Hello, below are answers to questions I'm occasionally asked.
What is Your Denomination?
Answer: I'm a missionary bishop and priest serving with the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (CEEC). The CEEC is an evangelical, charismatic, and sacramental worldwide Christian Communion. We will work with anyone, who will work with us, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus and advance the kingdom of God.
What's the Difference Between a Priest and Pastor?
Answer: "Pastor" literally means "shepherd". "Priest" is an old English word for "presbyter" or "elder". Priests are ordained in historic apostolic succession: The historic unbroken connection with Christ and His Apostles, by the “laying-on of hands”- (Acts 6:6, 1 Timothy 5:22) transferring Christ’s Apostolic authority and ministry from Jesus Himself, through His succeeding Overseers (bishops) of every proceeding generation, up until our current day.
In the CEEC we recognize the “gift” of apostolic succession to the Church, and are celebrants of this ancient tradition (not doctrine), followed by our brothers and sisters of the past. Together, we are a part of a universal "Communion of Saints" (past and present followers of Jesus) united in God through Jesus Christ.
My ministry role has me functioning in the role of a missionary bishop and priest, rather than the contemporary designation of "pastor". As such, my focus is on proclaiming the Good News of Jesus and reaching the lost, promoting generational revival, equipping followers of Jesus to extend the Kingdom of God into our post-Christian society, and working across denominational lines in visible unity in Christ.
You are referred to as "Father". Didn't Jesus Say, in Matthew 23:8-12, Not to Call Anyone "father"?
Answer: A thoughtful exegesis, with analysis of the New Testament Greek language, of Matthew 23 reveals that Jesus is using hyperbole to elucidate a spiritual truth that his disciples were not to behave like the hypocritical and pretentious Pharisees. If we were to take Jesus' words as completely wooden and concretely literal, without recognizing the pharisaical context of all of chapter 23 and the hyperbolic nature of the admonition, then we could not call our biological fathers- "Father". Neither could we call our teachers- "Teacher", and neither could we call anyone "doctor" because "doctor is a Latin word meaning "teacher". Clearly, this is not what Jesus had in mind.
Remember, Paul repeatedly called Timothy his "son" and "my child" (1 Tim. 1:2, 2 Tim. 1:2,). Paul called both Titus and Onesimus his "child" (Tit. 1:4, Phm. 10). Peter called "John Mark his "son" (1 Pet. 5:13). John and Paul called their readers "my little children" (Gal. 4:19, 1 Jn. 2:1). Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers: "for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” (1 Cor. 4:14–15).
Today, Evangelical Protestant scholars call the successors of the Apostles "The Ante-Nicene Fathers". These same Evangelical Protestant scholars call the ancient Church monastics "The Desert Fathers". In fact, the ancient Church widely accepted and used the affectionate title of "Father"/"Abba" for their bishops/overseers and elders/priests. Thus, the attribution of "Father/Abba" best described the role of these ancient servant leaders. They understood no injunction by Jesus, or the Apostles, with the designation of "Father" when referring to their bishops and elders/priests as spiritual "fathers".
Lastly, calling a priest "father" needs to be understood as an endearing designation for someone who is a pastoral servant leader and a loving spiritual mentor, rather than a designation for someone with ecclesiastical control and power.
With that said, all are welcome to refer to me as "Bishop Jon", "Pastor Jon", or "Jon".
Are You Part of The Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA)?
Answer: I serve with the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (CEEC). The CEEC has never been a part of the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA). The CEEC is "episcopal" because we practice the historic episcopacy: A relational leadership structure of bishops/overseers. The CEEC is not well known in the western world. Most of our deacons, priests, and bishops are in the developing world.
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Please contact me if you have other questions.