Polis. It’s the Greek word for city. You’ve seen it in English before, in words like metropolis. It’s from this word that we also derive our English word, polity. When applied to the church, polity refers to the structure and governance of the church. We have been surveying the landscape of church polity with an eye toward understanding our own polity as Presbyterians. Last week we considered Congregationalism and the week before that, Erastianism. This week we consider the Episcopalian form of government.
If numbers are the determining factor for which polity is correct, Episcopal polity would win easily. Episcopal polity by far represents the largest number of Christians living today. Aside from the obvious church that is structured along these lines—Episcopal/Anglican—the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, and some independent churches are all structured along Episcopal lines.
Episcopal comes from the Greek … Read More »