as the Roman, Old Catholic and Armenian Churches possess". Jerusalem and Cyprus followed in 1923 by provisionally acceding that Anglican priests should not be reordained if they became Orthodox. Romania endorsed Anglican orders in 1936. Greece was not so sure, arguing that the whole of Orthodoxy must come to a decision, but it spoke of Anglican orders in the same somewhat detached un-Orthodox language., In the encyclical "From the Oecumenical Patriarch to the Presidents of the Particular Eastern Orthodox Churches", Meletius IV of Constantinople, the Oecumenical Patriarch, wrote: "That the Orthodox theologians who have scientifically examined the question have almost unanimously come to the same conclusions and have declared themselves as accepting the validity of Anglican Orders."WEB,weblink Encyclical on Anglican Orders from the Oecumenical Patriarch to the Presidents of the Particular Eastern Orthodox Churches, 1922, 1998, University College London, English, 3 March 2016,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20020125091106weblink">weblink 25 January 2002, Following this declaration, in 1923, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as well as the Eastern Orthodox Church of Cyprus agreed by "provisionally acceding that Anglican priests should not be re-ordained if they became Orthodox";BOOK, Wright, John Robert, Dutton, Marsha L., Gray, Patrick Terrell, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism: Studies in Christian Ecclesiality and Ecumenism, 2006, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, English, 9780802829405, 273, Constantinople declared, cautiously, in 1922 that Anglican orders "have the same validity as those of the Roman, Old Catholic and Armenian Churches", an opinion echoed by the churches of Jerusalem, Cyprus, Alexandria, and Romania. Heartened, Labeth bishops broadened the dialogue, sponsored the translation of "books and documents setting forth the relative positions" of the two churches, and asked the English church to consult "personally or by correspondence" with the eastern churches "with a view to ... securing a clearer understanding and ... establishing closer relations between the Churches of the East and the Anglican Communion.", in 1936, the Romanian Orthodox Church "endorsed Anglican Orders".BOOK, Parry, Ken, The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity, 10 May 2010, John Wiley & Sons, English, 9781444333619, 202, The Orthodox Church resumed its former links with other Christian Churches. Delegates from Romania participated in the pan-Orthodox conferences in Constantinople (1923), Mount Athos (1930), the first Conference of the Professors of Theology in the Balkans (Sinaia, 1924) and the first Congress of Theology Professors in Athens (1936). It also took part in the incipient ecumenical movement. Professors and hierarchs participated in several conferences of the three main inter-war branches: 'Practical Christianity' held in Stockholm (1925) and Berne (1926), 'Faith and Organization' in Lausanne (1927), and 'World Alliance for the Union of Peoples through the Church' in Prague (1928) and Norway (1938), with subsequent regional conferences held in Romania (1924, 1933, 1936). The links with the Anglican Church were consolidated soon after the Anglican orders had been acknowledged by the Holy Synod, and subsequent to Patriach Miron's visit to Britain in 1936., BOOK, Kallistos Ware, Anglican-Orthodox dialogue: the Moscow statement agreed by the Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Commission, 1976,weblink 3 March 2016, 1977, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, English, As a result of the Conference, the Romanian Commission decided unanimously to recommend the Romanian Holy Synod to accept the validity of Anglican Orders, and this the Synod proceeded to do in March 1936., Historically, some Eastern Orthodox bishops have assisted in the consecration of Anglican bishops; for example, in 1870, the Most Reverend Alexander Lycurgus, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Syra and Tinos, was one of the bishops who consecrated Henry MacKenzie as the Suffragan Bishop of Nottingham.BOOK, Redmile, Robert David, The Apostolic Succession and the Catholic Episcopate in the Christian Episcopal Church of Canada, 1 September 2006, 978-1-60034-517-3, 239, In 1870, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Syra and Tinos, the Most Reverend Alexander Lycurgus, paid a visit to the British Isles. During his time in England, Archbishop Lycurgus was invited by the Lord Bishop of London, John Jackson, to join with him in consecrating Henry MacKenzie as the Suffragan Bishop of Nottingham. Archbishop Lycurgus agreed to assist, and on 2 February 1870, he joined in the laying on of hands with the Bishop of London at the consecration of Bishop MacKenzie. Thus the Apostolic Succession in the Greek Orthodox Church was passed on to the Bishops of the Anglican Communion, and through them to the Christian Episcopal Churches in the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada., {{self-published source|date=September 2017}}Succeeding judgements, however, have been more conflicting. The Eastern Orthodox churches require a totality of common teaching to recognise orders and in this broader view find ambiguities in Anglican teaching and practice problematic. Accordingly, in some parts of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Anglican clergy who convert to Orthodoxy are reordained, rather than vested.The Orthodox Web Site for information about the faith, life and worship of the Orthodox Church {{webarchive |url=https://web.archive.org/web/20071126115409weblink |date=26 November 2007 }}

Anglican Communion

File:Seaburytablet.JPG|thumb|right|Tablet dedicated to the consecration of Samuel Seabury as the first Anglican bishop in the Americas.]]The Anglican Communion "has never officially endorsed any one particular theory of the origin of the historic episcopate, its exact relation to the apostolate, and the sense in which it should be thought of as God given, and in fact tolerates a wide variety of views on these points".Jay, Eric G. The Church John Knox Press(1980), p.291 quoting the Anglican-Methodist Unity Commission Report 1968 p.37 Its claim to apostolic succession is rooted in the Church of England's evolution as part of the Western Church.WEB, Brian Reid,weblink The Anglican Domain: Church History, Anglican.org, 26 August 1998, 26 July 2011,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110725010717weblink">weblink 25 July 2011, live, Apostolic succession is viewed not so much as conveyed mechanically through an unbroken chain of the laying-on of hands, but as expressing continuity with the unbroken chain of commitment, beliefs and mission starting with the first apostles; and as hence emphasising the enduring yet evolving nature of the Church.WEB,weblink Document Library, Cofe.anglican.org, 11 July 2011, 26 July 2011, When Henry VIII broke away from the jurisdiction of Rome in 1533/4, the English Church claimed the episcopal polity and apostolic succession inherent in its Catholic past; however, Protestant theology gained a certain footholdNeill, Stephen. Anglicanism Pelican (1960){{rp|49,61}} and under his successor, Edward VI what had been an administrative{{clarify|date=September 2015|reason=what is meant by administrative?}} schism became a Protestant reformation under the guiding hand of Thomas Cranmer.{{rp|67}} Although care was taken to maintain the unbroken sequence of episcopal consecrations, particularly in the case of Matthew Parker,{{rp|131}} who was consecrated{{clarify|date=January 2015|reason=with what form?}} Archbishop of Canterbury in 1559 by two bishops who had been ordained in the 1530s with the Roman Pontifical and two ordained with the Edwardine Ordinal of 1550, apostolic succession was not seen as a major concern that a true ministry could not exist without episcopal consecrations: English Reformers such as Richard Hooker rejected the Catholic position that Apostolic Succession is divinely commanded or necessary for true Christian ministry.JOURNAL, Archer, Stanley, 1993, Hooker on Apostolic Succession: The Two Voices, The Sixteenth Century Journal, 24, 1, 67–74, 2541798, "While he argues that the rank originated with the Apostles, enjoyed divine approval, and flourished throughout Christendom, he rejects the view inherent in the Catholic position that the office is divinely commanded or is a result of divine law.", Richard A. Norris{{who|date=September 2015}} says that the "foreign Reformed [Presbyterian] Churches" were genuine ones despite the lack of apostolic succession because they had been abandoned by their bishops at the Reformation.Norris, Richard A. "Episcopacy" in The Study of Anglicanism Sykes, Stephen & Booty, John (eds) SPCK(1988){{rp|304}}In very different ways both James II and William III of England made it plain that the Church of England could no longer count on the 'godly prince' to maintain its identity and traditions and the 'High Church' clergy of the time began to look to the idea of apostolic succession as a basis for the church's life. For William Beveridge (Bp of St Asaph 1704–8) the importance of this lay in the fact that Christ himself is "continually present at such imposition of hands; thereby transferring the same Spirit, which He had first breathed into His Apostles, upon others successively after them".,{{rp|305}} but the doctrine did not really come to the fore until the time of the Tractarians.Webster, John B. "Ministry and Priesthood" in The Study of Anglicanism Sykes, Stephen & Booty, John (eds) SPCK(1988), p.305In 1833, before his conversion to Roman Catholicism, Newman wrote about the apostolic succession: "We must necessarily consider none to be really ordained who has not been thus ordained". After quoting this,Ramsey, Arthur Michael. From Gore to Temple Longmans(1960) p.111. All quotations in this paragraph are from this work, unless otherwise indicated. Michael Ramsey continues: "With romantic enthusiasm, the Tractarians propagated this doctrine. In doing so they involved themselves in some misunderstandings of history and in some confusion of theology". He goes on to explain that they ascribed to early Anglican authors a far more exclusive version of the doctrine than was the case, they blurred the distinction between succession in office (Irenaeus) and succession in consecration (Augustine); they spoke of apostolic succession as the channel of grace in a way that failed to do justice to His gracious activity within all the dispensations of the New Covenant.(p. 111) Newman, and after him, Charles Gore held that the episcopate was passed down from the apostles through men like Timothy and Titus to single bishops in particular localities (monarchial episcopacy).{{citation needed|date=August 2015}} However Bp. Lightfoot argued that monarchial episcopacy evolved upwards from a college of presbyters by the elevation of one of their number to be the episcopal president(p. 116) and A.C. Headlam laid great stress on Irenaeus' understanding of succession which had been lost from sight behind the Augustinian 'pipe-line theory'.(pp. 117,18)

Lutheran churches

Wide variations exist within Lutheranism on this issue.BOOK, Melton, J. Gordon, Encyclopedia of Protestantism,weblink 11 November 2012, 1 January 2005, Infobase Publishing, 9780816069835, 91, Martin Luther seemed personally indifferent to apostolic succession, but branches of the Lutheran Church most notably the Church of Sweden, preserve episcopal leadership and apostolic succession., Most Lutheran churches in Scandinavian countries are favorable to the traditional doctrine of apostolic succession. Others de-emphasize it, e.g., many German Lutheran churches in former Prussian lands, resulting from their state-ordered union with Reformed (Calvinist) churches in 1817.Also, evidently in some churches the title of bishop was re-introduced without reference to apostolic succession, which happened in most cases under Nazi influence. Christliche Religion, Oskar Simmel, Rudolf Stählin (Frankfurt 1960), at 164.

Lutheran claims to apostolic succession and the Porvoo Communion

File:Ärkebiskopsvigning.jpg|thumb|Nathan SöderblomNathan SöderblomIn Scandinavia and the Baltic region, Lutheran churches participating in the Porvoo Communion (those of Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Lithuania), as well as non Porvoo membership Lutheran churches in the region (including those of Latvia, and Russia), believe that they ordain their bishops in the apostolic succession in lines stemming from the original apostles.BOOK, König, Andrea, Mission, Dialog und friedliche Koexistenz: Zusammenleben in einer multireligiösen und säkularen Gesellschaft : Situation, Initiativen und Perspektiven für die Zukunft,weblink 11 November 2012, 20 July 2010, Peter Lang, 9783631609453, 205, Having said that, Lutheran bishops in Sweden or Finland, which retained apostolic succession, or other parts of the world, such as Africa or Asia, which gained it from Scandinavia, could easily be engaged to do something similar in Australia, as has been done in the United States, without reliance on Anglicans., The New Westminster Dictionary of Church History states that "In Sweden the apostolic succession was preserved because the Catholic bishops were allowed to stay in office, but they had to approve changes in the ceremonies."BOOK, Benedetto, Robert, Duke, James O., The New Westminster Dictionary of Church History: The Early, Medieval, and Reformation Eras, 13 August 2008, Westminster John Knox Press, 0664224164, 594,weblink 10 June 2013, In Sweden the apostolic succession was preserved because the Catholic bishops were allowed to stay in office, but they had to approve changes in the ceremonies., }}The Lutheran Church of Finland was then one with the Church of Sweden and so holds the same view regarding the see of Åbo/Turku.BOOK, Gassmann, Günther, Larson, Duane Howard, Oldenburg, Mark W., Historical Dictionary of Lutheranism,,weblink 11 November 2012, 2001, Scarecrow Press, 0810839458, In addition to the primary understanding of succession, the Lutheran confessions do express openness, however, to the continuation of the succession of bishops. This is a narrower understanding of apostolic succession, to be affirmed under the condition that the bishops support the Gospel and are ready to ordain evangelical preachers. This form of succession, for example, was continued by the Church of Sweden (which included Finland) at the time of the Reformation., BOOK, Alan Richardson, John Bowden John, The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology,weblink 11 November 2012, 1 January 1983, Westminster John Knox Press, 0664227481, The churches of Sweden and Finland retained bishops and the conviction of being continuity with the apostolic succession, while in Denmark the title bishop was retained without the doctrine of apostolic succession., In 2001, Francis Aloysius Sullivan wrote: "To my knowledge, the Catholic Church has never officially expressed its judgement on the validity of orders as they have been handed down by episcopal succession in these two national Lutheran churches."BOOK, Sullivan, Francis Aloysius, From Apostles to Bishops: The Development of the Episcopacy in the Early Church,weblink 10 November 2012, 2001, Paulist Press, 0809105349, 4, To my knowledge, the Catholic Church has never officially expressed its judgement on the validity of orders as they have been handed down by episcopal succession in these two national Lutheran churches., In 2007, the Holy See declared: "Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century [...] do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church."WEB, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the church,weblink La Santa Sede, July 10, 2007, ...those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century [...] do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church., This statement speaks of the Protestant movement as a whole, not specifically of the Lutheran Churches in Sweden and Finland. The 2010 report from the Roman Catholic – Lutheran Dialogue Group for Sweden and Finland, Justification in the Life of the Church, states: "The Evangelical-Lutheran Churches in Sweden and Finland [...] believe that they are part of an unbroken apostolic chain of succession. The Catholic Church does however question how the ecclesiastical break in the 16th century has affected the apostolicity of the Churches of the Reformation and thus the apostolicity of their ministry."Roman Catholic – Lutheran Dialogue Group for Sweden and Finland, Justification in the Life of the Church, section 297, page 101 Emil Anton interprets this report as saying that the Roman Catholic Church does not deny or approve the apostolic succession directly, but will continue with further inquiries about the matter.WEB, Anton, Emil, Mitä ajatella Suomen ev.-lut. kirkosta? Osa 2: katolilaiset,weblink Hyviä uutisia, Apostolinen suksessio, Finnish, September 1, 2014, Kuten Vanhurskauttaminen kirkon elämässä -asiakirjasta kävi ilmi, omasta mielestään Suomen ev.-lut. kirkolla on apostolinen suksessio. Katolinen kirkko ei sitä suoraan myönnä eikä kiellä, vaan esittää lisäkysymyksiä., Negotiated at Järvenpää, Finland, and inaugurated with a celebration of the Eucharist at Porvoo Cathedral in 1992, the Porvoo Communion agreement of unity includes the mutual recognition of the traditional apostolic succession among the following Churches: Of note is the fact that at least one of the Scandinavian Lutheran Churches in the Porvoo Communion of Churches, the Church of Denmark has bishops, but strictly speaking they were not in the historic apostolic succession prior to their entry into the Porvoo Communion, since their episcopate and holy orders derived from Johannes Bugenhagen, who was a pastor, not a bishop.WEB,weblink The Church of Denmark and the Anglican Communion, Anglicanhistory.org, 26 July 2011, In 2010, the Church of Denmark joined the Porvoo Communion of Churches, after a process of mutual consecrations of bishops had led to the introduction of historic apostolic succession. The Lutheran Church in Great Britain also joined the Porvoo Agreement, in 2014.{{citation needed|date=October 2018}}Similarly, in the High Church Lutheranism of Germany, some religious brotherhoods like Hochkirchliche St. Johannes-Bruderschaft and Hochkirchlicher Apostolat St. Ansgar have managed to arrange for their own bishop to be re-ordained in apostolic succession. The members of these brotherhoods do not form into separate ecclesia.{{Citation needed|date=February 2010}}The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, North America's largest Lutheran body, became united in the historic episcopate of the Episcopal Church in 2000, upon the signing of Called to Common Mission. By this document the full communion between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church was established.WEB, Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations,weblink Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 27 July 2011,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110727014408weblink">weblink 27 July 2011, live, As such, "all episcopal installations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America take place with the participation of bishops in the apostolic succession."BOOK, The Ecumenical Christian Dialogues and The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paulist Press, Jeffrey Gros, Daniel S. Mulhall, 9781616438098, 143, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is headed by a presiding bishop who is elected by the churchwide assembly for a six-year term.WEB,weblink Office of the Presiding Bishop - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Elca.org, 26 July 2011,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110727224853weblink">weblink 27 July 2011, live, In recent years a number of Lutheran churches at the most Catholic edge of the Evangelical Catholic High Church Lutheran spectrum in the United States of America have accepted the doctrine of apostolic succession and have successfully recovered it, generally from Independent Catholic Churches.WEB,weblink Pastor Zip's US Lutheran Web Links – Evangelical Catholics, Pastorzip.org, 26 July 2011, At present, most of these church bodies have memberships numbering in the hundreds.
  • The Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church (LEPC) were some of the earliest Lutherans in America. They have autonomous and congregationally oriented ministries and consecrate male and female deacons, priests and bishops in apostolic succession with the laying on of hands during celebration of Word and Sacrament.WEB,weblink Lutheran EPC, Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church (LEPC), 10 June 2013, They maintain the more protestant view of Apostolic Succession.
  • The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church recovered the apostolic succession from Old Catholic and Independent Catholic churches, and adopted a strict episcopal polity. All of its clergy have been ordained (or re-ordained) into the historic apostolic succession.WEB,weblink ALCC Constitution, Article V, Section 4, lines 3,4, PDF, 26 July 2011,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110725164729weblink">weblink 25 July 2011, live, This Church was formed in 1997, with its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.WEB,weblink Christ Lutheran Church ALCC, Christalcc.org, 26 July 2011,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110725165126weblink">weblink 25 July 2011, live,
  • The Lutheran Orthodox Church, founded in 2004 traces its historic lineage of apostolic succession through Anglican, Lutheran, and Old Catholic lines.The lineages include the Episcopal, Anglican, Church of Sweden, and Old Catholic.
  • The Lutheran Church - International is another North American Lutheran church which reports that it has recovered the historic apostolic succession.

Indifference to the issue

Many German Lutherans appear to demur on this issue, which may be sourced in the church governance views of Martin Luther.Martin Luther, An Appeal to the Ruling Class of German Nationality as to the Amelioration of the State of Christendom (1520), reprinted in Lewis W. Spitz, editor, The Protestant Reformation (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall 1966) at 51–59. E.g., "When a bishop consecrates, he simply acts on behalf of the entire congregation, all of whom have the same authority." ... "[T]he status of priest among Christians is merely that of an office-bearer; while he holds the office he exercises it; if he be deposed he resumes his status in the community and becomes like the rest. ... All these are human inventions and regulations." Ibid. at 54, 55. Luther's reform movement, however, usually did not as a rule abrogate the ecclesiastic office of bishop.WEB,weblink Defense of the Augsburg confession, Article XVI, lines 24, Bookofconcord.org, 26 July 2011,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110719173007weblink">weblink 19 July 2011, live, Cf., Roland H. Bainton, The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century (Boston: The Beadon Press 1952) at 67–68.An important historical context to explicate the wide differences among German Lutheran Churches is the Prussian Union of 1817, whereby the secular government directed the Lutheran Churches in Prussia to merge with non-Lutheran Reformed Churches in Prussia. The Reformed Churches generally oppose on principle the traditional doctrine of ecclesiastic Apostolic Succession, e.g., not usually even recognising the church office of Bishop.Cf., Jean Calvin, Ecclesiastical ordinances (Genève 1541, 1561), reprinted in Lewis W. Spitz, editor, The Protestant Reformation (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice–Hall 1966) at 122–129, 122. Later in the 19th century, other Lutheran and Reformed congregations merged to form united church bodies in some of the other 39 states of the German Confederation, e.g., in Anhalt, Baden, Bremen, Hesse and Nassau, Hesse-Kassel and Waldeck, and the Palatinate.The Evangelical Church of Anhalt, Evangelical Church in Baden, Bremian Evangelical Church (union of Lutheran and Reformed in 1873), Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau, Evangelical Church of Hesse-Kassel and Waldeck, and the Evangelical Church of the Palatinate.In 1866 the German Confederation dissolved; in 1871 most of its former member states joined the German Empire led by Prussia. Hajo Holborn, A History of Modern Germany 1840–1945 [volume 3] (New York: Alfred A. Knoft 1969) at 187–188, 194–199 [1866]; at 223–227 [1871]. Yet the partial nature of this list also serves to show that in Germany there remained many Lutherans who never did unite with the Reformed.E.g., the current umbrella federation of German protestant churches known as the EKD has as members 22 Church bodies: 9 regional Lutheran, 11 united Lutheran and Reformed, and 2 Reformed.{{Citation needed|date=February 2010}}Other Lutheran Churches seem indifferent as a matter of understood doctrine regarding this particular issue of ecclesiastical governance. In America, the conservative Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) places its church authority in the congregation rather than in the bishop, though its founder, C.F.W. Walther, while establishing congregational polity for the LCMS, did consider Polity (a Church's form of government) to be a matter of adiaphora (something indifferent.)WEB,weblink C.F.W. Walther and the Missouri Synod Today, WEB,weblink A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod, Still, other conservative Lutherans, however, may favour High Church Lutheranism which remains generally favourable to the traditional doctrine of Apostolic Succession (see above).

Methodist churches

File:John Wesley by William Hamilton.jpg|thumb|upright|John Wesley came to believe that ancient church and New Testament evidence did not leave the power of ordination to the priesthood in the hands of bishopbishopIn the beginnings of the Methodist movement, adherents were instructed to receive the sacraments within the Anglican Church since the Methodists were still a movement and not as yet a separate church in England until 1805; however, the American Methodists soon petitioned to receive the sacraments from the local preachers who conducted worship services and revivals.BOOK,weblink Separated Brethren: A Review of Protestant, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox & Other Religions in the United States, the Methodists were directed to receive baptism and Holy Communion from Episcopal priests. They soon petitioned to receive the sacraments from the same Methodist preachers who visited their homes and conducted their worship services. The Bishop of London refused to ordain Methodist preachers as deacons and priests for the colonies, so in 1784 Wesley assumed the power to ordain ministers himself., Our Sunday Visitor, 10 June 2013, The Bishop of London refused to ordain Methodist priests and deacons in the British American colonies. John Wesley, the founder of the movement, was reluctant to allow unordained preachers to administer the sacraments:|John Wesley|A.D. 1745}}Some scholars argue that in 1763, Greek Orthodox bishop Erasmus of the Diocese of Arcadia, who was visiting London at the time,BOOK,weblink The life and times of the John Wesley, founder of the Methodists, Volume 2, Just at this juncture, Erasmus a bishop of the Greek church, visited London., Regent College Publishing, 10 June 2013, consecrated John Wesley a bishop,BOOK,weblink Wesleyan-Methodist magazine: being a continuation of the Arminian or Methodist magazine first publ. by John Wesley, Mr. Wesley thus became a Bishop, and consecrated Dr. Coke, who united himself with ... who gave it under his own hand that Erasmus was Bishop of Arcadia, ..., Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, 10 June 2013, BOOK,weblink English Spirituality in the Age of Wesley, By 1763, Wesley was desperate to obtain ordination for some of his lay preachers and when bishop after bishop refused, he took the dubious expedient -against the council of all his close friends and associates- of asking one Easmus, who claimed to be bishop of Arcadia in Crete, to do the job. Erasmus knew no English, but agreed., Regent College Publishing, 10 June 2013, and ordained several Methodist lay preachers as priests, including John Jones.BOOK,weblink The Churchman, Volume 40, Erasmus was the Bishop of Arcadia, in Crete. In 163, he visited London. Wesley found his credentials unexceptionable, and Dr. Jones, one of the preachers whom he had ordained, obtained testimonials concerning him from Symrna., University of Michigan, 10 June 2013, However, Wesley could not openly announce his episcopal consecration without incurring the penalty of the Præmunire Act.BOOK,weblink The historic episcopate: a study of Anglican claims and Methodist orders, Dr. Peters was present at the interview, and went with and introduced Dr. Seabury to Mr. Wesley, who was so far satisfied that he would have been willingly consecrated by him in Mr. Wesley would have signed his letter of orders as bishop, which Mr. Wesley could not do without incurring the penalty of the Præmunire Act., Eaton & Mains, 10 June 2013, In light of Wesley's episcopal consecration, the Methodist Church can lay a claim on apostolic succession, as understood in the traditional sense.BOOK,weblink Why two Episcopal Methodist churches in the United States?: A brief history answering this question for the benefit of Epworth Leaguers and other young Methodists, Also that he was always a member of that Church, had received ordination to the highest orders therein by her duly constituted bishops and died a minister of that Church. This is important as showing that, were there any virtues whatever in the claim of "apostolic succession," Mr. Wesley was the recipient of all such virtues. If the Episcopal Church has the "blessing" of apostolic succession, then had Wesley. Hence no Methodist need stand abashed before any egotist who prates loudly the virtue of "apostolic succession." Your ordination is as secure and divinely authorized on this ground as is that of the Pope of Rome, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or any bishop in America; and your baptism is as safely apostolical as any ever administered to king, prelate, or prince. And this fact will appear important at every step after the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1784, seven years before Mr. Wesley's death., Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South, 10 June 2013, Since John Wesley "ordained and sent forth every Methodist preacher in his day, who preached and baptized and ordained, and since every Methodist preacher who has ever been ordained as a Methodist was ordained in this direct 'succession' from Wesley, then the Methodist Church teaches that it has all the direct merits coming from apostolic succession, if any such there be."BOOK,weblink Why two Episcopal Methodist churches in the United States?: A brief history answering this question for the benefit of Epworth leaguers and other young Methodists, And since he himself ordained and sent forth every Methodist preacher in his day, who preached and baptized and ordained (except such as, like himself, had been ordained by a bishop of the established Church), and since every Methodist preacher who has ever been ordained as a Methodist was ordained in this direct "succession" from Wesley, then have we all the direct merits coming from apostolic succession, if any such there be., Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South, 10 June 2013, BOOK,weblink Separated Brethren: A Review of Protestant, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox & Other Religions in the United States, Today the World Methodist Council represents twenty-nine million members of some sixty churches that trace their heritage to Wesley and his brother Charles., Our Sunday Visitor, 10 June 2013, This apostolic succession is recognized by Unity Catholic Church, an independent Catholic church.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070927005135weblink">weblink dead, 27 September 2007, Constitution of the Unity Catholic Church, +John Wesley was consecrated by +Erasmus, Bishop in the Greek Orthodox Church, Diocese of Arcadia in 1763., Unity Catholic Church, 31 December 2007, However, most Methodists view apostolic succession outside its high church sense. This is because Wesley believed that the offices of bishop and presbyter constituted one order,BOOK,weblink Cyclopædia of Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical literature, Volume 6, Wesley had believed that bishops and presbyters constituted but one order, with the same right to ordain. He knew that for two centuries the succession of bishops in the Church of Alexandria was preserved through ordination by presbyters alone. "I firmly believe", he said, "I am a scriptural ἐπίσκοπος, as much as any man in England or in Europe; for the uninterrupted succession I know to be a fable which no man ever did or can prove;" but he also held that "Neither Christ nor his apostles prescribe any particular form of Church government." He was a true bishop of the flock which God had given to his care. He had hitherto refused "to exercise this right" of ordaining, because he would not come into needless conflict with the order of the English Church to which he belonged. But after the Revolution, his ordaining for American would violate no law of the Church; and when the necessity was clearly apparent, his hesitation ceased. "There does not appear," he said, "any other way of supplying them with ministers." Having formed his purpose, in February 1784, he invited Dr. Coke to his study in City Road, laid the case before him, and proposed to ordain and send him to America., 10 June 2013, citing an ancient opinion from the Church of Alexandria; Jerome, a Church Father, wrote: "For even at Alexandria from the time of Mark the Evangelist until the episcopates of Heraclas and Dionysius the presbyters always named as bishop one of their own number chosen by themselves and set in a more exalted position, just as an army elects a general, or as deacons appoint one of themselves whom they know to be diligent and call him archdeacon. For what function, excepting ordination, belongs to a bishop that does not also belong to a presbyter?" (Letter CXLVI).WEB,weblink Methodists and Apostolic Succession, Hixon, Daniel McLain, 5 September 2010, Gloria Deo, English, 8 May 2017, The succession normally proceeds from bishop to bishop, however, in certain instances where the death of a bishop made this impossible, groups of elders have consecrated new bishops, who in turn have been recognized as legitimate by the broader catholic Church. We read of one example of this in the Ancient Church in St. Jerome's Letter CXLVI when he describes the episcopal succession of the city of Alexandria. Thus, considering the unusual historical circumstances of Christians in the American colonies cut off from valid sacraments, Fr. John Wesley's action in consecrating Thomas Coke was irregular but not invalid, and the United Methodist Church enjoys a valid succession to this day., John Wesley thus argued that for two centuries the succession of bishops in the Church of Alexandria, which was founded by Mark the Evangelist, was preserved through ordination by presbyters alone and was considered valid by that ancient Church.BOOK, The Cambridge Medieval History Series, Volumes 1-5, Plantagenet Publishing, 130, Severus of Antioch, in the sixth century, mentions that "in the former days" the bishop was "appointed" by presbyters at Alexandria. Jerome (in the same letter that was cited above, but independent for the moment of Ambrosiaster) deduces the essential equality of priest and bishop from the consideration that the Alexandrian bishop "down to Heraclas and Dionysius" (232-265) was chosen by the presbyters from among themselves without any special form of consecration., BOOK, Hinson, E. Glenn, The Church Triumphant: A History of Christianity Up to 1300, 1995, Mercer University Press, 9780865544369, 135, In Alexandria presbyters elected bishops and installed them until the fourth century. Throughout this critical era the power and importance of bishops increased steadily. At the beginning of the period Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria still thought of bishops as presbyters, albeit presbyters in a class by themselves., BOOK, McClintock, John, Strong, James, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, 6, 1894, Harper, 170, For forty years Mr. Wesley had believed that bishops and presbyters constituted but one order, with the same right to ordain. He knew that for two centuries the succession of bishops in the Church of Alexandria was preserved through ordination by presbyters alone., Since the Bishop of London refused to ordain ministers in the British American colonies, this constituted an emergency and as a result, on 2 September 1784, Wesley, along with a priest from the Anglican Church and two other elders,BOOK,weblink The historic episcopate: a study of Anglican claims and Methodist orders, IN September, 1784, the Rev. John Wesley, assisted by a presbyter of the Church of England and two other elders, ordained by solemn imposition of the hands of the Rev. Dr. Thomas Coke to the episcopal office., Eaton & Mains, 10 June 2013, operating under the ancient Alexandrian habitude, ordained Thomas Coke a superintendent, although Coke embraced the title bishop.BOOK,weblink Appleton's cyclopædia of American biography, Volume 6, Being refused, he conferred with Thomas Coke, a presbyter of the Church of England, and with others, and on 2 Sept., 1784, he ordained Coke bishop, after ordaining Thomas Vasey and Richard Whatcoat as presbyters, with his assistance and that of another presbyter., D. Appleton & Company, 10 June 2013, BOOK,weblink A compendious history of American Methodism, Wesley referes(sic) to the ordination of bishops by the presbyters of Alexandria, in justification of his ordination of Coke., Scholarly Publishing Office, 10 June 2013, Today, the United Methodist Church follows this ancient Alexandrian practice as bishops are elected from the presbyterate:WEB,weblink The Ministry of the Elder, United Methodist Church, 10 June 2013, the Discipline of the Methodist Church, in ¶303, affirms that "ordination to this ministry is a gift from God to the Church. In ordination, the Church affirms and continues the apostolic ministry through persons empowered by the Holy Spirit."WEB,weblink PDF, Seven Days of Preparation – A Guide for Reading, Meditation and Prayer for all who participate in The Conversation: A Day for Dialogue and Discernment: Ordering of Ministry in the United Methodist Church, The Discipline affirms that "ordination to this ministry is a gift from God to the Church. In ordination, the Church affirms and continues the apostolic ministry through persons empowered by the Holy Spirit" (¶303)., United Methodist Church, 31 December 2007, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20101226171839weblink">weblink 26 December 2010, It also uses sacred scripture in support of this practice, namely, 1 Timothy 4:14, which states: |St. Paul of Tarsus|KJV}}The Methodist Church also buttresses this argument with the leg of sacred tradition of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral by citing the Church Fathers, many of whom concur with this view.BOOK,weblink The Methodist Ministry Defended, Or, a Reply to the Arguments in Favour of the Divine Institution, and the Uninterrupted Succession of Episcopacy, Even "after the introduction of the practice by which the epithet Bishop was generally confined to one person, the older writers who dwell upon this, occasionally use that epithet as synonymous with presbyter, it not having been till the third century, that the appropriation was so complete as never to be cast out of view., General Books LLC, 10 June 2013, BOOK,weblink Episcopal Methodism, as it was, and is;: Or, An account of the origin, progress, doctrines, church polity, usages, institutions, and statistics, of the Methodist Episcopal church in the United States, But if Scripture is opposed to modern high church claims and pretensions, so is history, on which successionists appear to lay so much stress., Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 10 June 2013, In addition to the aforementioned arguments—or perhaps instead of them—in 1937 the annual Conference of the British Methodist Church located the "true continuity" with the Church of past ages in "the continuity of Christian experience, the fellowship in the gift of the one Spirit; in the continuity in the allegiance to one Lord, the continued proclamation of the message; the continued acceptance of the mission;..." [through a long chain which goes back to] "the first disciples in the company of the Lord Himself ... This is our doctrine of apostolic succession" [which neither depends on, nor is secured by,] "an official succession of ministers, whether bishops or presbyters, from apostolic times, but rather by fidelity to apostolic truth".The Church of North India, Church of Pakistan and Church of South India are members of the World Methodist Council and the clergy of these three united Protestant Churches possess lines of apostolic succession, according to the Anglican understanding of this doctrine, through the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon (CIBC), which finished merging with these three in the 1970s.BOOK, Melton, J. Gordon, Baumann, Martin, Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, 2nd Edition, 21 September 2010, ABC-CLIO, English, 9781598842043, 707, In June 2014, the Church of Ireland, a province of the Anglican Communion, extended its lines of apostolic succession into the Methodist Church in Ireland, as "the Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Down and Dromore took part in the installation of the new President of the Methodist Church of Ireland, the Rev. Peter Murray."WEB,weblink Apostolic succession extended to Methodist Church, Conger, George, 26 June 2014, Anglican Ink, 9 May 2015, The Church of Ireland has extended apostolic succession of the episcopal ministry to the Methodist Church of Ireland. On 11 June 2014 the Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Down and Dromore took part in the installation of the new President of the Methodist Church of Ireland, the Rev. Peter Murray, the superintendent of the North West Methodist circuit in Londonderry. The Church of Ireland’s General Synod approved an agreement signed with the Methodist Church that provided for the interchangeability of clergy, allowing an ordained minister of either church to come under the discipline and oversight of the other. Methodist ministers may henceforth be considered for clerical positions within the Church of Ireland and the church’s presidents will be eligible for election as Church of Ireland bishops., In May 2014, the "Church of Ireland’s General Synod approved an agreement signed with the Methodist Church that provided for the interchangeability of clergy, allowing an ordained minister of either church to come under the discipline and oversight of the other."

Moravian Church

The Moravian Church teaches that it has preserved apostolic succession.BOOK, Melton, J. Gordon, Encyclopedia of Protestantism,weblink 11 November 2012, 1 January 2005, Infobase Publishing, 9780816069835, 91, Martin Luther seemed personally indifferent to apostolic succession, but branches of the Lutheran Church most notable the Church of Sweden, preserve episcopal leadership and apostolic succesison. ... Among other Protestants that claim apostolic succession is the Moravian Church., The Church claims apostolic succession as a legacy of the old Unity of the Brethren. In order to preserve the succession, three Bohemian Brethren were consecrated bishops by Bishop Stephen of Austria, a Waldensian bishop who had been ordained by a Roman Catholic bishop in 1434.BOOK, Stocker, Harry Emilius, Moravian customs and other matters of interest,weblink 11 November 2012, 1918, Times publishing co., printers, 20, They were extremely solicitous to secure a ministry whose validity the Roman Catholics and others would be compelled to recognise. For this reason they resolved to seek the episcopal succession. At that time a colony of Waldenses lived on the Bohemian border. The synod was satisfied that these people possessed the regular authenticated episcopal succession. Their chief was Stephen. To him the Brethren sent a deputation consisting of three priests or presbyters. These were Michael Bradacius, a priest of the Roman Catholic, and a priest of the Waldensian Church, whose names have not been preserved. They were instructed to inquire into the validity of the Waldensian episcopate. Stephen received the deputies with great kindness, assembled his assistant bishops, and entered into a minute account of the episcopacy which they had. Fully satisfied with what they lad learned the deputies requested to be consecrated bishops. This request Bishop Stephen and his assistants fulfilled in a solemn convocation of the Waldensian Church. The new bishops immediately returned to the barony of Lititz where another synod was convened and three of the brethren were set apart for the work of the ministry, by the laying on of hands. In spite of the terrible persecutions suffered by the Ancient Church, this episcopate was most wonderfully preserved., BOOK, Schaff, Philip, The Creeds of Christendom: History of the Creeds – Volume I, Part II,weblink 11 November 2012, 30 November 2007, Cosimo, Inc., 9781602068902, 567, they sought regular ordination from a Waldensian bishop, Stephen of Austria, who was reported to have been ordained by a Roman bishop in 1434, and who afterwards suffered martyrdom in Vienna., These three consecrated bishops returned to Litice in Bohemia and then ordained other brothers, thereby preserving the historic episcopate.

Presbyterian/Reformed churches

Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici (English translation: The Divine Right of Church Government), which was promulgated by Presbyterian clergy in 1646, holds that historic ministerial succession is necessary for legitimate ministerial authority.BOOK, Jus divinum regiminis ecclesiastici, 1654, R. W., English, 271, It states that ministerial succession is conferred by elders through the laying on of hands, in accordance with {{Bibleverse|1 Timothy|4:14|KJV}}. The Westminster Assembly held that "There is one general church visible" and that "every minister of the word is to be ordained by imposition of hands, and prayer, with fasting, by those preaching presbyters to whom it doth belong".WEB,weblink Lawful Ordination, McMahon, C. Matthew, English, 8 May 2017, The Church of North India, Church of Pakistan and Church of South India are members of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the clergy of these three united Protestant Churches possess lines of apostolic succession, according to the Anglican understanding of this doctrine, through the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon (CIBC), which finished merging with these three in the 1970s.

Pentecostal Churches

On 6 February 2003, Rt. the Rev. Dr. K. J. Samuel, the Moderator Bishop of the Church of South India (a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion), along with the Rt. Rev. P.M. Dhotekar, Bishop of Nagpur of the Church of North India, and the Rt. Rev. Bancha Nidhi Nayak, Bishop of Phulbani of the Church of North India, consecrated Pentecostal minister K. P. Yohannan as a bishop in Anglican lines of apostolic succession; the Rt. Rev. K.P. Yohannan thereafter became the first Metropolitan of the Believers Eastern Church, a Pentecostal denomination{{Citation needed|reason=Isn't the church Evangelical (American style) not Pentecostal, the is no mention of it being Pentecostal on its wiki page|date=August 2019}} which acquired an episcopal polity of ecclesiastical governance.NEWS, Crisis brewing in CSI,weblink Jacob, George, 10 February 2003, The Hindu, 19 November 2014, Kottayam, WEB,weblink Slander suit filed by Believers Church against the CSI, Conger, George, 18 October 2017, Anglican Ink, English, 20 March 2018, On 6 Feb 2003 the Rt. Rev. K. J. Samuel, Bishop in East Kerala and former moderator of the Church of South India, assisted by the Rt. Rev. P.M. Dhotekar, Bishop in Nagpur of the Church of North India, and the Rt. Rev. Bancha Nidhi Nayak, Bishop in Phulbani of the Church of North India, consecrated Yohannan as metropolitan archbishop of the Believers Church., BOOK, Daughrity, Dyron B., Athyal, Jesudas M., Understanding World Christianity: India, 1 August 2016, Fortress Press, English, 9781506416892, 52, Some of the more prominent Pentecostal groups are the Sharon Fellowship Church (est. 1975), the New India Church of God (est. 1976), New India Bible Church (est. 1975), and the Believers' Church, run by the Gospel for Asia ministry (est. 1978) under the leadership of K. P. Yohannan, from a St. Thomas Syrian Christian background., Many other Pentecostal Christians, however, teach that "the sole guarantor of apostolic faith, which includes apostolic life, is the Holy Spirit."BOOK, Hastings, Adrian, Mason, Alistair, Pyper, Hugh, The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, 21 December 2000, Oxford University Press, English, 9780198600244, 530, registration,weblink In addressing the Church of God General Assembly, Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson stated that "Although we do not claim a line of succession from the holy apostles, we do believe we are following in their example."BOOK, Chai, Teresa, A Theology of the Spirit in Doctrine and Demonstration: Essays in Honor of Wonsuk and Julie Ma, 12 February 2015, Wipf and Stock Publishers, English, 9781498217644, 103,

Latter Day Saint Movement

Denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement preach the necessity of apostolic succession and claim it through the process of restoration. According to their teaching, a period of universal apostasy followed the death of the Twelve Apostles.WEB,weblink Apostasy – Gospel Topics, Lds.org, 21 February 2012, 18 July 2013, Without apostles or prophets left on the earth with the legitimate Priesthood Authority, many of the true teachings and practices of Christianity were lost. Eventually these were restored to the prophet Joseph Smith and various others in a series of divine conferrals and ordinations by angelic men who had held this authority during their lifetimes (see this partial list of restoration events). As it relates to apostolic succession, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery said that the apostles Peter, James, and John appeared to them in 1829 and conferred upon them the Melchizedek PriesthoodJoseph Smith—History 1:72 and with it "the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fullness of times".Doctrine and Covenants 128:20For The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the largest denomination in the Latter-day Saint movement, Apostolic Succession involves the leadership of the Church being established through the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Each time the President of the Church dies, the most senior Apostle, who is designated as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, is set apart as the new church president.

Denominations that reject apostolic succession

Some Nonconformist Protestants, particularly those in the Calvinist tradition, deny the doctrine of apostolic succession, believing that it is neither taught in Scripture nor necessary for Christian teaching, life, and practice. Accordingly, these Protestants strip the notion of apostolic succession from the definition of "apostolic" or "apostolicity." For them, to be apostolic is simply to be in submission to the teachings of the original twelve apostles as recorded in Scripture.Martin E. Marty, A Short History of Christianity (New York: Meridian Books 1959) at 75–77 (traditional doctrine). This doctrinal stance reflects the Protestant view of authority, embodied in the doctrine known as Sola Scriptura.Among the first who rejected the doctrine of apostolic succession were John Calvin,Cf., John Calvin, Institutio Christianae Religionis 1536, 5th ed. 1559; translated by John Allen as Institutes of the Christian Religion (London 1813; reprinted Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publications, 6th ed. 1921), 2 volumes. and Martin Luther.Martin Luther The Bondage of the Will (1525) They both said that the episcopacy was inadequate to address corruption, doctrinal or otherwise, and that this inadequacy justified the intervention of the church of common people. In part this position was also necessary, as otherwise there would have been no means to elicit or initiate reform of the church.In the 20th century, there has been more contact between Protestants and Christians from Eastern traditions which claim apostolic succession for their ministry. Like the Roman Catholic Church, these ancient Eastern churches may use the doctrine of apostolic succession in ministry in their apologetics against some forms of Protestantism. Some Protestants feel that such claims of apostolic succession are proven false by the differences in traditions and doctrines between these churches: Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox consider both the Church of the East and the Oriental Orthodox churches to be heretical, having been anathematized in the early ecumenical councils of Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451) respectively. However, churches that claim apostolic succession in ministry distinguish this from doctrinal orthodoxy, holding that "it is possible to have valid orders coming down from the apostles, and yet not to have a continuous spiritual history coming down from the apostles".BOOK,weblink Ronald, Knox, In Soft Garments, Ignatius Press, 2010, 978-1-58617-300-5, 18 July 2013, All Christians who have a genuine relationship with God through and in Christ are part of the "true Church", according to exemplary statements of evangelical Protestant theology, notwithstanding condemnation of the Catholic Church by some Protestants.But cf., Mark A. Noll and Carolyn Nystrom, Is the Reformation Over? An evangelical assessment of contemporary Roman Catholicism (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic 2005). According to these statements, claims that one or more denominations might be the "true Church" are nothing more than propaganda which has evolved over centuries to support authoritarian claims—based on tradition or based on scripture—of merely human institutions. Such claims can be found among the worldwide community of Christians. Yet all appear to treasure the truth that liberates, and Jesus taught his followers to love one another.{{Bibleref2|John|13:35}}

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS)

WELS rejects Apostolic Succession as a biblical doctrine, stating that there is no evidence the Popes have historic succession from Peter other than their own claim that it is so. Furthermore, they claim that the Bible contains no evidence showing that the office must be conveyed by laying-on of hands and no Biblical command that it must be by a special class of bishops. Laying-on of hands is repeatedly mentioned, especially in the case of Paul and Timothy; however, it is a descriptive, non-prescriptive teaching in the Bible:
of ordination, the laying on of hands is not commanded by God and is not necessary.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20130602105457weblink">weblink 2 June 2013, WELS Topical Q&A, Divine Call - Apostolic Succession / Transmutation Authority, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 23 Sep 2015, dead, }}
WELS teaches:WEB,weblinkweblink" title="wayback.archive-it.org/all/20080629231826weblink">weblink 29 June 2008, WELS Topical Q&A, Definition of Church and Ministry - Apostolic {{sic, Sucession, y, |publisher=Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod |accessdate=23 Sep 2015 }}WELS Lutheran members state that there are a number of major problems with the Roman Catholic view on apostolic succession:
  • There is no evidence the popes have historic succession to Peter other than their own claim that it is so.
  • The bishops claiming succession have not preserved apostolic doctrine, therefore they have no meaningful apostolic succession.
  • There is no evidence that the apostles were ordained by laying on of hands when they entered their office.
  • There is no evidence in Scripture that the office must be conveyed by laying on of hands and no command that it must be by a special class of bishops.
  • Acts 1 actually proves the opposite of what the Catholic Church claims; it proves there cannot be "apostolic successors" today because Judas' replacement had to be an eyewitness of Jesus' ministry.WEB,weblink Religion - Roman Catholic (12) - Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), wayback.archive-it.org, bot: unknown,weblink 27 September 2009, dmy-all,
WELS holds that it is their custom that ordination of pastors is by other pastors, and that neither the Bible nor the Lutheran confessions make this the only divinely mandated way of entering the pastoral ministry. WELS teaches that "it is the call of the church that is the essential element, more specifically, the call of Christ through the church".

See also

References

{{Reflist|30em}}

External links

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