COC #18: Local Churches Are Planted by, and Obedient to, the Hierarchy

The Christian ecclesial hierarchy is found even within the smallest local church (parish); every properly ordained priest (elder) is able to trace his pedigree back to the Apostles, and therefore Christ. Priests are ordained by their bishops; not all priests are bishops, but all bishops are priests—just as it is reflected in the New Testament.  

Every detailed ecclesial (governmental) description in the New Testament reflects the already-existing Catholic paradigm, and I will show you how your group’s best arguments fail to prove autonomous local church structures because they all presuppose the Catholic hierarchy. Your arguments are few, and so your best arguments are fewer. Edward Wharton’s book, The Church of Christ, with one and one half pages, presents what I have found to be your group’s most-used (indicative) and best arguments,14 all of which I will present to you, and I will show how a reasonable reading of his arguments’ scriptural material undermines your group’s forced conclusion.

         14 Wharton, 85-87.