Do you know how many times the word “pastor” shows up in the New Testament (KJV)?
How many times does the word “pastors” appear in the New Testament (KJV)? Just once! In Ephesians 4:11.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 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 thefullness of Christ: 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; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 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.
Only once does the word, “pastors” appear in the New Testament, and yet look how central the “office” of “Pastor” is in the modern Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical subcultures!
The Greek word in Ephesians 4:11 translated, “pastors”, is “poimen” which means shepherd. All of the other uses of that Greek word in the New Testament are translated, “shepherd” or “shepherds”. All of these instances either refer to literal shepherds or to Jesus as our shepherd:
For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1 Peter 2:25
When thinking of the term, “pastor”, most professing Christians have come to think of a professional clergyman who rules over the congregation and is “The Teacher” who primarily does the teaching for the congregation. Most people address this man as “Pastor” or “Pastor Smith” or “Reverend Smith” or “My Pastor”.
But no where in the New Testament is there taught the concept of a professional clergyman or a professional clergy system!
And no where is there taught in the New Testament the concept of one man called a “pastor” being hired to rule over a congregation and serve as the primary teacher.
The New Testament teaches that overseers/eldersare to serve as leaders in the Body of Christ. And both Paul and Peter exhort them to shepherd the flock. It is the overseers/elders who are to pastor the flock. There is not some other office called “pastor” that is distinct from the overseers/elders!
If the concept of the office of pastor being a professional clergyman, different from the elders, did not come from the Bible… where did it come from? It was inherited in the reformation from the Roman Catholic religious system…. the priesthood class of Catholicism.
This unbiblical concept of “pastor” has done immeasurable damage to the life and maturity of the Body of Christ and has served to separate the brethren into “laymen” and the elite priesthood classof the clergy. I’m not saying that the Lord has not used men who are part of the professional clergy system. I have seen many who are clearly called to be overseers to help shepherd the flock and who are precious brothers in the Lord. But I believe God uses them in spite of the religious system, not because of it. And I believe this concept of pastor as clergyman is being used to build religious systems in the last days that are preparing the world for thecounterfeit Christ.
I exhort followers of the Lord Jesus to be the Church; to fellowship in terms of the simple teachings of the New Testament, serving one another in love; not lording it over one another from the position of “clergy” OR elder.