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Resources on or your views about church government, especially the episcopate

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Hey, dudes.

Two friends of mine, who are a couple, are in the process of trying to find a church to attend together for the foreseeable future. This has resulted in weeks and months of "church-hopping" between protestant parishes of varying denominations.

The male of the couple is a big lefty with inane, social-gospel leanings and his theology generally makes me want to puke uninterruptedly (I confess I think he is only going through the motions of the whole Christianity thing to please the girl). The female is solidly protestant, but at least has a half-decent grasp of traditional Christian theology, even if she wouldn't use the word "traditional" to describe her understanding of scripture.

They are currently tossing up between a Baptist church of some description and an Anglican parish. The male leans towards the Baptist church because he prefers their model of church government (alarm bells ringing?) and doesn't like the Anglican archbishop of Sydney, who I can only assume is too "conservative" for his tastes (you know, being against homosexual marriage, abortion and all that jazz).

Anywho, I was much annoyed by his views on the necessity of the episcopate, which were sickeningly modern, secular and western in tone, as well as completely unscriptural.

I would be grateful, as always, for any help you can give me in respect of proving the necessity of the episcopate and the scriptural basis for traditional church government. A scriptural focus would be most helpful, though any relevant history would not be unappreciated. I'm looking for both your own views on the subject and links to any handy resources.
 

Punch

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Personally, I probably do not share the same views of church government than most on this list due to my Lutheran background.  I had the opportunity to discuss the current push for "unity" with two different priests from two different jurisdictions this week, and I found that while my views may be more severe than some, we did reach some agreement.  I think that our current system is highly perverted and is more of a man made system inhereted from the Roman Empire than anything particularly Godly.  I believe in Bishops, but the "Bishop of Chicago" or the "Biship of Wichita" are not, in my heart, my Bishop.  I am 500 miles away from Chicago and I have never been to Wichita.  I believe that there are Churches that are part of the Body of Christ because they are of the same Faith and in communion with each other.  As far as "administrative unity" and Synods and "jurisdictions", they have nothing to do with the spirit and everything to do with who gets the offerings.  I pretty much see our Priests as fulfilling the role held by the Bishops of old, and our Bishops being primarily political with little impact on the day to day spiritual life of those "outlanders" that are out of their city of residence.  Some, of course, are better than others.  And I think all of them serve a very good purpose withing their own Cathedrals. But I am sorry to say, and of course am probably wrong to say, that I do not see much value to our current system for those of us hundreds of miles away from our Bishops.
 
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Thanks for your thoughts, Punch.

My bishop's title is not "archbishop of Sydney and all Australia", but "archbishop of Australia". I share your disquiet about these sorts of arrangements. Who could they possibly be good for? It is certainly not how things were done in the ancient world.

Noting your criticisms of the current system, could you say something about why you "believe in bishops"? Is sharing the same faith "enough"?
 

Hiwot

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Selam Akimori,

I realy do not know if this would help you or not, I guess quoting St. Ignatius of Antioch is out of the question? Because he spoke strongly on the authority of the Bishop. Either way you are going to have a translation problem, but the great thing is you know your Greek so  you will take care of that business  8)
so untill those who are more capable of dealing with your question show up , i thought i will give few verses from the scriptures that I thought speak of the governance of the bishops..

Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”


Hebrew 13:7 “Remember your leaders, men who spoke to you the word of God, and considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith.”


Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”



John 21 :15-17 "15So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me more than these? He said unto him, Yea, Lord; you know that I love you. He said unto him, Feed my lambs.

16He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me? He said unto him, Yea, Lord; you know that I love you. He said unto him, Feed my sheep.

17He said unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Do you love me? And he said unto him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep.



1 Timothy 3: 1-7  1This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4One that rules well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.


Philippians 1:1 “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons”


Titus 1: 5-9 “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers”


well hope these help for now, however you might want to look at St. Ignatius of Antioch , he is an apostolic father who realy spoke extensively about ecclesiology and the Dignity of the office of the Bishop.

Good luck  :angel:
 

JamesRottnek

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Akimori, I trust that if there is anyone in Australia who is capable to convincing this man, it is you.  That said, he sounds like someone who, despite having ears, has no desire to hear.
 

katherineofdixie

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Punch said:
Personally, I probably do not share the same views of church government than most on this list due to my Lutheran background.  I had the opportunity to discuss the current push for "unity" with two different priests from two different jurisdictions this week, and I found that while my views may be more severe than some, we did reach some agreement.  I think that our current system is highly perverted and is more of a man made system inhereted from the Roman Empire than anything particularly Godly.  I believe in Bishops, but the "Bishop of Chicago" or the "Biship of Wichita" are not, in my heart, my Bishop.  I am 500 miles away from Chicago and I have never been to Wichita.  I believe that there are Churches that are part of the Body of Christ because they are of the same Faith and in communion with each other.  As far as "administrative unity" and Synods and "jurisdictions", they have nothing to do with the spirit and everything to do with who gets the offerings.  I pretty much see our Priests as fulfilling the role held by the Bishops of old, and our Bishops being primarily political with little impact on the day to day spiritual life of those "outlanders" that are out of their city of residence.  Some, of course, are better than others.  And I think all of them serve a very good purpose withing their own Cathedrals. But I am sorry to say, and of course am probably wrong to say, that I do not see much value to our current system for those of us hundreds of miles away from our Bishops.
I disagree, but that may be because I have a more positive experience of Bishops. Two bishops that I have known in particular, His Eminence Archbishop Dmitri, of blessed memory, and His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios were and are true spiritual fathers and exemplary shepherds to their widespread blocks. Both travelled extensively to keep in contact with the Faithful. Both were and are approachable and charismatic, radiating the love of Christ and others.
And administrative unity means far more than who gets the offerings.
(As a former Lutheran myself, I am puzzled by your attributing your dislike for episcopate to your Lutheran background. I also knew several Lutheran bishps fairly well, and they, while perhaps less of a father figure, were exemplary Christian leaders.)
 

Punch

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You must have been a different kind of Lutheran from me.  The LCMS and WELS do not have Bishops.

katherineofdixie said:
Punch said:
Personally, I probably do not share the same views of church government than most on this list due to my Lutheran background.  I had the opportunity to discuss the current push for "unity" with two different priests from two different jurisdictions this week, and I found that while my views may be more severe than some, we did reach some agreement.  I think that our current system is highly perverted and is more of a man made system inhereted from the Roman Empire than anything particularly Godly.  I believe in Bishops, but the "Bishop of Chicago" or the "Biship of Wichita" are not, in my heart, my Bishop.  I am 500 miles away from Chicago and I have never been to Wichita.  I believe that there are Churches that are part of the Body of Christ because they are of the same Faith and in communion with each other.  As far as "administrative unity" and Synods and "jurisdictions", they have nothing to do with the spirit and everything to do with who gets the offerings.  I pretty much see our Priests as fulfilling the role held by the Bishops of old, and our Bishops being primarily political with little impact on the day to day spiritual life of those "outlanders" that are out of their city of residence.  Some, of course, are better than others.  And I think all of them serve a very good purpose withing their own Cathedrals. But I am sorry to say, and of course am probably wrong to say, that I do not see much value to our current system for those of us hundreds of miles away from our Bishops.
I disagree, but that may be because I have a more positive experience of Bishops. Two bishops that I have known in particular, His Eminence Archbishop Dmitri, of blessed memory, and His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios were and are true spiritual fathers and exemplary shepherds to their widespread blocks. Both travelled extensively to keep in contact with the Faithful. Both were and are approachable and charismatic, radiating the love of Christ and others.
And administrative unity means far more than who gets the offerings.
(As a former Lutheran myself, I am puzzled by your attributing your dislike for episcopate to your Lutheran background. I also knew several Lutheran bishps fairly well, and they, while perhaps less of a father figure, were exemplary Christian leaders.)
 

primuspilus

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Although I personally believe in the apostolic sucession in Orthodoxy, I think that reading the epistles and Acts, there can be no dispute that there was some manner of authority in the early church no matter what your denomination.

All of the Apostles that wrote the epistles shared many characterists, including speaking to their flock with authority. None of the epistle writers gave suggestions or recommendations, but commands with love.

PP
 

Punch

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akimori makoto said:
Thanks for your thoughts, Punch.

My bishop's title is not "archbishop of Sydney and all Australia", but "archbishop of Australia". I share your disquiet about these sorts of arrangements. Who could they possibly be good for? It is certainly not how things were done in the ancient world.

Noting your criticisms of the current system, could you say something about why you "believe in bishops"? Is sharing the same faith "enough"?
I believe in Bishops because they are appointed to lead their flocks in the Bible.  And I also believe that sharing the same Faith is enough.  I do not see the idea of "national Churches" and Patriarchates as a Biblical institution, but a political one.  This does not mean that it is wrong, but it certainly explains why it is far from perfect.  I would rather see Bishops connected by love and not procedure.
 
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