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Apostolic Succession In The Armenian Apostolic Church


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#1 onnig

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:10 PM

The Armenian Apostolic Church grants itself authority by the idea of Apostolic Succession. the late Archbishop S. Kaloustian of the Armenian Apostolic Church said,

"By the term Apostolic Succession is meant that the mission conferred by Jesus Christ upon the Apostles passed from them to their legitimate successors, in an unbroken line, until the end of the world… The Church is Apostolic because its rulers, the Bishops, derive their office and authority by lawful succession from the Apostles. That is why we call our Bishops “Surpazan,” which means “of Holy Lineage” that is to say, direct successors of Apostles."[i]

The Church is described in many respects. In the greek it literally means “the called out ones”. It is also pointed out that the church is given certain individuals to be overseers (1 Timothy 3:1-7), also called elders, pastors and shepherds (Acts 20:17,28; 1 Peter 5:1-4). They were given also as deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13). There was no separation between “clergy” and “laity” but rather those who were gifted with leadership positions were called to equip all the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph 4:7-16). Therefore, the Church is NOT specific to only the leaders but it is rather the whole of the body of believers who are called to minister and with this understanding, passages like 1 Timothy 3:15 where the “Church” is referred to as the “pillar and support” of truth can be understood properly as all believers removing any notion of a select few with absolute doctrinal authority. Yes, the Lord gave to the same body of believers teachers and elders in authority in order for the body to learn, be governed and to be edified; but Peter’s description in 1 Peter 2:9-10 is not exclusively for the leaders; it is for the entire body of believers, in other words, the Church. In Eph 4:11, Paul the Apostle explains what God has gifted the Church with; “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.” This goes against the grain of the idea of Apostolic succession for which the Armenian ‘Apostolic’ Church stands. How? Since Paul says God gave these types of leaders, does that mean that He has given these today? Does that include Apostles in the fullest sense of the term referring to Paul and the Twelve? No not at all.

In the broadest sense, the term Apostle (ἀπόστολος ap-os'-tol-os, derived from a verb meaning to send, to send away on a commission, to dispatch; ἀποστέλλω) is anything which is sent or by which something is sent, or anyone who is sent or by whom a message is sent. The word occurs ten times in the Gospels, nearly thirty times in Acts, greater than thirty times in the Pauline epistles (including the five times in the Pastorals), and eight times in the rest of the New Testament. In later Judaism, envoys were sent out by the Jerusalem patriarchate. These envoys were called apostles. In the New Testament the term is distinctly religious in which the widest meaning of apostle refers to any gospel messenger. The person represents his sender with the message of salvation. Barnabas, Epaphroditus, Apollos, Silvanus, and Timothy are all called “apostles” (Acts 14:14; I Cor. 4:6, 9; Phil. 2:25; I Thess. 2:6, cf. 1:1; and see also I Cor. 15:7). They represent God’s purpose and some specific churches (2 Cor. 8:23). Paul and Barnabas represent the church at Antioch (Acts 13:1,2) and Epaphroditus at Philippi (Phil 2:25). In this broad sense of the term apostle we can also reference Andronicus and Junius (Rom. 16:7), and James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19), which once again reference messengers. There is a fuller sense of the term apostle. The fullest sense of the term apostle is that person who is an apostle for life and wherever he goes. He is given the authority of the One who has sent him in which he directs both doctrine and life with that granted authority. We do NOT have these types of Apostles, in the fullest sense of the term, today. Why? There are several characteristics of full apostleship described by the New Testament:

1. They have been chosen, called, and sent forth by Christ himself. They have received their commission directly from him (John 6:70; 13:18; 15:16, 19; Gal. 1:6)
2. They are qualified for their tasks by Jesus, and have been ear-and-eye witnesses of his words and deeds; specifically, they are the witnesses of his resurrection (Acts 1:8, 22; I Cor. 9:1; 15:8; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:2–8; I John 1:1–3).
3. They have been endowed in a special measure with the Holy Spirit, and it is this Holy Spirit who leads them into all the truth (Matt. 10:20; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7–14; 20:22; I Cor. 2:10–13; 7:40; I Thess. 4:8 ).
4. God blesses their work, confirming its value by means of signs and miracles, and giving them much fruit upon their labors (Matt. 10:1, 8; Acts 2:43; 3:2; 5:12–16; Rom. 15:18, 19; II Cor. 12:12; I Cor. 9:2; Gal. 2:8 ).
5. Their office is not restricted to a local church, neither does it extend over a short period of time; on the contrary, it is for the entire church and for life (Acts 26:16–18; II Tim. 4:7, 8 ).[ii]

So you see that full Apostolic calling ended after the Twelve and Paul passed away. To say that the same full Apostolic calling has succeeded to the present day by an authoritative lineage in the Church requires two things; a redefining of the term Church and ignorance of the biblical record as to what it means to have a calling as a full Apostle.

--All references to full apostolic calling are from William Hendricksen and Simon J Kistemaker New Testament Commentary. Baker Book House. 1984. See section on 1 Timothy 1:1.

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More available at http://www.armeniansforchrist.com

[i] Saints and Sacraments of the Armenian Church. Archbishop Shnork Kaloustian. 1969. Pgs 12, 77
[ii] All references to full apostolic calling are from William Hendricksen and Simon J Kistemaker New Testament Commentary. Baker Book House. 1984. See section on 1 Timothy 1:1.


#2 gamavor

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:18 PM

QUOTE
"By the term Apostolic Succession is meant that the mission conferred by Jesus Christ upon the Apostles passed from them to their legitimate successors, in an unbroken line, until the end of the world… The Church is Apostolic because its rulers, the Bishops, derive their office and authority by lawful succession from the Apostles. That is why we call our Bishops “Surpazan,” which means “of Holy Lineage” that is to say, direct successors of Apostles."[i]


This is exactly right! For some UNKNOWN to me reason some (to this day) call our Church Gregorian which is quite wrong. While St. Gregory the Illuminator converted the Royal House in Armenia and did a lot for the complete Christianization of the country side, by that time large number of Armenians were already Christian due to the holy work done by the apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus.

#3 onnig

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 12:12 AM

gamavor, how would you explain this using the biblical text I brought up? You cannot have the same Apostolic authority today as the Armenian Church claims it has. Or did I misunderstand you?

Onnig

#4 annannimusss

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 04:54 PM

Who We Are

We are the One Holy Universal Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church.

We are the living body of Christ, the Christian Church of the Armenian people, the entire world-wide community of the Armenian nation.

Founded in the first century by two of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew, we are one of the five ancient Eastern Oriental Orthodox churches. At the beginning of the fourth century, Armenia became the first nation in the world to declare Christianity as our state religion through the work of our patron saint, St. Gregory the Illuminator, and the decree of King Trdat III. As one of the oldest autocephalous national Christian churches, for more than 1,700 years we have steadfastly and devotedly followed Our Lord Jesus Christ, His teachings, the teachings of His Holy Apostles, Our sacred Church traditions, and the teachings of our graceful Saints and Church fathers.

Our Church is One, in that our Lord Jesus Christ founded one Church. Having been founded by the one Lord Jesus Christ, the Church has one faith, one liturgy, one hierarchy. The Armenian Church is one in herself and one with the great Church of our Lord, since she accepts and keeps the Church’s faith, teachings and practices, "as once delivered to the Saints" and as defined by the first three Ecumenical councils of Nicaea in 325 A.D, of Constantinople in 381 and of Ephesus in 431.

Our Church is Holy, because our Lord Jesus Christ made her Holy. The Armenian Church has produced many saints. Many of her members have been martyred and martyred for the sake of Jesus Christ. The first known Armenian saint and martyr is Saint Santoukht, the virgin daughter of King Sanatrouk.

Our Church is Universal, because she shares in the universality of the great Church of Christ, and she herself has continued to exist in spite of very great hardships throughout the centuries. Further, all faithful may join the Armenian Church.

Our Church is Apostolic, because it was founded directly by two of the twelve apostles, Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew who ordained the first Armenian bishops.

Our Church is Orthodox, because it has the true faith of Christ.

We are a Church with over nine million faithful dispersed in every continent throughout the world. The head of the Church is Jesus Christ. The Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians is the worldwide spiritual leader of the Nation, for Armenians both in Armenia and in the Dispersion. He is Chief Shepherd and Pontiff to all Armenians dispersed throughout the world. The spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Church, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, established in 301 AD in the city of Vagharshapat, Armenia, seventeen centuries later continues to guide our devoted nation and people on the luminous paths of fulfilling the primary mission of our Church - leading people to God.

http://www.armenianchurch.org/

#5 annannimusss

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 04:58 PM

The official name of the church is the "Armenian Orthodox Apostolic Church"; "Gregorian Church" is not preferred by the church, as it views the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew as the founders, and St. Gregory as merely the first official head of the church.

http://en.wikipedia....postolic_Church


This is all you need to read, very easy to understand explanation.

#6 onnig

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 01:11 AM

QUOTE(Sako***** @ Nov 3 2007, 05:54 PM)
Who We Are

We are the One Holy Universal Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church.

We are the living body of Christ, the Christian Church of the Armenian people, the entire world-wide community of the Armenian nation.

Founded in the first century by two of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew, we are one of the five ancient Eastern Oriental Orthodox churches. At the beginning of the fourth century, Armenia became the first nation in the world to declare Christianity as our state religion through the work of our patron saint, St. Gregory the Illuminator, and the decree of King Trdat III. As one of the oldest autocephalous national Christian churches, for more than 1,700 years we have steadfastly and devotedly followed Our Lord Jesus Christ, His teachings, the teachings of His Holy Apostles, Our sacred Church traditions, and the teachings of our graceful Saints and Church fathers.

Our Church is One, in that our Lord Jesus Christ founded one Church. Having been founded by the one Lord Jesus Christ, the Church has one faith, one liturgy, one hierarchy. The Armenian Church is one in herself and one with the great Church of our Lord, since she accepts and keeps the Church’s faith, teachings and practices, "as once delivered to the Saints" and as defined by the first three Ecumenical councils of Nicaea in 325 A.D, of Constantinople in 381 and of Ephesus in 431.

Our Church is Holy, because our Lord Jesus Christ made her Holy. The Armenian Church has produced many saints. Many of her members have been martyred and martyred for the sake of Jesus Christ. The first known Armenian saint and martyr is Saint Santoukht, the virgin daughter of King Sanatrouk.

Our Church is Universal, because she shares in the universality of the great Church of Christ, and she herself has continued to exist in spite of very great hardships throughout the centuries. Further, all faithful may join the Armenian Church.

Our Church is Apostolic, because it was founded directly by two of the twelve apostles, Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew who ordained the first Armenian bishops.

Our Church is Orthodox, because it has the true faith of Christ.

We are a Church with over nine million faithful dispersed in every continent throughout the world. The head of the Church is Jesus Christ. The Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians is the worldwide spiritual leader of the Nation, for Armenians both in Armenia and in the Dispersion. He is Chief Shepherd and Pontiff to all Armenians dispersed throughout the world. The spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Church, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, established in 301 AD in the city of Vagharshapat, Armenia, seventeen centuries later continues to guide our devoted nation and people on the luminous paths of fulfilling the primary mission of our Church - leading people to God.

http://www.armenianchurch.org/


Thanks for the information. I am already familiar with all of this and would like to mention that every single line has either a great assumption or an even greater misconception. I will take it line by line:

QUOTE
"We are the One Holy Universal Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church."

The "One Holy Universal" part assumes that the Church has no disagreements of any kind with other branches. Just look at the multiple Patriarchs for example. An heirarchical system of the church is non-existant in the Bible to begin with and even with the false organizational system the Armenian Church has you can still clearly see the conflict within. The multiple Patriarch are not merely a regional organization, this is an authoritative split.

The "Apostolic Orthodox" part is also a misconception. What makes a church Apostolic or Orthodox? Do we just accept the claim once it has been claimed? No, not at all. If one is claiming an Apostolic and Orthodox church then they must be in complete agreement with one thing, the Word of God. The Armenian church says they are but they truly are not just looking at some of the examples I simply pointed out.

QUOTE
"We are the living body of Christ, the Christian Church of the Armenian people, the entire world-wide community of the Armenian nation."

Not true, a great multitude of Armenians would not side with the AAC (Armenian Apostolic Church) so to say it is the "Christian Church of the Armenian people" is plainly false.

QUOTE
"Founded in the first century by two of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew, we are one of the five ancient Eastern Oriental Orthodox churches. At the beginning of the fourth century, Armenia became the first nation in the world to declare Christianity as our state religion through the work of our patron saint, St. Gregory the Illuminator, and the decree of King Trdat III. As one of the oldest autocephalous national Christian churches, for more than 1,700 years we have steadfastly and devotedly followed Our Lord Jesus Christ, His teachings, the teachings of His Holy Apostles, Our sacred Church traditions, and the teachings of our graceful Saints and Church fathers."

I am still studying the theology of the AAC from its national beginnings 301AD until now. It is very difficult or even impossible to figure out what they believed and what was taught at and before that time since the Armenian Christians were writing in Syriac or Greek. The one thing you can take out of this statement is the sheer pride the AAC takes in these claims. Some may be fact and others just fantasy since most of it can't really be objectively proven. One thing still remains, the statement "for more than 1,700 years we have steadfastly and devotedly followed Our Lord Jesus Christ, His teachings, the teachings of His Holy Apostles" mixed with "Our sacred Church traditions, and the teachings of our graceful Saints and Church fathers" which are in stark contrast if one studies the Bible.

QUOTE
"Our Church is Holy, because our Lord Jesus Christ made her Holy. The Armenian Church has produced many saints. Many of her members have been martyred and martyred for the sake of Jesus Christ. The first known Armenian saint and martyr is Saint Santoukht, the virgin daughter of King Sanatrouk."

How did Christ make the "church" holy? What does this holiness entail? These questions should be asked. Is it an actual real moral holiness, that is, sinlessness or is it a positional holiness where God declares one righteous as a legal declaration on account of Christ? Holy and Holiness is totally misunderstood and the church is deemed holy under these incorrect understandings.

QUOTE
"Our Church is Universal, because she shares in the universality of the great Church of Christ, and she herself has continued to exist in spite of very great hardships throughout the centuries. Further, all faithful may join the Armenian Church."

What does this "universality" consist of? Is it the Apostolic Creed, the Nicene Creed? Does this universality bind with other non-eastern church, Roman, protestant, what? Ths is very vague. And if "all the faithful may join the AAC" then why do they call the church Armenian? Does "all the faithful" mean other Armenian Christian sects or other races? You see how none of this seems important to the AAC so they just point these as facts so that they are now making these blanket statements to make the church sound somehow valid.

QUOTE
"Our Church is Apostolic, because it was founded directly by two of the twelve apostles, Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew who ordained the first Armenian bishops."

This is by church tradition. Did you know that the Iraqi church also claims these Apostles as their founders? That is a great regional gap, so who to believe or are they both true?

QUOTE
"Our Church is Orthodox, because it has the true faith of Christ."

Definitely not true since there are glaring contradictions with the Word of God and the "holy" traditions of the church as I have already pointed out.

QUOTE
"We are a Church with over nine million faithful dispersed in every continent throughout the world. The head of the Church is Jesus Christ. The Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians is the worldwide spiritual leader of the Nation, for Armenians both in Armenia and in the Dispersion. He is Chief Shepherd and Pontiff to all Armenians dispersed throughout the world. The spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Church, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, established in 301 AD in the city of Vagharshapat, Armenia, seventeen centuries later continues to guide our devoted nation and people on the luminous paths of fulfilling the primary mission of our Church - leading people to God."

Tell that to the Cilician See and what about the one in Constantinople? Wait, I forgot the Jerusalem See as well. And my friend, they are not "leading people to God". What they are doing is they are leading people to a nationalistic furvor rooted in the assumption of such "greatness" as we supposedly are rooted in.

#7 annannimusss

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 08:52 PM

I have thought of a very easy explanation for the Iraqi Church saying the apostles St.Jude Thadeus, and Barthalemew are the founders of there Church. The two Apostles did not go strait to Armenia, they went all around, including Mesopotamia-Iraq, so your point is not valid. Unless they say that they martyered them there. And if you have such info, please give me a link, and the name of this church, if not, your whole hypothesis is wrong.

#8 annannimusss

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 08:57 PM

And saying only Armenians, you are wrong. We have Ethiopians come to our church, and a few Ruskies. So again your point is incorrect. Those Church traditions you talk down on, are traditions that were around since directly after the death of Jesus. I challenge you to find anything in the Armenian Church Liturgy or theology or practices that is not Christian!

#9 onnig

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 12:10 AM

QUOTE(Sako***** @ Nov 5 2007, 09:57 PM)
And saying only Armenians, you are wrong. We have Ethiopians come to our church, and a few Ruskies. So again your point is incorrect. Those Church traditions you talk down on, are traditions that were around since directly after the death of Jesus. I challenge you to find anything in the Armenian Church Liturgy or theology or practices that is not Christian!


Very easy. The Bible is not only Scripture but also a historical document pointing to the practice of Christ AND the Apostles of the true form of Christianity. Once the gospel of the Armenian Church is compared to the true gospel of Christ, rest assured you will find great discrepencies. You have yet to respond to any of my articles that point to these discrepencies with the Armenian Church and Scripture. So I have already made the biblical argument and am waiting for a response from you or anyone.

The Bible is the final authority. It alone guides doctrine. I abide by that principle of the Reformers which is Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone. Any history of doctrine of a church that is in contrast to the clear doctrines in the Bible is only a history of doctrines of fallen and depraved men who have forsaken the great principle of Sola Scriptura that Christ and the Apostles held to.

Onnig

Edited by onnig, 06 November 2007 - 12:11 AM.


#10 annannimusss

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 03:03 PM

There are no discrepencies. Sorry, I just don't see where you are coming from.

#11 onnig

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 06:20 PM

QUOTE(Sako***** @ Nov 6 2007, 04:03 PM)
There are no discrepencies. Sorry, I just don't see where you are coming from.


Well, let's start with the false doctrine of full Apostolic Succession. Can you show me from what I posted initially above that there really is NO discrepency biblically? And after your response we'll get into the other issues.

#12 gigglyshy

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 03:58 PM

QUOTE (onnig @ Oct 25 2007, 01:12 AM)
gamavor, how would you explain this using the biblical text I brought up? You cannot have the same Apostolic authority today as the Armenian Church claims it has. Or did I misunderstand you?

Onnig


anyone can use biblical text from out of context to prove stuff. you can even prove that God doesn't exist by using the method which you have used. satan himself used scripture to tempt Jesus

how can't we have the same apostolic authority today? the verses which you have brought up are taken out of context. if you read the entire text from which each of those verses come from, you will see that they are not talking about apostolic succession. learn how to read the bible correctly before making a fool of yourself.

by the way, the armenian church isn't the only church which has this tradition-all orthodox churches and even catholic churches have it. ever wonder why there are hundreds of thousands of protestant denominations today? it's because the protestants have nobody to guide them in the truth.

#13 onnig

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 12:51 PM

QUOTE (gigglyshy @ Feb 10 2008, 01:58 PM)
anyone can use biblical text from out of context to prove stuff. you can even prove that God doesn't exist by using the method which you have used. satan himself used scripture to tempt Jesus

how can't we have the same apostolic authority today? the verses which you have brought up are taken out of context. if you read the entire text from which each of those verses come from, you will see that they are not talking about apostolic succession. learn how to read the bible correctly before making a fool of yourself.

by the way, the armenian church isn't the only church which has this tradition-all orthodox churches and even catholic churches have it. ever wonder why there are hundreds of thousands of protestant denominations today? it's because the protestants have nobody to guide them in the truth.


Well, then go ahead and prove me wrong. How am I taking it out of context? Show me. Rhetoric, or in other words "Nu uh!" is not a defense of your position. Oh and by the way, there are not hundreds of thousands of protestant denominations and that frankly is not even the issue here and neither does it prove your position. My case is a biblical one. Prove to me by biblical precedence that my position is wrong.

Edited by onnig, 25 March 2008 - 12:53 PM.





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