“Do We Have Pastors?”
Submitted by Don Case
Often we hear religious leaders referred to as pastor or priest. Are these biblical names that should be applied to the religious leader today? Is it right for a man to wear these names?
In the New Testament, the word pastor is used exclusively in reference to the work and office of an elder. For example, the word for pastor, overseer, and shepherd is found in Acts 20:28 and I Peter 5:2-4. In both cases, it is used to describe the work and office of elders. The New Testament church did not have a single pastor; it is not authorized in the Bible. In every case where pastors are spoken of it is always a plurality of men (I Peter 5:1, Acts 20:17). In the New Testament, there is not a single pastor ruling the church. The one case we have of a man trying to rule the church by himself is condemned by God. A common misconception many have is that the preacher is the pastor which is not a biblical concept. Nowhere in the Bible will you find a preacher referred to as the pastor. In fact, most of them could not be a pastor, because they do not meet the qualifications for a pastor or elder. ( I Timothy 3). The churches of Christ do not have a head pastor, because it is not authorized in the Bible.
We do have pastors or elders as used in the biblical sense of men shepherding the church of God. (Acts 20:28)
Should any religious leader wear the title of Priest or Father? In the New Testament, Jesus is our High Priest who made one sacrifice forever for sins (Heb. 3:1, 8:1, 10:12). The purpose of the priest under the Law of Moses was to make sacrifices to God for the people's sins (Lev. 1:5). The New Testament teaches that we are no longer under the Old Law (Col. 2:14). Jesus Christ is our High Priest, and He has made one sacrifice for sins forever. The teachings of Scriptures illustrate for us the need to go back to the Bible and study the Word of God. It teaches us that we must not believe what we may have always heard instead we must search the Scriptures for ourselves.
Two Dangers Of Evil Men
Solomon warns of two dangers regarding evil men in Proverbs 24:1. First, he cautions us to never be envious of evil men. Satan will deceive us and make us believe that, in spite of their evil ways, these people have wonderfully pleasant and prosperous lives. Secondly, the wise man says that we should not desire to be with evil men. While being with sinners can have an appeal for various reasons, God knows there's no good that comes from allowing ourselves to be influenced by those whose priorities are anything but the Lord's!