aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

dunamis kai exousia

We were talking about bishops last night, and I believe I shocked Scott and Kyle by saying that a United Methodist bishop has far more real power than a bishop in any of the liturgical Churches -- and then proceeded to explain that. Key to a UM bishop's clout is his right of appointment: he can say to the Rev. Joe Blow, "I want your sorry podex in Doodlesburg by next Sunday." And the Rev. Blow must pack up his nearest and dearest and change appointments, or drop out of the pastoral merry-go-round.

The Methodist episcopate, you see, was not modeled off some theory of what St. Peter was authorized to do -- it was modeled directly off the practical experience of how John Wesley actually behaved. John Wesley was far more in command of his band of followers than Simon Peter ever was of his. "I did not join you," he explained to his sometimes frustrated preachers, "you joined me." Imagine ol' Peter trying that one on St. Paul.

In this country, Francis Asbury did as John Wesley did in England. And despite many protests over many years, UM bishops have continued to wield the power of Mr. Wesley over the Connection. They may not have the pedigree of bishops in other Churches, but they sure got the power.

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