Monday, September 15, 2008

Bishops and Priests and Deacons....oh my!!!

I have been having many conversations with friends of mine regarding faith. One of the conversations that we had was regarding the hierarchy and structure of authority within God's Church. He believes that there is not any evidence of the hierarchy within the New Testament, and I believe that there is - along with evidence of Holy Orders, but I will save that discussion for another time.

Just last night, I was reading through 1 Timothy and came across the following passages:

1 Timothy 3:1-7 : Bishops. If you look at the footnote of this passage when they mention overseer, you will see that it is traditionally known as a Bishop. Paul is describing the office of a bishop within the Christian Church.

1 Timothy 3:8-13 : Deacons. Paul just doesn't stop at the office of bishop, he also mentions an office of a Deacon. So far, we have Bishop and Deacon as offices that Paul is describing should be held within the Christian Church.

1 Timothy 5:17-20 : Elders. Who are these elders? Is Paul just talking about our seniors within the Church? I don't think so. Especially when he mentions "The elders who rule well". Elders who rule, makes me think of someone in charge...another office. In other versions of the Bible, this office is called a presbyter. Another reference to elder, can be seen Acts 15:2. This passage is referring to the Council of Jerusalem. "...the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue." There is that word again...elders. Why would the Apostles and the Elders be consulted, if the elders was not an office?

Clearly, Scripture is showing us that there are roles and offices within Christ's Church - Bishop, Presbyter (priest), and Deacons. Christ's Church has these offices. If Christ's Church exists today, then it will still have these offices. Which Church has these offices, and believe in the episcopacy?

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