The Apostles' Teachings
The Apostles’ Teachings
“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen” John 21:25
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19,20
Jesus called the Apostles His friends. For three years they lived with Him and witnessed His Divinity and His Humanity. While most of them were simple, unlearned men, they had direct access to the Lord and learned directly from Him during that time. Ten days after Jesus ascended back to the Father, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and further enlightened them to be able to carry forward the Great Commission that Jesus charged them with before He ascended.
Given their extensive exposure to Christ and having been given the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Orthodox Church believes the Apostles are the best source for conveying the Faith and the Will of God. We do not believe that individually these men are infallible, but when they come together in Council as the Church, the Doctrine they preached is the Truth. Their Teachings were not based merely on traditional education, but on actual spiritual experience and guidance by the Holy Spirit. Therefore we hold dear what they taught both in written form as well as what we call the Oral Tradition. This Oral Tradition is important to the Orthodox Faith because we recognize that the Gospels were written decades after the Resurrection and so what the Apostles taught during the early days was conveyed verbally. Saint John the Evangelist says in the Gospel that Jesus did many other things which are not written. Therefore as Orthodox Christians we accept many other verbal Truths that were passed down by the Apostles.
All the beliefs and dogma of the Orthodox Faith can be traced back to the Apostles. The saints of the Church and spiritual theologians that followed never introduced new innovations. Rather, they merely helped frame the Teachings and broaden the understanding as they interpreted for the Faithful. Many times it was in the form of apologies against certain heresies which were espousing views contrary to the Apostles’ Teachings. The Orthodox Church holds sacred the Teachings of the Apostles, and anytime a controversy brewed which diverted from those Teachings, the Church came together in great councils to defend the Right Doctrine. Thus we believe we have maintained the Faith as taught by Jesus Christ.