Plurality of Elders is the Biblical example

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Tiger Fan, Nov 27, 2002.

  1. Tiger Fan

    Tiger Fan
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    Why do most churches ignore the clear biblical example of plurality of elders for overseeing the church? Can someone point to one passage of Scripture that suggests a one pastor system that is so common today?
     
  2. Molly

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    We have a plurality of elders in our church,compensated and non compenstated...they have to meet the requirements of elder/bishop,and work together with the church to make all decisions fdor the church. We have a pastor teacher,but he is equal to other elders. The church body submits to the elders.

    The deacons serve in different capacities-handling the money,taking care of widows,meeting needs of families in need,serving through taking care of building and grounds...etc.
     
  3. swaimj

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    In I Tim. 3, the requirements for a bishop are given to a single bishop while the requirements for deacons are given in the plural. This at least suggests that a single pastor is a possibility. Obviously, as a church grows it is natural that more than one man would be in the church who meets the requirement of a bishop and at that point multiple pastors is great.
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    Because it not clear.

    1 Tim, the nature of leadership, etc.

    The reality that most churches "elder systems" are not biblical. In Scripture, the elder is a pastor. An elder and a pastor are not two different offices. They are the same office. Have more than one if you want but it would be unsustainable to argue that it is demanded by Scripture. At best, it is allowed. However, this has been beat up pretty good before. Perhaps it would be worth the time to do a search and read some of those old threads.
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    Churches today throw around the term "elder" with little Biblical grounds or definition.

    We have a group of elders in the church. Everyone is a good man, gifted in different ways. None of them pastors the church. I do.

    And I am the pastor. I am NOT an "elder".

    That is the way this particular church defines and operates, and we are not unique.
     
  6. Tiger Fan

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    Could you please explain biblically why you are not an elder? Do you shepherd the flock, teach the flock, refute false doctrine, visit the sick, etc.? If so, then according to the Bible you ARE an elder.

    Also, could you please show me from the Bible where the Bible distinquishes between the duties of a pastor and the duties of an elder? and where does it say ANYONE is over the elders?
     
  7. Tiger Fan

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    It is a possibility that a church have no deacons or one deacon, BUT is that the biblical example?

    The possibility of a one pastor system doesn't negate the fact that the biblical example is a plurality of elders just like the possibility of a one deacon system doesn't negate the biblical example of plurality of deacons. that was a long sentence but i didnt know any better way to say it.

    Now i am confused. if there are plenty of qualified deacons at most churches then why is it so hard to find qualified elders? Don't they share a lot of the same qualifications?
     
  8. Ernie Brazee

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    If one studies the Word of God confusion can be cleared up.

    1. A study of the whole Bible would be a clear indication that God uses one man as the leader (not dictator), one man under God to lead and guide.

    Moses, Joshua, the Judges, David, Solomon and the kings. No where in the Bible is there an example of a plurity of elders leading anything under God.

    Deacons were elected to serve, not lead!

    Whenever there is leadership by committee there is confusion and God is not the author of confusion.
     
  9. Tiger Fan

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    Actually, the new testament is pretty clear that Jesus himself believed in plurality of church leadership. Jesus chose 12 men, not 1. Jesus trained 12 men, not 1. Jesus commissioned 12 men, not 1. These 12 men, although not equal in talents and abilities, shared equal authority. There was not 1 who ruled the other eleven.

    These 12 men who were trained and commissioned by Jesus himself to teach, baptize and disciple, also ordained a plurality of elders in the first churches.

    Act 14:23 And when they had ordained them ELDERS in every CHURCH, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed

    There is absolutely NO evidence that any of the first churches in the new testament had anything other than a plurality of elders all equal in authority responsible for leading, guiding, directing and teaching the church.

    Are you comparing a pastor in the New Testament to Moses in the Old Testament. That is quite funny. Thanks for the laugh.



    HUH? You can’t be serious. I would like you to show me one clear example where any church was NOT under a plurality of elders.

    Act 11:30 Which also they did, and sent it to the ELDERS by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

    Act 14:23 And when they had ordained them ELDERS in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

    Act 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and ELDERS, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
    Act 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
    Act 15:6 And the apostles and ELDERS came together for to consider of this matter.

    Act 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

    Act 21:18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the ELDERS were present.

    There are many more verses. The above are just a few.

    And the elder(S) were elected to lead.

    No, God is not the author of confusion, and God made it pretty clear that plurality of elders was the biblical example of church leadership. The evidence is quite overwhelming actually.
     
  10. KenH

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    Pastor=Shepherd=Elder=Presbyter=Bishop=Overseer. Six words that describe the same church servant. And, yes, clearly the New Testament churches had a plurality of elders. They also had the Lord's Supper each first day of the week, they also did not have missionary societies, etc. Are these missteps by the modern church critical? I do not believe so, but it would be better if we could more closely match the New Testament church in the areas of church government, components of worship, etc.

    Ken
     
  11. Tiger Fan

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    Ignoring the biblical example of plurality of elders is critical in many churches. God did not intend for one man to be THE overseer of the church. It causes too many problems. Besides, no ONE man is gifted enough to adequately fulfill all the biblical requirements that elders must fill. We all have our weaknesses. With a plurality of elders the weaknesses of one elder may be the strong point of another elder.

    The weaknesses in a one pastor system are far greater and more damaging than the weaknesses of the biblical example of plurality of elders.

    I agree.
     
  12. KenH

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    Tiger Fan,

    I would agree that the plurality of elders is a more important issue than the others I mentioned, and your concerns are well stated.

    Ken
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    Sorry for the confusion. I know that I am an elder biblically. It is the church constitution and structure that has a "elder run system", but the pastor is NOT one of the elders! I find that totally amusing. :cool:

    My belief: A pastor is an elder. Many NT examples speak of a local church congregation having more than one elder. To have more than one is NOT mandatory, but allowed. To have ME as one is punishment! :eek:
     
  14. DHK

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    I agree with Tiger Fan to an extent. Most churches should have a plurality of elders (pastors) as the Scriptures teach (or at least give us the example). Perhaps very small churches just starting out would not need more than one. But most other churches do. They need a youth pastor, some an assistant pastor, and other pastors in various capacities taking on various duties in the church. There is nothing wrong with sharing responsibility. I do not believe in a "many-headed monster," as one person once described it. Thus there must always be one pastor that is a senior pastor; one that is in charge. That does not diminish from the fact that there is still a plurality. We know there was a plurality of elders (pastors) at Ephesus. We also know that in Revelation 2:1, the Lord Jesus Christ addressed only one pastor.
    DHK
     
  15. Karen

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    In many Baptist churches such as mine,the "elder" or "elders" carry out congregational decisions.
    What you seem to describe seems more historically Presbyterian than Baptist.

    Karen
     
  16. Jim1999

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    Over 56 years of ministry, I never had a board of elders. It seems, in Canada, we are settled in to a pastor and 7 deacons. Some larger churches may have additional pastoral staff.

    Frankly, I never saw the need for an assistant pastor in my churches....largest was 250 members...smallest about 50 members.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. Tiger Fan

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    Actually, that isn’t true. The elders in the New Testament had equal authority. They didn’t have a senior elder that ruled the others just like they didn’t have a senior deacon that ruled the other deacons. There is no example in the New Testament where any ONE man was in charge. In fact, the Bible makes it quite clear that the ONE person in charge was Jesus Christ himself. That is another reason for a plurality of elders. It is an acknowledgement that there is no one person over the church other than Jesus Christ.

    My Bible says “angel”. It doesn’t say pastor. Besides, even if “angel” is referring to pastor it doesn’t mean they only had one pastor. In fact, the bible makes it clear the church at Ephesus had multiple pastors/elders.
     
  18. Tiger Fan

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    The biblical example of plurality of elders is not referring to pastor and assistant pastors. The elders all had equal authority. There was no elder that ruled the others. There was no such thing as an assistant elder just as there was no such thing as assistant deacon.
     
  19. Ps104_33

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    In Phillipians 1:1 Paul seems to address a plurality of bishops at a single church.

    Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
     
  20. DHK

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    My Bible says “angel”. It doesn’t say pastor. Besides, even if “angel” is referring to pastor it doesn’t mean they only had one pastor. In fact, the bible makes it clear the church at Ephesus had multiple pastors/elders.[/QB]</font>[/QUOTE]The word "angel" simply means "messenger," one who gives or delivers a message, in other words a pastor. There were seven churches and seven angels (pastors). One pastor was addressed in each case. That is one pastor had the authority. James was the pastor at Jerusalem. Timothy was the pastor at Ephesus. Apollos was the pastor that Paul put in charge at Corinth. There was always a pastor that was in charge. A many-headed monster causes nothing but chaos.
    DHK
     

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