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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
27- Church Authority in Teaching and Legislation
This authority was given to the Apostolic Fathers by the Lord Himself when He said to them: "... whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matt.18: 18). The Church commenced this duty of hers by holding the first Church Council in Jerusalem in 45 A.D. The Council discussed the acceptance of faith by the Gentiles, and the Apostles decided not to make it difficult for them, saying: "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality" (Acts 15: 28.29).
Therefore, holy councils, local and ecumenical, were held consecutively through the authority of teaching, legislating and canonising which the Lord endowed upon priesthood. These councils have laid down teachings, decisions and disciplines for the Church which have been included in Church Tradition.
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