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Jim claims that the Apostles were given authority, but this authority was not passed on.  Is Jim correct? 


Is Jim correct? There are many verses in the bible that talk about authority given to Jesus and His Church.   At the same time there are those who will accept the authority of Jesus, while negating verses having to do with the authority of the Church. The point is this, in the Bible, Jesus did have authority, and He did pass this authority on to His Church. 

1. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Mt 28:18).  All power had been given to Jesus and then He passed it on giving His authority to His Church.  He gave his authority to his Apostles.
 
2. As the father has sent me, so I send you (Jn 20:21). 

3. "Whoever listens to you listens to me, whoever rejects you rejects me, whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me" (Luke 10:16, Matthew 10:40).

4. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”  (Mt 18:17-18).

5. Jesus gives peter authority.  "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of Heaven (Mt 16:19).

6. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained" (Jn 20:23).

7. The Apostles haven been given authority by Jesus used it to apoint Mathias. 

Jesus gives Peter the keys: Notice that Jesus shared this authority; it was not Jesus alone, who had authority.  He gave this authority to the leaders of His Church.  For some, it is very difficult to accept the authority, Jesus has given to the Church. Jesus gives Peter the Keys and the power to bind and loosen:

"I will give you the keys to the kingdom of Heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven” (Mt 16:19).  

I recall listening to someone in a debate dismiss Mathew 16:19 because of the word whatever.  He said “Peter cannot bind all things because he cannot bind that which is evil.”  I found this to be an interesting and convenient way of muting the words of Jesus for the sake of his man-made tradition. His point is a mute point because when Jesus used the word whatever, He was not asking the Peter to bind evil.


Confession, the Apostles were given the authority to forgive sins: Jesus claimed the authority to forgive sins. Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'?  But that you may know that the Son of Man [Jesus] has authority on earth to forgive sins" he then said to the paralytic, "Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go” (Mt 9:5-6).  If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, "We have not sinned," we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 Jn 1: 9-10).  The detractors of the Catholic Church will accept this verse and other veres which claim that Jesus can forgive sins. And then they will reject verses where Jesus gives the Apostles the authority to forgive and retain sins. Their tradition in effect has greater credence then the very words of Jesus. Their tradition has more prominence then Jesus.

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained" (Jn 20:23)

Jesus had the authority to forgive sins and He gave the Apostles the authority to forgive and retains sins. The detractors of orthodox Christianity will accept the fact that Jesus can forgive sins, but will try to find reasons to explain away the authority of the Church, to forgive and retain sins.  And this is true even though Jesus gave this authority to the Church. Some will say that Jesus really didn’t mean what He said, when He gave the Church, authority to forgive and retain  sins.  He meant something else.  Of course the something else was not in the Bible, but coming from their tradition. 

Others say that Jesus really did give the Apostles the power to forgive sins, but they cannot do that now. They believe that the church had no authority after the death of the last Apostles, therefore the power to forgive and retain sins ended with the Apostles.   Interesting, but is this idea found in the Bible?  Actually, it is not in the Bible, but again coming from a tradition that claims to believe the Bible alone.  If only they would believe their Bibles.  

Some claim God alone can forgive sins. Of course they only quote part of the verse, and leave out the verse before it which is the context.  Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, "Why does this man [Jesus] speak that way?  He [Jesus] is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins" (Mk 2:6-7)?  First of all this verse was not spoken by Jesus or the Apostles.  It was  spoken by the scribes. Secondly these scribes were not the friends of Jesus; they in fact accused Jesus of blasphemy. And, Jesus did give the Apostles the power to forgive and retain sin.  

The people who believe that only God, apart from man, can forgive sins are followers of the scribes, who accused Jesus of blasphemy.  Those who believe that Jesus can forgive sins, with man, are followers of Jesus. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained (Jn 20:23).  

The authority of the Church was passed on: Another person admitted that the apostles who were given the authority by Christ to do miracles and write scripture. He claimed that there is nothing in Scripture showing apostolic authority being passed on. To make his point, he quotes from six different places in the Bible including Acts 18:19, where there is no record of apostolic succession. However, he leaves out the verses in the Bible where apostolic succession was passed on. He quoted Acts 18:19, but he didn’t quote Acts 1:15-26, where the Apostles appointed another as Judas's successor. Here is the beginning of authority being passed on in the Bible.   

So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place." There were 12 Apostles originally (Peter and the eleven). Judas hung himself. They then appointed Mathias. He was the 13th person to be appointed an Apostle. Apostolic succession is in the Bible and was passed on. 

The real issue here is the authority that Jesus gave the Church. The moment that people admit that the Church had real authority to forgive and retain sins; it is no longer the Bible alone. It is now the Bible and the authority of the Church.  One of the pillars of the Protestant Reformation "Bible Alone" (Sola Scriptura) fails because it is not in the Bible.

Another pillar of the Protestant Reformation, "Jesus Alone" crumbles as well. It was not Jesus alone because, He gave Peter the keys and the power to bind and loosen. He gave the Apostles the power to forgive and retain sins. The power that Jesus was given by the Father, He then gave to the Apostles.