What really is an Apostolic Church, and what validates it? Is it a Church started by an Apostle that is well known? Is it a Church that has physical lines of Apostolic Succession?
According to the old and earliest Church, the Church was to teach the Apostle's doctrine. Physical ordination from a well known Apostle, Bishop, or denomination does not necessarily mean that you are walking correctly according to the faith once delivered unto the saint. For example, the Roman Catholic Church has lines that can trace it's Papacy and Episcopacy all the way back to Apostles Peter and Paul. However, their latter days were full of heresy, and caused a great split within the Church. Both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Church can trace their lines back to the rest of the first generation of Apostles (John, Barnabas, James, Paul, Thomas, etc.), yet even they strayed away in some areas. The Anglican Communion is yet another with claims of valid Apostolic Succession, however, some will argue that their beginning was heretical due to their beginnings being based upon a split caused by their King. In all the error within them, they claim to be judges of what is truly "Orthodox" and "Apostolic", using one of the most respected Apostolic Fathers' words to judge other Church as valid or invalid:
"Let [the heretics] produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [their first] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of Apostolic men—a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the Apostles.
For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers. For example, the church of Smyrna, records that Polycarp was placed in his position by John; the church of Rome makes Clement to have been ordained in a similar manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches also exhibit those whom have been appointed to their episcopal places by apostles. These they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed.
Let the heretics fabricate something of the same kind, for after their blasphemy, what could be unlawful for them? But even if they succeed in their fabrication, they will not advance a step. For their very doctrine, when compared with that of the Apostles, will declare, by its own diversity and disagreement, that it had for its author neither an Apostle nor an Apostolic man …
To this test, therefore, they will be submitted for proof by those churches who, although they derive not their founder from Apostles or apostolic men (as being of much later date, for they are in fact being founded daily), yet, since they agree in the same faith, they are considered no less Apostolic because they are alike in doctrine.
"Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be Apostolic."
– Tertullian on Apostolic Churches Prescription Against Heretics
For those who misunderstood his words, Tertullian tells us that those Churches whose faith is other than Apostolic faith are not Apostolic churches . If you only take one portion of what he stated, like many do, then you would think that you are true and valid because you have a fine pedigree. However, Tertullian went on to say clearly: "To this test, therefore, they will be submitted for proof by those churches who, although they derive not their founder from apostles or apostolic men (as being of much later date, for they are in fact being founded daily), yet, since they agree in the same faith, they are considered no less apostolic because they are alike in doctrine."
In other words, even if you don't have a clear background like everyone else, even though you cannot say that you come from a long and proud tradition like other Churches, even though your Apostleship and/or Church line and Apostolic Succession is brand new, if you are teaching right, and talking right and walking right, then you are just as much a valid Apostle as the Apostle Paul. It was Apostle Paul that stated a similar saying concerning himself:
"Am I am not an Apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an Apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine Apostleship are ye in the Lord. Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope."
-1st Corinthians 9:1-10
Apostleship, and Apostolic Succession is more than just being ordained by a valid Apostle or Bishop, it is you walking as a valid Apostle and/or Bishop. Your Apostolic validity is known by your fruits, not your roots.
be blessed, speak blessed...
to be a blessing, & speak a blessing...
++Trevor T. Greene
Senior Apostle, Patriarch, & Int'l Bishop,
Act 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
What makes a church Apostolic is they teach the Apostles doctrine. What did they teach?
|Act 4:2||Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.|
|Act 4:12||Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.|
|Act 4:18||And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.|