Why Bishops?

Looking around at the chaos and spiritual devastation in the Anglican Churches, one has to ask whether bishops are worth having.  Their job description is to provide godly oversight and leadership to the ministers under their care, and to protect the church against anything unbiblical.

In reality they are the vanguard in the assault upon Christianity in a vast majority of churches.  Take the CoE and the TEC for instance, and every other Commonwealth Anglican church.  The only exception is the Sydney Diocese, and they are the only conservative diocese in the Anglo-Saxon world.  Their bishops have consistently stood for the Bible with only one exception about a hundred years ago.

The bishops I have known personally were never up to the theological standard required.  A bishop has to be at the top of his game in terms of his personal ability in the scriptures.  How many are?  I have seen bishops lead an Anglican church away from its heritage towards a bastardised form of American evangelicalism, in the pursuit of large churches and numbers.  In the process its theology was deliberately suppressed in the name of the programme, and it is now a semi-Baptist group in search of an identity.

A presiding bishop I once knew told me that being a bishop was “very pleasing to the flesh”.  Can that ever be a good thing for a minister to be exposed to?  It has been the almost universal experience that an evangelical who is promoted to the episcopacy immediately loses his convictions.   Why is this?  Why does ambition so often erase conviction?

Since the record of failure is so great, doesn’t it make sense to be an Independent or a Presbyterian?  There is nothing in church government per se that will protect the congregation against heresy, but the minister will not be under pressure to conform to the bishop’s agenda at the risk of losing his job.  He will not find himself called to quiet meetings with senior clergy where he will be ordered to stop preaching the doctrines of grace, and have his character assassinated by a whispering campaign amongst the clergy.

Perhaps Independency is the best option for a minister of religion who is dedicated to teaching and preaching the Bible without compromise, and who calls the people of God to repentance.  Perhaps Presbyterianism has the same corporate dangers as Anglicanism, I don’t know, but I suspect that  is the case.  Even so, I know of many Bible believing presbyterian churches, but none here in England.


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