Apostolic succession

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Eli
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Apostolic succession

Post by Eli » Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:09 pm

Dear all

I am a Jewish believer and i am a pastor in one of the Messianic congregations in Israel
For the last years we have discovered the richness of the Catholic heritage. It was amazing and we are still in our search for the deeper revelation of our God and Messiah in the Catholic church. So i agree on almost all doctrines of Catholic Church. Therefore i would say i am a catholic becuase i belong to the "Catholic" Universal Church. As this is only one true Body of Messiach. I know some may not agree with me :)

However the issue which is really interesting is of apostolic succession. Accoding to the doctrine if i am not mistaken only the Priests are allowed to bless the Bread and the Wine in the Eucharist and only under their prayer we receive the dwelling of Messian in the bread and wine. However here we face a problem. Take as an example any small pagan tribe somewhere in Africa. Suddently they were enlightned by the light of God through any testimony and they became Christians. They celebrate the Eacharist and everything. However according to the doctrine the Eucharist it is not real as it is not given by the Catholic priest. But i ask my self could be God Almighty deny from them the real Bread from Heaven becuase they have no official priest?

The more real situation is with our church in Israel. We have Eucharist each Shabath. We bless the wine and bread. Could it be that God is not blessing us the same way He blesses the catholic believers that receive it from the Catholic priest

I would be thankful for your comments.

Eli

Ariel
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Re: Apostolic succession

Post by Ariel » Sat Oct 17, 2009 5:24 pm

shalom Eli and welcome to the Catholics for Israel forum,

What you are writing is wonderful and very encouraging. I can tell you have thought about these issues quite seriously, and your question about apostolic succession and the Eucharist is a very good and important one.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church answers your question about the validity of the Eucharist:
Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord. (CCC 1411)
And also:
The bishop of the place is always responsible for the Eucharist, even when a priest presides; the bishop's name is mentioned to signify his presidency over the particular Church, in the midst of his presbyterium and with the assistance of deacons.(CCC 1369)
To answer your practical questions - we must keep in mind two things: 1) God is merciful and wants to meet everyone who seeks him (e.g. your pagan tribe in Africa). He will certainly be found to some degree through their prayers, etc...; 2) on the other hand, God's economy of salvation is always accomplished through the people and community. God will remain faithful to the power He has entrusted to the priesthood. Think about how it was in OT times: to experience the fullest communion with God one had to come to Jerusalem into the Temple and offer sacrifices through the mediation of priests whose ordination was passed on by the laying on of hands. Now it is no longer necessary to physically be in Jerusalem to receive the fullness of God in the Eucharist, but Yeshua will remain faithful to the priesthood He has established - otherwise it would be anarchy. If anyone could consecrate the Eucharist, then there would be no need at all for a priesthood and for apostolic succession.

In other words, to put it directly, in your theoretical pagan tribe or at your Lord's Supper celebration in Israel, I am sure the Lord will meet you in some way spiritually, but the bread and wine you partake will remain bread and wine. If the pagan tribe really seeks the fullness of God, I am sure He will put them in touch with priests or a bishop who will appoint a pastor for them.

As for your own community, I realize very much how great are the implications of what I'm saying for you as a pastor especially. If you have read my testimony you have seen that I have struggled with the same question and dilemma some years ago, and that I was faced with a huge decision. Ultimately, I realized that to be in full unity with the Body of Messiah, I had to be reunited with the Catholic Church and priesthood He has established. This cost a tremendous price (I was worship leader in a Messianic congregation), but it was worth every difficulty to be able to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Yeshua. I have suffered much through this decision but have never regretted it.

I can only encourage you to humbly seek the Lord with all your heart as you struggle with this huge issue. Be assured of my prayers also, and let us know if you have any other questions.

Ariel

See also the following links for evidence of the apostolic succession and priesthood in the early church:
http://www.catholic.com/library/Apostol ... ession.asp
http://www.catholic.com/library/Bishop_ ... Deacon.asp
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

Eli
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Re: Apostolic succession

Post by Eli » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:30 am

Dear Ariel

Thank you for your deep answer.
However i have a lot of reservation on this issue.

1. I have no problem with the fact that there was a clear successuon of bishops. It is so obvious as there was only 1 church. So no wonder if for example our movement of Living Israel will continue and grow for let say 2-3 centures from now if the Lord will not come yet, it is clear that all pastors will be appointed by others and we could trace it back to the founder!
However the big question is where do we have the historical evidence and i will be eager to read it! that the especially the Eucharist was ministered only and only by priests.
From the book of acts we see that we had 3000 and then 4000 new believers and they broke the bread at homes! So let us iamgibe the number of houses. So could it be that only the specially annointed people were doing it? I doubt about it really

2. The comparison of the Old Testament and New Testament is good but still not perfect.
It is clear that we are all now is the Holy Priesthood and suppose to bring the sacrifices as to 1Peter 2. I understand that still we have the office of pastor and prophet etc so one may claim that the personal spiritual priesthood dont deny the hierarchichal church priesthood. Surely we need an order in the church and God thought of giving us spirtual leaders but iin now way they serve in the same way as in the olf testament becuaase the previos one were the mediators between God and his people however the New Testamemt priesthood of Bishops should server as Shepherd.Therefore i cant make the same parallel between the old and new testament.

3. Another possible issue: who said that there is no apostolic succession in the Protestant church? Surely it is not possible to trace it back but cant we trust God that is nurturing HIS Church that He was always taking care of his people? So i dont know history so well and may be mistaken but if to assume that all protestant churches from Luther started with somebody who were appointed from the only one Catholic church and they continued to appoint other pastors and etc so today all different denominations which appoint their own pastors still all of them have the same succession? So it is true that there is no one source of athority but still all these denominations are somehow let by the Spirit.

Eli

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Re: Apostolic succession

Post by Ariel » Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:29 pm

hi Eli,

thanks for your reply.

1) some of the historical evidence is found in the links that I added in my last post.
The is an inherent problem in your argument: if anyone could celebrate the Eucharist, then the priesthood would be completely unnecessary and meaningless. Why have ordained priests at all if anyone could do their job anyway?
Since the Mass has always been considered a sacrifice, this also implies the need for a priesthood.
See http://www.catholic.com/library/Sacrifi ... e_Mass.asp

2) I'm not sure I understand your point. But just as Israel was called to be a "kingdom of priests" in the OT - but they still had the ordained Aaronic priesthood, the same goes in the NT. Yes, we are also a "kingdom of priests" but from the very beginning of the Church there were also ordained presbyters (see link in previous post)

3) The Catholic Church does not recognize the validity of the Protestant Lord's Supper for good reasons, and not only because these have broken the line of apostolic succession at one time. In fact most denominations do not even believe in the priesthood or in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. There was some doubt regarding the Anglicans for some time, but the Church has also decreed that their orders are invalid. However, the Eastern Churches normally have valid ordinations recognized by the Catholic Church.

See the Catechism:
Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, "have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders." It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However these ecclesial communities, "when they commemorate the Lord's death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory." (CCC 1400)
See also http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01491a.htm.

So essentially there is a big difference between the Catholic Church and Protestant/Messianic groups because of the lack of valid priesthood in these groups. Yes the Holy Spirit can certainly work through them, but sadly they continue to lack a valid Eucharist and therefore the Body and Blood of the Lord.

May the Lord grant us to return to full unity soon so that we may share at the common table of the Eucharist!

Ariel
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

Glory71
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Re: Apostolic succession

Post by Glory71 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:40 am

Adding to Ariel's post on Protestant

Luke 22:31-32
"31 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat. 32 But I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers."

The Christians were indeed sifted like wheat. From initially just few (namely Martin Luther, Calvin, etc), there are about 33,000+ denominations of Protestantism and counting...each having their own interpretations...having their own style of worship.

further reading: http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a120.htm

Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone)

2 Timothy 3:14-17
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

When St. Paul used the term “scripture” in this verse, he could only have meant the Old Testament. The New Testament canon would not be established for another 300 years. Having said this then...“All” scripture does not mean “only” scripture. Moreover the emphasis of this passage is on "oral traditions" which have been handed down from childhood.

2 Thessalonians 2:15
"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter."

The traditions that early Christian were to hold fast to were not just the written letters, but the oral tradition. Besides, how could the writers of the Gospel have known what the angel spoke to Mama Mary unless otherwise revealed by Mama Mary herself or her Son? It was just her and the angel in that room. How could the disciples have learned what happened to Jesus Christ while praying in the garden before His sacrifies if the disciples were sleeping? Information was transferred orally at first then written (inspired the by Holy Spirit).

1 Timothy 3: 14-15
"I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth."

Most of our Sola Scriptura brothers and sisters believe that the pillar and bulwark of the truth is the bible. But the bible tells us, it is the church. Which church then?

Matthew 16:13-19
"Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare’a Philip’pi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli’jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Further reading: http://www.catholic-pages.com/pope/hahn.asp

Who is sent then?

Romans 10:14-15
"But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent?"

To some, this verse gives them right of teaching authority. But take note of the words "unless they are sent".

Further reading: http://www.chnetwork.org/journals/autho ... ity_10.htm

Lastly

Colossians 1:24
"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church."

Lutheran, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, or most of our Protestant brothers and sisters cannot fully explain this. How can anyone rejoice in suffering? AND especially why anything was needed to complete the sufferings of Christ because nothing was lacking. Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection were sufficient. It was complete. For them, to say anything less was an attack on the completeness of God. The infallibility of Pope John Paul II (on faith and morals only) wrote a beautiful encyclical on the meaning of redemptive suffering.

There are three things that are needed.
1. Sacred Tradition
2. Sacred Scripture
3. Magisterium (or the teaching authority of the church)

Further reading: http://www.catholicplanet.com/TSM/infallibility-tsm.htm

Athol
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Re: Apostolic succession

Post by Athol » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:49 am

I just wanted to add that many Jews and messianic Jews who have become Catholics did so because of the Eucharist. By this i mean they had a spiritual experience of the Real Presence in the Catholic church. this is why I became a Catholic and I know many other Jews that did also. The Catholic church has the living presence in it and many can feel that Presence whereas a synagogue or protestant church doesn't have this living presence except during a worship service in a different manner. for me i wanted to find out why i felt this Presence in a seemingly empty building and this led me to understand the eucharistic teachings and the priesthood. Also read Numbers 16.

cheers Athol
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Eli
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Re: Apostolic succession

Post by Eli » Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:56 am

Dear All

I was reflecting a lot on the issue.

Hereby my last reflections

1. I have found by myself a lot of references for the Church fathers talking about the Eucharist and the way it was conveyed. So generally i will agree that this was the way already somewhere in the 2nd century. It is hard to argue with this when you see so many historical evidences

HOWEVER:

2. One huge issue that is not understandable for me is the Catholic attitude. Let us assume that the Catholic/Orthodox way of Eucharist understanding is the real one and that is what exactly was conveyed by Apostles. Let assume that Protestants in their different denominations dont do it correctly and this is not a real Body and Blood of Yeshua
So if the REAL Body and Blood are given through the ordained Priests only how it could be that the official Catholic regulations forbid Protestants to take part in it??? How it could be that if you believe you have the real BREAD of Life you don't give it to others even if they want?? This is not a spirit of Messiah! I would disagree that the issue of Eucharist divides Catholics and others. Because this is not for surely the will of our Lord that if you have received the God's gift to take it from others ONLY on the basis that others ( protestants) believe differently then you in the secondary and not main FAITH issues! Because we agree on the main Faith doctrines such as sin, faith in Yeshua for salvation etc..

More then this: i have to confess that this issues is given to the personal interpretation of each Catholic priests.
I was personally and i know my friends who were given the participation of Eucharist by 2 different BISHOPS ( i would surely not disclose their names ) and one priests!!! It shows that not everybody share the opinion that there is still some thing that separates us. From my perspective NOTHING separates us rather then the the HUMAN blocks of thinking which don't allow God's Spirit to move freely.

3. Therefore my 3rd point is: we should surely carefully read and pay attention to church father's oral tradition that came from Apostles but we should be open that GOD could do things totally differently then we would have expected. NOBODY! had an idea in ancient Israel that the Messiah would come twice and that was the way our God would plan the whole History. Even the prophets didn't understand and they had the God's spirit. So Gods moves in the ways we don't expect him.
Therefore I believe God has also moved through the Protestant movement the way nobody had expected. From Catholic/Orthodox perspective it may have seen as if protestants lack the most essential thing: the Body and Blood because they don't have priests and don't believe that this is HIS real BODY. But do you think God would have compromised on a such essential point. If Protestant don't receive his BODY and BLOOD in their Eucharist then they don't have a life in them according to John 6. However they DO have it! Nobody would argue on it. So therefore i come to conclusion that God blesses Protestant church the same way He blesses Catholic and Orthodox

In spite of the said in point 3 I believe God wants us to learn one from another. There are so many treasures i believe in the fathers' of Church teachings and in the Catholic and Orthodox church. so He wants that this treasure will be available to Protestant church. But it is the question of MUTUAL ENRICHMENT and not of DISPUTE on who is right or wrong

Thank you if your had patient to read till now. These are my thoughts till today.
ELi

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Re: Apostolic succession

Post by Ariel » Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:45 pm

hi Eli,

I continue to find this discussion very interesting, and you raise once again important issues.

Regarding what you call the "Catholic attitude." The Catholic Church invites all people to partake of the Eucharist, and we long to arrive at this fullness of communion where we can share at the Lord's table together. So it's not a question of "forbidding" Protestants to partake of it.

Do the Scriptures themselves not warn how "not discerning the Lord's Body" in partaking of communion brings judgment upon the person who receives (1 Cor 11:29)?

We WANT our separated brethren to partake of it, but the Eucharist is the sign of FULL unity between believers, and so to want to have the Eucharist without committing oneself to the Catholic faith is, well, sort of like wanting to have sex without marriage: it is wanting the benefit and privilege without embracing the full commitment of faith, trust and obedience that the sacrament requires.

A few years ago, as an evangelical believer, I stood before the same decision. The result is that I am now Catholic. This shows you what I think is the right thing to do. The Lord did not found a collection of denominations where each one just decides what he wants to believe, or receives the Catholic Eucharist while playing "pick and choose" of what Catholic doctrines he wants to believe - and the disunity of denominationalism remains. He founded ONE Church, united in her faith and worship and in communion with Peter and the apostles (and their successors). So the invitation is extended to all to partake of the Eucharist through coming into full communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

As expressed by the US conference of bishops:
Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law.
And so exceptions can be made only in "exceptional circumstances" :
When, in the Ordinary's (bishop's) judgment, a grave necessity arises, Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give evidence of holding the Catholic faith regarding these sacraments and possess the required dispositions. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1401).
This is not a question of "opinion." The faith of the Church is clear. In some cases, bishops can make dispensations and give the sacraments to non-Catholics, and priests can do the same in cases of "grave necessity" (e.g. when a person is in danger of death). But any priest who does this casually is violating his own faith, because this encourages relativism and indifferentism (i.e. that one can just receive the Eucharist while believing whatever one wants).

Regarding your 3rd point, of course God doesn't compromise on anything. You surely remember that Protestantism did not exist for the first 1,500 years of the Church. It is not God but rather the Protestants who have compromised by breaking the unity of the Church and throwing away the priesthood and the Eucharist! This is surely not the fault of Protestants today (and the original Protestants also had some legitimate grounds for calling for reform). And yes, Protestant believers certainly share in a good measure of the life of Christ. But the solution is not to continue with the divisive denominationalism but to return to unity with the chair of Peter, to apostolic succession, and to a common faith and sharing in the Lord's Body and Blood.

I realize this is not very politically correct, but this is what the Church believes.

See also:

http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/intercommunion.htm
http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/q&a/mass/communion.shtml

Ariel
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

Glory71
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Re: Apostolic succession

Post by Glory71 » Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:32 am

Athol wrote:I just wanted to add that many Jews and messianic Jews who have become Catholics did so because of the Eucharist. By this i mean they had a spiritual experience of the Real Presence in the Catholic church. this is why I became a Catholic and I know many other Jews that did also. The Catholic church has the living presence in it and many can feel that Presence whereas a synagogue or protestant church doesn't have this living presence except during a worship service in a different manner. for me i wanted to find out why i felt this Presence in a seemingly empty building and this led me to understand the eucharistic teachings and the priesthood. Also read Numbers 16.

cheers Athol
I too find this discussion interesting.

It is just amazing isn't Athol? Once we discover the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in our local parishes, we realize that the same Person who was conceived in Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, died in Jerusalem, and rose again is there present in the tabernacle.

Glory71
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Re: Apostolic succession

Post by Glory71 » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:29 am

I find this video very informative and funny as well. These guys hit the spot in just about 3 mins. This video is just to add to the wealth of information in this website.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rQfC8YC ... re=related

Athol
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Re: Apostolic succession

Post by Athol » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:56 am

Thanks mate. Thats a great link. i shared it on the Hebrew Catholic Discussion board.
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Re: Apostolic succession

Post by Ariel » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:39 pm

Thanks Glory71, I really enjoyed it too! :D
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

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