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In the post-apostolic period, a synthesis emerged so that ἀπόστολος from that point on referred to the Twelve and Paul. No other person carried that designation. The authority exercised by the apostles was transferred to the bishops through a process of succession that developed in response to false teaching and disunity in the church. This apostolic succession protected the teaching of the church and clarified authority within the church. Simultaneously but more gradually, the canonization of the New Testament came to preserve the content of apostolic witness and teaching about Jesus, his death and resurrection, and the theological implications of his person and work for the church. Forged by Trinitarian and Christological controversies, the church catholic emerged with a bi-polar structure that vested authority in a monarchical bishopric succeeding the apostolate and a canonical text preserving the teaching of the apostles.
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The article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).