To answer, let’s see how the New Testament church expanded beyond Jerusalem, and who its first members were. While all its members are not Israelites according to the flesh, the church that Jesus built is made up of spiritual children of Abraham. The Armenian and Coptic churches, independent of Rome and her constituency since the fifth century, also claim apostolic succession. Louvain Studies, 1996. From the time of the Creation, the children of God looked forward to the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ. Only then—only after they had become full-fledged proselytes of Judaism—could the Gentiles become recipients of the New Covenant promises. They continued to worship in the Temple at Jerusalem (Acts 2:46; 3:1; 21:20), continued to keep the weekly Sabbath and annual holy days. Keating further states: “[I]t is important to keep in mind what the Catholic Church means by Tradition. A crowd has been listening to Jesus teach on a remote hillside, and the nearest Chick-Fil-A is still 2,000 years away. But the office of apostle (as it pertained to the Twelve and Paul) was unique. But, as we shall see, this example gives no support to the belief that the apostolic office was to continue in an unbroken chain from the time of Jesus to the end of the age. So it’s easy for modern English-speaking readers to read a meaning into a passage that was not intended by the original writer. In fact, history tells us that the descendants of the Jerusalem church were still keeping the Sabbath and holy days as late as the fourth century, A.D. Jesus Christ Established His Church. If the Gospel spreads not through the letter but the Spirit, then its essential means of transmittal is word of mouth from an authoritative living witness, as we see at Pentecost. Anciently, the word had no particular religious connotations. Did He authorize “apostolic succession” to insure that His church would forever be able to trace its origins directly to the apostles? And Calvin did not see the sacraments as channels of grace or a place of encounter. As Cornelius’ messengers approached Joppa, Peter went up to the housetop to pray. He said: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Luke, writing of Paul’s travels, said, “And we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread…” (Acts 20:6); said that Paul “hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the Day of Pentecost” (verse 16); referred to “the fast” (Acts 27:9), meaning the Day of Atonement. Had Christianity been declared illicita, Paul’s defense would have been useless. There was no reason for the Gentile converts to abandon the form of worship—including Sabbath observance—they had previously embraced. While the church was entirely Jewish, circumcision was not an issue. Besides, what is happening at Pentecost very much looks like Church-building. Paul’s example shows that God is fully capable of raising up a ministry without the use of “succession.” It also shows that the apostles at Jerusalem accepted his apostleship on the basis of the fruits of his ministry, not on whether he fit within a line of successive ordinations by the hands of men. Peter clearly did not take the vision to mean it was now permissible to eat unclean animals. Neither circumcision nor adherence to any law could accomplish that. If you read the Westminster Confession and the Institutes closely the answer appears to be that wherever the Gospel is preached and the sacraments are celebrated is where the true Church is. Soon, the gospel would expand into new regions, bringing about many new conversions and the planting of new churches. Notice that Peter said Judas had been “numbered with us.” Obviously, the apostles saw their office as a unique office, and perceived that their ministry was to begin with the full number Christ had established. Therefore, He would have the same beliefs—doctrines—today as He did when He walked Earth, now alm… See also Chapter 25 of the Westminster Confession and the fourth book of The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin.). The early Church thus was centered on the Word, but not so much the written word as the living Word, encountered through the Spirit. (For an example of a Protestant perspective, here is the statement on the matter from an anti-Catholic ministry. Jesus said to Peter, "You are Rock and on this rock I will build my Church." Was He speaking of an organized entity run by bishops, archbishops, and other prelates? Though persecuted, it continued to survive. Notice: “Take heed that no man deceive you” (verse 4). We read of it in Acts 10. With their understanding of the Law and of the prophecies about the coming of Christ, they readily received the gospel; believed Philip when he told them of Christ’s death and resurrection, of His promise to return and establish His kingdom; repented of their sins, which they understood to be the transgression of God’s law, and turned to God through faith in Jesus Christ and His redemptive work. This is exactly what Paul indicates in his conclusion: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. In modern societies, “church” is a “religious” word completely devoid of any secular meaning. 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