Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Pastor/leaders

We will never understand Eph 4, if we try to make the ascension ministries fit round modern church structures. The problem is that the modern pastor-leader role just does not exist in the New Testament. Apart from real sheep shepherds and Jesus the Chief shepherd, the Greek word shepherd is only used as a noun once in the New Testament. That is in Eph 4:11, and there it is used to describe a gift, not an office.

The word pastor is used as a verb in Acts 20:17,27 and 1 Pet 5:1,2. In both these cases, elders are told to shepherd (verb) the flock that is in their care. We do not have a verb for shepherd in English, so it is usually translated with the verb “to be” plus the noun shepherd/pastor. This translation is misleading, because it makes sound like an office. “Tend” or “look after” would be a better translation. These two passages both say that shepherding is something that elders should do. The use of a verb rather than a noun suggests that Peter and Paul are telling elders what to do, rather than giving them a name. Therefore, pastor is not a higher-level ministry, but a responsibility given to elders.

Shepherds watch over their sheep, so "tending" includes "watching". Therefore, it is interesting that these two passages also give elders a role in exercising “oversight” (watching over). Titus 1:6,7; Phil 1:1 and 1 Tim 3:1,2 also imply that overseer is another title that was used for elders. We confuse situation by transliterating the Greek word episkopos as bishop. Actually it is just a word meaning “watch over”, which is a task that elders are commanded to do by Peter and Paul.

2 comments:

metworth said...
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Nile said...

hmmm, Ron... looks like you're getting some comment "spam" there...

anyway, good post! I agree with you wholeheartedly!