Monday, August 13, 2012

Church Governance (7)

Elder, pastor (shepherd) and overseer (often transliterated as episcopal and misleadingly translated as bishop) are not separate roles. In the following two passages, Peter and Paul mixed them all up together.

From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them… Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood (Acts 20:17;28).
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ…, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness (1 Pet 5:1-2).
Elders care for people like a shepherd. They exercise oversight over Christians to protect them from evil. These different expressions are all part of the same role.

1 comment:

David Coufal said...

It is very true that elder, pastor and overseer are not separate roles. I think that the clergy/laity divide that stands contrary to New Testament teaching has resulted in us separating these roles. But I also think it is far more healthy and beneficial for us to realise that they are the same role.

Removing the clergy/laity divide among our meetings results in us being free to explore just how caring elders can be. How they are not to dominate but to nurture. Thanks for sharing brother!