There are twin criteria for a later society being the same as an earlier society—continuity of organization and continuity of aim. The early Church was formed around the 12 apostles, and its aims centrally included proclamation of the teaching of Jesus. So to be the same society as that church, a later society has to have an organization developed from that of the early Church and teaching that drew out the implications of the original revelation. Drawing out implications means more than ‘deducing’ some doctrine from the Bible; it involves interpreting the Bible in the light of doctrines and passages regarded in the Church's history as central to its message.
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