pastor - teacher - evangelist

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by agedman, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. agedman

    agedman
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    Three questions for the forum folk.

    First: Do the Scriptures lump the pastor - teacher as a single gift?

    Second: As a Baptist, I was taught that the pastor was the elder. That there were only two biblical offices of the church the pastor/elder and deacons. What is the real scriptural proof of a division of "labor" separating pastor and elder(s) into two different political units?

    The last question has to do with the parameters of leadership qualifications: It is historically accurate that in the SBC some "fallen" pastors became evangelists or home missionaries. In the IFB, the fallen were merely conveniently moved to a different location that some powerful "man of god" would scheme. What Scripture qualifications should a man have to be an evangelist, or missionary? I suppose the question revolves around - would you support someone who is known to have moral failure(s) and give money and support meetings held by that person?
     
  2. glfredrick

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    I only have time to deal with one of your issues right now -- elders.

    The term elder is used synonomously in the NT with pastor. In the Greek, the terms pastor, shepherd, and elder are interchanged, sometimes within the same passage.

    The issue seems to come when we start differentiating the two as separate offices. They are not. Another issue that is just as problematic is when in that differentiation we suggest that there is but one "pastor" but either multile or no elders. The NT virtually always demonstrates a plurality of elders in the local church. The only times a singular expression of elder takes place is when one of the writers is addressing a single individual, but to take those examples and they make a doctrine that stipulates ALWAYS a singular elder/pastor is in error, for the larger picture is always a plurality of elders (especially when examined in the Greek, where plurality is very certain, unlike English where we have to add things to say so).
     
  3. Jerome

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    SBTS's Greg Wills, "The Church: Baptists and Their Churches in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries":

    "Most churches agreed with Georgia’s Powelton Baptist Church, whose members concluded in 1811 that lay elders were "unnecessary and not sufficiently warranted in scripture." Many of these held that the pastor and deacons jointly constituted the eldership. South Carolina’s Tyger River Baptist Association, for example, judged in 1835 that "the eldership of the church" consisted of "the ministers and deacons."



    Shaftsbury Baptist Association, 1804 Circular Letter:

    "It appears to us that Bishops, or teaching Elders and Deacons, are the only standing officers to be ordained in the Church. These are both called Elders, 1 Timothy 5:17. . . .By these Elders, we understand Bishops and Deacons; and we have not learned from the scriptures, but that these two are the only officers to be ordained in the Christian Church."



    American Baptist Magazine, 1829:

    "The term elder was, probably, a general term equivalent to our word officer; and thus it could be applied to a pastor, or to a deacon ; and the elders of a church included the pastor or pastors and the deacons."



    The Sword and Trowel, 1866:

    "the term elder is applied both to bishops and deacons"
     
    #3 Jerome, Nov 29, 2011
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  4. Herald

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    Yes. Ephesians 4:11 seems to indicate that pastor and teacher is the same office.

    There is no scriptural proof separating the two. Pastors and elders are essentially the same position. In Baptist churches it is customary to have a pastor(s). Some churches have pastor/elder and deacons; some only pastor and deacons. Pastor/elder is the office of the church entrusted with preaching/teaching. Deacons are the office of the church charged with the physical needs of the body.

    It depends what you mean by "moral failures." Every sin is a moral failure. We wrongly conclude that lying, for instance, is not a moral failure; whereas adultery is. All sin is immoral. It is elevating self over God. That is immoral at its core. On that basis no one would be able to minister before God.

    So, what about some of the more heinous sins of our day? Sins dealing with sexual immorality or criminal behavior bring discredit, not just to the individual, but to the entire body. Christ's reputation is impeccable, but in the eyes of the world, it is damaged when a church does not take action against an offending minister. In most cases it is best for the offender if he is restored as a brother in Christ. Let him recover through the graces of the Church, but let him not seek to be bent on leading others.

    Spurgeon wrote:

     
  5. Jerome

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    And here's how that works when you're high up in the Young Restless Reformed conference circuit LOL:

    Mohler Foresees Quick Return to Power for Disgraced Mahaney

     
  6. 12strings

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  7. glfredrick

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    The problem with that scenario is that it COMPLETELY dismisses the fact that Scripture deals separately with elders and deacons and that one is not the same office as the other. It is possible for a deacon to be an elder, or an elder to be a deacon, but it is not automatic and the two terms are not synonomous in Scripture as are the three terms (poimen, episcopas, preysbuterous) used interchangably for pastor/elder. Hence, most Baptist churches distinguish between the two offices, pastor -- deacon.

    Further, the issue of pay is meaningless. One may be paid or not and yet be either a pastor/elder or deacon. Simply, the laborer is worthy of a salary, but it is not required (c.f., Apostle Paul).
     
    #7 glfredrick, Nov 29, 2011
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  8. Jerome

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    No passage of scripture contrasts elders and deacons.

    It is either bishop(s) and deacons, or the collective elders.



    Seeing as you "have done graduate and beyond work in church and Baptist history" I'm sure you are familiar with these eminent Baptists:


    William Rider, Laying on of Hands Asserted, 1656:

    "in the word Elders is comprehended all officers in the Church, with the Ministerial work also, . . . and so Elders is distinguished into several offices in the Church, as Bishops and Deacons . . . . Philip. 1.1 vers. where the Apostle writeth to the Saints, with the Bishops and Deacons: so Paul to Timothy writes of the qualifications of the Bishops and Deacons ; not Elders and Deacons ; you shall never in all the Scripture find Elders and Deacons expressed."



    Benjamin Keach, Gospel Mysteries Unveil'd [1701]:

    "Moreover, the Deacons are to be helps in Government. Some think Paul calls the Deacons Elders, when he speaks of Elders that rule well [I Tim. 5:17] (as our Annotators observe)"
     
    #8 Jerome, Nov 29, 2011
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  9. glfredrick

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    I think I said that...

    But you cannot get away from the pastoral epistles where elders/pastors and deacons are treated separately. Proof text is not needed to see that...
     
  10. agedman

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    I understand what statements the responses have made – it is as I have from my youth been taught. But is it right?

    I can see, in the construct of the Old Testament and the gospels, that as the priests (in particular the Sanhedrin body that seemed generally made up of the elder group of priests) were considered the spiritual leaders that tradition flowed into the New Testament church. That is that a wise elderly preacher or preachers was/were the final authority in the spiritual and political realm of the church. I also think the balance of the New Testament can withstand that view.

    However, the actual meaning of elder in both old and New Testament is merely "old."

    The use of the word pastor comes from one who shepherded the flock (used once I believe in Jeremiah) and then preacher (used only a few times in the new testament) meaning someone who proclaims the gospel.

    So, to interchange the two seems a bit problematic. A young preacher is certainly not qualified to be an elder for he is not old. Also, Paul refers to women who are elders (same exact word used for men) – meaning old and presumably wise. Besides, any good Sunday School teacher knows that they are many times more of a shepherd to especially the children than the formally paid pastor(s). Does not the actual meaning of the Hebrew and Greek indicate that the term elder is not a gender specific service, and inclusive of any who proclaim the gospel?

    Is it possible that the political hierarchy of corrupt bishops in the “established” church, particularly as viewed by the generations of Baptists who contended for the faith in their day, was so hurtful to them that they rejected all “divisions of the authority” and instead wrongfully set the local pastor(s) as the final authority of both bishop and elder?

    Is it also possible that the excesses and hurt by “pastoral authority” would not have been so damaging to the local church had each congregation chosen, as is biblically correct, a recognized group of the wise and old who would oversee the spiritual health of the local body just as the deacons were to oversee the physical needs?
     
  11. Jerome

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    It is CERTAIN that many Baptist churches have rejected biblical congregationalism in favor of monarchical ("exalted Pastor") or oligarchical ("plurality of Elders") schemes.
     
  12. 12strings

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    I looked up 1 tim. 5:17, and could not see from the context that it was referring to a collective group of pastors and deacons...it just says elders.

    If in fact the term elder in the NT is only refering to "older" people, then perhaps it is good that most Baptist churches don't use the term to describe their leadership offices at all.
     
  13. Jerome

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    Yes-the whole congregation should be participating in discipleship.

    Yes, you need those who will devote themselves wholly to the ministry of the word. Yes, you need those who will minister to the spiritual and physical needs of the congregation.

    A church's officers-bishop(s) and deacons-must be spiritually mature saints.
    But there are (or should be!) other mature saints watching over/encouraging spiritual growth in others:

    I Peter 5
    So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
     
  14. glfredrick

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    Not exactly... There is nothing inherent in the concept of either a senior pastor or a plurality of elders -- or even in the more typical Baptist deacon board -- that insists that we forego a congregational polity.

    Typically, a congregational vote is required for certain elements of church life. Approval of the budget, approval of church offiicers, taking out a note, expanding or building, etc. What often is set aside is the daily operataion of the church, such as voting on every last little item by the congregation in monthly business meetings (that are often more contentious than ministry related).

    I have been a part of three Baptist churches that used a plurality of elders instead of a single senior pastor model. In no case was the congregational aspect of the congregation set aside. In our most recent church (Sojourn in Louisville) there were over 20 pastor/elders, and that was not near enough to handle the flock of 2600+. The elders, in that case, were assisted by other leaders who led others yet. Elders had various roles, with a congregational leader/pastor, overseer of home groups, overseer of outreach ministry, overseer of social ministry, and overseer of youth, children, worship, etc. Each had others under them who assisted with the work, and in the case of the home groups, acted as pastoral staff of 10s, 100s, and 1000s, in the model offered to us by Moses and Jethro. It worked VERY well and seldom did members drop through the cracks for lack of pastoral leadership.

    We also had a pastor's school, where new potential leaders began their training. Even if a man had a seminary degree, he would need to be a part of the pastor's school before moving into the ranks of actual eldership in the church. We took seriously the admonition about untrained young men leading the flock. Many of our pastors were young in age, but not in ministry experience. They were well-trained and experienced in the ministry. By the way, I disagree with the statement above that "elder" always and only measn "old." Like many biblical words, that is one usage, but not the complete picture. If that were true, no pastor could ever get a start anywhere without violating a biblical concept and being in abject sin right from the gate. I doubt that is what God had in mind, expecially as we see Paul counseling a young Timothy, who was already considered an elder/pastor, or perhaps also John-Mark, likewise.

    Only a small congregation that runs less than 100 can even consider a single pastor and get away with that concept. All others have some other form of pastoral leadership or a strong deacon board that substitutes for that pastoral leadership in order to minister to the flock.
     
  15. Jerome

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    Chapter 3 distinguishes the offices of bishop and deacon.
    No scripture passage speaks of elders and deacons.
    It is either bishop(s) and deacons (as in Philippians 1:1) or, broadly, elders.


    Not chronologically older but the spiritually mature. From which church officers are chosen.
     
  16. The Archangel

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    This is incorrect. In the Old Testament, the Elders and Priests were two different groups. Israel had its priesthood scattered throughout the Commonwealth. However, each tribe--it seems--had its elders. Also, all of Israel (the nation as a whole) is said to have elders.

    It may be that tradition flowed from Israel into the church, but not in the way you describe.

    This also is incorrect.

    There is more than one word for "elder." If you are talking about an "older brother" or an "older sister" you'd typically use the word גדול (gadol, meaning "great").

    But, when we see the concept of elder as leader we see a different word זקן (zaqen, meaning, among other things, "old" or "aged"). Another commonly used meaning of zaqen applies to one who is a leader in religious and social matters.

    We see this usage in a number of places including Numbers 11:16:
    Then the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. (ESV; emphasis mine)
    Now, in this passage the Hebrew word used is zaqen, the fully inflected form is:זִקְנֵי Now, it is clear from this passage that God is not calling for the old guys. Rather, He is obviously calling for a representative group out of the elders who are already known to be "officers" of the nation.

    What is more, when we look at the LXX (the Septuagint), we see that the word zaqen is translated as πρεσβύτερος--the very word in the New Testament for "elder."

    Your statements about a young preacher not being qualified to be an elder based on age are incorrect (see above).

    Secondly, and much more emphatically, Paul never uses the word "elder" to refer to a woman. In the New Testament we never see the feminine form of the word in a context relating to the office of elder. Though we do see the feminine form in 1 Timothy 5:2 referring to older women--but, again, it is not referring to the office of elder and the context makes that quite clear. And, no, it is not the "same, exact word." The inflected form of the word accounts for gender and changes the spelling, etc.

    Elder is, very much, a gender-specific service...because we never see the feminine form of the word used to refer to the office.

    As a general statement, let me summarize: We see in the New Testament the words elder (presbuteros and episkopos) used interchangeably with pastor.

    Now, did the Roman Catholic Church corrupt the understanding of these words? Sure. Were they, likely, seeking to control the local churches? Probably.

    But, remember, in the New Testament we see a plurality of elders and we see congregation rule. 1 Corinthians shows this very clearly.

    So, the biblical model is that there is a plurality of elders (male-only) to take spiritual care of the flock, there are deacons (both genders) to take physical care of the flock, and the congregation is the court of first and final appeal.

    This idea, in a bizarre way, is still seen in most Baptist churches today--we have deacons (male-only) who act as elders. So the model, for the most part, is still there, it's just that the labeling and some of the proper understanding has been forgotten.

    The Archangel
     
  17. glfredrick

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  18. convicted1

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    The ORBs and UBs use the title Elder for their ordained ministers(I being one as well). Only Elders can be Moderators/Pastors. However, I am not a Mod or Assistant Mod., just an ordained Elder. So, one doesn't have to be a Pastor to be an Elder, but one must be an Elder, to be a Pastor.
     
  19. agedman

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    I would agree with most of what you posted, however I am not in agreement about the use of the word zagen as you posted.

    I don't have time to drag out this conversation but will point out that the word is used in the Old Testament over 170 times in the KJV to mean:
    aged, ancient man, eldest, old man, old women.

    The New Testament does not change the meaning.

    In NO case is it used to indicate merely a young man given the responsibility of leadership by a certain tribe.

    I really think that frequency would put to light anything dealing with the spiritual and physical age requirements of the use of the term elder.

    But you can disagree.
     
  20. convicted1

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    1 Tim. 4:12-16
    12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

    13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

    14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

    15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

    16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.


    Sure looks like Timothy was a young "whippersnapper" and also a Pastor.
     

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