March 29, 2017

July 20, 2010

More Baptist pastors adopt bishop title

from here

The only outward sign that something was different was the new ring on the pastor’s finger, a thick gold ring with a purple stone. It symbolized his recent elevation, in a ceremony in Memphis two weeks before, to the position of bishop.

The title of bishop, accompanied by such emblems of authority, was uncommon among hierarchy-spurning Baptists until recently, but it is being adopted by a growing number of Baptist pastors, most of them African-American. Borders and other new bishops have acquired some of the ceremonial garb — croziers (pastoral staffs), zucchettos (skullcaps) and chasubles (robes) — that their spiritual forefathers left behind when they broke from the Church of England in the 17th century. Some, including Borders, have even embraced the doctrine of apostolic succession — the belief in an unbroken line from Jesus’ apostles to today’s bishops.

Borders, a sober man who regards his flock with obvious affection, spoke lightly of his role as shepherd during his sermon.

“When I watch you,’’ he said with a smile, “I see a congregation of miracles.’’

But he also believes the new title has been a spiritual catalyst, deepening his faith and clarifying his role as mentor to more than two dozen men and women who have become ministers or pastors under his tutelage over the course of nearly three decades.

“I’m changing; I feel myself getting closer to the Lord Jesus Christ, and I think I understand my mission more,’’ he said. “The notion of being a successor to the apostles, even in a spiritual point of view, kind of grounds you differently.’’...more

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It is a good article that brings out the important ideas about the office of bishop.  Obviously, it bypasses the idea of “Apostolic Succession,” which is an increasingly sad relic given the proliferaton of apostates and bureaucrats in Anglican orders.

Matt+, did ACNA ever complete its planned discussion of the role of bishops?  Any document come out of that?

[1] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 7-20-2010 at 09:53 AM · [top]

My Southern Baptist Pastor answers to ‘Bishop’ too.  He’s not had (nor would he have) a ‘consecration service’ as a ‘Bishop’. but he does acknowledge that is the title of office for the overseer (episkopos) of the ministers/elders (presbyters) in the local (city) church.

The laying on of hands for the ministry (as a minister, and later as a pastor) aligns with the text.  The Historical connection, is of course, only via the congregations and the teaching, not anything that would be recognized by Rome (though the locally adapted clause of the Chicago statement offers hope for Anglican recognition…)

[2] Posted by Bo on 7-20-2010 at 10:17 AM · [top]

Ah yes, bishop - a wonderfully meaningless title when it is applied to nothing except a man with no connection to the historic church or it creeds. But the rings and robes sure a pretty, aren’t they? And Bishop sure sounds a hell of a lot more authoritative than “reverend”, “pastor” and the increasingly ubiquitous “doctor”. Needless to say, people flock to churches where pastors want to call themselves “bishop”.

[3] Posted by Dan Crawford on 7-20-2010 at 11:20 AM · [top]

Matt+, I think Timothy Fountain has asked a good question, and I think that part of the answer lies in our constitution and canons.  I haven’t heard of anything else defining the role of bishop in the ACNA either.  Have you?

[4] Posted by cennydd13 on 7-20-2010 at 11:39 AM · [top]

[3] Dan Crawford

Ah yes, bishop - a wonderfully meaningless title when it is applied to nothing except a man with no connection to the historic church or it creeds.

Bishop is an office, and a man-made office at that.  There is no significance to the idea of ‘unbroken continuity’ - as proven by the manifest errors of Rome, all dutifully defended by bishops who proclaim their lineage of apostolic succession.  The unbroken continuity is found in the Evangel, and not in the authority of the men who proclaim it.  Better a bishop of no apostolic lineage who guards the faith once received than an apostate who says “I stand in Apostolic succession by the laying on of hands.”  Truly, the Lord God could create bishops who stand in Apostolic succession from the very stones of the ground.


[5] Posted by carl on 7-20-2010 at 12:06 PM · [top]

And in what I see as a parallel development, has anyone else noted the “Childrens Dedication” ceremonies that are popping up around the country?  My stepson and his wife are members of a large non-denominational fellowship outside Atlanta.  We received an email from them a couple of months ago that started out: “Now we do not believe in infant baptism, but…” and went on to say that our granddaughter was being dedicated to Christ in a ceremony in the church.  We drove down to see, and at the morning service a dozen couples walked onto the statge with their children and one at a time made a verbal commitment to dedicate their child to Christ.

This is the same church where the pastor told them that everyone in the fellowship should not only give up something for Lent (sfter explaining what Lent was), but also take on an additional burden of prayer and service for the season.

So what is going on with our reformed brothers and sisters?

Do they feel a lack of something in their worship?

[6] Posted by The Pilgrim on 7-20-2010 at 12:47 PM · [top]

Some of us do, and are looking to the past for those ceremonies which accurately reflect the faith, and aren’t over-burdened with ‘superstition’.  The ones who used to perpetuate that ‘superstition’ have nearly died on the vine (or cut off from it more accurately), and we can now l0ok at what the words are, the meanings, and the reasons.  We’ll see non orthodox grabbing the same symbols as well, but what the old church did with Christmas (taking the pagan tree, the lights, the date even) and using what fits, more of the ‘bible churches’ will do with the old ceremonies of the church - reclaiming them from the pagans in TEC and the other ‘dead churches’ with a name for ‘being alive’.

[7] Posted by Bo on 7-20-2010 at 12:57 PM · [top]

Pilgrim, evangelicals have been doing baby dedication for a long time.  My dad, however, thought it smacked of infant baptism and didn’t have it done for any of his nine children. :>)

[8] Posted by Miss Sparling on 7-20-2010 at 01:00 PM · [top]

The Pilgrim, a child dedication is not all that new.  Because my husband didn’t believe in infant baptism back in 1978, we had our firstborn “dedicated” during Sunday morning worship with our small, home fellowship. Six years later after he’d prayed to “ask Jesus into his heart,” (and wanted to take Holy Communion with the Episcopal parish of which we were members) our son was baptized via immersion in the “dunk tank” at the Baptist Church next door.  (Our rector and the Baptist pastor probably played golf together!)

[9] Posted by Jill C. on 7-20-2010 at 01:24 PM · [top]

@5—re-enter Richard Hooker, who understood the office of bishop as a custom (his word) ordained of God and passed down from the Apostles; but equally recognizing that a man could prove unworthy of the office by his infidelity to the faith and/or unjust tyranny, and be stripped of his order by the universal consent of the flock. 

From Lawes of Ecclesiastical Polity (ch. 5):

“...let this consideration be a bridle to [Bishops], let it teach them not to disdain the advice of their Presbyters, but to use their Authority with so much greater humility and moderation, as a sword which the Church hath power to take from them.”

[10] Posted by Old Hop on 7-20-2010 at 01:43 PM · [top]

Are bishops of the essence (esse) of the Church or for the good (bene esse) of the Church?

I think that we can safely say, looking at the HoB in the last 40 years, that Bishops are of the essence of the church.

I say that by process of elimination.

Since they have not acted for the good of the Church, they must be of the essence of the Church.

Phil Snyder

[11] Posted by Philip Snyder on 7-20-2010 at 02:10 PM · [top]


Is that not an emanesence of odor that you are referring to, rather than essence
Seems to be that way to me.


[12] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 7-20-2010 at 03:30 PM · [top]

I’d be willing to be that these guys aren’t Southern Baptist.  Especially not with those mitres. 

Speaking as someone with an otherwise high church aesthetic, mitre (and any other sort of particularly tall hat) have always struck me as more silly than majestic.

[13] Posted by AndrewA on 7-20-2010 at 03:54 PM · [top]

Southern Baptist Bishop’s mitre’s would be ball-caps with ‘Bishop’ on the front in either John Deere Green, or their college football team’s colours. Since ball-caps are a no-no (just ask any deacon or usher) in the church-house, it will be a long wait to see a Southern Baptist Bishop in vestments.

[14] Posted by Bo on 7-20-2010 at 06:15 PM · [top]

Shaking my head . . .

[15] Posted by Nikolaus on 7-20-2010 at 06:56 PM · [top]

#10 Old Hop,

Hopefully the Baptists can throw out their bad bishops easier than we in T.E.C. can.

[16] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-20-2010 at 07:17 PM · [top]

Baptists are ‘local congregations’ - the preacher is usually an employee of that congregation with the deacons being trustees.  The ‘hire and fire’ wouldn’t be up to a HoB, it would be with the ‘BoD’.  He’d still be a Bishop, but one without a pulpit…

[17] Posted by Bo on 7-20-2010 at 08:45 PM · [top]

#7 Bo,

A “BoD”...Heh, I’ve got to work on that.

[18] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-20-2010 at 08:49 PM · [top]

I gather you’re a deacon.

You already spend much of your time walking through the maelstrom of church ‘politics’ and ‘business’, you’re tied to the local parish as long as your work is in that city, and you’re the one who gets the ‘care and feeding’ job for the disaffected.  You have presence, position, and the care of the flock as part and parcel of your assignment.

Now, of course, you’ll have to remember that you’ll answer to the Chief Shepard for meddling in the affairs of the Elders and Overseers if you move past the ‘keeper of the purse’ roll.  But how many of the heretics (especially those of the TEc variety) would stay in the pulpit without pay?  You’ll need to take up your cross and stand for the Vestry, to do this in Anglican circles, right?  Are there rules against deacons being on the vestry?

[19] Posted by Bo on 7-20-2010 at 09:41 PM · [top]


It is highly improbable that I would be accepted as a candidate for the diaconate in this T.E.C. diocese, but It has been suggested by members of this diocese that I transfer to the Baptist church down the street…

[20] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-20-2010 at 09:56 PM · [top]

In the branch I come from, there were no bishops, but several rooks.

[21] Posted by Just a Baptist on 7-20-2010 at 10:51 PM · [top]

If you find one like I worship with you’ll be blessed in ways that you’d not believe going into it. 

The Word read, and preached by men who be believe what they read.  The Lord’s Supper, entered into with reverence and fear (the condemnation for those eat unworthily as well as the words of Christ’s Institution of the Mystery).  Singing that is heart-filled and theologically sound.

You’ll not have a proper liturgy, set prayer of the litany, nor likely repetition of the creeds (though what they teach is taught).

Even if the choice were a TEc Church or a ‘low church’ Baptist, I’d go Baptist.  To the best of my knowledge, all Baptists still preach Christ and Him crucified.

The foregoing should not be read as enticement to rebellion.  You may well be called to stand and hold right where you are.  But if you’re ‘kicked out’, the Baptists aren’t a bad place to land (especially if you can find one like mine - look for stained glass with scenes from the life of Christ and the Old Testament Saints….).

[22] Posted by Bo on 7-20-2010 at 10:53 PM · [top]

Bishop Pewster—-that has a particularly unholy ring to it, don’t you think?

[23] Posted by Theophilus on 7-20-2010 at 10:54 PM · [top]

[21] Posted by Just a Baptist
You mean ‘towers of refuge’, right?

[24] Posted by Bo on 7-20-2010 at 10:55 PM · [top]

Right up there with Cardinal Sin (Archbishop of Manila), huh?

[25] Posted by Bo on 7-20-2010 at 10:57 PM · [top]

Bo—-I’ve been intimately involved with a few cardinal sins over the years.  Nothing I’m particularly proud of, but they certainly added to the vigor of life.

[26] Posted by Theophilus on 7-20-2010 at 11:01 PM · [top]

Not the archbishop in Manila though, right?

I meant only that the name ‘Bishop Pewster’ doesn’t have as unholy ring as a certain Cleric in the Philippines’ name does…

[27] Posted by Bo on 7-20-2010 at 11:18 PM · [top]

Sorry—-feeble attempt at levity which, apparently, fell flat.
BTW—Cardinal Sin was Archbishop of Manila until his retirement in 2003.  He died in 2005.  He was one of the prominent leaders in the overthrow of the Ferdinand Marcos regime.

[28] Posted by Theophilus on 7-20-2010 at 11:31 PM · [top]

Not so much ‘flat’ as too ‘sharp’, and too close to home.

Gluttony, Lust, Avarice, Sloth, Vainglory, Pride
(6 of seven is really bad, ain’t it…)

[29] Posted by Bo on 7-20-2010 at 11:39 PM · [top]

On ‘infant dedication’ - When my sister was born my mother had her ‘dedicated’, not baptised, in our Evangelical United Brethren Church (this before the merger with Methodists to form United Methodists).  This would have been in 1960, and I know the practice goes back earlier than that.

[30] Posted by Ron Troup on 7-21-2010 at 06:39 AM · [top]


Southern Baptist Bishop’s mitre’s would be ball-caps with ‘Bishop’ on the front in either John Deere Green, or their college football team’s colours.

Oh, I consider that an ideal solution for Episcopal bishops as well.  After all, Mrs. Schori is looking for team players these days and has a habit of getting what she wants.

Most Episcopalians wouldn’t be bothered by it at all.  Those who even took the time to notice would just breathe a sigh of relief that our shepherds haven’t yet gone to wearing helmets, with or without horns attached.

But since trying to survive in the Church is now on a par with playing football without a helmet for too long, perhaps the faithful clergy and laity ought to take them up. 

Our helmets vs. their caps.  It could be a place to start. cool smile

[31] Posted by episcopalienated on 7-21-2010 at 06:45 AM · [top]

31- Personally, I think baseball caps for TEC bishops are completely inappropriate.  They deposed +Keith Ackerman, the only bishop who ever really looked good in one. And they see baseball caps as the sort of thing worn by the lower classes, like us. 

More appropriate for TEC would be dunce caps.  You could have these made up to include the national colors of all 16 countries of the empire, to carry on the rainbow motif- and the simple cone is so much more modern and techno than the stuffy old miter, while retaining the height, so the bishop can be readily identified in the procession if there happens to be anyone in the pews.

[32] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-21-2010 at 07:20 AM · [top]

Yep, baseball caps for ACNA bishops only-

[33] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-21-2010 at 07:22 AM · [top]

Very curious. I can’t imagine the Baptists in Sydney doing this, but maybe they’ll prove me wrong.

Our Anglican bishops don’t wear mitres, nor any gold or purple, so perhaps there’s nothing to attract them.

[34] Posted by MichaelA on 7-23-2010 at 03:24 AM · [top]

Perhaps you’ve more ‘real bishops’ in the traditional church, so the Holy Ghost doesn’t need to call ‘congregationalists’ to the ardious and honourable duties associated with the title bishop?

[35] Posted by Bo on 7-23-2010 at 03:34 AM · [top]

A bishop with only 1 church is no bishop at all…

I know that a few years ago several african-american pastors of SBC churches in the New Orleans area started calling themselves Bishop, and the DOM (Director of Missions) for the local association put a stop to it.

Kind of ridiculous if you ask me, but no more so than seeing your pastor in a shiny new mercedes benz…

[36] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 7-26-2010 at 09:53 AM · [top]

The ‘real and original’ bishops where in charge of the house churches of a single town.  Not so far a stretch to having Bishops over Ministers (of music, education, and the like), Teachers (of Sunday School, and the private school associated with the church), Deacons, and others in the local church.

The ‘new Mercedes’ is a problem if it is a cause of envy among the faithful…..

[37] Posted by Bo on 7-26-2010 at 10:25 AM · [top]

Bo, I’m sure that if there were real Bishops in the SBC, the local DOM would have first claim on the title.  But in truth he has little real authority beyond his powers of persuasion and his ministry to other pastors.

[38] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 7-26-2010 at 10:37 AM · [top]

The ‘real and original’ bishops where in charge of the house churches of a single town.  Not so far a stretch to having Bishops over Ministers (of music, education, and the like), Teachers (of Sunday School, and the private school associated with the church), Deacons, and others in the local ch

I suppose you could declare every Sunday school teacher a bishop, but it would be absurd, give the appearance of “putting on airs” and would create confusion.  In the context of a congregationalist, ultra-low church, non-sacradontal ecclesiology, I think that the current most common Baptist usage of terms like pastor, preacher, deacon, minister and teacher provide the most consistent and faithful reflection of Baptist doctrine. 

To start calling pastors bishops and dressing them up in purple in gold, absent of an actual episcopal polity and a supporting high church ecclesiology, comes across to me a self-agradization and eccentricity.  And, in my personal opinion, though I’m fond of the cope and chasuble, the use of robes outside of the Christmas pageants just don’t seem to me well fitting to Baptist (or at least southern SBC) culture, and miters are silly no matter who is wearing them.

[39] Posted by AndrewA on 7-26-2010 at 11:10 AM · [top]

Even more disturbing:

Cape Verdean woman named Baptist bishop in New Bedford
21 April 2010
On Sunday, Wendy Toon became the first Cape Verdean woman to become a bishop in the Baptist Church in the New Bedford area of the US state of Massachusetts. Toon grew up in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plains as part of a Catholic family that attended church every Sunday. She is the second of seven children.

When she was a teenager, Wendy stopped going to church until one day, as she tells it, God spoke to her heart, and she resumed the religious life, this time attending the Baptist Church and listening to the sermons of Bishop Jennifer Hightower in Mattapan.

[40] Posted by AndrewA on 7-26-2010 at 11:17 AM · [top]

The combination of women bishops and many articles crediting the influence of the AME and televangelists gives me the distinct impression that many of the so-called Baptists that are adopting the title of bishop are more concerned with fadishness, cult of personality, and keeping up with the “cool kids” in the Pentocostal, mainline and televangelist fields, rather than preserving a traditional Bapitist notion of godly oversight, or attempting to adopts a episcopalalian (the doctrine, not the denomination) view of the essence of the Church Catholic.

[41] Posted by AndrewA on 7-26-2010 at 11:23 AM · [top]

I do think it’s mainly about self-aggrandizement, AndrewA.  After all, a “pastor” driving a mercedes might not be perceived in a positive light…  A bishop however… wink

[42] Posted by Marty the Baptist on 7-26-2010 at 01:04 PM · [top]

[38] Posted by Marty the Baptist,
Isn’t ‘pastoral care to other ministers’ the essence of a Bishop’s duties (which includes discipline), and is his power (in the NT, not later developments) limited to ejection from the local (city) congregation’s Lord’s Supper?  That roll in the local (autonomous) church context of the ‘overseer’ is filled by the senior paster.  They’re ‘overseers’ without benefit of a house of colleagues, without the support of ‘comrades in arms’, and vehemently denying the ‘title’, yet effectively exercising that NT role.

[39] Posted by AndrewA
Sunday School teachers would have to be content with ‘presbyter’ or ‘elder’.  (and that would reflect ‘title creep’.  wink

SBC preachers will rarely answer to ‘bishop’, and I imagine never self-identify as such.  Should they do so, the ‘vestment’ would be the baseball cap already mentioned….(and getting that by the ‘vestry as Board of Deacons’ would be a miracle on the order of the iron that swam).

[40] Posted by AndrewA
Plainly NOT an SBC church.  We’re pretty strict on that ‘male headship’ thing.  Women in the Quire is OK, and maybe women Sunday School teachers (for children and other women), but a woman as ‘minister’ of anything is extremely rare (if they even exist), and certainly not as a preacher, much less a senior pastor…

[41] Posted by AndrewA
You might get to some form of ‘councillor’ leadership in the SBC (with the senior pastors doing some leadership role apart from their current role as messengers (which any lay person can also be)), but in the main, they’ll not go to anything more hierarchical than that…

They’d maybe buy-in to be held responsible as senior pastors to help guide the consensus of the statement of faith (as is done with the faith-and-message), but they’ll not be thinking that anyone is above the local church in terms of governance.

[43] Posted by Bo on 7-26-2010 at 10:56 PM · [top]


“Truly, the Lord God could create bishops who stand in Apostolic succession from the very stones of the ground.”

Which is pretty close to the testimony of Joseph Smith.


“(6 of seven is really bad, ain’t it…)”

Gotcha beat.  Ha-ha!*

* truly depraved humor is implicit here.

[44] Posted by Ed the Roman on 7-26-2010 at 11:11 PM · [top]

[44] Ed the Roman

Which is pretty close to the testimony of Joseph Smith.

Of course, it was not the testimony of Joseph Smith to which I alluded.  But you knew that.


[45] Posted by carl on 7-26-2010 at 11:36 PM · [top]

Ed the Roman and Carl,

I hope neither of you are looking longingly at Smith’s concept of plural wives… Mind you, it wouldn’t surprise me if the liberals are there before too long - they can syncretise that into the new religion along with everything else!

I suppose in fairness I should predict that TEC will insist that it be multiple husbands, in order to address ingrained gender imbalances in our society.

[46] Posted by MichaelA on 7-26-2010 at 11:44 PM · [top]

[44] Posted by Ed the Roman ,
You may be ahead on points at present, but I don’t get indulgences…

(I’ve not been ‘gifted’ with ‘acedia’ yet, but it may be in the offing…..)

[47] Posted by Bo on 7-26-2010 at 11:56 PM · [top]

[46] MichaelA

I hope neither of you are looking longingly at Smith’s concept of plural wives…

Actually, I have on several occasions mentioned this possibility to my wife as a distinct advantage of becoming Mormon.  But she is totally blind to the spirit doing new things, and so she just hits me.  I don’t understand it.  Women just don’t seem to have a sense of the spiritually possible.


[48] Posted by carl on 7-28-2010 at 06:50 PM · [top]

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