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Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926

 Are official pastors unbiblical?

DanielJ, LoveHim, and I were discussing house churches when the subject changed, hence this new thread.

This is the previous thread:

[url=]House Churches[/url]

Does the bible recognize "official pastors", i.e. one man that rules a local congregation with a sub-group of submissive elders?

If this is not a New Testament establishment, is it to be avoided or is it supported in another way?

I'm not particularly resolute on one side or the other, and would like to know the biblical basis for each side.


 2007/6/22 1:44Profile

Joined: 2003/8/8
Posts: 118

 Re: Are official pastors unbiblical?

Just wanted to say "amen" to LoveHim first post on the second page of the house church thread. This should be a good discussion (and I hope a profitable one). If a brother or sister would like to present what they consider the Biblical case for pastorships we might begin there. Just a suggestion.

Much grace to all.


 2007/6/22 13:19Profile

Joined: 2006/11/23
Posts: 397

 Re: Are official pastors unbiblical?

I believe pastorship in the modern sense is wrong. It is a CEO-type job, and its got a business mindset almost. But it's sort of like saying, "is church unbiblical?"-- Modern church is, but a certain form is not, that's found in Acts... this is what I'm talking about with Pastors... the modern role of it where the Pastor "runs the show" and so forth is wrong...

There should be Elders who have the respect of the Fellowship, and the offices of the Prophet and Apostle (something largely missing from our modern churches), etc., and they are sort of "pastors"-- but is there one big pastor who "runs the show," represented in the NT? I don't think so, or I am not sure... maybe others can provide some Scripture to clarify the issue.

 2007/6/22 13:38Profile

Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


Had I never attended a modern church and only knew the New Testament, I wonder what my views would be?

Perhaps I would think...

Elders are those who are most mature and have been recognized because of their fruitfulness, faithfulness, and consistency with the scriptures. At least one ought to be appointed over every assembly, preferrably by another elder of another fellowship or by the founding apostle. There seems also to be room for many elders. More than ten? More than fifty? I would expect them to go out and begin a new fellowship as soon as the elder/deacon/disciple ratio becomes unbalanced.

Everyone submits one to another, with particular reverence given to the advice of elders.

Everyone serves in some cheerful capacity. If you will not serve, you will not be recognized as a born again believer.

Love dominates the meetings. Love takes no pleasure in sin.

The most authoritative elders, or bishops if you will, are the ones giving most of their time and material wealth to the cause of establishing others in the faith, praying and ministering. They do this first, and are then recognized and appointed to their office. (The position of "deacon" is called an "office" in 1 Timothy, I believe, and one to be "used".)

The more holy the elder, the less material he will be, thus he his worthy of his reasonably hire for full-time work. However, if possible ad beneficial, he may also work for a living as Paul did.

My thoughts...

 2007/6/22 14:22Profile


I think y'all are headed in the right direction. I agree with your conclusions.


 2007/6/22 15:04

Joined: 2007/6/14
Posts: 562
Indiana, US


dear openlife,

could you imagine what we would think and how we would act if we did not know modern "church" but instead only had our Bibles..

i, much like danielj, believe that the "office" of a pastor is unbiblical..i believe that the very things we call offices are really laid out in scripture as functions..

i believe that the greek word for elder simply means an older mature man and the greek word for deacon simply means one who serves.. (i'm at work, so i will double check that when i get home). like i said in the other thread, we look at a modern "pastor" and give him a role that he was never designed for.. in modern christianity, he is the "head" of the service and "head" of the church.. all things ultimately run through him.. in the Bible, Christ is the head of His church and He is the one who runs things..

instead of the "pastor" being in charge of feeding God's flock like sunday mornings are about, in the NT, all the believers were responsible for the building, edifying and teaching of one another..

please understand, that i do not hate pastors or anything like that, i just hate how the role of pastor has changed from being a function and someone who was a mature believer that loved deeply the believers around him that he would give all for them and turned it into a ceo business type executive that runs church and everyone follows his vision and goals.. i am not saying that all pastors have this heart, i am only generalizing on the modern office of a pastor..

most of all, pastors or elders in the NT were men that worked just like you and me.. from what i've studied, the only ones supported were the apostles (which is closest to a modern-day missionary).. but even a father of the faith paul said that even when he could've taken from the believers to provide for his needs, he would rather not so as to provide a better example..i know in smaller "churches", the pastor usually has to work, but what is the goal?? to build his church big enough that he can do it full-time and not work anymore.. but i don't see that in the word..

i guess there is still so much to say, but i don't want to wrote a huge post.. maybe this will cause some other questions to pop up and spark some more discussion..

 2007/6/22 17:00Profile

Joined: 2003/8/8
Posts: 118


Great post, theopenlife. I would just submit to you that from my understanding, the New Testament always shows a plurality of elders in the context of the church.


 2007/6/22 18:05Profile

Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


I agree, what I've read generally infers multiple elders. The reason I wrote "at least one" is because of the possibility that only one person who fulfills those functions exists. For instance, a lone missionary establishing a church. Four or five may come to know Christ and during their maturing, the missionary preacher is the sole elder.


 2007/6/22 18:27Profile

Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re: Zac Poonen's take on it


I've read this before, and agree (not because Zan Poonen wrote it) with how this brother views the role of the church. I've even put in [b]bold[/b] some of the things that, I feel, particularly ring true in my heart. Not all of us will agree with everything in this short article, but most of will agree with most of it, and some of us will even agree with all of it. It is taken in detail from his "What We Believe" in the statements of faith of CFC in India. I think that as a whole, it is relevant to this thread.

"The church is the body of Christ. It has only one Head - Christ; and it has only one headquarters - the third heaven. In the body of Christ, every member has a function (Eph. 4:16). While some members may have a more important or visible ministry than others, every member has something valuable to contribute.

Christ has given to His church apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers to build His body (Eph. 4:11). [b]These are ministries and not titles.[/b] Apostles are those called and sent by God to plant local churches. They have the first place in the church (1 Cor. 12:28) and are thus elders to the elders of the churches within their sphere (2 Cor.10:13). Prophets are those who uncover and minister to the hidden needs of God's people. Evangelists are those who are gifted to bring the heathen to Christ. They must then bring these converts into the local church, which is Christ's body. (Here is where a lot of modern evangelism fails). Shepherds are those who care for and guide the young lambs and sheep. Teachers are those who can explain the Scriptures and its doctrines. These five gifts are for the church worldwide; and from among them, shepherds are the mainstay of every local church. The other gifts can be itinerant (from other localities).

The leadership of the local church should be in the hands of elders. The New Testament clearly teaches this (Tit. 1:5; Acts 14:23). `Elders', being plural, implies that there must be at least two in every church. A plurality of elders is necessary for a balance in the leadership of the local church and also for binding the activities of Satan through the power of the Lord's presence (as we read in Mt. 18:18-20).

One-man leadership of a church is contrary to the teaching of the New Testament. One among the elders may however be the `messenger of the church' (Rev.2:1), if he is gifted with the Word.

Jesus forbade His disciples from having titles (Matt. 23:7-12). It is against the word of God therefore, to be called Rabbi, Father, Pastor, Reverend, or Leader. The title of `Reverend', in fact, is used only for God in the Bible (Psa. 111:9 KJV); and one who uses it can be guilty like Lucifer, of wanting to be like God (Isa. 14:14). Everyone in the church, great or small, is to be just a brother and a servant.

The meetings of the local church must be open for all disciples to prophesy in (1 Cor. 14:26-40), unless it be a meeting for teaching (Acts 20:9,11) or prayer (Acts 12:5,12), or evangelism (Acts 2:14-40). The gift of prophesy must be desired by all who want to exercise it in the meetings (1 Cor. 14:1,39). The gift of tongues, although primarily meant for personal edification (1 Cor. 14:4,18,19), can also be exercised in the meetings of the church, but should always be followed by an interpretation (1 Cor. 14:27). The interpretation of a tongue can be a revelation, a word of knowledge, a prophecy, a teaching, or a prayer to God (1 Cor.14:2-6). All the gifts mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:8-10,28 and Rom. 12:6-8 are needed for the building up of the body of Christ. A church that despises or ignores the gifts of the Holy Spirit will never have them.

Women are permitted to pray and prophesy with their heads covered in the meetings, but they are not permitted to exercise authority or teach men (1Cor.11:5; 1Tim.2:12).

The church also has a responsibility to preach the good news by all means possible, to all whom it can reach, with the aim of making disciples of Christ in all nations (Mk. 16:15 with Matt. 28:19). Evangelism without disciple-making, however, is a hindrance to the testimony of Christ on earth.

Every local church must also proclaim the Lord's death through the `breaking of bread' (1 Cor. 11:22-34). The frequency of this testimony is a matter on which the Word of God gives freedom to each church. But it must never be allowed to degenerate into an empty ritual.

[b]Regarding offerings, God's Word is clear that it is wrong to receive money from unbelievers for God's work (3 Jn.7).[/b] Offerings must therefore not be taken in meetings where unbelievers are present. All giving by believers must also be voluntary and secret (2 Cor.9:7). It is wrong to send reports of the work to others, with the intention of obtaining money from them (even if such reports are called `prayer letters').

The church can be unshakable only as it leads the disciples to the obedience of faith - to obedience to all of Jesus' commandments, particularly the ones listed in Matt. 5-7. The smallest commandments in the New Testament must also be obeyed and proclaimed with zeal. This is what makes a person great in God's eyes (Matt. 5:19).

There are many matters on which the New Testament is silent. In such matters we are not to be dogmatic but must give freedom to other disciples to hold their own convictions, while holding our own convictions firmly ourselves (Rom. 14:5).

It is easy to love those who see eye-to-eye with us in all matters. [b]Our love is however tested by our attitude to those who disagree with us. God has not intended that all His children hold the same view on every minor point. Neither has He intended that every local church have the same external form in non-Scriptural matters.[/b] The glory of God is meant to be seen in a unity in the midst of diversity. Uniformity is man-made and brings spiritual death. God does not desire uniformity but unity.

Finally we must remember that the clearest mark of the disciples of Jesus is their love for one another (Jn. 13:35). Thus the church must seek to be one as the Father and the Son are one (Jn. 17:21)."

- Zac Poonen

Paul Frederick West

 2007/6/22 18:30Profile

Joined: 2006/1/19
Posts: 1406

 Re: Are official pastors unbiblical?

Brothers and Sisters,

If they are called of the Lord, yes.
Otherwise, why would we waste our time reading or listening to the many sermons that are freely given here at SI since all these pastors were operating out of the will of God?
How could it be the will of God to support such a site as this since these men preached these sermons to a congregation they had no calling or authority to lead. Be careful how you choose your words.

Matthew 12:37
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Who will be the one to decide?

Ephes. 4:1-32
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, [2] With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; [3] Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [4] There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; [5] One Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6] One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. [7] But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. [8] Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. [9] (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? [10] He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) [11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: [16] From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. [20] But ye have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
[25] Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. [26] Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: [27] Neither give place to the devil. [28] Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. [29] Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. [30] And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. [31] Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: [32] And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

HE GAVE! For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephes. 4:11-12
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Have you been perfected for the work of the ministry to edify the body of Christ? Remember it is up to us to obey His Word. He has called all that are His to work while it is day, will you obey His calling?

In His Love

 2007/6/22 19:33Profile

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