• By John Hicks

Pastor, singular or plural?


Can you support the one head pastor church model by using the word 'pastor'? ποιμήν poimḗn, poy-mane'; of uncertain affinity; a shepherd (literally or figuratively):—shepherd, pastor. The church at Ephesus was told that there were several gifts within the church body and one of them was that of "pastors". The reference here is plural and not singular. It is no way a reference to a "one head" leadership position but an actual gift. To make it anything else is taking it out of context. 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. Ephesians 4:8-16 In Ephesians 4:11 we find the only translation of ποιμήν into the English "pastor". Every other use of it is either in the direct context of a literal shepherd, such as the shepherds watching over their flocks at the time of Jesus' birth or actually speaking of Jesus being the Good Shepherd. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep , and am known of mine. [16] And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. John 10:14,16 ποιμήν or shepherd is only used within these frames of references, a literal herdsman, Jesus Himself or as a gift. It is never provided as justification for a one head pastoral position. The origination of the singular head pastor position likely was partly due to the work of Augustine. He should not be referred to as a true "church father" due to him allowing his gnostic upbringing to influence his bad "teachings", especially in his later days. This is not the time to rabbit trail on the heretical teachings of this man but only to point out that it was after the scriptures that the man-made CEO-like position of "pastor" was created. The Bible teaches that church leadership was meant to be plural with some men having more maturity in their walk than others but that it was not something to justify lording it over someone but instead it provided for more seasoned believers who could, with humility, edify or build up the younger men to be pastors as well. Seriously all Christian men who have children should pray and seek after the gift of pastoring for the sake of raising the children that God blessed them with. But Jesus called them to him , and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. [43] But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: [44] And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. [45] For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 10:42-43 This challenge was something a dear brother in Christ confronted me with about 25 or so years ago. He told me to go and search the scriptures for support of the one head pastor church model and I came back with only the Biblical justification of the concept of a plurality of men leaders who shared the tasks of leading, teaching and protecting the flock. It is interesting that there are other "doctrines" today that cannot use the root words in their names as Biblical proof such as "pastor" to justify a one head pastor position. One example is "pre-trib rapture". Of course there is Biblical proof of the rapture even though "rapture" is not found in the Bible but try to find one verse with the actual word "tribulation" in it that clearly supports an actual "Pre-trib rapture" and you will come up with absolutely nothing. This is a whole other topic that I have already discussed extensively but it goes to show how derailed from scriptures today's "church" has become. Getting back to the idea of "one head Pastor" we must not forget Who the One Head of the body really is and that is Jesus Christ. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, [23] Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1:22-23 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18 Hebrews 13:17 is used typically to try to justify the position of a one head pastor but in no way is the context singular there but it is clearly plural, especially when we have Ephesians 5:21 where it further qualifies who we are submitting to and that is to each other within the body or the church. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Hebrews 13:17 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; [19] Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; [20] Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; [21] Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:18-21

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