The Pastor

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by pinoybaptist, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
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    Why MUST a church have a pastor ? What is the role of a pastor according to the Scriptures ? What is the meaning of Hebrews 13:17 ?
    Thanks in advance for your inputs.
     
  2. BrianH

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    Well...I do not think it does!! In fact, I prefer it to be a shared responsibility obviously(if you read my profile). I look forward to the responses though because in no way do I think ill of those who worship at organized/pastoral led services...I go to them around the holidays for the seasonal music myself. Not sure if that makes me a hypocrite but I do.
    BrianH
     
  3. Hope of Glory

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    Pastor, elder, and bishop are all three different positions within the church. One person fill more than one position. A pastor must be an elder. The elders are responsible for the preaching that goes on. The pastor is answerable to the elders, unless they want him to go against God's word. The bishop (overseer, or whatever you want to translate the word) comes from language that implies that it's one who has the government of the church entrusted to him.

    If you're interested, here's a link that lists all NT references to all three words: Church Offices
     
  4. pinoybaptist

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    Thank you, BrianH. I agree with you that a church does not necessarily have to have a pastor. I know of at least one in the Philippines who don't and are ruled simply by elders who decide things by a vote among themselves.
    It is an exercise in futility to have a pastor and then disobey his directions.
     
  5. pinoybaptist

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    Thank you for the link, Hope of Glory.
    Now, will anyone of you please provide me a link to a good exposition of Hebrews 13:17 ?
    Thank you.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    This is a contradictory statement. YOu can't have elders but not pastors. Elders are pastors. Pastors are elders. They are the same office according to the NT. The elder, overseer, and pastor are the same office.

    If a church has no pastor, then they are out of order. God prescribed that the church be led and taught by a pastor.
     
  7. HankD

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    Bro pinoy, I thought I had posted in response to your post but I guess not.

    The word "pastor" is used only in the English AV in

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

    The word itself comes from the original language word which means "shepherd".

    If Peter is the NT archetype and there is a mandate in the NT for a continuing office of "shepherd-pastor" (and I believe there is) then that mandate is to "feed my sheep". In addition the pastor usually fulfills the apostolic mandate to baptize believers in water.

    KJV Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

    This passage is self defining. However if you are focusing upon "them that have rule over you" then I believe Paul here is pointing to the function of an overseer (episcopos) which in my estimation is a different role than that of "pastor". In the modern church sometimes an "overseer" is called an "elder" which again is a different word.

    Usually, these functions are combined into the "job description" of "pastor" (feed my sheep) in the modern church. Which is the perogative of the local body.

    Some say "overseer" snd "elder" are synonyms for "pastor". I'm personally not convinced but I don't dispute it and hold to "two offices as per the Baptist distinction.

    The other titles are descriptions of functions which can be performed by the pastor or those appointed by him and/or the general assembly of the local church.

    I don't believe a "pastor" is a necessity but where there is no pastor as such in a local body then someone (or ones) will rise to the occassion to fill the need.

    Should a pastor be remunerated? Yes he should and it is Scriptural IMO (1 Corinthians 9:9; 1 Timothy 5:18).

    HankD
     
  8. BrianH

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    From another message board I frequent. I will quote her. I believe the role of pastor/elder to be a shared responsibility in the house church, not to be designated for one person.

    "But the New Testament always views these undershepherds in the local church as plural ("pastors"), never as singular ("pastor") [see Acts 20:17; James 5:14]. Not one example can be shown from the New Testament where a church had 'one' pastor. On what Biblical basis, therefore, have we created the office of one pastor?......
    However, the New Testament teaches that the only singular Shepherd we have is Christ (John 10:11,14; see 1 Pet.5:4). Christ is the Head of the church, and He gives a plurality of pastors to share in the oversight of each local church. There is absolutely no Scripture to support the idea (common everywhere) that Christ rules the local church through one pastor. If the doctrine of "the pastor" is right, why can no Scripture be ushered forth to support it?
    Everywhere one turns in the New Testament, the church [singular has pastors [plural. There is no example in the New Testament of an orderly church having one overseer. The orderly church in Philippi consisted of "saints, bishops and deacons" (Phil.l:l). James said that if one was sick,"let him call for the elders [plural] of the church [singular]" (.James 5:14). Paul "called the elders [plural] of the church [singular]" at Ephesus (Acts 20:17). After their first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas saw "elders [plural] in every church [singular]" set apart (Acts 14:23). Paul left Titus in Crete to "set in order the things that are lacking, and ordain elders [plural ] in every city [singular]'' (Titus 1:5). ''

    Thanks!
    BrianH
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    The plurality of elders certainly permissable, but you will search the NT in vain for a proscription for it. It simply isn't there. On the other hand, arguments for a senior or lead pastor are clear.

    Leadership, by nature, is singular. There is a head, even if you pretend that there are more than one. IN a church with multiple elders, one of them is "more equal" than the rest. It is simply a fact of life. It is usually easily seen.
     
  10. HankD

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    Two things Brian,

    1) The NT doesn't forbid one pastor.
    2) in almost every church I have attended, there has been an "assistant" an "assistant to" or an "assisting" pastor, youth pastor, etc. When the need arises then the Spirit moves to appoint through the church leadership. These may indeed be "pastors" but they assist "the" pastor.

    Also as a third, and as I indicated above there are those who work with the pastor in his ministry. "overseers".

    We call them "directors" or "superintendants" today. Sunday School Director, Awana Director, Nursery Director, etc to assist the pastor(s).

    We are in the world but not of the world and as such we need to comply with governmental requirements (to prove for instance we are non-profit). We need church business officers ("elders" if you will) to prepare the books, take care of legal matters (deed of the church, laws-bylaws, negotiate endowments to the church, bank matters, charities, etc) and other functions which require specialized training to deal with the world.

    If any given local church wants to see these functions as being in addition to the pastor that is the perogative of that local church.

    I prefer "a pastor" as a ruling "shepherd" assisted by others (call them what you will).

    Although this schema can have it's problems, IMO it is a better method than multiple independant pastors for to keep order and harmony in the local church.


    HankD
     
  11. BrianH

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    Yes Hank, it is not forbidden to have just one pastor. we....are.....trying to conform our house church to biblical guidelines...which means we look to scripture for our guidelines..."facts of life" for others...we seek to not be our facts. I appreciate the comments, although the lack of scriptural references to back up these views are disconcerting to me. I understand that historical trends..how things have been done in the past guide much of what we do.
    Thanks for the input!
    Respectfully,
    BrianH
     
  12. Hope of Glory

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    I'm glad to see that I am not the only one who recognizes that the "shepherd", "overseer", and "elder" are not the same offices. I think the Holy Spirit was perfectly capable of using the same words if they are exactly the same office.

    However, I do think that one person can hold more than one office. I do in the church where I preach and teach.
     
  13. James_Newman

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    According to Paul in Titus, an elder and a bishop are the same thing.

    Titus 1:5-7 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;
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    Actually ACts 20:17, 28 and 1 Peter 5:1-2 tell the elders to oversee and shepherd.

    Therefore, the HOly Spirit gives us indisputable evidence that the elder, overseer, and shepherd are the same office. The different terms describe the functions.

    An analogy that will help you is to think of a man who is a husband, father, and employee. Each term describes a different function, but they all refer to the same person.
     
  15. qwerty

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    1TI 5:17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

    The Apostle Paul, in the first letter to Timothy, gives instructions about elders.

    In this instruction, Paul is showing that not all elders do the same thing. Some are administrative, and some preach and teach.

    It is very rare for one man to have all the necessary giftings to lead a group of Christians.

    There is ONE MAN Who does have it all; the Lord Jesus Christ. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Body.

    That's why He made it so clear in teaching about leadership that His leaders do not "lord over". Most leaders that I am aware of have never discovered for themselves what Jesus meant when He said that His leaders were not to "lord over".

    I personally wish that it were mandatory for all Christian leaders to publish their own views on what Jesus meant when He said not to "lord over."

    When there is only one male spiritual leader over a group of Christians, it will almost be impossible for that one person not to "lord over". Lording over is the accepted norm of leadership style in 90% - 99% of church groups in the United States.

    This is one reason why there is such turnover in the leadership of churches. When leadership is opposed to the clear direction of the Lord Jesus as far as leadership style, the Lord Jesus will be opposed to them. It's not a great place to be when the Lord Jesus is opposed to you.
     
  16. Brother Ian

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    These words describe different aspects of the same office.

    As Pastor Larry has said, leadership indicates a oneness. That does not mean that there are not godly people the pastor has surrounding him to provide guidance and wisdom.

    The bottom line is one person has to be in charge. That doesn't mean he is a dictator, but someone has to make a final decision.

    In my church, my pastor has final authority in all matters. That doesn't mean he makes every decision. The church has people appointed below the pastor that are delegated with responsibility. These ministry heads (e.g., nursery, AWANA, Sunday School, etc.) that are in place were selected based, as best as one can tell, on their Christian walk and dedication to serving the Lord.
     
  17. BrianH

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    Wow. I just do not find that in scripture. It actually pains me to read it in fact. I would like some scriptures on this as it relates to the NT church..not the wisdom of men like I feel this view is shaped from... please...just to make me feel better...I am a wuss I guess!!! [​IMG]
     
  18. Pastor Larry

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    No he's not. This bifurcation of elders is not in the text. That is a man made addition. Paul is saying that elders are supposed to rule well, especially in preaching and teaching.
     
  19. HankD

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    I have had a different experience. Mixed to be sure but I have loved all the pastors in the local churches which I have either attended or was a member. No one is 100 percent perfect.

    The pastor of the current local church where I am a member has a well balanced attitude of what it means to not "lord it over" the members yet he speaks with authority.

    As for turnover in the churches, it is possible querty that some or much of the fault for that is due to the "I did it my way" American culture attitude of the membership. And in a way some pastors have to defeat that by fighting fire with fire. True, some go overboard. But as the Scripture says:

    NKJ James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

    The Scripture often gives latitude or is left to interpretation because the Gospel has gone out to "the uttermost part of the earth" making room for cultural differences, etc.

    We need agreement, we need authority, we need accountability. These are all scriptural criteria of a NT church.

    In my estimation, in our time and culture that is best attained by a leading "pastor".


    HankD
     
  20. pinoybaptist

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    Great analogy, PL. Thanks.
    But I have comparatively studied in another website (can't find the link right now though) where it can be scripturally shown that leadership in a church is thru elders, and thought a pastor is necessarily an elder, an elder is not necessarily a pastor. Does that make sense ? But I guess you all know what I'm saying.

    I have no problem with churches having pastors IF they are obedient to their pastors, obedience stemming not from rank but from love, respect and trust in the person and ability of the person whom they called to pastor from among ordained elders.

    I believe that was the thrust of Hebrews 13:7 when those who were exhorted to obey were told to 'consider their conversation'.

    If a church, then, despite the evidence of grace that her pastor have shown, turns out to be disobedient and contrary, then what need does that church have of a pastor ?

    She would be better off being ruled by a plurality of elders who discuss issues and draw lots among themselves, or go viva voce, or ask for a show of hands, from the congregation.

    My question stems from the fact that I do not personally believe in a democratic form of church polity, sometimes also called congregational.

    I believe that when issues arise in a church, these ought to be discussed with the congregation, then among the elders, and finally, the pastor makes his decision based on the merits and demerits discussed, and that's it.

    Much like an issue arises in a household, and the pros and cons discussed, sides are taken, but when the head of household, in other words the father, puts his foot down, then that's it.

    If the pastor will be frustrated at every turn to implement what he believes is scriptural, then what is he there for ? Simply to preach and teach and collect his support ? So they can point to him as pastor when someone asks ?
     

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