Berean Bible Church is presbyterian in its form of church government. In our case, this means that we are ruled by elders. We believe that the Bible emphasizes two important principles of church government: plurality and representative. Multiple elders are chosen by God and recognized by the congregation to represent the people. Our elders are responsible for the teaching, spiritual oversight, and discipline of individual members. We believe that elder rule is the form of government that best illustrates the principle that Yeshua Christ, alone, is the Head of His Church.
Defining our terms:
- ELDER (presbuteros)
- used 70 times in the New Testament. It refers to mature in age, it simply means an older man. Presbuteros is used 20 times in Acts and the Epistles in reference to leaders in the Church. Elders should be older men who are spiritually mature.
- BISHOP (episkopos)
- its basic meaning is overseer, guardian, used 5 times in the New Testament once of Christ, 1 Peter 2:25 and 4 other times to refer to Church leaders.
- PASTOR (poimen)
- translated pastor only once in the New Testament, Ephesians 4:11, normal meaning is shepherd which is to protect, feed, care for and lead.
Pastors are not distinct from Bishops and Elders; the terms are simply different ways of identifying the same people. Textual evidence indicates that all three terms refer to the same office.
- 1 Timothy 3:1 (NKJV) This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
- Titus 1:5 (NKJV) For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you;
- Titus 1:7 (NKJV) For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
- 1 Peter 5:1-2 (NKJV) The elders (presbuteros) who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd (poimaino) the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers (episkopeo), not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
- Peter instructs the Elders to be good Bishops as they Pastor.
Divine arrangement seen throughout the New Testament was for a plurality of elders appointed
in each church. Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17; 1 Peter 1:1;1 Peter 5:1.