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Credentialing

The consecration to the Office of Bishop is the recognition by the International Communion of Charismatic Churches of those men or women who have been duly called and anointed of God to minister to the Body of Christ at large in the capacity of "Overseers" of churches and/or ministries. These, by nature of their previous callings, experiences and ordinations as members of the Five-Fold Equipping Ministries, have demonstrated the wisdom and counsel of God to function in this role. Thus, a Bishop must first be an ordained Christian minister of the Gospel with the fruit of his or her ministry evident to all.

 

A Brief History of the Episcopacy

The Office of the Bishop in modern times is a post early-church ecclesiastical role different from  the context as seen in scripture. In Scripture, a Bishop (episkopos) refers to the requirement of caring, giving oversight and guarding Christ's Church from those who would ravage the flock of God (Acts 20:28-30). An Elder (presbuteros) refers to the requirement of seasoned experience and longevity of years, and/or walk with Christ, who give leadership and stability to local congregations. Both terms "bishop" and "elder" are used interchangeably in the Bible and refer to the same office by describing the different characteristics of that office (Titus 1:5-9). In addition, 1 Peter 5:1-2 and Acts 20:17, 28 use both terms along with the function of shepherding the flock of God. Therefore it can be properly assumed that pastor, elder and bishop are synonymous terms that refer to the work of the same person who cares for God's church.

 

However, as the early church grew beyond the Mediterranean region it required the work of "Bishop/Elder/Pastors" to oversee Christian Churches in different geographic locations of the world. Thus the need for regional oversight developed into an ecclesiastical office in the world-wide church. Throughout history, that office of servanthood became associated with pageantry, ceremonial honors and ornate vestments. These were carryovers from the Old Testament priesthood and political rulers of nations who reigned over hierarchal empires. Though the majority of bishops in ecclesiastical churches function with Christ-like humility and godly wisdom without lording over those allotted to their charge, it is essential that the person who serves as a bishop should never lose sight of the simplicity of the role as outlined in Scripture.

 

The ICCC, through and by its College of Bishops and counsels, has the right to consecrate individuals to the Office of the Bishop. Therefore, we must be diligent to properly define the work of the Bishop. Bishops in Christ's Church are humble servants whose credentials for their office are evident by the undeniable wisdom, gifts and spiritual authority that God has given them rather than by public show, elaborate vestments, places of honor, respectful titles and hierarchal authority. A Bishop tenaciously holds to the validity of Scripture and to the great Creeds of the Christian Faith. A Bishop is called to guard the faith, to promote the unity and discipline of the church, and to be in all things a faithful pastor and a wholesome example for the entire flock of Christ. A Bishop is merciful to all, showing compassion to the poor and strangers, and defending those who have no helper. A Bishop shares with his and her fellow Bishops in the governance of the whole church. Simply stated, a Bishop is a pastor to pastors.

Contact Info:

P.O. Box 831
Quincy, IL 62301
Phone: (217) 221-1194
Email:  iccc.reformation@gmail.com

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