Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Question of the Day

What is your understanding of apostolic succession?


JD said...


With all the controversy today about this, you had to go there, huh?

I look forward to reading the comments.


Larry B said...

Very little.

Having grown up catholic, I understood it was a historical succession starting with Paul as the first Bishop of Rome and that there is a direct line between the current bishops and Paul.

I thought the Methodists made no claim to this historic succession and only considered it as a theological succession, especially since Wesley did not have appointment powers within the Church of England.

Perhaps the Jesus Seminar could deconstruct the concept and have a vote about it. Then I would know more about it.

bob said...

I believe the succession was from Peter traditionally. The Catholics use the scripture where Jesus tells Peter that what He binds on earth will be bound in heaven.

Keith McIlwain said...

It's very important to me.

I have this link on my blog, showing my own place in the "line of ordination".

I also recommend to you this article from Gregory Neal, and this PDF file from the General Commission on Archives and History.

tim said...

I'm just a lay Methodist, but my belief is that what matters in a denomination is not historical continuity through ordination by someone of a specific rank and with a specific ritual (which goes into the RC understanding of Apostolic succession), but rather that it preaches the Gospel and shepherds the people the right way.

That being said, I *like* episcopal government (although I'm often grumbling about our bishops), and I'm glad the Methodist church has this historical continuity. I don't think it's necessary, but I like preserving this particular connection with those who've come before us.

John said...

That's a fascinating article, Keith. Thanks for the link. I haven't explored the subject, but I'd say that apostolic succession is only important for 'good order' to use a Methodist phrase, and not for sacramental authenticity, as the Roman Catholic Church claims.