Having spent a couple of decades reading the works of the contemporaries and immediate successors to the apostles, I find myself in direct contradiction to catholic tradition on the central act of Christian worship, the Eucharist.
All churches of the catholic tradition, Orthodox, Lutheran, Roman, Anglican, Presbyterian, and others, either strongly support or absolutely require the presence of a presbyter or bishop to celebrate a “valid” communion. There is absolutely not a shred of theological support for that position. To their credit, I must say that Anglican/Episcopal priests I’ve told of my own celebration of communion with my family and others on camping trips and other times when a priest was not present don’t scold me…they just sort of shut down. Pretty sure they are in something of a “do loop” of what they were taught in seminary and what they know of the early church.
The earliest Christian communities had no presbyters, priests, deacons, or bishops. Yet it is clear they celebrated the Eucharist regularly abiding by Christ’s example usually with the head of the household or other community leader officiating. If they were in error, they were in good company as Jesus himself made no suggestion whatsoever in the first communion that it was restricted in any way. The earliest writings we have that reflect Christ’s and apostolic teaching and policy are in the Didache, which likely predates a few of the books of the bible itself. The Didache is a compilation by a number of writers of teachings they heard directly from the apostles. The Didache link is actually to a Roman Catholic denomination site…and the Didache is clearly in conflict with Roman dogma (also Orthodox and a number of other denominations) which not only restricts “valid” communion to priests but allows humans to judge others hearts and refuse the host to those they believe not in line with dogma. Recommended reading if you are not familiar with it and would like some insight into the Christian practices of those converted by the apostles within living memory of Christ. Much as the church councils over the centuries have defined the earthly institution of the church, they have also crafted many theologically unsupportable tenets to further the aims of those in ecclesiastical authority. Humans, donchaknow. Put your faith on a higher plane.
I’ve not made any attempt to prove the above, as that was not my intent. Those who do not study the early church and apostolic era have only what their clergy tells them to go on. If you are satisfied with that, fine. I was not and am not. My faith is not in an earthly institution or it’s representatives. I wish all Christians would read the Didache, Clement of Rome, Eusebius of Palmyra, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, and the others. By the way, Paul was one of the earliest writers of the early Christian era as he never met Jesus in the flesh.
Think about it, and don’t limit yourself to the diet prescribed by your denomination. Our God has endowed us with a mind created in His own image to reach our own conclusions. Use it.