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Jesus Says a Church Doesn't Need a Bishop

Discussion in 'Ecclesiology' started by Dale, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. Dale

    Dale Senior Veteran Supporter

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    The Roman Catholic Church, and some others, teach that to have a local church, you have to have an altar consecrated by a Bishop. The Bishop, in turn, has to have the proper Apostolic Succession and be ordained as a Bishop. Another requirement for a full church service is a parish priest who was ordained by a Bishop, and has permission from the local Bishop to perform the service.

    These requirements are not in the Gospels or in the New Testament. What Jesus does say about Christians coming together is something completely different.


    [Jesus says, ] “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about
    anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in
    heaven.
    For where two or three come together in my name, there am
    I with them.
    "
    Matthew 18:19-20 NIV

    It is clear that "where two or three come together" should be taken as "where two or more come together."

    According to Jesus, a church doesn't have to have a Bishop, or a priest ordained by a Bishop. Jesus doesn't tell us that a church has to have an altar, or an altar that has been consecrated. The important thing is that when two or more Christians meet in the name of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is with them.
     
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  2. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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  3. Aussie Pete

    Aussie Pete Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes and no. A bishop is simply an elder. The hierarchy invented by RC and similar denominations is entirely unbiblical. The obsession with pastors in the evangelical/pentecostal denominations is also unbiblical. I am mystified as to how a pastor's wife automatically becomes a pastor in some circles. The gifts to the church are Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, and Pastors/Teachers. Elders govern the affairs of the church. They should be able to teach. The modern structure of the church bears only a passing resemblance to the biblical pattern.
     
  4. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    In the church that I am familiar with, when one is called, the other is too.
     
  5. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    The earliest churches had elders, both male and female and that was it. The gentiles couldn't shake the notion of the hierarchy of a worldly govt. so of course the whole shebang ended back up in the world of man eventually working alongside a similar government.
     
  6. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    The context of these verses is regarding a congregational judiciary judging an unsettled matter of sin between congregants. The gathering pertains to congregational judgment & punishment if and as determined necessary.
     
  7. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

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    Let's be clear. This thread title is not accurate. Jesus didn't say a church doesn't need a bishop. He didn't have much to say about church leadership at all. Not saying cannot be construed as having said.
     
  8. Dale

    Dale Senior Veteran Supporter

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    The passage in Hebrews talks about submitting to the elders of the church.
    The passage in Timothy talks about selecting bishops, elders and deacons.

    If you belong to a church that has elders, it probably is good to submit to them, particularly in matters of sexual morality. This passage doesn't say anything about elders being ordained by anyone outside the local church. The nondenominational church I attend has a custom of having elders available after the service to pray with anyone who has something they want to pray about. This is certainly consistent with consulting the elders of the church when you have difficult decisions to make.

    Timothy says that a Bishop should be the husband of one wife. That certainly isn't how the Roman Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox do it today. The RCC insists on celibate priests who are sometimes promoted to become Bishops. The EO selects its Bishops from the monasteries, so every Bishop was once a monk.

    Neither Hebrews nor Timothy says anything about a church having to have an altar.

    While Timothy lays down rules for selecting leaders of the church, there is nothing about these leaders being selected and ordained by an authority outside the local church.
     
  9. Dale

    Dale Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Jesus discusses the matter of a "sinning brother" in Matthew 18:15-17. He seems to wrap up that subject with verse 17 and then pass on to other subjects.
     
  10. disciple Clint

    disciple Clint Well-Known Member

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    Well except, Jesus did in fact have a hierarchy, he had disciples and he appointed 12 Apostles to one of those apostles he gave the keys, so apostolic succession was part of the original plan of Jesus.
    "As the royal son of David, Christ is the owner of the key of David, but this doesn’t mean he can’t give to Peter, as his “prime minister,” the keys to his heavenly kingdom.
    In the passage to which Revelation 3:7 alludes, Isaiah 22:20-23, Eliakim is made master of the palace, a post roughly equivalent to prime minister. As the king’s right-hand man, the master of the palace is given the “key of the House of David.”
    As the royal son of David, Christ is the owner of the key of David, but this doesn’t mean he can’t give to Peter, as his “prime minister,” the keys to his heavenly kingdom." Don’t Revelation 3:7 and Isaiah 22 point to Christ – not Peter – as having the keys of David?
     
  11. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In any case, it is as
    But what about Titus 1:5 where Paul tells Titus to "appoint elders in every city"?

    I see here that Titus was operating under the direction of Paul, and Titus was not acting as a local church member to appoint elders. But in cities, not only in local churches, Titus was told to appoint "elders". So, I see how God's church in each city was "the church" of that city, with the elders caring for the people of God in that city. They were unified under Titus, for a whole city.

    And since Titus was told by Paul what to do while ones were under the direction of Titus who appointed elders, I see how there was hierarchy of Paul directing Titus who had authority to appoint local elders . . . but, like I am considering, not only for local isolated independent churches, but whole unified cities. And nowhere do I find God's word to refer to "churches" in some city, but always "the church at". Only for Galatia do we see "churches" in Galatia which was a region of cities.

    In Titus 1:5-9, Paul says to ordain elders, then says "For a bishop must be". Paul says to ordain "elders" who are blameless, and then he talks about what qualifies "a bishop". He does not say "an elder". So, from this combination I consider Paul considers the elders to be bishops > senior mature examples > 1 Peter 5:3 > who have been selected to be overseers . . . pastors, who lead by example.

    In Acts, when Paul visits Ephesus, he does not call for pastors or bishops, but for the "elders" . . . since elders, I would say, are the pastors who as bishops oversee God's children. Plus, Peter in 1 Peter 5:1-3 writes to "elders" and says he is one, and he says for them to feed the sheep, which is what a pastor does.
     
  12. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    16 - 2 or more witnesses
    17 - the judicial decision by [2 or more in] the ekklesia judiciary
    18 - the backing in heaven of the decision
    19 - the ask from the minimum 2 in agreement in the judiciary for whatever they seek to be done from Heaven
    20 - 2 or more gathered in His name - He (the Lord, Righteous Judge, Judicial Advocate, etc.) is there in the process

    The Ekklesia Judiciary is a vitally important gathering and function.
     
  13. Dale

    Dale Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Jesus did make a significant comment on church leadership. Take a look at this passage.

    Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the
    rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials
    exercise authority over them.
    Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great
    among you must be your servant,
    and whoever wants to be first must be your slave —
    just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to
    serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
    Matthew 20: 25-28 NIV

    While Jesus doesn't use words like bishop, presbyter, elder or overseer, He is talking about the leaders of the church. He says that the leaders must be humble and that it is their place to serve the ordinary members of the church. Above all, the leaders are not there to "lord it over" others.

    Ministers, priests and bishops do wear a piece of cloth called the stole over their shoulders. The stole is supposed to refer to Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper. So the stole is supposed to indicate that the minister, priest or bishop is to be a servant. Despite this nod to servanthood, they don't always act like servants. Catholic bishops do act like lords of the church.

    While being a servant is partly an attitude, an attitude of service, it also indicates a relationship. If I had the money to hire a cook and a gardner, for instance, these would be servants. A crucial part of the relationship is that if I'm not satisfied with their performance, I can dismiss them. This is very different from a bishop who serves for life.
     
  14. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    This thread is very silly. To make Matthew 18-15:17 into some kind of 'anti-bishop' statement you need to completely ignore the context in which it is situated -- that is, concerning the forgiveness of an errant brother or the retention of his sin with regard to his continued communion with the local Church. This is why the last ditch effort before you cut him off and consider him as a tax collector is to take him before the Church. The same text you're attempting to use to make the opposite point says that bringing him before two or more is not the last step in deciding what to do with such a person, so how can this "two or more gathered in My name" sentiment be used in this fashion? Rather, looked at in context (and I mean immediate context, as in the two verses are side by side), "two or more gathered in My name" has to do with affirming the decision made at the local church/congregation level (i.e., not involving the bishop) to either forgive or retain his sin, which is to this day the province of the priest who oversees the congregation, not the bishop! Obviously your priest will know you and the other members of his congregation better than the bishop would. In the four years I lived there, I met HG Bishop Youssef of the Southern United States diocese I think three or four times, but saw my own priest whenever we had liturgy (usually twice a month). It would be considered incredibly improper to 'go above' my own priest and attempt to confess directly to the bishop (and furthermore, it would not be granted).

    Even going beyond that section, the chapter continues with more questions about forgiveness (verse 21 and following), so it would be kinda weird thematically for the bit before and after the highlighted verses to be about forgiveness and how and when to do it, but those three specific verses to be about the structure of the Church. That's the magic of proof-texting, I guess. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  15. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Offhand, it looks like the topic here was meant to be "Is God with even two or three people who have gathered in his name?"

    In other words, it is not about having a congregation, ekklesia, assembly, etc. in which much else that Jesus taught and the New Testament expounds on can take place. That despite all the commentary here concerning altars, bishops, Roman Catholics, etc.

    That's right.

    No. That's a statement that reassures us of God's abiding presence in our lives. That's all. It says nothing about the church he founded (and said that he founded), how it would function, or anything else about its importance to us.
     
  16. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    And you'll notice how that tradition carried on in the Church once the gentiles achieved majority rule.
     
  17. Aussie Pete

    Aussie Pete Well-Known Member Supporter

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    By whom? It's certainly not biblical.
     
  18. Dale

    Dale Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Comfy: "I see here that Titus was operating under the direction of Paul, and Titus was not acting as a local church member to appoint elders."

    That is the way it was done at the beginning, when the goal was to establish functioning churches. Do we know that there was any plan for this to continue?

    Comfy: "And nowhere do I find God's word to refer to "churches" in some city, but always "the church at"."

    In New Testament times there weren't enough Christians in one place for there to be two churches in a town.
     
  19. Dale

    Dale Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Disciple Clint, hello, since I don't believe that we have met before.
    You bring up some complicated issues. I didn't start this thread to talk about the position of Peter.
    You mention Revelation 3:7 and some history in Isaiah 22. In Revelation 3:7, it is Jesus Christ who has the keys to the Kingdom.

    Eliakim in Isaiah 22 is just a bit of Old Testament history. I don't believe that Master of the Palace is equivalent to a Prime Minister.

    I believe that the Eastern Orthodox quote the following passage as evidence that Jesus gave authority to all the Apostles, and not just to Peter. This is obvious from several other passages as well.

    After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The
    disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
    Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent
    me, I am sending you.”
    And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the
    Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not
    forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
    John 20: 20-23 NIV

    Paul recognizes James, Peter and John as pillars of the church but gives no primacy to Peter. He mentions James before Peter.

    James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the
    right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace
    given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles,
    and they to the Jews.
    Galatians 1:9 NIV
     
  20. disciple Clint

    disciple Clint Well-Known Member

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    I do not desire to take your thread into a debate regarding the organization of the Catholic Church or the authority of the Pope but simply to point out that from the beginning of the Church there has been a hierarchy. I would suggest that if there were not an orderly organization the Church would have fragmented long before the Reformation. This would not have served the growth of Christianity. Hello to you as well and Blessings.
     
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