Just for what it’s worth as the UMC elects Bishops.
Wesley actually noted that Pastors were frequently called Bishops in the New Testament, suggesting no real distinction. (See his sermon “The Ministerial Office”)
More to the point — from a letter Wesley wrote to Francis Asbury (a self-proclaimed American Methodist Bishop):
But, in one point, my dear brother, I am a little afraid, both the Doctor [i.e. Thomas Coke – the other original American Methodist Bishop] and you differ from me. I study to be little; you study to be great. I creep; you strut along. I found a school: you a college! Nay, and call it after your own names! [i.e. Cokesbury College]
One instance of this, of your greatness, has given me great concern. How can you, how dare you, suffer yourself to be called BISHOP? I shudder, I start at the very thought! Men may call me a knave or a fool; a rascal, a scoundrel, and I am content: But they shall never, by my consent, call me Bishop! For my sake, for God’s sake, for Christ’s sake, put a full end to this! Let the Presbyterians do what they please, but let the Methodists know their calling better.
We certainly haven’t put a full end to this. What do you think? Would the UMC be better if we would stop electing Bishops?
Some other UMC posts:
John Wesley never heard of a traveling pastor
What does ordination mean?
Pastors’ salaries and church buildings
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