This is one of the most hotly debated issues in contemporary ecumenical theology.
Usually, this debate is centered around the question of whether or not a bishop has "valid orders", derived in a continuous line that can be traced back to the Apostles.
We believe that few subjects have greater significance for our current ecumenical dilemma.
The New Testament Starting Point
For centuries theologians have used Matthew 16:13-19 as the starting point for discussion of the apostolic foundation of the Christian Church.
Roman Catholics theologians have used this passage to assert primacy for the bishop of Rome, as the successor to St. Peter.
The truth is there are other crucial passages of scripture that must also be considered. For example, John 20:21-23, records an assembly of the Apostles after Christ's resurrection. Jesus appears to them and says, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive sins of any, they are forgiven them: if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
This commission or succession, is charismatic in the fullest. It was imparted to all of the Apostles and there successors. Therefore making Apostles the foundation of the Church. St. Paul explains this in his epistle to the Ephesians 2:20. Also, we view Revelation 21:14 to substantiate this foundation.
The Church today must have a union with Christ, her visible continuity with His Apostles(Bishops) in faith and life.