Why are some protestant pastors called bishop

I have been noticing alot lately on tv that alot of Non Catholic pastors are called bishop. Ex BIshop Charles D. Ellis. I am just curious why non Catholic’s are being refered to as bishop.

Some protestant churches have an ecclesial hierarchy and so have bishops (Methodist, Lutheran, Espiscopal, AME etc.) Their bishops are chosen by the members of that church in some manner. The apostolic succession as we understand it in the Church is not primary.

Because they like the title and have realized that Bishops were actually mentioned in the Bible. SO their “church” needed some.


They can call themselves whatever they want, doesn’t make it real. If I stand in my garage it doesn’t make me a car. Just because they call themselves “bishop” does not make them any more legitimate - but it sounds good, so they go for it.

I recommend listening to THIS short blurb to understand more fully what I mean. :wink:


The Church of God (Cleveland, TN), which was the subject of a lengthy thread in another forum used to have three levels of credentialed minister–Exhorter (which is what I was), Licensed, and Ordained. Now I’ve noticed some CoG congregations have a Bishop as a pastor. I’ve been out of touch, so I don’t know if they’ve added a fourth level, or if they’ve renamed the Ordained level.

Lizaanne is right, tho. They’re writing checks with their terminology that their traditions can’t cash.

The more appropriate question would be why many Protestants don’t use the term. It is, after all, derived from the New Testament word for an “overseer” (whatever that was) and less controversially is certainly the way early Christians referred to pastors of local churches. Of course, many Protestants have held on to precisely the wrong part of the Catholic definition of the episcopal office, and see it (Methodists and Lutherans) as a name for a supervisor of other pastors, rather than the overseer of a local Christian community.


But you could dress up like a car! Of course you still wouldn’t be a car, just look like one.

Yeah this is exactly what I was thinking.

So bottom line they can call themselves whatever they want, but they dont have apostolic succession so its just a nice sounding title.

You somewhat misunderstand the Catholic definition of what a Bishop is. The Bishop is still the overseer of a local Catholic Christian community which we now refer to as a Diocese. He is still ultimately responsible for the proper shepharding fo that Diocese. The priests and deacons under him are merely his assistants since the Dioceses now have so many members. The Bishops are the only ones who have the full level of ordination. The priests and deacons have lesser levels of ordination.

As for the OP, Liza’s link had an excellent bit to answer the question.

The Greek word bishop in the New Testament is translated pastor in English

Bishop comes from the Greek word episkopos (επίσκοπος, from επι “over” and σκοπος “seeing”) which can be translated bishop, overseer, superintendent, supervisor, the first, leader or foreman. From the word episkopos are derived the English words episcopacy, episcopate and episcopal. The system of church government by bishops is called episcopacy.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.