JohnSWilson3 Blog


Comments related to “pastor.”

These are some comments I shared with a fellow brother and thought others might benefit from it.

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I can get dogmatic regarding peoples use of mistranslated terms such “overseer,” “elder,” “pastor,” “deacons,” “rulers,” etc because of the hierarchy men use the terms for versus the organic function of those with this measure of faith and gift of Christ as they were intended.

My guess is the theme of scripture too often has been God’s people deciding to not trust God as Head over them but installing a man as their leader, a cult of personality as it were. “The concept of the Pastor as being a shepherding elder is well established” strikes at the heart of this problem. There is no concept of a single human pastor in the scripture. In the Old Testament these people were types of Christ or types of anti-Christ not an example for the ekklesia to follow. What is well established from the New Testament is that older people are brothers and sisters who have experienced Christ’s care from one another and have learned to express His life of care to others. I do agree that these older people were “pointed out” as examples/guides of those living by the Spirit, but this simply was not an appointment to a position. It was to help the body live by Jesus, keep their eyes on Jesus, by seeing others do so together. We have made a simple gesture of Paul to help the body stay focused on Christ to focusing on people, totally contrary to what Paul had in mind. Installing a man as a leader/leaders whether formally or not has been the bane of Christianity, especially in what we see in the ekklesia in Corinth, and then later in its ugliest form in Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and every other denomination, to its shame. Thinking we have made a doctrine of human leadership the lynchpin on whether the “church” has it correct or not versus living by our One Leader together. When the focus of “church” becomes about “leaders” instead of Christ she has lost her focus.

The other thought that comes to mind is I have come to realize just how the life of Christ, His Spirit builds up His people. He builds up His body by His Spirit, experienced by His people together and as we the learn to express Him to family, friends, etc. Christ said He would build His ekklesia/His people. This IS job of the Single Pastor alone, but not human “pastors” as institutional Christianity has developed. The Single Pastor living through one another. Every member in Christ can express His life (gift) and we should acknowledge such, which is very encouraging to one another, but this is no cause to “put them into position to use those gifts.” My question is what do we mean by this? If they are living by His life already why would we put them into a position? If anything when we do this we have already focused on the “gift” and not on Christ who is the gift and divided the body between the specially gifted/the clergy and the laity which are two completely foreign concepts in the Bible. It was another problem in Corinth, they focused on certain “gifts” or “gifted men” and not the Gift. I guess my question is that, not considering institutional Christianity’s focus on using “gifts” or perhaps more likely “human talents” for worship services, sunday school, discipleship training, etc how can a body function in body life? I think the answer is body life functions as a result of Christ’s life in His people in closely connected relationships with Christ as Head.

These are some thoughts that have arrested me for some years now. I am compelled by Christ to know Him intimately as I live by His life with His people.

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5 Comments so far
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Well the assumption one could make from your article is we should disregard all scripture stating how to set up and govern a church body, the hundreds of years of church history and the men of God that fought for our ability to worship in a church home, should all be counted as rubbish???

Comment by colleen

Colleen,
thank you for commenting. I do not believe scripture states “how to set up and govern a church body.” It does however show those with an apostolic function proclaiming Christ and helping those who believe to gather around Christ as Head. If the hundreds of years of church history tells us anything it is that men should stop trying to set up and govern a church body and let Christ do it. It is the reason for the countless denominations and blood shed all in the name of Christ because certain men wanted to set up and govern His church, to our shame.

My guess is you are probably referring to Paul’s first letter to Timothy. I have a different take on the letter, including Titus. It is funny how we read that letter and easily project our view of a hierarchical leadership into it when in fact Paul is showing to his assistant church planter (Timothy was not a pastor by the way) that the body of Christ is a family who express His life together. Every description of a function in the letter is a picture of Christ in contrast to the works of the flesh taking root in the ekklesia in Ephesus. You can tell who the older brothers and sisters are because the life manifested is Christ in contrast to those claiming to be older believers who were demonstrating works of the flesh. It is amazing as you look at those descriptions and then reread the gospels you see Jesus everywhere! It really is all about Him! It can be taken like the letter of James who focuses on the outward expression of Christ in the body in contrast to the the flesh. Bottomline: First Timothy was not meant to help us “set up and govern a church body.”

Part of the problem I think is that as we look at the apostolic letters to the ekklesias we tend to forget everything the apostle said about living by Christ and we focus on a few words that we think relates to church structure and leadership and we form a theology around it as the basis of church. The letters were written to different ekklesias experiencing Him in different cultures with different problems and each had to look to Christ to move forward.

As His people live by Him together as Head in experience each ekklesia will look differently, in that as they learn to love one another by faith and express Him to their culture how they do so will look differently. Christ will give different functions to solve different problems to putting off the flesh and to putting on Christ. Christ is sovereign He knows what each local body requires. This brings out how important it is for the brothers and sisters to live by His life together and to focus on Him as being Head. Christ will manifest what is necessary for the body.

I do not think we should count church history as rubbish I just wished we would learn from it instead of repeating it. A bit of a long reply to your question. Thanks again for commenting.

Comment by John Wilson

When it says in Ephesians 4 that God gave gifts of men to the church, the church was very young. We tend to forget that the early church did not have the New Testament. It says they were given for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry. In other words, these men were only meant to minister in this capacity until such time as there began to be some growth and maturity and the saints could minister, one to another. Until such time as they were grown enough to come under the headship of Christ. We all have ministries to the church, and the elder will guide and teach the younger, first by example. We have been a Little Flock for over 30 years, without any recognized person or persons being in the place of leadership. It is wonderful to experience the give and take of body life. Even the youngest babe in Christ adds much to the body.

Comment by Orissie Faloon

Thank you so much, brother, for expressing the supremacy of Christ over the traditions of men! May our souls be filled up with His Spirit, as our spirits are; so that we are not only of one Spirit, but of one Mind: The Mind of Christ.

Comment by Peter

Peter, appreciate you commenting brother, amen!

Comment by John Wilson




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