As one of the three principal systems of ecclesiastical polity known to the Christian Church, Presbyterianism occupies an intermediate position between episcopacy and congregationalism.
In episcopacy the supreme authority is a diocesan bishop; in congregationalism it is the members of the congregation assembled in church meeting; in Presbyterianism it is a church council composed of representative presbyters.
In episcopacy the control of church affairs is almost entirely withdrawn from the people; in congregationalism it is almost entirely exercised by the people; in Presbyterianism it rests with a council composed of duly appointed office-bearers chosen by the people.
The ecclesiastical unit in episcopacy is a diocese, comprising many churches and ruled by a prelate; in congregationalism it is a single church, self-governed and entirely independent of all others; in Presbyterianism it is a presbytery or council composed of ministers and elders representing all the churches within a specified district.
It may be said broadly, therefore, that in .episcopacy the government is monarchical; in congregationalism, democratic; and in Presbyterianism, aristocratic or representative.
This episcopacy was at first rather congregational than diocesan; but the tendency of its growth was undoubtedly towards the latter.
They were unanimous in rejecting the episcopacy of the Church of Rome, the sanctity of celibacy, the sacerdotal character of the ministry, the confessional, the propitiatory nature of the mass.
Episcopacy, Erastianism and Independency, though of little account in the assembly, were to bulk largely in England's future; while the church polity which the assembly favoured and recommended was to be almost unknown.
Then with the Restoration came Episcopacy, and the persecution of all who were not Episcopalians; and the dream and vision of a truly Reformed English Church practically passed away.
Their preponderance in Ulster and their consciousness of their great service to England led them first of all to hope that Presbyterianism might be substituted for Episcopacy in Ulster, and afterwards, that it might be placed on an equal footing with the latter.
He belonged to the Root and Branch party, and spoke in favour of the petition of the London citizens for the abolition of episcopacy on the 9th of February 1641, and pressed upon the House the Root and Branch Bill in May.
Then parliament enacted a new system of Church courts which, though to some extent in its turn superseded by the revival of episcopacy under James VI., was revived or ratified by the act of 1690, c. 7, and stands to this day.
Acting on the constitutional principle that the king's right to convene did not interfere with the church's independent right to hold assemblies, they sat till the 10th of December, deposed all the Scottish bishops, excommunicated a number of them, repealed all acts favouring episcopacy, and reconstituted the Scottish Kirk on thorough Presbyterian principles.
The proper symbol of episcopacy is not so much the mitre as the ring and pastoral staff.
The author of The Sacred Order and Offices of Episcopacy or Episcopacy Asserted against the Aerians and Acephali New and Old (1642), could scarcely hope to retain his parish, which was not, however, sequestrated until 1644.
There were, at the date of the Restoration, about seventy Presbyterian ministers in the north of Ireland, and most of these were from the west of Scotland, and were imbued with the dislike of Episcopacy which distinguished the Covenanting party.
When Charles visited Scotland to give his formal assent to the abolition of Episcopacy, Montrose communicated to him his belief that Hamilton was a traitor.
During the establishment of Episcopacy in Scotland, Edinburgh was the seat of a bishop, and the ancient collegiate church of St Giles rose to the dignity of a cathedral.
Provided that the preaching of the gospel was free and full, Luther was willing to tolerate episcopacy and even papacy.
EPISCOPACY (from Late Lat.
Under the present heading it is proposed only to discuss briefly the various types of episcopacy actually existing, and the different principles that they represent.
The deepest line of cleavage is naturally between the view that episcopacy is a divinely ordained institution essential to the effective existence of a church as a channel of grace, and the view that it is merely a convenient form of church order, evolved as the result of a variety of historical causes, and not necessary to the proper constitution of a church.
Apart altogether, however, from the question of orders, episcopacy represents a very special conception of the Christian Church.
This high theory of episcopacy which, if certain of the Ignatian letters be genuine, has a very early origin, has, of course, fallen upon evil days.
"Febronius," indeed, was in favour of a frank recognition of this national basis of ecclesiastical organization, and saw in Episcopacy the best means of reuniting the dissidents to the Catholic Church, which was to consist, as it were, of a free federation of episcopal churches under the presidency of the bishop of Rome.
At the Vatican Council of 1870 episcopacy made its last stand against papalism, and was vanquished.
The pope still addresses his fellow-bishops as "venerable brothers"; but from the Roman Catholic Church the fraternal union of coequal authorities, which is of the essence of episcopacy, has vanished; and in its place is set the autocracy of one.
The modern Roman Catholic Church is episcopal, for it preserves the bishops, whose potestas ordinis not even the pope can exercise until he has been duly consecrated; but the bishops as such are now but subordinate elements in a system for which "Episcopacy" is certainly no longer an appropriate term.
The word Episcopacy has, in fact, since the Reformation, been more especially associated with those churches which, while ceasing to be in communion with Rome, have preserved the episcopal model.
The Church of England since the Reformation has been the chief champion of the principle of Episcopacy against the papal pretensions on the one hand and Presbyterianism and Congregationalism on the other.
As to the divine origin of Episcopacy and, consequently, of its universal obligation in the Christian Church, Anglican opinion has been, and still is, considerably divided.'
His first work, De diversis gradibus ministrorum Evangelii (1590; in English, 1592, and reprinted), was an argument for episcopacy, which led to a controversy with Theodore Beza, and gained him incorporation (9 June 1590) as D.D.
In 1581 episcopacy was abolished as a result of the report of a commission on which Craig had sat; he also assisted at the composition of the Second Book of Discipline and the National Covenant of 1580, and in 1581 compiled "Ane Shorte and Generale Confession" called the "King's Confession," which was imposed on all parish ministers and graduates and became the basis of the Covenant of 1638.
The see remained vacant from 1580 to 1606, and from 1638 till the Restoration, and, after the accession of William II., the episcopacy was finally abolished (1697), although many of the clergy refused to conform.
His publications include: Compleat View of Episcopacy, as Exhibited in the Fathers of the Christian Church, until the close of the Second Century (1771); Salvation of All Men, Illustrated and Vindicated as a Scripture Doctrine (1782); The Mystery Hid from Ages and Generations made manifest by the Gospel-Revelation (1783); and Five Dissertations on the Fall and its Consequences (1785).
Congregational episcopacy was the rule for a number of generations.
So long as each church had its own bishop the presbyters constituted simply his council, but with the growth of diocesan episcopacy it became the custom to put each congregation under the care of a particular presbyter, who performed within it most of the pastoral duties formerly discharged by the bishop himself.
In the episcopacy it has numerous adherents; it has, made progress in the universities, and most of the learned and theological reviews are conducted in its spirit.
His recantation of Episcopacy (1590) is probably spurious.
In his zeal for the historic episcopacy he published in 1807 An Apology for Apostolic Order and its Advocates, a series of letters to Rev. John M.
Mason, who, in The Christian's Magazine, of which he was editor, had attacked the Episcopacy in general and in particular Hobart's Collection of Essays on the Subject of Episcopacy (1 806).
Varied as are the forms which this idea has assumed under varying conditions of time and place, it remains distinctive enough to constitute one of the three main types of ecclesiastical polity, the others being Episcopacy and Presbyterianism.