By Rev. Dr. Curian Kaniyamparambil
If Ananias had been a lay-man, why did our Lord ask Saul to go to Ananias? Were there no other believers near by or on the way to that Street? How could a lay-man lay hands on another lay- man?
Some say that he was a lay-man either because of the lack of knowledge or because they purposely hide the facts. Let us see what the scholars say about Ananias. Let us start with the Protestant interpreter Dummalow. "Probably Head of the Christian body at Damascus. Later tradition makes him one of the seven (referred in Acts 6:6) consecrated Bishop of Damascus by Peter and Andrew, and was martyred.
But if you try to find this name you cannot find Ananias (Hananiya) in the list. In the Bible many people had an initial name and later had a different name following their baptism (Peter, Paul etc...). One of the Greek names mentioned in that list may be of Ananias.
Names of the 70 disciples which our Lord sent (as mentioned in Luke 10:1) are mentioned in the book called "Ousar-rosa". The third in the list is Ananyas (or Hanania). This book was written in Syriac by Mor Gregory Bar Hebraeus, during the 13th century.
Christ said, "I will build my church" (Acts 16:18) back in AD 26 or 27. Now it is the year 2002. So the church (Syrian Orthodox Church) taught believers through out these years the same faith without any changes. It is painful to see that after all these years, people are coming forward to question its teachings, by picking up verses from altered translations!
We have seen in previous questions that the apostles received their power and authority from Jesus Christ and that that apostles gave that authority to others by laying hands.
St. Paul told Timothy " Do not lay your hands on anyone hastily " (1 Tim 5:22)
The qualities for a person required to become a Bishop or Presbyter are mentioned in 1 Tim 3:1-10.
It basically says that one should be a righteous person and should not have any greed for money. More importantly, "He must have good testimony among those who are outside". "But these be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless." No-where does it say that the Lord will select them directly and that they will receive there authority directly! But it says choose good, reverent, and righteous persons and ordain them deacons and test them and if found good, make him a presbyters or bishops.
They are chosen by the Holy Spirit "Holy Spirit has made you overseers" (Acts 20:28)
"Bishops" should Command and teach these things (1 Tim 4:11)
He should be an example to the church members (1 Tim 4:12)
The qualities to become a deacon are mentioned in 1 Tim 3:12-13.
"From Miletus he had the presbyters of the church at Ephesus summoned" (Acts 20:17)
"So they ordained elders in every church" (Acts 14:23)
"Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders." (Acts 15:2)
"They were received by the church and the apostles and the elders" (Acts 15:4)
"Let elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine." (1 Tim 5:17)
"Ordain elders in all cities as I commanded you" (Tit. 1:5)
"The elders who are among I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed" (1 Pet 5:1). Therefore it is obvious that there were offices of bishop, elder (presbyter), and deacons during apostolic times and that those positions have apostolic succession. Since it is continued even today, a bishop, elder, or deacon should have apostolic succession. If there is no succession there is no position in the church. Those without apostolic succession hold no authority and therefore are misguiding the believers.
Please see this incident described in Acts 8:14-22:
This incident is about a man called Simon (who had previously practiced sorcery). Simon believed in Jesus when Philip preached to him. He saw the apostles laying hands on people and they received the "Gift of the Holy Spirit". He then desired this power and tried to offer money to the apostles. So even a person like Simon knew that to receive the 'Gift of the Holy Spirit', one has to receive it from the apostles by apostolic succession (or by laying hands). Remember, Simon was a believer and a baptized one, but didn't have the Gift of Holy Spirit. This is why he asked for that power.
We see protestant pastors baptizing people. By what authority do they baptize? Does one receive the authority (to baptize) if he reads the Bible many times or by studying in a theological college? In the Old and New Testaments we can see that authority was passed on from one generation to the next. (eg. Joshua in the Old Testament)
If anyone likes to have a ministry, he can have it provided that he gets the authority from the Church and thereafter teaches the true apostolic faith of the Church.
TOC Section 1 (Q 1-26) | Section 2 (Q 27-56) | Section 3 (Q 57-81) | Section 4 (Q 82-115) | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
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