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Should Christians be able to trace their calling back to the disciples?

Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:2
Should Christians be able to trace their calling back to the disciples? I think the Bible is clear that people are adopted into the family of God who may not have been brought in directly to the laying on of hands to the apostles.
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Caller:  If you look in 2 Timothy 2:2, you’ll find that Paul tells Timothy that just as he has taught him, Timothy is to find successors who can in turn teach others to follow the same things he has been taught, and so on down the line—there will be a succession there. 

This is called apostolic succession, a traditional church teaching, and the idea is that any legitimate representative of God can trace his lineage back to an apostle who laid hands on somebody who laid hands on somebody, etc.  Can you tell me why you think there is any legitimacy to any church that cannot trace its lineage back to the apostles that way?

Pastor Doug:  Well, I think that the Bible is very clear that the Lord adopts people into the family who may not have any apostolic succession.  For instance, the apostle Paul, who did not sit under the teaching of Jesus directly, the Lord intervened and called him out of the blue.  I don’t think we should limit God and say that God’s ministers or movements in the last days have to be able to trace their family tree to the laying on of hands on down to Jesus.

Caller:  Why was it started that way with the laying on of hands.

Pastor Doug:  It is God’s plan.  Don’t misunderstand.  I believe in the laying on of hands.  I believe that Christians should disciple each other.  I think we ought to reproduce God’s image in others.  It hasn’t always worked that way.  The Bible foretold in Revelation, and the apostle Paul foretold, he said “after my departure grievous wolves will enter in among the flock, not sparing the flock” and that there would be a great falling away, do you remember that? in II Thessalonians, I believe and so there was, I believe, a period, during the Dark Ages, where the church went into the wilderness and it seemed like it was almost obliterated, Bible Christianity. 

But there still have been faithful people.  They may not have received their knowledge through the laying on of hands or discipleship.  Some received it, like Martin Luther, through the study of the Word.  So, the idea that you have to be touched by someone who was touched by someone who was touched by someone who was touched by Jesus—I don’t find a real strong argument for that in Scripture. 

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