On the Bible and Apostolic Succession

Bible

Many Modern Christians make this general type of assumption that the Bible was handed over from Christ or the Apostles themselves as some sort of gift to all mankind. But research shows us this is not the case!

The Bible is a product of the bishopric! The Bible is a result of the Church. If you do not believe in the authority of the ancient Church then you cannot believe that the Bible is the actual rule of faith. The authority of the Church is its bishopric, which no modern Christian has a part of. The ancient fathers made it very clear that if one is not under the authority of the Bishop then one is not a part of the Church. Granted, the many modern churches of today that do not have apostolic succession certainly do have the grace of God but this grace is not embraced on an “affluent” level. They have a serious defect that needs healing and remedy.

The Bible is what the Church calls, “the Canon.” When someone quotes the Bible they are quoting the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church has what is called “apostolic succession.” This means that the ordination of the ministers is in succession with the Apostles, Early Fathers and the councils that they met in to form the Canon (Bible). So to refer to the authority of “the Bible” is to refer to this apostolic Church, the Church that  and hundreds of legitimate books within the market of Christianity at the time the Canon was formed (4th century); many that would be absolutely unidentifiable as “inspired” to be a part of the Canon to the average or even scholarly Christian.

Apostolic succession is extremely important when referring to the very representation of God: His Word. But let us be sure to tackle the fact that there were hundreds and hundreds of legitimate books within the market of Christianity at the time the Canon was formed (4th century); many that would be absolutely unidentifiable as “inspired” to be a part of the Canon to the average or even scholarly Christian.

The big question is, why can’t I quote a passage from Enoch, for instance, which is quoted in the Canonical book of Jude, and is extremely well written with very exciting and thorough theological points, but I can quote Revelation, which is rather confusing and never quoted in the rest of the Bible? The answer is this:

Because the Church says so! Christ gave His authority to the Church and this is the way His Spirit works.

When we quote the Bible we are quoting the Church, because it is the Church and her bishops that determined what is quotable as Scripture and what is not.

The next question is, how could a person that is not received by a bishop with apostolic succession and who does not believe that God has given these bishops authority over us even believe in the Bible and quote it as if they do believe in it? It can not be done!

The Modern Christian that does not believe in the authority of the bishopric can only quote a text that is sacred by receiving an epiphany from the Lord, such as Moses and the burning bush or even a prophetic revelation, which that person would then need to be tested as a prophet.

Modern Christian, who is your prophet? Who told you that each of the books in the Bible is “inspired?”

The Modernist cannot say that the Holy Spirit confirmed to them that the Bible is inspired because all that that would be is the Holy Spirit confirming what the Bishopric has already done!

In order to receive a truly prophetic notion from the Holy Spirit (even if one were a prophet) would be to examine every one of the early documents written in the early church and say “yay or nay.” Aside from the presupposition that the Bishopric already chose the inspired documents, how would this person tell which was which?

Would there be an audible voice? Some sort of apparition? Is it even possible for modern man to discern this selection without the Church? The answer is NO? Without a prophetic voice no deciphering can be made.

One could appoint a prophet to chose the books, but from what succession? Where does this prophet get his authority to be a prophet? Has he made miraculous discoveries? Probably not! Is he ordained from the Bishopric (apostolic succession)? Probably not, otherwise this person would not be a Modernist. They would not be in this predicament to begin with.

The logos (revelation) was given to the Church and not to the printing press. The authority of the logos was given to the Church as an oral tradition. The Church has decided that there are many portions of this tradition that deserve special attention in what we call the Canon. The Church still gives revelation but not as to contradict the Canon. This does not mean that the Church cannot grow and must, for instance, continue to worship in homes like “the Bible says.” The Canon is not a set of rules, it is a revelation that is to be taught and evangelized. The Church will continue to do this like it has from the beginning. And anyone that takes possession of the Bible without the Church is in danger of worshiping the Bible itself.

Comments

  1. So why can’t we who reject the churches with apostolic succession quote Scripture because Paul said it was God-breathed? The early churches had no canon.

    Many early churches would have quoted Enoch as Scripture. Just because some later churches got together and said we shouldn’t, I don’t really understand why we should listen to them when they’re disagreeing with earlier churches. In fact, to this day the Ethiopian Orthodox church has Enoch in their Bible.

    And what about the Wisdom of Solomon? If you’re Eastern Orthodox, we can quote it as Scripture, but if you’re Roman Catholic or Anglican, we can’t.

  2. Paul, those are good points. St. Paul was referring to the Old Testament Canon, not the New. And even then, there still requires an authority to lean on regarding the continuation of that Canon.

    As far as the early church is concerned, they had the Bishopric, which is my whole point: The Bible was not organized and confirmed by the Apostles but by the Bishopric.

    Eastern Churches have some discrepancies with the Canon but that leads us into an entirely different discussion. If I were an Eastern Christian I would probably have confidence in the leadership. But if I were a Modern Christian I would have absolutely no confidence in the leadership because, well, their leadership does not extend anywhere near to the apostles and their successors.

    I’m certainly not saying that there is never discrepancy within the bishopric. But even the discrepancy between the East and the West is somewhat minimal when it comes to the Canon.

    Hope that helps!

  3. I found this article to very informative. Could you please offer some concrete ways in which can answer the modernism of our day. And to what degree you think that Catholic Church will answer if we don’t. One shortfall as I have learned is that we Anglicans have dropped the ball in regard to contraception. And modernism has in many ways infected the Anglican Church. This seems to be a clarion call all christians especially Anglicans, if for nothing more than the survival of the Church. Eagerly await your thoughts.

  4. Dave,
    I think that what you are saying is already coming to pass. The Roman church is now offering Anglicans a chance to become a part of them. This is the direct result of Anglicans “dropping the ball.”
    What will become of the Anglican church? We will be almost completely absorbed by Rome and the East unless something is done. I think our litiurgy and many of our traditions will always live but the jurisdiction itself??? Bishops must begin to bind together to form councils. This will be the only way. But many of our current bishops cannot seem to make this happen. The next generation I think will make or break many Anglican churches.
    But yes, you have valid concerns about modernity breaking in to Anglicanism as it has most all other churches. Perhaps the Eastern Orthodox can help us out in the near future.

  5. Hi Mike,
    Hope your well. I see you have been busy.

    Who was the bishop from England that attended the council at Carthage in 387 A.D? Would that be councel where we can agree that the new testement was decided?

  6. Hi Dan,
    It’s great to hear from you. We need to catch up.

    Yes, the Council of Carthage was in many ways the peak of New Testament formation. I am not sure about English bishops being their. Much of the records have been lost. We do know that Augustine was there but he lived in Africa at that time.

  7. What was the 1st councel that was attended by english bishops?

  8. The first council that a British bishop attended is Nicaea, which was the first Ecumenical Council.

  9. what is the name of the Britian’s bishop that attended the 1st Nicene counsel?

  10. Okay, so you want to start with the Bible alone. That is fine. However, very quickly, you will come up against what the Bible says about the Church, its leadership, and its authority, and, if you are honest, you will realize that if you are going to accept the Bible, you must accept Apostolic Succession.

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