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Christianity Godfidence Theology

Biblical Church Leadership VI

This is the final installment of the Biblical Leadership series. If you haven’t read the previous installments please start with the original: Biblical Church Leadership I

Objections Considered

The initial objection that I have heard from several people with whom I have shared these thoughts is the idea that Timothy and Titus were the pastors of their respective churches, meaning that they were the head of these congregations. I believe this interpretation is in keeping with our modern understanding of what a pastor is however I do not believe it keeps with the biblical use of the word. Timothy and Titus were Paul’s protégés and in many cases were operating under his apostolic authority, of which I have already discussed the uniqueness. The concept of a pastor as it is used today is simply not found in scripture. The plurality of elders are commended to pastor the flock, (Acts 20) and the pastor or shepherding gift is discussed with the Ephesian elders, but the idea of a single individual being in charge of the entire congregation is one that is simply not found in scripture.

Additionally, the idea of a Sr. pastor is equally absent from Biblical record. Although it could be linked to the Old Covenant idea of a high priest, Jesus is now our high priest and we have no need an additional earthly one.

Another objection that I hear on the few occasions I have shared this concept is that “anything with two heads is a monster” and while this cliché is readily accepted and is applicable in many instances we must turn to the Bible for our instruction and this concept is not derived from the scripture.

Conclusion

After looking into this issue I can see how not being obedient to God’s instruction can cause many problems in the modern church. It could be dangerous to have a single man with ultimate authority in an organization, even in a corporate environment the CEO answers to a board and to shareholders, but in many cases Pastors are held accountable to no one.

The view of Pastors as the ultimate earthly authority for the church has done several things to the congregations as well. The clergy/laity divide has become greater that it appears to be in the scriptures, the purpose of the “five-fold ministry” given in Ephesians 4:11 was to build up the church for the work of the ministry,[1] but with the creation of a professional ministry team most congregants only feel compelled to pay for the staff to do the work of the ministry. It may also be, due to this idea of the Pastor as ultimate authority, that we no longer verify what our Pastors are teaching, I have heard utter heresy from a pulpit and the church just nodded along, because the speaker used biblical language to give his point more authority. I have already shown that it is the responsibility of every believer to verify what they are hearing is the Gospel or to not listen, but many Christians wouldn’t know the difference. This explains why so certain popular speakers can get away with Christless messages.

With a plurality of Elders, you have a collective of Godly men to fulfill the roles given to the church, interestingly enough although I have been taught that a Pastor should have all of the “five fold gifts” it appears obvious from a simple reading of scripture that these gifts are manifest in multiple men, as “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers[2]” but the scriptures never indicates he gave one to be all of those gifts. Therefore a plurality of elders would have a number if not all of these gifts to edify and build up the congregation. Many Pastors have been buried under the weight of being alone and feeling responsible for every aspect of the ministry. I don’t believe this is what the Lord intended.

We live in a fallen world, with and among fallen people so no form of Church government that involves people will be perfect, but I believe God has given us a plan in his word and it should be obeyed. I believe the plan God gives us is one of a plurality of Elders, with varied authority and responsibility resting in different levels of the church.


 

[1] Eph 4:11 KJV

 

[2] Eph 4:11 NIV

 

Thank you all for sticking it out with me I look forward to hearing your comments and working out my thoughts in a greater way. If you are interested here is my entire series in one easy to read PDF: Entire Biblical Church Leadership

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