Episcopal vs. Presbyterian: Bishops vs. Presbyters
What exactly is the difference between an Episcopal church organization and a Presbyterian church organization? The essential difference is that between the offices of Bishop and Presbyter. In the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches, a Bishop is an ecclesiastical official who, through sacramental consecration, holds special powers in the ministry, and has special administrative powers. The English word "bishop" is a translation of the Greek word episkopos, which means "overseer." A presbyter does not hold such special office nor have such special powers. Presbyterian churches are less hierarchical in their organization than are Episcopal churches: the Presbyterian Church subscribes to Luther's idea of a "priesthood of all believers." The Presbyterian Minister is conceived of as a servant to the congregation rather than as a leader of the congregation. The English word "presbyter" is a translation of the Greek presbuteros, which means "elder."