Pastors

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by steaver, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. steaver

    steaver
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    I brought this up in another thread off topic so I would like to open this new thread.

    Does the scriptures teach that a congregation is to have a single authority ( one Pastor) ?

    Should there be several pastors just as there are teachers, preachers and many disciples with varying gifts?

    Should the congregation be governed by a body of bishops, elders and deacons alone, without a "head pastor" ?

    Is a one pastor authority or a "head pastor" taught in the scriptures?

    Eliyahu posted the following response and I am wondering how others understand the NT teaching about pastors....

    God Bless! :thumbs:
     
  2. DHK

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    What is the Greek word for "office?"
     
  3. drfuss

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    Here is a good article on the plurality of elders:

    http:www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=414.

    The N.T. does not say "obey him who has the rule over you", it says 'Obey those who have the rule over you". It is always plural.

    Of course, it is always in the context of the leaders doing good and what is beneficial to the church.
     
  4. bmerr

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    steaver,

    bmerr here. No sir, they don't.

    I have stated before that "pastor" and "elder" were the same. Eliyahu said different, and I think he's right, having looked into it a bit more.

    Here's what Strong's had for "pastors":

    G4166
    ποιμήν
    poimēn
    poy-mane'
    Of uncertain affinity; a shepherd (literally or figuratively): - shepherd, pastor.

    And here's what is given for "elders"

    G4245
    πρεσβύτερος
    presbuteros
    pres-boo'-ter-os
    Comparative of πρέσβυς presbus (elderly); older; as noun, a senior; specifically an Israelite Sanhedrist (also figuratively, member of the celestial council) or Christian "presbyter": - elder (-est), old.

    Eph 4:11 is the only place where "pastors" is found, and it seems to be, as Eli said, in the context of the miraculous spiritual gifts present in the early chruch.

    The term "elders" is used 14 times in the context of the NT church, by far the most common term for those who oversee the churches.

    Each congregation is to be overseen by a plurality of elders when there are qualified men available. I have heard of situations in which there were men who seemed to be qualified who did not desire the work. The reverse of this has also happened.

    Bishops and elders are the same thing. Deacons do not have any authority, but tend to duties assigned them by the elders. There is no Biblical authority for a "head pastor".

    No. The "one pastor" or "head pastor" organizational structure used in most denominations seems to be a leftover from the RCC system, which seems to be based on the heirarchal governmental system of the old Roman Empire. As with many other things in denominationalism, there is no Divine authority for it.

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  5. Hope of Glory

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    "Pastor" is a gift, not an office, although in English, we use it to refer to an office.

    And as far as "preacher", any Bible teacher, whether speaking from the pulpit, teaching Sunday school, or leading a home Bible study, if they're not preaching, they're not doing their responsibility.
     
  6. Lagardo

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    For clarity, are you saying that pastor is a gift, preaching is an action, then the office is what? elder?
     
  7. Agnus_Dei

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    bmerr
    Not to hijack this thread, but I must comment on your statment. Actually the RC system has nothing to do with the hierarchal government system of the old Roman Empire, but everything to do with the old Jewish monarchy government system.

    If you’ll recall the Old Testament is full of kings and stewards and yes, there was a hierarchal system in place. Isaiah 22:20-25 is a good reference of a delegated office under the king in the Jewish monarchy and is a historical situation in the kingdom of Judah.

    Catholics use Isaiah 22 in relation to Matthew 16 and the Papacy, b/c Jesus as King is planning and establishing His new eternal kingdom. The model Christ will use is what most every Jew knew…their own history in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Jesus in Matthew 16 was using words and a context that would have corresponded to what they knew…which was their own history…this is called cultural literacy. The keys we read in both Isaiah 22 and Matthew 16 of the kingdom meant royal authority delegated by the king. Not only was this delegated authority, but successive authority. So when one steward dies another takes his place.

    Granted this is all political stuff, but it is eternal. This earthly political situation gives us a visual trajectory for the spiritual political situation. Jesus is King. He has an eternal kingdom. This kingdom will resemble what the Jews already know b/c what Jesus is founding is not a democracy, but a kingdom and from the OT we see kingdoms have stewards and the stewards of this kingdom will began with, as Catholics believe, with Peter.

    This is an example where one should read Matthew 16 in a first century Jewish context with a Hebrew mindset.

    -
     
  8. billwald

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    It is human nature to look to one person as the leader in every group. The Plymouth Brethern, who won't even admit being a denomination, claim to have no pastors but go to a meeting for a month and one knows who the pastor is.
     
  9. DHK

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    Elder is the same as a pastor. A pastor is an elder; it just describes a different function or duty other than that of shepherding. I challenge anyone to find the word "office" in the Greek.
     
  10. ktn4eg

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    Personally, I believe that it is not necessarily a biblical command (i.e., that it is per se a sin) for a local church to just have one person as an elder/pastor. It's possible that a very small church may not have any other men who are called to preach/pastor other than the one man who is currently fulfilling that position in that small church.

    OTOH, I definitely believe it is the scriptural pattern--as opposed to a "command"--for a local congregation to have as its goal to have more than one elder.

    Our sinful human nature sometimes has a tendency to assume more authority or power than it perhaps ought to, and I believe it would show wisdom for a local congregation to have as its goal to have a plurality of elders/pastors with no single person being considered the "head" [since Jesus IS the head (or at least He should be) of every local congregation] or "boss."

    This is what I believe, and I am thankful that the church of which I'm a member has such a plurality of elders on its staff.
     
  11. Hope of Glory

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    Biblically, you won't find "pastor" as an office. There are elders and overseers. Also, it seems that it is left up to the individual assemblies to choose the format. Appointed, elected, etc.

    As far as a pastor in the way we refer to it in English, I think that's fine biblically, but we tend to confuse the gift with the office, and as DHK has pointed out, there's no such "office" in Scriptures.

    But, every Bible teacher needs to be preaching.
     
  12. DHK

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    I don't believe it is a "gift" per se. To be a pastor of a church, as we know it today involves many gifts. It is a calling. Just as the Lord called me to be a missionary, men are called to be pastors, evangelists, teachers, and into various aspects of the Lord's work. We are called to do His work.

    Within the calling of a pastor there are many gifts, and most pastors don't have them all. Some are gifted at preaching and teaching, but not very well gifted at administration. Some are gifted with the very aspect of shepherding the flock and counselling. Others are tremendous theologians and teachers. Every person seems to have one or more areas where they are weak. No man is perfect. For example if I am weak in adminstration I will surround myself with men who are strong in that area and delegate that area of my responsibility to them. If my forte is preaching, then I must make sure that my preaching includes teaching no matter how well I can preach a message.
    We are equipped with different gifts. We are all different and unique. God made us that way. Thus each of our ministries are unique. We must compensate in our churches where we are weak.

    The calling of a Pastor involves many gifts.
     
  13. drfuss

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    DHK writes:
    "Within the calling of a pastor there are many gifts, and most pastors don't have them all. Some are gifted at preaching and teaching, but not very well gifted at administration. Some are gifted with the very aspect of shepherding the flock and counselling. Others are tremendous theologians and teachers. Every person seems to have one or more areas where they are weak. No man is perfect. For example if I am weak in adminstration I will surround myself with men who are strong in that area and delegate that area of my responsibility to them. If my forte is preaching, then I must make sure that my preaching includes teaching no matter how well I can preach a message.
    We are equipped with different gifts. We are all different and unique. God made us that way. Thus each of our ministries are unique. We must compensate in our churches where we are weak."

    I agree. Pastors should surround themselves with people that are strong in areas where the pastor is weak. This provides a balanced ministry for the church

    However, many insecure pastors do just the opposite for fear that they will be upstaged by people who are more talented in areas that the pastor is weak in. Of course, this can lead to other problems because people are not being fed a balanced Christian diet.
     
  14. FriendofSpurgeon

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    Good point. That is why in Presbyterian churches, the congregation is governed by ruling Elders (plural). Yes, we have senior pastors, associate pastors, youth pastors, etc., but the ruling body of the church are the Elders. Also, these are separate from Deacons whose ministries are vastly different - as described by Scripture.
     
  15. steaver

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    I was raised going to a Methodist church. My mother and father still go there and I have aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who still go there. I also have all of these who go to a Presbyterian church as well. I know these people personally. Many are appointed elders and deacons, yet they are very far from being biblically quallified for these positions. I have an uncle and his son who run a small garage. They both hold these positions in their church and hanging in their place of business you will find the half nude tool calenders and they always are quick to tell a joke or two about the black folks, of course they do not call them blacks.

    My point is why do these churches, at least the ones in my area, give these postions to just about anyone who will agree to take it? The Methodist and Presbyterian churches in my area are so far from the bible that I cannot bring myself to even visit their assemblies any more. It is just so sad. All I see in them is power struggles and a hunger for top positions so they may look like someone in the community. Is this wide spread or is it just central Pa? You should visit their meetings, Jesus Christ is not invited!

    God Bless!
     
  16. Hope of Glory

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    This is part of being a pastor-teacher.

    An example in the secular world is the president. A truly gifted president is gifted not because he's so smart, but because he surrounds himself with those who are experts in particular areas.

    This can be applied to many areas.

    However, Ephesians 4 lists several gifts that he gave, and pastor-teacher is one of those gifts.

    That does not preclude being "gifted" in different areas.
     
  17. FriendofSpurgeon

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    I cannot answer for the churches in your area. As you may know, there are different Presbyterian denominations and even within the same denomination, the churches can vary significantly.

    I do know that at our church, the candidates for elder must complete a study on doctrine, including elder responsibilities. In addition, I think the current session (body of elders) approves all of the candidates - and confirms that they meet the Scriptural standards.

    Also before the election, the church body is reminded of these standards and are given a brief biographical sketch of the person.

    Note - this also happens for Decon nominees as well.


     
  18. Eliyahu

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    My study on this issue may be posted on several occasions as they are a little lengthy.

    1. Is the word for Office found in the Bible?
    It is not in a separate form of word, and there is no such word itself but in the form of a derivative form by conjugation and the contexts support this distinction.


    a. Overseers ( Bishops)

    Acts 1:20 – Επισκοπην translated into Bishop-Rick ( Strong 1984)
    1 Tim 3:1 – Επισκοπης Office of a Bishop

    The Bishop or the Overseer was always Επισκοπος ( Strong 1985)

    These are shown in Acts 20:28, Phil 1:1, 1 Tim 3:2, 1 Peter 2:25


    b. the Deacons, we find only one case of Office of Deacon mentioned in NT, which is in 1 Tim 3:10, but in that case, the Greek word was originally a verb διακονεω.

    If it happened to be the word for Office of Deacon, it would have been as follows:

    Διακονια – Office of Deacon -

    Διακονος - Deacon


    In other words, there are words for Office of each Job title at the church, which are only Overseer and Deacon.


    2. Are the Overseers and Elders different or the same?


    Both of them are the same. We can confirm this from the following contexts:


    17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church
    18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,

    28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

    30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.




    This can be proven from Titus 1:5-9 as well, because

    Titus 1:5-9 tells us:

    5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
    6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, F3 sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as F4 he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers
    From this passage, we confirm 2 things, Paul ask Titus to Ordain Elders ( v 5), then states the qualification of Bishop ( Overseer), which equalizes the Elder with the Overseer.


    Another point is that the qualification mentioned in Titus 1:5-9 is more or less the same as in 1 Tim 3:1-7 for the Bishops.
     
    #18 Eliyahu, Apr 19, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2007
  19. Eliyahu

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    3. 1 Peter 5:1-

    1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away

    Elder : Πρεσβυτεροσ
    Oversight : Επισκπουντες ( επισκοπεω)
    Feed : Ποιμανατε
    Chief Shepherd : Αρχι-Ποιμενοσ


    We notice the followings:

    1) Peter called himself as an Elder, and didn’t mention that he is the first Pope! As Roman Catholic say.
    2) Elders should feed ( Poimnate=Shepherd) the flock of the church.
    3) Elders should oversee the flock of God, which implies that the elders are the same as the overseers.
    4) Jesus Christ is the chief Shepherd.
    5) The word for the Shepherd is the same as the one for Pastor in Ephesians 4:11
    6) Plural Presbuteros is mentioned.
    7) The Elders should not lord over the Flock of God.
    8) Apostle John called himself as an Elder:

    2 John
    [FONT=Arial, Geneva, Helvetica]1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

    [/FONT]
    4. Bishop was not any title which was superior to the elders, but the same title as the elders.


    As the above verses tell us, Elders were called Overseers. Elder may be meaning the position or title, while Overseer reflect the functioning as a leader and supervisor.

    5. Bishops ( Overseers) were plural in a single local church.

    Phil 1:1, Acts 20:17-28

    Ephesus church had many Overseers( Bishops) in the singular church and they were the same as the Elders.

    Therefore, the Roman Catholic system of having a single Bishop over several churches in a region is wrong. There is no Elder on top of other Elders. No church hierarchy system can be supported by the Bible.
     
    #19 Eliyahu, Apr 19, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2007
  20. DHK

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    There is no such thing as the word "office" in the NT. What you have given is the same word twice, both meaning "bishop,' or "overseer." There is no office. That word was put in there by the KJV translators who were bound by ecclesiastical political correctness of the time. Look at another translation that is more accurate in this passage of Scripture:

    1 Timothy 3:1 The word is faithful: if any one aspires to exercise oversight, he desires a good work.

    1 Timothy 3:10 And let these be first proved, then let them minister, being without charge against them.

    1 Timothy 3:13 for those who shall have ministered well obtain for themselves a good degree, and much boldness in faith which is in Christ Jesus.

    These are the three verses in the KJV that use the word "office" in this chapter. The above verses are taken from the Darby translation. Notice that the word "office" is not used. There is no such word as "office" in the Greek. The Greek word "diakonos" means servant, and its derivatives mean to minister or service. There is no such thing as an office of a deacon. That is a mistake, a misnomer of today's pastoral theology. It is not found in the Bible.
    --Deacons minister; they serve; they don't hold an office. To assume such is a mistake.

     

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