Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What the church hides from the people at bishop election time

In an excellent bit of Bible study and historical review, The Anglican Curmudgeon shows the crystal clear Biblical teaching about the qualities needed in a bishop. Here's a bit you won't see when your diocese goes to elect one:

(Titus 1:)5 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: 6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For 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; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding 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.

Can there be any question as to the meaning of this passage as applied to the case of V. Gene Robinson? (The word "overseer" in verse 7 is, as the KJV has it, the English equivalent of the Greek word "episkopos", or "bishop" in today's language.) From 1611 to today, the translations have not varied: a bishop must be "the husband of one wife". Let us look at the Greek original; it is even clearer... It says "mias gynekos aner"---literally, "man of one woman", or phrased in more contemporary language, "a one-woman man".

But in the Episcopal Church, you will be told that a bishop should be "inclusive, a good manager, and gay." Good luck with that.


Anonymous said...

Hi Northern Plains:

My thought has always been because Bishop Robinson did not fulfill this part:

7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled,

He was disqualified by virtue of the fact that he was willing to sacrifice the people of God for his own agenda... even w/o the other issue that should have told anyone on the planet he wasn't bishop material.

Mt Anglican

TLF+ said...

Good thought, Mt. The media likes to keep things focused on sexuality, but we have alcoholicx, egotists, money-grubbers... all kinds of people revelling in sin and still elected as bishops.

The people in the pews are not taught from Scripture. They do not know what qualities to seek and have no sense of honoring God -they seek a candidate who "feels good" or "meets our needs."

Anonymous said...

I would agree with that.

I also think that we take the whole bishop selection process rather lightly - I am thinking how my former bishop was elected and how little the congregations really knew about him.

He presented himself a certain way - so we voted for him. Rather ridiculous and very little had to do with prayer or truly knowing his character.

If we are part of this 'new DNA' that process needs to be seriously revamped.

MT Anglican

TLF+ said...

MT - one of the opportunities in the realignment is to return to Biblical teaching on the role of clergy (including bishops), spiritual gifts, the church as the body of Christ - a well explored Biblical ecclesiology.

You are so right - we elect bishops not even knowing the qualities that God has described for them.

Anonymous said...


It's actually quite an interesting phenomena coming from an evangelical background because you have the opposite extreme. A Baptist church, for example, will choose a person they deem 'Godly' as a pastor without any other qualification. This often leads to disaster because this man might be called to lead people, but he doesn't have the Spiritual maturity or the education to do it well or consistently. I've seen so many churches be severely damaged by such leadership.

One of the strengths of the Anglican church is that it avoids that by education and training - but then, we have this opposite problem - where someone might be trained and educated but doesn't really have a calling to be a priest (or a bishop)... has the tools but not the gifting.. or character.

However, you are right on target - once again bringing it back to the Biblical mandate is the cure for each of these errors. Isn't it amazing how much we go through to sidestep what is plainly written out for us?

MT Anglican

TLF+ said...

Good points, MT... the Pastoral Letters of the NT warn against ordaining "recent converts" and "hastily laying on hands", while requiring that candidates "be tested."

BTW, email me (I don't seem to have an email for you). We have a creative idea here that I want to share with you.

Anonymous said...

Okie Dokie -

Sorry, I've been gone all weekend to the CCA campout.

I am working on an e-mail link for Montana Anglican but it's not working yet.

MT Anglican