The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
Though Baptist traditionalists may lament the unorthodox new breed, they know their system of local autonomy prevents them from stopping the trend. If a pastor decides to take on the bishopric and his congregation goes along, outsiders - even Baptist leaders - can grumble and offer dissenting advice, but they cannot overrule the decision. The maverick pastors are taking on the bishop's mantle for varying reasons, in varying ways.
Riggins Earl, a theology professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center, which studies African American churches, believes many are caught up in "the celebrity culture" and aspire to be like televangelist-bishops such as T.D. Jakes and Eddie Long. "Bishop has a kind of ring of authority to it that many in this generation of leaders find highly exciting," Earl said. "It's a nationwide phenomenon in the black Baptist world."
Sometimes, these pastors only have a single church and a single congregation - yet they still call themselves bishops. For what point? It doesn't signify any great authority or any greater education. It's just a title, empty and meaningless because it doesn't communicate anything about the person that wasn't true before.