Christianity--Church History/church history questions


1. According to canon law, all bishops and clergy are supposed to have a doctorate degree or some degree of some sort awarded by a seminary school. How is it that across the denominations, we have bishops and elders who have not went to seminary school?

2. If the churches want their doctrine to be spread throughout the world, why do they not train everyone on the level of a bishop?

3. Is it possible to join the church as a bishop? (All churches assume that all members are nothing more than laity.)

P.S.- Dr. Wesley, please, I beg you, please be brutally honest with me on these questions. After all, it is the ugly and brutal truth I am after! Amen!

1. In the past I wondered the same thing. Here is what I discovered:  There are actually several degree programs related to ministry and each has an intended audience and application. For the bishop, elder, or other position within the church many denominations educate folks within the particular church through in-house bible study and mentoring. Take a position as director of missions, there is a specific track of courses needed to bring a person up to speed on the needs and requirements of this vital ministry.  However, in strict biblical reference there is only mention of some staying in a certain area for a year or so before going into the world as evangelists.  There is no mention of a degree requirement. Only those of the Jewish faith attained the title "doctor of the law" but no mention of such a degree is mentioned for non-Jewish people.  The requirement for a degree came from the perceived need for some denominations to have degrees to compete with the world system.  Remember,the Apostles were chosen by Christ and some were probably unable to read and write.  The calling and the tutoring by the Holy Spirit are what is primarily emphasized.  Some of us choose to study the many facets of the biblical world along with other related subject areas.  It is true that churches today want their clergy to have a degree from a seminary or Christian University.  In addition many require a resume and or Curriculum Vitae (CV list of schools attended and class ranking) to be considered for a given ministry position.  In some cases this is because of denominational (doctrinal) teachings that are specific to that church.  What has happened, then, is an attempt by the church to evaluate ministry prospects using the standards of the world - not the Bible.  I am not certain when this became commonplace, but I know that it has been in place for  very long time.  I believe it primarily came from the general desire of the congregation to have a minister who could read and write and was educated enough to explain he Bible and guide others to its truths.  I have always believed that the only necessity was the calling and the endowment by the Holy Spirit.

3. Within certain denominations this is possible, however there is now a comm0nrequirement to prove a certain level of formal education and training. In some churches this is accomplished by the church elders through oral examination; in others documents must be presented with an oral examination sometimes also required. The church elders, chosen by the congregation, represent the interests of the congregation when it comes to determining if someone is sufficiently prepared to assume an advanced position within the church.  Basically they want to know if folks can do the job before they are given the responsibility.  In other churches it is strictly controlled and numerous steps must be completed before advancement or appointment to a position of leadership / authority.  The bottom line is that in general folks want to be sure the person(s) appointed such positions in the church are "qualified" or have had formal raining commensurate with the position.  
2. Some churches or organizations do this, and do it very effectively.  The average person in the congregation must study very hard, spend time away from church teaching and sharing the gospel, and attain to the level of understanding so they in turn can teach others.  Yes, it does happen within some of the churches, but is is not a common occurrence.  I think that for some of the larger church assemblies it is just nor feasible to elevate everyone to the same level of knowledge and understanding.  However, in the over 30 types of churches i have been honored to attend, Bible study is a standard part of the church experience starting with the youth.   One other reason is that to share the gospel message with the world only the minimum of training is required and it is more feasible (again) to concentrate that teaching on a select few. I do believe that study is something every Christin should do and should attempt to grow and learn as much as possible.  However we are told that many may be called for a given ministry, but few are chosen.  This is scriptural and clearly indicates that not all people are capable of attaining to such levels or capable of meeting the demands. But to be completely honest, there is no specific reason given except that it is the Holy Spirit that does the choosing.  So, in general, I try to encourage folks strive for formal study as well as study within the church. (continued)  

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Dr Wesley B Ley Rose


I can answer questions on: Biblical Studies, Biblical History, Church History, Early Christian History, Sociopolitical Background in the Early Church, Biblical Archeology, Biblical Theology, and some Greek


I did my field work in Israel, Egypt, Turkey, and Jordan while on active duty in the US Air Force during the period between 1989 to 2000. I served as a Chaplain in five theaters of war and spanning well over a decade. This afforded me the opportunity to view digs, museums and Universities where i was blessed by the staff and many graduate students. I also viewed many original manuscripts, me Archeologists, Anthropologists, and benefited from the direct teachings of Rabbi's and many learned individuals. UI have personally written almost three hundred commentaries, Essays, Treatise, and Theses. I founded my own School on Early Christian History and recently began the process to offer courses in Biblical Archeology. I teach at the local community colleges, churches, and community centers. I have authored seven books and still continue research and study. I recently received my Doctorate in Early Christian History through Scripture Institute.

Biblical Archeology Society, Paralyzed veterans of America, Habitat for Humanity, Christians with Disabilities, and many more Academic organization not to mention alumnus to many Universities throughout the world including the University of Cairo, University of Tel Aviv, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, King Fadd University, plus so many in the US and the pacific rim. many I just too a few courses, and some are honorary alumni status. Schools such as Cambridge, MIT, Stanford, University of Maryland, Appalachian State University, University of New Mexico, Empires State University, Clemson University, for Christian and Jewish Studies, and almost a dozen others. I have been attending college since 1977.

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I currently Hold two Doctorates in Theology and Divinity. Additionally i hold two separate master's in Biblical History-Biblical Studies, and Early Christian Studies. I'm also enrolled in salt lake Bible College as a Master's seeking a Masters in Christianity through the First 500Yyears. I have three Associate degrees in Electronic Engineering, Teaching, and Biblical Archeology. i was a Communications Engineer and worked in that field along with my Chaplianship; I received a field ordination in Kuwait by the US ARMY, yes the US Army. It's a very long story. Essentially I served in both branches for over five years; officially on loan to the Army when needed.

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Aside from Military Educational Awards and others, I have been entered into the National Archives, American Honor Society, Who's Who, and National Award of Academic Achievement, Distinguished Graduate Air Force Academy, Magna Cum in all of my Master's Degrees.

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I have been a ghost writer for several ministers/evangelists; Trinity International Christian Consultants, Christian Book Reviews, etc, etc

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