Joy,Of course a great controversy is precisely what we do see in Church history. From the earliest writing we see attacks on the notion that the apostles are the source of doctrine and that authority should come from priests. A good example is the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, where Mary presents pages of the actual teachings of Jesus while Andrew and Peter (representing the Catholic church) reject the real teachings because they only accept the things the savior said to them. This theme gets developed even further in Pistis Sophia again apostolic succession rather than revelation is attacked as being contrary to the instruction of Jesus.
Thanks for your comments. If you think that the Church immediately fell into the ‘error’ of apostolic succession, then how does your position avoid ecclesial deism? Do you posit the continual existence of an unknown remnant, preserved for 1500 years, that didn’t believe in apostolic succession, but simply preserved the apostles’ doctrine, and then finally handed it on to Luther? Why wasn’t there some great controversy or debate, as the ‘heretical’ practice of apostolic succession universally swept over the Church in the first and second centuries, and swallowed up the original notion that ecclesial leadership was based entirely on agreement with the Apostles’ doctrine? Or do you posit that there was such a great controversy, and that the winners later blotted out all records of it from Church history? Or did the Apostles so poorly transmit to the churches their instructions regarding the basis for Church authority, that nobody made a peep as the ‘heresy’ of apostolic succession swept over the entire Church, because no one even realized that it was wrong?
- Gospel of Mary Magdalene -- discussed above
- Pistis Sophia -- Peter's rejectionism is expanded to the whole doctrine of hyclic, psychic and pneumatic Christians.
- Dialogue of the Savior -- likely authored about 120 where the Jesus himself attacks the notion of spiritual authorities of any sort.
- Mark where the apostles are constantly denigrated as being essentially idiots. They reject the savior as he dies. There is no appointment of the apostles.
- Gospel of the Ebonites somewhere between 140-200 rejects the supposed apostolic church (pre-Catholic Church) as being the church founded by the apostles is falsifying their bible.
- The Gospel of Thomas rejects that there are a distinguished group of people called "apostles" everyone is a disciple.
- In the Book of John the Baptizer is essentially a counter to Luke/Acts which builds the case for the construction of the church as John -> Jesus -> Peter -> Paul -> Church.
- The Great Declaration of Simon Magus argues that just as thought and soul are invisible the true church equally invisible, the visible church, apostolic church, is corrupted like the body.
- The Apocryphon of John argues against those who claim you need to follow their rites to be saved.
- The Sayings of Jesus (Sufi) attacks the apostolic church as a financial scam designed to rip people off by selling them a false message of Jesus.