As the early Church continued to grow into entire geographic areas, it ordained the next level of captains, Bishops. Not all agree, however, that there are Bishops as distinguished from Presbyters in the New Testament. Many studies have been done regarding the use of the words presbuteros and episcopos. Some, even Episcopalian ones, have generally conceded that the words are always used interchangeably. It is my contention that sometimes these words are, but at other times they are not. Even if they are, the role of Bishop is conceptually found throughout the New Testament. I believe, however, that the various words themselves will confirm a Jethro model of Church hierarchy. Indeed, the premise of this entire book has been that the Melchizedekkal priesthood imprints itself on Moses and Christ. Melchizedek ordained Jethro who advised Moses, the organizational structure being found in Exodus (Chapter 18) and Deuteronomy (Chapter 1). This priesthood is fulfilled in Christ and pulled through to the Church, for Christ is of the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7). When Peter called the Church a priesthood (I Peter 2:9), therefore, he was referring to the Melchizedekkal order. This being the case, the captains and courts system of Jethro applies to the Church, meaning there is a representative yet hierarchical arrangement of Church officers: Deacon, Presbyter, and Bishops. As we examine closely the New Testament we find a hierarchical arrangement, including Bishops, I begin with the fact of the existence of Bishops before proceeding to their function and qualifications. Bishops in the New Testament Timothy and Titus Argument First, apart from the Melchizedekkal priesthood’s structure itself, undoubtedly the strongest argument for Bishops is the fact that the Apostle Paul at the end of his ministry tells individuals, Timothy and Titus, to appoint Presbyters (Titus 6). Why doesn’t he give this directive to the Presbytery? Instead, he uses Jethro-type language to describe their function. He says, “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality (I Timothy 5:21). With this solemn charge, the Apostle sounds a note quite similar to the – page 78 – Captains and Courts Melchizedekkal-Jethro advice to Moses, Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, “Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s” (Deuteronomy 1:16-17). According to this, the Apostle Paul gives almost identical instructions to Timothy, making him a captain over Presbyters since he as an individual is given specific authority to oversee the overseers. Timothy and Titus were not functioning like regular Presbyters. More importantly, this would have been the perfect opportunity at the end of Paul’s ministry for him to call in a Presbytery (synod) if the Presbyterian system had been the government of the early Church. But he didn’t. It was not as though the Presbytery was not fresh on his mind, for he mentions it in reference to Timothy’s reception of a spiritual gift (I Timothy 4:15). And there were plenty of geographic courts such as Presbyteries or Synods around that part of the world. Why not send a commission, if the Presbyteries were too far away, as is customarily done in the Presbyterian world? Instead, when Paul decides to leave his final legacy, he addresses individuals, Timothy and Titus, to perform what has been historically been called Episcopal functions, ordaining Presbyters and even exercising discipline (I Timothy 5:20). He speaks to them as having authority over other Presbyters, implying that they were the successors to an Ecclesiastical hierarchy. Whatever interpretation is placed on the use of individual words for Elder in the Pastorals, the simple fact that these letters give Episcopal authority to individuals should be seen as the larger context of interpreting whether episcopos refers to Bishop or Presbyter. It should be concluded, therefore, that the Pastoral Epistles (I & I1 Timothy, Titus) are actually manuals on the Episcopacy, forming one of the strongest arguments for pastoral hierarchy. James Argument Second, the role of James at the Jerusalem Council is the next most powerful argument in favor of Episcopal hierarchy. He functions as a Bishop figure at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) and in the Jerusalem Church thereafter. He is not an Apostle in the true sense of the Apostolic test; he is only a secondary Apostle. He is a Presbyter/Bishop. His function is clearly – page 79 – Bishops Episcopal because he is not simply a moderator of one meeting but he functions as the captain of the Jerusalem Church. Notice that the text describes Paul’s later visit to Jerusalem, “And he [Paul] went into James and the all elders were present” (Acts 21:8). Luke calls attention to the fact that Paul went to see James, meaning he was in charge. He doesn’t say that Paul went to the Presbytery. Rather he distinguishes James from the others, which has to mean more than that he was simply the moderator. If James were only a moderator, why would special attention need to be called to him, unless he actually did hold a unique position as distinct from the other Presbyters? Mentioning him would have been otherwise unnecessary. On the other hand, however, neither were the other Presbyters irrelevant. The text also says, “the other elders were present,” implying that James exercised oversight over the other elders but not to their exclusion. Thus, James was a standing, perpetual, pastor to other pastors. Episcopal Messenger Argument Three, by the end of the New Testament, city-churches have one Presbyter who functions as the Pastor over the other Presbyters, a Bishop. In the Book of Revelation, we read of letters that were sent to the “angel,” literally messenger, of each Church (Revelation 2:1ff.) . Who was this “angel” or “messenger”? Was he a human or a heavenly being? The ancient Church, and some Reformational scholars such as Beza, for the most part understood this person to be a human, specifically a Bishop of the Church.18 The modern tendency of interpretation has been to reject this interpretation, although some formidable scholars such as Billerbeck have supported the Ancient position, “reviving an early conjecture that ‘angel of the church’ is a precise translatio the Hebrew phrase n of shaliach zibbor = one authorized by the congregation.”19 The Ancients, however, generally defended the Bishop view on the basis of the Biblical use of “stars” and “messengers” to symbolize people, particularly Ecclesiastical officers. Daniel was told regarding a time when the leaders of the people of God would be, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). And Malachi says, “For 18 Henry Alford, Alford’s Greek Testament, Vol. IV, Part II (Grand Rapids: Guardian Press, [I874] 1976), p.560. 19 G. R. Beasley-Murray, The New Century Bible Commentary: Revelation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1974] 1981), p.69. – page 80 – Captains and Courts the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. . . . Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight” (Malachi 1:7; 3:1). These passages support the Bishop interpretation because they indicate a redemptive historical progression from the role of angels to humans in the Bible. In other words, Old Testament Scripture says that literal angels do have a role in leading the people of God and delivering messages (Exodus 23:20), but it also indicates that a time would come when man would take a more prominent role in leadership and specifically the angelic conflict. This is a progression from angel to man in the Bible, indicated in Malachi where the messenger becomes the ultimate messenger, Jesus Christ, who is not an angel at all but a man. So, in the New Testament, man is brought into the angelic conflict with the coming of Christ. Up to the Gospels there is not one single record of an exorcism, demons being cast out of men. Suddenly in the Gospels, however, men oppose demons. Indeed, the Apostle Paul tells the Ephesians that the war is not against flesh and blood but against angels, telling them therefore to put on their armor and implying that they (humans) are to engage angels. The Old Testament background portrays angels as representing human leaders and speaks of a day when the “stars” will be humans (Daniel 12:3). That day came when Christ called the disciples, “lights of the world” (Matthew 5:14) and the Apostle Paul described the Christians at Philippi as “stars” (Philippians 2:15; see the original Greek). Thus, it is not out of the question that the letters to the seven churches would be sent to the “angel” as a symbol for the human leader, the Bishop, especially in view of the immediate context. The ancients held the Bishop view because of the symbolism of the immediate context in Revelation, where we are given a key to the correct interpretation. John records, “The seven stars are the angels, of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. To the angel of the church of Ephesus write” (Revelation 1:20-2:1). Notice the relationship between the seven stars and seven angels, confirming the Old Testament background that referred to a day when the “stars” would be “leaders” in the Church. But more importantly, we are told that the “lampstand” symbolizes churches, actual realities in the physical world. Given the symbolism it is Biblically logical to conclude that if the lampstands are churches then the lights of those lampstands, the stars or angels, are the leaders of the churches. So, the “angel” is actually some kind of authority in the Church, a pastoral captain in the Biblical hierarchy who functions as a pastor to pastors, the Bishop. This – page 81 – Bishops is consistent, as we would expect, with the earlier interpretation of the Pastoral Epistles. In all likelihood, Revelation was the last book of the New Testament to be written.20 And as I said, it indicates a redemptive historical development. But another redemptive development could also be in view. Perhaps the office of Bishop did develop later in the New Testament, explaining why the words presbuteros and episcopos are use interchangeably in some places in Scripture. The Ancient interpretation of the “angels” of the churches in Revelation would prove a later development. Perhaps not, however, for maybe the recipients of the letters prove that some sort of Episcopal office existed from the beginning of the Church. At least we can conclude that even if Revelation was the last book then the function of Bishop was already in existence fairly early. It is certain, however, that by the end of Scripture the office of Bishop, or what came to be called Bishop, had developed. Historical Argument Finally, the historic case for the Episcopacy should not be taken lightly. From the earliest Church Fathers (Ignatius, Polycarp, and Irenaeus), going back to the First Century (Ignatius), we read of an Episcopal structure: Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons. In the Western and Eastern Churches this polity was virtually uncontested until the Reformation. I know of no other practice in the church that can be so historically and universally proven for the first fifteen hundred years of the Church’s existence, which by the way represents a consensus of interpretation of Holy Scripture. If for no other reason apart from Scripture itself, the Episcopacy ought to be seriously considered. John Knox, the Sixteenth Century Scottish Reformer, altered the structure. He did so by adopting a monastic model21 which substituted an academic and pietistic standard of hierarchy and which still haunts Presbyterianism to this day. But one noted Presbyterian scholar, Geddes MacGregor, argues that even John Knox was not opposed to Episcopacy in principle, since he acquiesced to the Church of Scotland’s appointment of an 20 Kenneth L. Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating of Revelation (Tyler: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989). 21 The Parish and the Parish Church – page 82 – Captains and Courts Archbishop of Aberdeen.22 In support of this view, he quotes from the First Book of Discipline in the Church of Scotland, We consider that if the ministers whom God hath endowed with his singular graces amongst us, should be appointed to several1 places there to make their continuall residence, that then the greatest part of the realme should be destitute of all doctrine; which should not onely be the occasion of the great murmur, but also be dangerous to the salvation of many. And therefore we have thought it a thing most expedient at this time, that from the whole number of godly and learned men, now presently in this realme, be selected ten or twelve (for in so many provinces we have divided the whole), to whom charge and commandment should be given to plant and erect kirkes [churches], to set, order, and appoint ministers . . . . And therefore nothing we desire more earnestly, than that Christ Jesus be universally once preached throughout this realme, which shall not suddenly be, unlesse that by you men be appointed and compelled, faithfully to travel1 in such provinces as to them shall be assigned.23 MacGregor makes the simple observation that the Reformational Scottish Church thereby called for a division of Scotland into Bishoprics and requested that the ministers in charge of these areas be essentially given Episcopal authority. In addition, Andrew Melville, virtually Knox’s replacement as a leader of the Scottish Church said, “The office of bishop, as it is now used and commonly taken within this realm, hath no sure warrant, authority, or good ground out of the Book and the Scriptures of God.”24 Geddes hastens to add, “Even this, however, is a condemnation of a particular system rather than of the principle of episcopal government itself.”25 MacGregor further states that Calvin was certainly not opposed to Episcopacy, having argued with some ambiguity in his seminal writings for the revival of Jerome’s pastoral model of 22 Geddes MacGregor, Corpus Christi (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1958), p.200. 23 Ibid., pp. 199-200. Brackets mine. 24 Ibid., pp. 200-201. Emphasis mine. 25 Ibid., p. 201. Emphasis mine. – page 83 – Bishops the Episcopacy,26 where the Bishop is viewed as a pastor to pastors or “First among equals” (Primus inter pares). Thus, Macgregor points out that the historic situation and not Scripture brought about the rejection of Episcopacy in Scotland and Geneva. In both cases, he says that the Bishops prior to the Reformation simply abandoned their sees, many times not being replaced at all, or if they were, the monarchs seized the opportunity to fill the vacancies with nobility and not clergy. He is forced to conclude that historic Presbyterianism is not opposed to Episcopacy, quoting G.D. Henderson, Master of Christ’s College, Aberdeen, and ex-Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, “Episcopacy has unquestionable Bible warrant and no Presbyterian ever denied this.”27 Thus, the historic argument should not be underestimated, especially since the view of the Episcopacy that Calvin and the Reformers (even of Scotland) wanted has been revived in Evangelical Anglicanism, particularly the Reformed Episcopal Church of England, Canada, and America, the latter of which is now over a century old. What is this view of the Episcopacy that has historic roots in Scripture and the Church Fathers and yet one that would have been accepted by the Reformers had the historic situation been different? Having established the fact that there are Bishops in the New Testament, let us consider their function to discover this most ancient view of the Episcopacy. The Chief Pastor The Biblical model of the Bishop is that he is chief pastor under Christ. This pastoral model is Scripturally established as we look at two of the first Bishops in the Church, Timothy and Titus. From Paul’s requirements of them, they were directed to be and do more than a Deacon or Presbyter. They were called to a pastoral role to pastors. Even the lists of qualifications given to them, so that they would not lay hands on the wrong people, point to a distinction between qualifications for Presbyters and Bishops. For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint Presbyters in every city as I commanded you — 26 Ibid., pp. 203-204. See also Calvin’s Institutes, Book IV, Chapter IV. 27 G.D. Henderson, The Claims of the Church of Scotland (London, 1951), p.81, cited in Geddes MacGregor, Corpus Christi, p.197. – page 84 – Captains and Courts if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a Bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not selfwilled, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict (Titus 1:5-9). The Apostle Paul distinguishes between Presbyters and Bishops in the Pastoral Epistles, even though these words can sometimes be interchanged (Acts 20). Context obviously dictates and should not exclude the possibility that the words may be used to refer to different offices. For example, Paul tells Titus to appoint Presbyters (Greek is Presbuteroi) who are blameless, the Greek word is anenkletos (Titus 1:6). Then he says, “For a bishop [Episkopos] must be blameless” (Titus 1:7). Unless Paul is distinguishing somehow between a Presbyter and a Bishop, he commits what is called a tautology. He says, “Appoint elders who are blameless because an elder must be blameless”. It doesn’t make sense with “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” kind of argument. But, if Paul is instructing Titus as a Bishop, he is saying appoint Elders, who are pure, because a Bishop himself is supposed to be pure. The Apostle, in other words, wants to reproduce Godliness in the leadership of the Church. The standard in this case would be the Bishop, as we would expect. He himself is supposed to be blameless to appoint blameless leaders under him. Thus, the similarity of qualification actually supports the notion of two different offices. Notice, however, that the lists of qualifications for Elder and Bishop are quite similar, the Bishop’s list being much more extensive but essentially covering the same threefold ministry of Christ that we considered in the last chapter on the Presbyter. This explains why the Bishop is a Presbyter/Bishop, a Presbyter with special consecration and not separate ordination, as indicated in the historic prayer book of the Episcopal Church, the Book of Common Prayer. He is not separate from the other Elders and in a certain sense is accountable to them, preventing an autonomous Episcopacy. Historically, there have been two models for the Episcopacy: The pastoral or Biblical model as opposed to the Princely or secular model. In the early Church, Bishops were pastors to pastors, being charged with the responsibilities outlined in the Pastoral Epistles. As the Roman Empire collapsed, however, the Bishop was forced to take a more magisterial role, often having – page 85 – Bishops to fill two roles: Prince and Bishop. Eventually, a magisterial standard dominated the pastoral until the Bishop eventually / became simply an extension of the State, what has been called a prelate. The Biblical view of the Bishop, however, is pastoral and not magisterial. He is the chief pastor not the chief prince. This pastoral role of the Bishop becomes even more clear as we consider how the Bishop lives out the threefold ministry of Christ. Threefold Ministry of the Bishop Christ is the Good Shepherd who calls His ministers to be shepherds. He desires for His shepherding ministry to be conveyed through theirs. As such, what He did in His ministry is reflected in the continuing ministry of the Church. Since He was prophet, priest, and king, each office of the Church echoes His threefold ministry. This is especially true of the office of Bishop, the Chief Pastor of the Church. What Timothy and Titus are told to do, being two of the first Bishops, serves as an excellent model of the continuing threefold ministry of Christ. As I have already mentioned, many times students of Church government approach the Pastoral Epistles with a frame of mind to prove from the list of qualifications alone how many offices there are. In so doing, they miss the obvious, which is that they fail to take note of the ramifications of the imperatives given to Timothy and Titus, commands that place them as individuals in a role of authority over Presbyters and Deacons. So, not only do they fail to see the office of Bishop, but they do not recognize how the imperatives of the Pastorals mirror the threefold ministry of Christ in the Episcopacy. First, the prophetic aspect of the office of Bishop: Since the prophet was a designated witness, Timothy and Titus are commanded to serve as an evangelical model to the Church. They are told by Paul to bear witness, doing the work of an evangelist (II Timothy 1:8; 4:5). From this we see that the Bishop’s prophetic role is evangelical. He is to lead the Church in its expansion, being the embodiment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). This explains why historically the evangelical expansion of the Church has been most successful in terms of an Episcopal model. After all, Christ promised His special presence with the disciples as they carried out His Great Commission, meaning the Lord is especially present with the Bishop-led evangelical expansion: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the ends of the earth” (Matthew 28 : 20). From a practical point of view, a hierarchical approach to expansion means the Church can grow in terms of a spiritual military campaign, not having to go through endless committees to – page 86 – Captains and Courts make key evangelistic decisions. Instead, the Bishop, like the prophet of old, could go into uncharted regions and take the Gospel. This explains why many times in the early Church, the Bishops were the first into new areas. For one, the Church believed that Christ’s Great Commission presence was with the Bishop. For another reason, evangelical success required Church functions that only a Bishop was supposed to perform. Timothy and Titus are given the authority to ordain (I Timothy 5:12), a prophetic function since the prophet ordained priest and king in the Old Testament. Thus, it is a tremendous advantage to have the Bishop where the evangelism is taking place, because he is able to respond on the field to the expansion of the Church. Second, the priestly aspect of the Bishop: The office of priest in the Bible is essentially feeding and guarding, as was noted in earlier chapters. Timothy and Titus are given several priestly responsibilities (in the Melchizedekkal sense). They are told to teach and uphold the doctrine of the Church (I Timothy 6:3; II Timothy 4:2). They are to feed the word but they are to be the guardians of the historic teachings of the Church, explaining why they are told to avoid “old wives’ fables” (I Timothy 4:7). They were also to guard the integrity of the Church, being told to protect the purity (II Timothy 2:14,16,19,22). The Bishop as such is supposed to be the master theologian of the Church. He was not to be an innovator; rather, he was to uphold and defend the Faith once given. For centuries the Church did not normally separate the theological office (Doctor) from the Episcopal office. The Bishop was the best theological mind of the church because he was not only supposed to be the best teacher but the best defender of the system. When the academic was separated from the Episcopal, however, it was not long before the academic was altogether severed from the Ecclesiastical, the Church, and knowledge was secularized. The Episcopal office, therefore, is vitally necessary to restore the integration of all knowledge into theology so that once again theology is the queen of the sciences. The Bishop is also supposed to guard the morality of the Church. He himself must be pure and he must uphold the purity of the others, especially the clergy. He represents Christ and His people. Not to maintain righteousness reflects badly on both. Third, the kingly aspect of the Bishop: The kingly office is pastoral. The king was to lead like a shepherd with wisdom, functioning as a symbol of unity. He was not located in any one local area; he was given authority over the whole realm. As such he could hear disputes and pass judgment. Timothy and Titus play a unifying role for the Apostle Paul. They are told to greet – page 87 – Bishops various people around the Church (II Timothy 4:19-20; Titus 3:15), facilitating good will and communication. The Bishop serves a similar role. He is a symbol of the church-atlarge because he has authority over more than one church. As such, he is able to move among the churches and speak on behalf of the entire church with authority. He is not a committee, in other words. He can function to unite the Church, communicating and drawing together the work going on throughout the Church. Timothy and Titus were also given the authority to carry out discipline (I Timothy 5:19-20), a kingly function. The king was to hear cases appealed to him from the lower captains, because he served as the presiding officer of the highest court. In some instances, he would have to apply discipline to the community by punitive measures. The Bishop in a similar manner serves as a person of appeal. The advantage he has over other systems is that he can respond in a pastoral way to help the local Presbyter. He is a Bishop, so he has authority to act on behalf of the larger body while at the same time being accountable to the Synod. He has his own council of advice usually called a Standing Committee, consisting of clergy and laity who can be called for input. Nevertheless, he can provide “outside” counsel, an objective plurality of rule. He can be removed yet personally involved if necessary, a great advantage that only the Episcopal structure can provide. He counsels Presbyter and Parishioner so that both receive wisdom from more than one source. But, he is from outside the immediate local situation so as to provide the best possible resolution to matters. Furthermore, the Bishop can respond much quicker than commissions and committees. He is authorized to act on behalf of the larger Church while at the same time being accountable for his actions. This is a tremendous advantage when dealing with problems. I recently heard of a church in one of the Presbyterian denominations that literally shut down before the Presbytery could convene, make a decision, send a committee, and respond to the situation. When working with committees, such is the problem. Pastoral concerns are not able to be met expeditiously. Then there are situations where the Bishop presence is important where discipline is needed. He can be there in a relatively short period of time to support Presbyter and parish. For this reason, in the ancient Church whenever a person was excommunicated the Bishop would come and stand with the local presbyter, demonstrating that the whole Church was standing behind the discipline. Yet, because he does represent the Church at large, he is responsible to see that discipline is maintained in the Church. He makes certain that disputes are handled faithfully. If there are any problems with unfaithful clergy, he – page 88 – Captains and Courts must clean house; the buck stops with him. At least there is, however, someone to whom the Church can look and say, “The buck stops here,” as opposed to being like a bunch of monkeys pointing to each other when asked, “Who’s in charge here?” Thus, the Bishop is Chief Pastor under Christ, the Good Shepherd. He conveys the threefold ministry of Christ to the Church: prophet, priest, and king, just as we have seen in all of the offices of the Church. He is not only a representative of Christ but the embodiment, representatively, of the whole Church. He is to be what Christ is, because he is also what the Church is supposed to be. Apostolic Succession One question remains to be answered: What connection if any does the Episcopacy have to the Apostles? According to my understanding, Scripture implies that Bishops have a historic relationship to the Apostles but they are not the same as apostles; they do not exclusively represent the Apostolic order. First, Bishops have a historic succession from the Apostles. After Christ ascended, Peter called the remaining apostles together to select a replacement for Judas. He quotes Psalms saying, “Let his habitation be desolate, and let no one live in it; and, let another take his office” (Acts 1:20). The Greek word for office is literally episcopen, the same root word for Episcopacy or Bishop. In other words, the office of the apostle was called a Bishopric. For this reason, James who was a secondary apostle, the prototype of a Bishop, could exercise authority over the Apostles, raising a question: “Was he ordained by Presbyters, the Apostles, or both?” According to Jerome, one of the four great Doctors of the Church, he was set apart by the Presbytery or Synod, making succession purely in terms of the Presbytery. According to others, he and other Bishops first received consecration by the Apostles. The problem with this interpretation is that the historic progression of the development of office in the Book of Acts is from Deacon (Acts 6), to Presbyter (Acts 14), and then to Bishop (Acts 15), James. No mention is made of a Bishop figure until James. Perhaps a third alternative would be that James was set apart by both Apostles and Presbyters, explaining his position of authority over both at Jerusalem. This would mean that the Episcopacy has historic succession back to the Apostles, but Appstolic Succession per se does not reside only in the Episcopacy. It involves the Episcopacy and the Presbytery so that the Church does not cease to be a Church if there are no Bishops. Thus, when the Apostles – page 89 – Bishops died off, Bishops such as Timothy and Titus were left in their place, being similar but importantly also being different. Second, Bishops are not the same as the Apostles. Because Bishops became successors does not mean they are identical. The best example is Christ Himself. He appointed the Apostles to succeed Him but they were not sinless; they never were nor could they ever be the Christ. In a similar way, the first Bishops were not the same as the Apostles. They had not been with Christ during His earthly ministry and seen His Resurrection. They were similar but different. Thus, Bishops are necessary for the well-being (bene esse) of the Church but not for the being (esse). Apostolic succession does not reside exclusively in them. It is in the Word, the sacraments, and the discipline of the Church, as well as priesthood of all believers. Because the Episcopacy is an organizational expression of this believer priesthood, what is called the Melchizedekkal priesthood, it is necessary for the best rule, but its absence does not mean the Church does not exist. For example, picture a series of concentric circles such as is pictured below. In the center is the Word of God, the ultimate authority of the church. Next are the sacraments and discipline. Around them is the priesthood of all believers and finally there is the – page 90 – Captains and Courts Episcopacy, representing the most effective rule of the Church. If the outside layer is stripped off, the priesthood and everything else still stands. The Church can still be a Church and function. As a matter of fact, other forms of Episcopacy, as a substitute (Superintendents, and so forth), will develop even though they will be second best. In situations in history where the Episcopacy has not been available, this is precisely what has happened. But, as the Church matures and if it matures, the well-being of the Church comes in view and the Episcopacy is established. To be established, however, the existing historic Episcopacy found in only three churches, Anglican (English), Orthodox, and Roman Catholicism, is necessary to form proper Episcopal orders. These are the only Episcopacies who can trace their consecrations back to the Apostles. As is the case with each office, the laying on of hands by those who historically precede in a given office is required, thereby preventing self-made Church authority. Therefore, the Biblical Episcopacy is historic and Apostolic, having a linear connection in time back to the early Church, but it does not possess exclusively the Apostolic order. In conclusion, the Episcopacy is a Biblical office. The Bishop is Chief Pastor, imaging the threefold ministry of Christ in his office. He plays an important role in the well-being of the Church, even though he is not necessary for a church to exist. With Godly Bishops, the Church functions better than it does without them. Thus, the notion of Bishops is absolutely consistent with the Word of God, being rooted in their origin in the Apostles themselves.