BA Books & Authors on the Web – April 18, 2014

Cover ArtSteve Bishop at An Accidental Blog reviewed The Good of Politics, by James Skillen.

“We can serve God and do politics – in fact we can serve God in doing politics. Religion and politics do mix! In part this is why Skillen has written this excellent book, the title of which may seem to some Christians to be outrageous – how can politics be good? “

Rick Lee James quoted “An Appeal to Abolish War” from War and the American Difference by Stanley Hauerwas.

John Frederick discussed the forthcoming Galatians and Christian Theology, which he edited along with Mark Elliot, Scott Hafemann, and N.T. Wright.

David Turner, author of the Matthew volume in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, wrote about the Jesus Wife Fragment.”

At Panorama of a Book Saint, Conrade Yap reviewed Haddon Robinson’s Biblical Preaching, Third Edition.

At Pneuma Review, Michael Muoki Wambua reviewed Everyday Theology, edited by Kevin Vanhoozer, Charles Anderson, and Michael Sleasman.

The Emergence of Monepiscopacy- an Excerpt from The Original Bishops

The following is an excerpt from The Original Bishops, by Alistair Stewart.


The extension of episcopal responsibilities to more than one congregation or Christian community and the corresponding appointment of subordinate officers is, I suggest, a development that emerges near the turn of the third century. It is in the last decade of the second century that Demetrius emerges in Alexandria as sole bishop taking control of independent schools, and probably in the first decade of the third that we find Serapion of Antioch engaging with the church at Rhossos regarding the Gospel of Peter.

Cover ArtBy the middle of the third century we find Cyprian in Africa convening councils of bishops from across the province to determine questions of discipline, and, perhaps most significant of all, we may observe the report of the Liberian catalog that Pontianus, the bishop of Rome, “and the presbyter Hippolytus [Pontianus episcopus et Yppolitus presbyter] were deported to Sardinia on the island of Vocina” in 235.8

At this point, on the basis of the joint mention of Pontianus as bishop and Hippolytus as presbyter, and given that a precise date is then given for the ordination of Pontianus’s successor, we can say that Rome had a sole bishop recognized by the self-defining catholic congregations of the city, and under whom presbyters served in the individual churches.

Thus, the same phenomenon of a sole bishop within a city of multiple congregations, assisted by subordinate officers, is to be found in multiple locations in this period, whereas, as will be observed below, evidence earlier than that is entirely lacking and evidence, at least for Rome, that this was not the case is strong. This system of sole bishops heading multiple congregations may properly be called “monepiscopacy,” for each bishop is a sole bishop set over congregations in a defined area with subservient ministers (presbyters and deacons).

The purpose of this book is to trace the history by which this system and its prevalence came about; if this is a development, we must of necessity discuss earlier systems of church order from which this system emerged.

©2014 by Alistair C. Stewart. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


For more information on The Original Bishops, click here.

New Release: The Original Bishops

The Original Bishops provides a new starting point for studying the origins of church offices. Alistair Stewart, a leading authority on early Christianity and a meticulous scholar, provides essential groundwork for historical and theological … [Continue reading]

BA Books & Authors on the Web – April 11, 2014

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Video: Old Testament Theology (Part 2)

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Jesus the Rejected Synagogue Teacher- an Excerpt from Jesus against the Scribal Elite

The following is an excerpt from Jesus against the Scribal Elite, by Chris Keith. ——– Mark portrays Jesus as a powerful teacher whose contemporaries did not expect him to be a synagogue teacher because he was a member of the manual-labor … [Continue reading]

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How did the controversy between Jesus and the scribal elite begin? We know that it ended on a cross, but what put Jesus on the radar of established religious and political leaders in the first place? In Jesus against the Scribal Elite, Chris Keith … [Continue reading]

Christ’s Kingship and Human Politics – an Excerpt from The Good of Politics

The following is an excerpt from The Good of Politics, by James W. Skillen. ——– One of the deep convictions that will guide us in the pages that follow is that Christ now governs this world as king of kings and is not only the head of the church. … [Continue reading]

Video: Old Testament Theology

Holding Together Scholarship and the Life of Faith The Approach of Old Testament Theology An In-Depth Study of Key Old Testament Passages About the Book: In Old Testament Theology, Walter Moberly probes what is necessary to understand and … [Continue reading]

James Skillen: “Rethinking Our Political Responsibilites”

"Rethinking Our Political Responsibilites" by, James W. Skillen During my forty-plus years of teaching college and then directing the Center for Public Justice, two issues kept perplexing me. One was the fact that Americans in general, and … [Continue reading]