Dr. John Gerstner believes that the Apostle Paul taught a Presbyterian form of church government.  He goes on to explain that an elder and a bishop are two ways of saying the same thing.  There is no difference between the two.


The Apostle Paul’s parting instructions to the elders of the church at Ephesus, as recorded in Acts 20:28-31:

Keep watch over yourselves, Keep watch over the flock

Of which the Holy Spirit has made you Guardians;

To feed the Church of the Lord Which He won for Himself by His own blood.

Savage wolves will come in among you; Therefore be alert.


The original audio was poorly recorded on substandard equipment. There were numerous irreparable problems with the original recording. I have done my best to improve and restore it using Sony Sound Forge software, but was unable to achieve the desired result.

My deepest apology if you have difficulty understanding the message.


Listen to the 3 minute abstract in favor of Presbyterianism:


For further study:

Francis Turretin (III, 201):

… because bishop and presbyter are everywhere in Scripture taken for one and the same (so that the difference is only in the name, not in the thing- bishop, with regard to his office and function; presbyter, with regard to his age and dignity), the same characters and the same functions are ascribed to both. The passages which prove this are various, but above the test are these: Paul, the Ephesian presbyters having been called out to him that he might bid them farewell, addresses them all under the name “bishops” (Acts 20:28). There were therefore in that church only presbyters and the same were bishops. “Take heed,” says he, “unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over that which the Lord hath made you bishop.” The apostle salutes all the saints living in Philippi, together with “the bishops and deacons” (Phil. 1:1), no mention being made of presbyters (whom he undoubtedly included in the name bishop), since indeed there never were many bishops in one church from the time that they had singular and special power over presbyters. Nor can it be doubted that there were various presbyters or pastors in it who presided over it. Thus he speaks of the various virtues of a bishop (1 Tim. 3:2), no mention being made of a presbyter. He would not by any means have omitted this if he had thought that they were distinct offices by divine right, since it is no less necessary that the qualities of a presbyter should be known than those of a bishop, so that it might be evident who should be called to that office. It is confirmed from Tit. 1:5, 7, where after saying that he had left Titus in Crete that he might ordain elders there in every city (presbyterous kata polin), he teaches what those presbyters ought to be, adding, “For a bishop must be blameless.” He would have said this without reason, unless in his opinion the same (whom he had before called presbyters) were also bishops. Here the Greek scholia remark that the presbyters are the same as ,bishops (presbyterous tous Episkopous kalei; cf. Biblia sacra cum glossa ordinaria [1617], 6:759-60 on Tit. 1:5). On this passage, Jerome excellently says, “A bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God. A presbyter therefore is the same with a bishop. Before, by the instigation of the Devil, there were parties in religion and it was said I am of Paul, I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, the churches were governed by the common consent of presbyters. But afterwards it was decreed : throughout the whole world that one chosen from the presbyters should be set I over the rest, to whom the whole care of the church should pertain that the [ seeds of schism might be plucked up” (Commentariorum in epistolam ad Titam [PL I 26.597] on Tit. 1:5). We will consider this passage more fully later. Here also I belong the passages in which presbyters are enumerated with apostles, no mention being made of bishops. No other reason can be given for this except that * presbyters were also bishops, who were included under the name of presbyters. Otherwise, if the bishops had already been constituted as a distinct order from the presbyters, why is no mention made of them? Why would Luke not have spoken rather of bishops, who held the superior grade, than of presbyters? Con-pwltthe passages: Acts 11:30; 14:23; 15:2, 6, 22, 23.



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