Counsel of Chalcedon
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Government in the Church of Christ

It scarcely needs to be stated that in the institution of the New Testament those exercising the ruling function in the church of God are sometimes called elders and at other times bishops. In either case, the reference is to the same office, and the development whereby diocesan episcopacy has gained currency in the government of the church is without any warrant from Scripture and therefore can plead no sanction from the head of the church. It is quite apparent from Acts 20:17,28 that the same persons are in view when in verse 17 they are called 'elders' and in verse 28 'bishops'. Again in Titus 1:5,7 it is equally apparent that the same office-bearers are denominated elders in verse 5 and referred to by the name bishop in verse 7. Otherwise there would be no force or relevance to the statement in verse 7, 'For the bishop must be blameless as the steward of God.'