Archive for March, 2013

How do we know the successor of the apostles had the same authority as they did?

The Bible itself shows that Jesus gave the apostles the power to appoint successors and that these successors exercised the same authority. (Mt 28:20)  The apostles gave their successors the duty of completing their work and urged them to shepherd the Church of God (Acts 20:28)

Right away Mathias was chosen to replace Judas.  Of the four gospels, two were written by someone other than the original twelve. Mark and Luke were ordained Bishops. There is no record that Luke ever even met Christ.

In Paul’s letters and Acts of the Apostles it is very clear that as the church was established in each city and town bishops and priests were ordained through the sacrament of Holy Orders. (They laying on of hand with prayer and fasting).  Examples Acts 8:17, 14:22,  2 Timothy 1:6 Just to name a few.  These priest and Bishops had the same authority as the twelve. For example the authorityforgive sins “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them” (John 20:23).  Of course it is God that forgives the sins. In this case He exsersizes it through his appointed preists and bishops.

Saint Paul was not one of the twelve yet over 3 years after Jesus death he was ordained a Catholic Bishop. He then wrote 80% of the New Testament scripture that was later later canonized by the Catholic Church.  Paul notes that he has the authority to forgive sins through the sacrament of reconciliation just as the original 11 did. “God,” says St. Paul, “has given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 7:10,11)

It is reasonable to say that without successors we would know very little about Jesus today. There would be no New Testament as we know it.  The 27 books that the Catholic Church selected were among hundreds of early letters and writings. Without the structure that Jesus put into place to hand on His teaching, the protection of the Holy Spirit and the successors of the original twelve apostles the church would have fragmented and disappeared rather quickly.

Many Catholic men and women died in the first 300 years of the church to protect those teachings.  Anyone that knows and believes in Jesus Christ and can hold a bible in their hands owes a debt of gratitude to the Catholic church for preserving the teachings of Christ through the successors of the apostils.

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