(While the following story is true, names, addresses, and particular details have been changed for obvious purposes.)

While on the internet the other day, my friend came across a pastor whom he thought had some interesting comments. This pastor had the title of “Reverend.” This means one of two things: 1) he is a self-proclaimed minister, or 2) he has been ordained in an official capacity by an organization that has the legal right to declare someone a minister.

Theoretically, an ordination gives the ordained party the approval of an established community to minister in the Church. From the standpoint of the government, this party is then recognized as a “religious worker.” Once the approval is official, the newly ordained Rev. has many benefits; among those is tax exempt status with regards to housing allowance (whatever bills you pay with respect to your home, you don’t get taxed on). In the Christian church, they are recognized as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and can lead, pastor, or even start a church with more legitimacy.

My friend went to the website of the organization that ordained this individual and noticed that they take ordination applications online. Here is what it said:

“Get ordained fast and easily, and begin your own ministry! As a legally ordained reverend, you will be able to conduct weddings, perform funerals, baptisms and other functions of the ministry.”

This was a bit confusing to him; even though he did not know anyone from the ordination committee, and they did not know him, they were going to allow him to apply?

I know what you are thinking—there must be a catch. Money has to be involved somehow. But this is not the case. The website says:

“There is no charge or obligation connected to your ordination. Ordination is for life, without charge . . .”

You heard right: “no obligation.” (How would you like to go to a doctor who got approved to practice medicine by this type of group?)

“Well,” you might say, “this cannot be that easy. How would this group know whether or not I have been truly called into ministry?” The answer is that your ordination will be reviewed by a team of pastors (who may have been ordained by the same organization!) who will carefully and prayerfully consider your application. Here is what they say:

“Your ordination request will be reviewed by pastoral staff.”

Just in case you thought this was a little fishy, the committee adds,

“Please understand that instant online ordinations do not exist. The internet cannot ordain you. Your ordination request must be reviewed before your ordination can be legal. You cannot be given your credentials automatically by a computer!”

Phew! And I thought this smelled of the famous St. Peter’s Basilica ordinations of the 16th century. No, this is serious business, folks!

Oh, one more thing. I forgot to finish the sentence earlier. This would be a good time to do so for those of you who fear you still might not be qualified for ordination into ministry.

“There is no charge or obligation connected to your ordination. Ordination is for life, without charge and without question of faith.”

No question of faith? What does this ordination committee review? I guess they just make sure that your name is spelled correctly and that you are a real person. Hold that thought. No, scratch that thought. They don’t even check to see if you are a real person. Hang with me…

Here is the response my friend received within an hour of his application (with some alterations to protect the parties involved): _________________

Butch Peters

1239 Morton Rd Leslie TX

has been ordained as a minister of the ________ ____ Church, USA.

Date of Ordination: 1/29/2008 by ________ _______, Pastor

What you did not know was that after prayerful consideration by the pastoral ordination committee of this Church, my friend had just ordained his dog. Rev. Butch now has the legal right to pastor or start a church and is tax exempt from all housing.

Folks, this is serious stuff. And it is not really funny. There are many individuals out there, leading God’s people, who simply are not qualified to do so in any way. They are running around starting churches. They are shepherding the flock of God. Ordination is serious business (or it should be). Cracker Jack ordinations are simply immoral in my opinion.

This is happening in our communities. I know of a very well-known evangelical church that has over over fifty pastors without any training or valid ordinations. Yes, everyone is a priest and everyone is charged with Gospel proclamation, but this does not mean that you are automatically within the succession of the Apostles’ teaching, much less called to full-time ministry. If we don’t go to doctors who have not been through medical school or been approved (i.e., properly “ordained”) to practice medicine, why should we give a pass to ministers of the Gospel, especially when we believe that our spiritual well-being is more important than our physical well-being?

Apostolic Succession

So what is the solution? After all, we are Protestants. We don’t have any formal structure or approval process to hold us accountable. There is no one who signs the checks for Evangelicals. Therefore, aren’t we sleeping in the bed we made? While I don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution, I don’t really think the outlook needs to be so grim. I simply believe we need to think deeply about these issues. There is a way we can keep ordination “organic,” yet ensure that we are not ordaining unqualified hounds.

I am an ordained minister. I was formally ordained in 2001 at Stonebriar Community Church under the guidance and leadership of Chuck Swindoll. Formally, I cannot trace my ministerial lineage back any further. I don’t know who ordained Chuck. Maybe it was Dwight Pentecost? If it was, that is as far back as I can go. It is not too impressive to some, I know, but I believe that my ordination is legitimate nonetheless. I will return to this in just a moment. . . .

I am a committed Protestant Evangelical. Even with the talk of Evangelicalism’s demise (which always seems premature and overstated), I believe that Evangelicalism continues to maintain the fullest and purest expression of the Gospel. Having said this, Evangelicalism is certainly not without its problems. We have difficulty defining ourselves and we have difficulty regulating from within. These problems are interrelated.

Being an Evangelical is supposed to carry with it an internal assumption that the Gospel is being proclaimed in a way that is true to the Scriptures. However, we have a problem regulating what “being true to the Scriptures” actually means. Where do we go to make sure we are being true to the Scriptures? Billy Graham? Jonathan Edwards? John Wesley? John Calvin? Martin Luther? St. Augustine? While these leaders may provide a regulatory force in some sense, there is no pressure—real pressure—for Evangelicals to look toward anyone for their regulation. In fact, many Evangelicals are completely ignorant of any lineage whatsoever.

I have commented before on the need for the Evangelical church to have a higher degree of accountability. However, this accountability cannot be anything with an institutional formality, as there will never be a formal structure to a trans-traditional entity such as Evangelicalism (nor should there be). Yet accountability does not need formality to be functional, it can be assumed.

Some would look at my ordination into ministry as an exercise in futility. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans would all reject my claim to ministerial status. These all have a ministerial ordination structure that relies on what is called “Apostolic Succession.” You cannot be a minister without it. In the sense that these traditions define apostolic succession, I, indeed, am not qualified to be a minister. I don’t have their type of apostolic succession.

Basic Origins of Apostolic Succession

The idea of apostolic succession first came to prominence in the history of the church as a functional way of combating heresy. It was (and is) a wonderful thing. Irenaeus was among the first to refer to apostolic succession as he battled the Gnostics of his day. In contention for the truth of Christianity, both Irenaeus and his opponents referred to the Scriptures to justify their claims to truth. But Irenaeus referred to more than just the Scripture to make his stand; he referenced his lineage of faith. In essence, he argued that his view of Christ was true because he could trace his beliefs back to the Apostles’ teaching. He did not simply use the Scriptures, but he also referred to those who have gone before him and traced their teaching back to the Apostles. His opponents, on the other hand, could not boast of such a lineage. They devised doctrine of their own imagination, disregarding the fact that their beliefs were never held by anyone before them. If it is new, according to Irenaeus, then it is, by virtue of its novelty, not admissible as a viable option for belief. The Holy Spirit works in and with the church, and the church is made up of those living (ecclesia militans) and dead (ecclesia triumphans). Therefore, those who have gone before us create an accountability structure and we cannot separate ourselves from their testimony, even if we believe the Bible is on our side. In other words, the Holy Spirit is not going to teach something essentially different to the present church than he did to those who have gone before us—no matter how special you think you are and no matter who (or what) ordained you.

Thus Irenaeus articulated what is now known as “apostolic succession.” We have the true Christian faith because we can trace it back to the Apostles. Our faith is dependent upon our lineage. And our ordination is qualified by our faith.

I agree with this concept very much. I believe in apostolic succession. I don’t think we emphasize this concept enough (if at all) in Evangelicalism. In fact, I agree with Orthodox theologian Bradley Nassif, who says that the biggest problem he sees in Evangelicalism is that we have “historic amnesia.” However, I don’t agree that the accountability principle Irenaeus fought for is necessarily found in or exclusive to Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, or Anglicans. Each of these traditions places heavy and necessary emphasis on a definition of apostolic succession which necessitates a minister be able to trace his lineage, person by person, in unbroken succession back to the Apostles. Indeed, impressively, each of these traditions can do this. And I really do appreciate what is going on here. However, the problem has always been that this does not guarantee anything. This becomes obvious, as each one of the traditions can trace their lineage back, yet they all differ substantially on many very important issues.

However, this does not mean that apostolic succession is not needed in a very real sense. I believe that Evangelicals should be able to trace our lineage back to the Apostles. Did you get that? I believe that Evangelicals should be able to trace our lineage back to the Apostles. Now, I am not saying that we should be able to do this by carrying around our ministerial genealogy in our back pocket, but we do need to be able to trace our faith, teaching, and doctrine back to the Apostles, finding harmony in faith with those who have gone before us. I believe this is an avocation of apostolic succession in its truest form. It recognizes a succession of teaching, not simply a succession of person, and creates an accountability structure that cannot be ignored.

When we ordain ministers, we are not simply advocating their kindness, usefulness, and general likability. Neither are we ordaining them because they are good preachers, counselors, or encouragers. We are first ordaining them because they are representatives of the historic Christian faith. They are successors to the Apostles in that their beliefs and teachings have historical continuity and biblical integrity—the two of which should never be separated.

If we had this type of assumed accountability, to be Evangelical would mean something again. As well, a whole lot of self-proclaimed Evangelicals (and ordained dogs) would fall off the roster due to disqualification. They can then call themselves whatever they please, but “Evangelical” would be taken. No, I can’t trace my lineage from person to person in unbroken succession back to the Apostles, but I can trace my faith through those who have gone before me. It is to them, through the power of the Spirit, that I am still held accountable. I am in line with the historic Christian faith on all issues that have defined Christianity everywhere, always, by all (ubique, semper, omnibus).

Evangelicals: we need to rethink ordination and apostolic succession.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    31 replies to "Rethinking Ordination and Apostolic Succession"

    • david carlson


      I agree, but what is the solution?

      I think Paul to Timothy provides the basis for what your saying (2 Tim 2:2 And entrust what you heard me say in the presence of many others as witnesses to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well.)

      But how do you enforce that? What mechanism? Certainly a denomination can provide that, but what about a non-denominational church? And are some denominations providing that whom should not?

      The reformation let loose many things

    • Ray Nearhood

      As a Particular Baptist that confesses with the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith I say…

      …Presbyterian polity and confessional, creedal, doctrinal unity is the way to roll.

    • C Michael Patton


      What is the solution? Ha! You don’t think we get practical around here. I just like to issue complaints and run!

      Truthfully, we live by the sword and die by the sword to some degree. However, I do think that there can be some organic ways of holding people accountable, not unlike the ECFA does with finacial accountability.

      However, just educating people about these things is helpful. Once we demand more, we get more. But we have to know what to demand.

    • KWilson

      All true EXCEPT for the conversion, over the last half century or so, of the clergy to a professional designation, almost wholly dependent upon paper certifications.

      Not that there is anything wrong with seminary education. But when it trumps all else, as is often the case today with pulpit selection committees, ministry becomes merely a vocational outlet for the business of running a school.

      Calling has often, sadly, become incidental to certification.

    • Perry Robinson


      Where is the evidence that AS for Ireneaus is purely “functional” and not also sacerdotal?

      If it is purely functional, then why does ordination seem so essential if it is merely a matter of a line of reporting?

      Third, there doesn’t seem to be a “lineage of faith” for Protestant distinctives, such as Sola Fide, penal model of the atonement, a rejection of baptismal regeneration, etc. None of these things can be found in Ireneaus or any other figure until the late medieval/early Reformation period.

      Consequently to speak of Protestants being in the lineage of theological profession of the historic Christian faith is to refer to an ahistorical entity. There never was such a society of people who professed protestant distinctives.

      Lastly the issue isn’t whether Apostolic Succession is a sufficient condition for the communication of the truth. No one claims as much. Rather the question is whether it is a necessary condition. If it is, Protestantism isn’t even in the running as a candidate to be the church that teaches the gospel.

    • mbaker

      I, for one, do not hold to the doctrine of apostolic succession. However, I do know at least two hyper-charismatic evangelical pastors who believe in this, and have gotten their ‘degrees” and their subsequent ‘ordination’s’ on line. One is is the minster now of a very large church and very influential in the town where I used to live.

      Although, both preach the gospel, and sincerely love the Lord (and of that I have no doubt), both also a have very loose interpretation of the Bible, tending to go by present experiences and fads within the church rather than proven doctrine.

      Therein, I think is the difference, questioning and challenging everything. Not that there is anything wrong with valid questions, but when they become more important, and at the forefront, than the answers, that is indeed problematic.

    • The Reformational idea of the Anglican Communion, as a Church of the ‘via media’ (church of the middle way), which is both “catholic” and “reformed” has always been appealing to me both biblically and theologically. However, as much as I value the “Catholic” doctrine and faith, I value even more, that GOD is the Sovereign and Head of His own Church, that is God In Christ (Incarnational). And thus in soteriology, God In Christ is a Protestant and Evangelical doctrine! 🙂

    • C Michael Patton

      Perry, not to point you to another post, but your question is too big for the comments here. Here is where to go: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/11/orthodoxy-theological-maturity-and-the-development-of-doctrine-from-theological-dna-to-maturaty/.

      I teach on doctrinal development quite a bit. The Eastern view, in my opinion is extrmely naive. The Catholic view is wishful thinking. An important subject.

    • Perry Robinson


      The factual questions can be directly answered. They don’t seem to require that much space. what is the evidence/argument for taking Ireneaus’ view as you do in a non-sacerdotal way?

      2nd an appeal to doctrinal devleopment won’t help, since doctrinal devleopment only serves to refine, not negate past seminal forms of teachings. If Irenaeus’ teaching on AS for example is sacerdotal, then doctrinel development will only clarify it in terms of teasing out implicit content, not negate it as Protestantgism does. The same goes for Sola Fide and other doctrines which are precluded by previous views, not merley unrefined. For example, Augustine grounds justificaiton in the virtues of the soul, faith, hope and love, not in a forensic imputation. One negates the other. The same goes for baptismal regeneration.

      We could note that one some of these and other points Protestant distinctives contradict conciliar teaching and so fall afoul o fyour “progressive devleopment” model.

      This is why your appeal to development bakes no bread.

    • C Michael Patton

      It bakes great bread! I just encourage you (and others) to read that post. It is impossible to have such a conversation outside of such things.

      However, this current conversation with Protestants is an internal discussion about ordination, not an apologetic for the legitimacy of sola fide. Much has to be granted and assumed for us to have such a conversation.

    • C Michael Patton


      I do think that the Anglican view is one of the better options out there. It does not try to say too much (as does the Anglican view of sola Scriptura).

      Your humble approach to these things, as I have seen over the last year, is both compelling and wise. Thanks for always setting a good example. I would that there were more Fr. Roberts out there!

    • C Michael Patton


      Always good stuff from you! I agree that degrees don’t qualify someone from ministry. Seminary (in theory) says only that someone has the proper education. The community of God approves and “ordains” them for ministry. As nice as it was to get a degree, the ordination that I received was much more integral to my calling and it is what places the greater weight on my shoulders. I think that Stonebriar did things really well. It was a tough process and the laying on of hands by the dozens of pastors, elders, and other ordained men in the congregation is something I will never forget and hope never to take lightly.

    • Eric S. Mueller

      I’m familiar with that ordination organization. I know quite a few people who have been “ordained” by it (hardly any of them confessing Christians, like my brother). When I used to listen to Leo LaPorte’s TWIT podcast, one week they were discussing that organization, and it turned out that every panelist on that week’s show had been ordained by it.

      I considered it once as a novelty, but decided as a believer in Jesus, I couldn’t live with the conditions. If you take what they write seriously (and there is evidence they don’t), you have to accept that any path is good enough (my paraphrase of what I remember from their conditions). I decided I can’t accept that, and closed the browser tab. People are welcome to believe anything they want, but I couldn’t as a minister tell them anything they want to believe will work just fine.

    • […] via Rethinking Ordination and Apostolic Succession | Parchment and Pen. […]

    • Marv

      Unfortunately, I do know a “doctor” who has his doctorate pretty much the same way. Not an MD, but he does treat medical conditions. Oh, and he also has one of those “ordination” things too. A few other credentials with about as much validity. He seemed to take it amiss when I asked about his degree. Problem is, his diploma mill is now defunct.

    • Steve Martin

      There are many unqualified, ordained persons out there pastoring churches.

      The mainline seminaries churn out folks who don’t care about (or even believe in) the gospel of Jesus Christ.(of course not ALL of them)

      We don’t look to the “right fingertips” touching somebody to make valid their authority in preaching and teaching the Word.

      The Word itself carries that authority and power.

      When the Word is present in law and gospel…faith happens…and is sustained. When it is not there…all that may be happening is that some people are playing church. No matter who ordained them.


    • Thanks Michael for the kind words, they are appreciated. I know we both share ‘the mighty ordination of those pierced hands’!

      Best blessings my brother 🙂

    • Steve Martin

      Here’s a pretty good class on ‘The Authority of the Word’.


      I think there are some real gems in there.


    • Henric

      This post is absolutely cruicial. Although the key issue of correct Apostolic Succession is a debate that was far from concluded, I read this coming from the herd of collaterally damaged by ad hoc, self proclaimed teaching etc as a consequence of non critical thinking.

      Us Christians need not only to get our act together but also raise the awareness of people among ourselves, in our families, churches, community and nations. I believe that is a part of dressing the bride for the wedding. Debating this type of issue leads to purification of the body of Christ and simultaniously increasing the credibility of the Church. That has been the largest hindrance (read excuse) in my life when it comes to evangelising. How can I bring someone to my church when I know the pastor is a slacker who just happened to find an easy way to make money by using his natural talent of speaking in public (entertaining I should say)?

      Another way of looking at this is viewing ourselves in the light of the above. What is the difference calling ourselves a Christian if we are in it for the wrong reasons, if we preach a gospel that is just a performance? We are called to be followers of Christ. Sometimes I have a feeling I have a self proclaimed preaching role without calling myself a Pastor or Reverend. But I tell people what I believe is right and wrong. Sometimes I do, honestly, without really knowing where that particular truth comes from.

      I believe that we need to be aware of this, but not stop here. What do we do about it? How do we react with brotherly love, how do we humbly but firmly rebuke this behavior on all levels? To our brothers, but also to ourselves.

      If we succeed, we will be one step closer to efficient evangelism, won’t we?

      Again, thanks for another awesome post!!


    • Perry Robinson


      I read the other post when you wrote it and again now. I already indicated why it doesn’t advance or substantiate your claims or position.

      I never claimed that this needed to be a post about sola fide, but if you are going to claim a lineage of teaching, Protestant distinctives had better be evidenced historically and they aren’t.

      Even if the convo is internal to Protestants don’t you still bear a burden of proof for the claims regarding Ireneaus’ view of succession as merely “functional?”

    • C Michael Patton

      I think you are assuming a weight of form over function upon irenaeus. Because I believe that we undergo a progressive maturing of our doctrine, I never require any of the church fathers to set a form mandate that transcends function. It will simply amount to a pragmatic expression of a true need. The beauty of Christianities dangerous idea is in the flexibility of its form. Alister McGrath hit the nail when he argued this in his Dangerous Idea.

      By the way, Thomas Oden’s Justification Reader is a great work to introduce you to the early church and justification. He loves down the street from me! Great guy whose view of paleo-orthodoxy is very compelling (though difficient imo— but who am I to enter the ring with Oden!)

    • Well said Michael about “form over function”, we must let the Church Fathers help us in “maturing” in our doctrine, but it will always be in the “function” of the “spirit and truth”, as we progress in the depth of Holy Scripture! For we who are “Reformed”, the Word of God is always the ‘ecclesia semper reformada’!

    • Btw, love Oden’s: Justification Reader! Would that every pastor-teacher read and had a copy!

    • Perry Robinson


      I am not assuming anything. I am asking for documentation in the face of seeming counter evidence, which is an invitation for you to explain how your model can admit this apparent counter evidence.

      What you believe is not relevant to support with evidence or argument the claims made about Ireneaus’ views.

      I’ve read Oden’s reader and it doesn’t demonstrate that Sola Fide was held. It at most demonstrates sola gratia was held, but we all admit that. Oden’s work doesn’t demonstrate SF because it gives no texts that express the idea of an imputation ungrounded in the state of the agent and that only faith while a worthless virtue in and of itself relative to justification, is a conduit for that imputed created merit. To argue that it does support a lineage of faith with regards to SF depend son the word-concept fallacy. Even McGrath admits the view is not expressed in the Fathers prior to the Reformation and it is not in Agustine either.

      And besides, I’ve read over 50 volumes of the fathers cover to cover. Do I really need an introductory work like Oden’s?

      In any case, and again, what evidence if any can you provide for your claims about Irenaeus’ views regarding succession?

    • As the Book of James notes that “Faith” cannot be alone reduced to a mere affirmation of truth (James 2: 19), and only God, through his initiative of grace (James 1:17-18), could and can overcome the problem of human sin, and a person must respond to God by faith. But as St. Paul teaches faith is itself a gift of God! (Eph. 2: 10)

      Btw, I am at least only bound by God’s Word, His “sola” (norm) to know and understand “in spirit & truth”- alone! Here is also God’s Economy in time (Irenaeus): Incarnation and the Incarnate Church, but always standing, hearing/listening to God’s Word! In reality the Word precedes the Church, though the Church is “the pillar and ground (foundation) of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15), but also bound itself before the Word who is God! (John 1: 1)

    • Shrommer

      Apostolic Succession is not used in the RCC and Orthodox to say who best can minister to others in a pastoral sense, so much as to say who actually has the power to transform the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. If we look at the fivefold ministry gifts: evangelist, pastor, teacher, apostle, prophet; then there is just as much confusion on the traditions that go way back to the Apostles regarding who decides who is qualified to do what. They use Apostolic Succession mainly for Eucharistic importance. Look how different the Liberation Theologians are, or contrast vows of poverty with papal opulence.

      What role does I Timothy 5:22 and the laying on of hands have in this?

      A Spanish song “Somos Uno” (de Castillo, Mena, Ecuador) includes a line: “I sing for the twelve who were your sent ones, and through whom your Gospel came to us”. If we have the Gospel today, it is through the Apostles, and not from any other root.

    • Clayton Secord


    • Anthony

      Only through laying on of hand do receive apostolic succession most protestant churches and other denominations do not have this.
      We cling tightly to this tradition because it’s true, for starters, and because all Christians are commanded to do so by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15. For biblical corroboration look at Acts 1:21-26, where you’ll see the apostles, immediately after Jesus’ Ascension, acting swiftly to replace the position left vacant by Judas’s suicide. They prayed for guidance, asking God to show them which candidate was “chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away.” After choosing Matthias they laid hands on him to confer apostolic authority.

      Look at 1 Timothy 1:6 and 4:14, where Paul reminds Timothy that the office of bishop had been conferred on him through the laying on of hands. Notice in 1 Timothy 5:22 that Paul advises Timothy not to be hasty in handing on this authority to others. In Titus Paul describes the apostolic authority Titus had received and urges him to act decisively in this leadership role.

      Lastly, please do better homework on early Christian writings. The testimony of the early Church is deafening in its unanimous (yes, unanimous) assertion of apostolic succession. Far from being discussed by only a few, scattered writers, the belief that the apostles handed on their authority to others was one of the most frequently and vociferously defended doctrines in the first centuries of Christianity.

    • Anthony

      Only way to receive apostolic succession and the authority to go with it is laying on of hands which most protestant churches do not have the apostolic succession goes back Jesus Christ himself

      We cling tightly to this tradition because it’s true, for starters, and because all Christians are commanded to do so by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15. For biblical corroboration look at Acts 1:21-26, where you’ll see the apostles, immediately after Jesus’ Ascension, acting swiftly to replace the position left vacant by Judas’s suicide.

      They prayed for guidance, asking God to show them which candidate was “chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away.” After choosing Matthias they laid hands on him to confer apostolic authority.

      Look at 1 Timothy 1:6 and 4:14, where Paul reminds Timothy that the office of bishop had been conferred on him through the laying on of hands. Notice in 1 Timothy 5:22 that Paul advises Timothy not to be hasty in handing on this authority to others. In Titus Paul describes the apostolic authority Titus had received and urges him to act decisively in this leadership role.

      Lastly, please do better homework on early Christian writings. The testimony of the early Church is deafening in its unanimous (yes, unanimous) assertion of apostolic succession. Far from being discussed by only a few, scattered writers, the belief that the apostles handed on their authority to others was one of the most frequently and vociferously defended doctrines in the first centuries of Christianity.

    • Anthony

      Ordination comes through the Holy Spirit working through the Bishop who has been validly ordained himself and only through the laying on of hands that make no mistake about it and it is through the holy spirit the scriptures tells you were priests for ever. That means when hand the been laid on you and there’s no going back

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