In From Apostles to Bishops: The Development of Episcopacy in the Early Church Father Francis A. Sullivan, S.J. presents what seems to be a solid argument in favor of episcopacy. His conclusions come at the end of an extensive study which argues that the 3-fold ministry of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons is not found in the New Testament. But, as a good Roman Catholic, he must have some reason for accepting the later episcopal development. His theological argumentation for episcopal government is as follows:
1. The post-New Testament development is consistent with the development that took place during the New Testament period.
2. The episcopate provided the instrument that the post-New Testament Church needed to maintain its unity and orthodoxy in the face of the dangers of schism and heresy threatening it.
3. The Christian faith recognized the bishops as the successors to the apostles in teaching authority. The reception of the bishop’s teaching as normative for faith is analogous to the reception of certain christian writings as canonical and normative for faith. The Holy Spirit guided the Church in determining both norms, for error about the norms would have led to untold errors in faith. (225)