Vol.II No.VI Pg.6
July 1965

Is This Burnet Co. History?

Robert F. Turner

The following is taken from "HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH" by T.-p

Fisher p. 56, Read it carefully!


"The first three centuries witnessed the gradual growth of a hierarchical organization. In this, as in earlier Church arrangements, secular and political models had a large influence. The spread of the sacerdotal idea, and, along with it, the tendency to imitate the Jewish system, were not without a strong effect.

Country churches, formed under the auspices of a neighboring city church were affiliated with it, and had for their pastor a presbyter from the parent church, subject to its bishop.

Rural churches planted independently had, each of them, its own bishop. The country bishops, for a considerable time, kept up their independence; but most of these churches, before the beginning of the fourth century, were subordinated, like the class of rural churches first mentioned, to the neighboring city community.

Thus each city bishop had a jurisdiction covering the town and the vicinity. At first the clergy of the principle church in a town officiated in an appointed order, in the several places of worship. At a later day it became common to assign a presbyter to each of them as a permanent pastor, subject, of course, to the bishop of the town, whose special connection was with the principle church.

The bishop of the metropolis of each Roman province naturally acquired a precedence over other bishops within its limits. This was owing to the rank of the city, for, generally speaking, it was this consideration, more than any other, that determined the relative dignity of bishops. Another consideration was the fact that, not infrequently, from the provincial capital the gospel was planted in many other places.

The metropolitan arrangement was slow in being introduced in the West, because in that region the cities were comparatively few. The prerogatives of metropolitans were for a long time undefined. The theory of the equality and independence of bishops continued to be held, and on occasions was boldly asserted."


Note two things in particular! The tendency of large city churches to dominate country churches -- especially when the city church had something to do with the beginning of the other. The "mother" church conception, with her "mission points", had its beginning here -- not in the scriptures.

Second-- "the theory of equality and independence" continued to be held and- boldly asserted, long after independence was no longer a fact. It is so today! Burnet county preachers seek to cancel meetings of smaller country churches, and otherwise dictate their policies -- all the while asserting their belief in and adherence to "independent church" principles. Must we blindly repeat history? PLAIN TALK is our way of saying AWAKE all those who love the truth.