Saturday, April 09, 2005

Where's "the Pastor?"

Not in the Bible.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:165

Without looking, do you know how many times the word "pastor" can be found in the New Testament? How often do you hear the term, "the pastor" spoken among professing Christians? Where and how did and does this lone pastor, a type of CEO, and in too many cases, a dictator/ruler over the flock of God, derive his power? I challenge you to prove all things and see if the modern day pastor position is not biblically unsubstantiated and therefore unsound.

Do you know without looking? The word pastor, in singular form, is nowhere to be found in the New Testament. The word "pastor", singular, is found once in the Old. The word pastor is found only one time in the entire authorized version of the Holy Bible. Yet these days, as often as one is confronted with the term, you'd think that "the pastor" was the only office in the bible. With all due respect for the true gift of pastoring, we are inundated with man, woman and his or her dog either claiming they are or aspiring to be "the pastor."

Now, I thought that the word pastors (plural) was at least twice in the New. Not so, one time only is the word pastors, plural, found.

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Ephesians 4:11

And that is it. That is the only place one can find the word pastors in the New Testament.

I thought it was also here: "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." I Cor 12:28

Where is the pastor? He is not in the bible. Teachers are there. But you won't find what Christiandom today refers to: a lone, solo, priest prototype or the misused term , "the pastor." He's just not there.

Why is it then, that a word found one time in the entire New Testament has become seemingly the only and particularly the most exalted ministry in modern religious circles? What does it mean to say, "Reverend so and so assumed the pastorate?" That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.


And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. Luke 16:15 (King James Version)

So Jesus spoke to them: "You are masters at making yourselves look good in front of others, but God knows what's behind the appearance. What society sees and calls monumental, God sees through and calls monstrous. Luke 16:15 (The Message)


Could it be, that some, if not a vast amount of what we assume to be "just the way it is" is nothing less than false doctrine? Jesus said that some worship him in vain, teaching for commandments, the doctrines of men. Paul tells us "of your own selves" shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after themselves. Paul went on to say, "Therfore watch and remember that by the space of three years, I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears." Acts 20

For three years the beloved apostle ceased not to warn every true, Apostolic, born again of water and spirit, Christian. Night and day with tears he warned them that after his departing, men whom he described as grievous wolves would enter in, not sparing the flock, the Apostolic church of the Holy One of Israel.

Why is this so important you may say. Maybe you're content with your local church just the way it is. The bible says,

Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Psalms 119:104 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. Psalms 119:128

The lone pastor system is a false one. Anything we practice that can't be supported with scripture is a hindrance to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus bought the church with His own blood. The least we can do is strive to be what He paid for, for the sake of the saints and whosoever will.

Sincerely I pray,
Lori Ann in L.A.

4 Comments:

Blogger Scott said...

Lori,

Accidentally stumbled across this new blog (apparently, you've started many of them all at once) regarding the role of the pastor in today's church.

You state correctly when you mention the lack of word itself being used in the english bible. However, there is sufficient evidence to the contrary..

1 Timothy 3:1 NKJV
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a [b]bishop[/b],he desires a good work.

Bishop in the Greek was the word Episkope which translated is: Superintendence or oversight. Taking that verse into context, one reads further down....

1 Timothy 3:5 NKJV
(for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will [b]he take care of the church of God?);[/b]

The church in this verse refers to the Greek "ekklesia" or a Christian community of members.

Another Verse....

Acts 20:28 NKJV
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you [b]overseers,[/b] to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Paul was speaking to the Ephesian church leaders here and again, the Greek for 'overseers' is the work "Episkopos" which means "A Christian officer in charge of the church. A Bishop" (Which then goes back to top verse).

Many in the House Church movement which you evidently are a part of want to dismiss pastoral leadership as man's fleshly desire to rule over others when scripture clearly outlines that that is NOT the case. That is why many in house churches begin them; because our society has taught us to be individualistic and independent. True Christian Churches seek "interdependence" and "community" and with that comes some measure of "accountability" which is usually the sticking point for many. Everyone wants to interpret scripture their own way so as to be safe with their sin but in a church of committed believers who hold each other accountable, not even the pastor is immune to a good heart check and to make sure that we truly are working out our salvation with fear and trembling (phil. 2:12)

Pastoral leadership is scriptural and is found in the New Testament if one takes the diligence to do an exhaustive word study on the issue.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Lori Ann in L.A. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Lori Ann in L.A. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:46 AM  
Blogger Lori Ann in L.A. said...

Dear Scott,

Greetings of peace to you in the Name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace and Head of His Glorious Body, the Church!

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my little article.

I absolutely agree with you that pastoral leadership is scriptural! Please allow me to make clear, that I do indeed appreciate, thank God for and desire the true gifts of pastors in my life. Pastors are one of the Lord's gifts to His body.

At the same time, we simply can not support the hierarchy found in most sects today with scripture.(The Holy Bible)

The biblical pattern for local church government is a plurality of men, 2 groups of men who fulfill unique and essential needs in the body.

The first collegiant group, "elders", may be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers. The second group of men are "deacons" and are faithful helpers/servants. Elders and deacons are the two New Testament offices in the local church. An in depth word study reveals the terms elder/bishop/overseer to be interchangeable.

You mentioned accountability. Amen! For a local body to be clean and healthy, there must be accountability, for all. Biblical Eldership is the answer and allows church discipline to be carried out as Jesus instructed in Matthew 18.

Please see this link:
http://www.gloriouschurch.com/html/
Restoring-Eldership-To-Rightful-Place.asp

There is also a yahoo! group devoted to eldersship, which can be found at www.biblicaleldership.org

Elders and deacons are what we need to have a sound, New Testament assembly in every city, not seminarians, but biblically qualified and faithful men.

Sincerely I pray,
Lori Ann in L.A.

4:51 AM  

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