The Historic Episcopate: What It Means and Why We Should Restore It

Philip Hefner

Article Type: Face to Face

Publication Date: 10/1/1987

Paired Article (Face to Face): The Historic Episcopate: Not Essential for the Office of the Ministry

Issue: The Ministry of the Baptized (Vol. 7, No 4, Fall, 1987)

There are three primary reasons why I support the restoration of the so-called “historic episcopate” in the ELCA: (1) such a restoration would be a step toward closer identification with the catholic tradition of the church; (2) it would be a step closer toward ecumenical unity, particularly in light of the WCC Faith and Order document, Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry; and (3) it would provide the best leadership for the ELCA as a total ecclesial community and for its synodical sub-communities, because it is the best way for those communities to actualize their Christian identity in the world as well as within their own internal life, with both focus and freedom.

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