Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose

Chapter 26 - Holy Orders and Apostolic Succession

Page 165: The Catholic Church teaches that a validly ordained priest or bishop is necessary for the administration of several of the sacraments: anointing of the sick, the Eucharist, confirmation, confession, and holy orders – the sacrament by which a man becomes a deacon, priest, or bishop. But although the early Church believed that holy orders transmitted authority from the apostles to their successors, Protestants assume that at some this line of authority was corrupted and broken. The Reformers, in recovering the true, biblical gospel of Jesus, received authority to proclaim the truth, and so do all Bible-believing Protestants to this day.
Note: God does not use apostolic succession as a simple Christian baptized the Apostle Paul.
Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. Acts 9:10-18.
Note: Jesus Christ will determine Himself who is to be chosen for the ministry.

Pages 165-166: Martin Luther rejected the distinction between clergy and laity under the banner of “the priesthood of all believers,” and so he rejected the sacrament of holy orders. In doing so, he also rejected the doctrine that Christ’s divine authority is transmitted through apostolic succession. Recognizing this foundational doctrine, the Catholic Church teaches that it takes a validly ordained bishop, following a line that goes back to the apostles themselves, who were ordained by Jesus Christ. This authority was then transmitted to the apostles’ successors, as it was to Matthias (who replaced Judas in Acts 1:26) and the first bishops (such as Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:14). The direct line of authority continues to the current bishops today of the Catholic Church (as well as the Orthodox churches, which have kept the succession unbroken).
Note: The original disciples cast dice to determine Matthias as the replacement for Judas.
And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles. Acts 1:26.
Note: Jesus Christ will determine Himself who is to be chosen for the ministry.

Page 166: Luther knew that he had to reject apostolic succession; otherwise he could not justify causing a schism from the Church and establishing another church based on his own authority. At the same time he needed plausible justification for that authority. So he and the other Reformers posited a new idea: that authority is given by God to whoever teaches the true gospel – a doctrine sometimes called apostolicity. This broke the Catholic Church’s monopoly on apostolic authority and opened up that authority to Luther, Calvin, and Anabaptists – to anyone, really, who thought that he was teaching the truth from the Bible.
Note: All authority in the universe is vested in Jesus Christ alone.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18.
Note: Jesus Christ will determine Himself who is to be chosen for the ministry.

Pages 166-167: The Reformers were appalled by the behavior of Catholic clergy, some of whom were corrupt and worldly. They also thought that Catholics had twisted the gospel beyond recognition. We can understand why they rejected the idea that Catholic bishops retained rightful authority in Christ’s Church. Christ must have revoked authority from them long ago, when corruption began to pollute the true gospel. Protestants today use the same reasoning today to reject the teaching that apostolic succession is the means by which divine authority was transmitted to the leaders of the Church.
Note: God does not use apostolic succession as the original Apostles never commissioned the Apostle Paul.
“And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’” Acts 26:14-18.
Note: Jesus Christ will determine Himself who is to be chosen for the ministry.

Page 167: Which idea is right: apostolic succession or apostolicity? Let’s consider a few passages from early Christians, beginning with one from Augustine, the great Church Father respected by Catholics and Reformers alike: For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: “Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!” The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sistus … Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anatasius.
Note: In context, Matthew 16:18 refers the confession that Peter made.
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:15-19.
Note: Have you confessed Jesus Christ as your Savior? Show yourself approved.

Pages 167-168: Clement, the close successor to Peter himself, wrote within the first century: The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ (has done so) from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God … And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits (of their labors), having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place, “I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.” Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect foreknowledge of this, they appointed those (ministers) already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry.
Note: Clement should have quoted actual Scripture instead of bogus scripture.
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28.
Note: Christian leaders are to be servants and live simply. Pope Leo X was a gross heretic.

Page 168: These are only two examples of the many writings of the early Christians attesting to apostolic succession and the ministerial priesthood. Prior to the Reformation, the Protestant notion of apostolicity was a foreign concept. But since Protestants do not have valid succession from the apostles, they must reject holy orders as the sacrament by which divine authority is transmitted to men, by Christ, through other ordained men.
Note: The Apostle Paul rejected using authority.
Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s. For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed— lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 2 Corinthians 10:7-9.
Note: Christian leaders are to be servants and live simply. Pope Alexander VI was a gross heretic.

Pages 168-169: The lack of holy orders and apostolic succession creates a vacuum of authority in Protestantism. Enter apostolicity to fill it, as a necessary corollary to sola scriptura. The Bible alone is the sole infallible rule of faith, and no person or group of people is protected from error by God in interpreting Scripture, so every Protestant is his own ultimate interpretive authority. Naturally, he thinks his interpretation of Scripture is substantially correct, and he follows those Protestant pastors and scholars who agree with his interpretation. These men and women, he reasons, must be the ones with authority, because they are teaching God’s truth to others. And he himself also has this authority because he shows others how his interpretation of the Bible is true.
Note: The Apostle Paul rejected using authority.
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends. 2 Corinthians 10:12-18.
Note: Jesus Christ will determine Himself who is to be chosen for the ministry.

Page 169: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, offers a striking contrast between God’s work of apostolic succession and the self-appointment that is at the heart of apostolicity: This is precisely what we mean we call ordination of priests a sacrament: ordination is not about the development of one’s own powers and gifts. It is not the appointment of a man as a functionary because he is especially good at it, or because it suits him … it is not a question of a job in which someone secures his own livelihood by his own abilities, perhaps in order to rise later to something better. Sacrament means: I give what I myself cannot give; I do something that is not my work; I am on a mission and have become the bearer of that which another has committed to my charge. Consequently, it is also impossible for anyone to declare himself a priest or for a community to make someone a priest by its own fiat. One can receive what is God’s only from the sacrament, by entering into the mission that makes me the messenger and instrument of another.
Note: All Christians have been called by God directly and not by a Catholic sacrament.
Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:5-7.
Note: Jesus Christ will determine Himself who is to be chosen for the ministry.

Page 169: Protestant communities view their ministers, who are “ordained” by the fiat of the community and not through a sacrament, as functionaries rather than as persons specially configured to Christ through holy orders. This flawed conception represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the way that God instituted rightful authority in his Church.
Note: Christians are to test those who are to be leaders.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3.
Note: Are you confessing Jesus Christ or a church sacrament? Show yourself approved.

Pages 169-170: What of the idea that clerical immorality was a sign that God had withdrawn authority from the Church? Well, the leaders of God’s Church have always been sinners. Some have followed Christ more faithfully than others, but none has been perfect. So it’s impossible to support the claim that sinful bishops must have lost their authority. The apostles themselves would have been excluded by such a criterion!
Note: Christians must be responsible themselves to avoid false believers.
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 1:16-21.
Note: Are you looking to Jesus Christ or to a bogus bishop? Show yourself approved.

Page 170: If Protestantism is true, any man or woman intelligent and faithful enough to correctly interpret Scripture has authority from God. But Protestants judge their pastors’ interpretations of the Bible against their own interpretation, which may very well be erroneous, so they can never be sure of who has true authority based on the orderly succession of bishops, from the early Church down through today.
Note: Christians must be responsible themselves to avoid false believers.
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-9.
Note: The Apostle Paul rejected using authority in setting an example.