We are in week 3 of the series "Moving the Landmarks". This week we are focusing on the leaders of the church. This may step on some toes, as this is a biblical look at leadership, not necessarily denominational or traditional roles. As I've written before, these are not my opinions, but what thus saith the Lord. If you don't like what is written in Scripture, take it up with the Writer--He's always listening!
Pastors are the overall physical leaders of our churches. They have qualifications to meet according to scripture. They bear the brunt of the responsibility for the flock, and answer to God for what has or hasn't happened within their church. They have their own book dedicated to them, also known as I Timothy, or the "pastoral epistle".
What are the qualifications of a pastor? Let's look at I Timothy to find out. Paul wrote to Timothy, who at the time was a young pastor at Ephesus, and warned him to fend against false doctrines that were already seeping into the early church. Paul also told him how to protect public worship, and how to develop mature leadership. This epistle lays down the foundations for the ordination of pastors/elders in the local church, and provides the apostolic guidelines for pastors. It's basically a leadership manual for church administration and organization. (1)
"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. (2) a bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach. (3) Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous. (4) One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (5) (For is a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (6) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. (7) Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." (I Tim. 3:1-7)
Now, I'm not stopping at the King James. I'm going back even farther, to the Geneva and Bishop's Bibles....prior to the KJV.
This is from the e-sword (2)program, the Bishop's Bible:
This is a faithful saying: Yf a man desire ye office of a bishop, he desireth a good worke.
1Ti 3:2 A bishop therfore must be blamelesse, the husband of one wyfe, watchyng, sober, comely apparelled, a louer of hospitalitie, apt to teache,
1Ti 3:3 Not geuen to ouermuch wine, no striker, not greedy of fylthy lucre: but gentle, abhorryng fyghtyng, abhorryng couetousnesse:
1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his owne house, hauyng chyldren in subiection, with all grauitie.
1Ti 3:5 For yf a man knowe not to rule his owne house, howe shall he care for the Churche of God?
1Ti 3:6 Not a young scoler, lest he, beyng puffed vp, fall into the condempnation of the deuyll.
1Ti 3:7 He must also haue a good report of the which are without, lest he fall into the rebuke and snare of the deuyll.
1Ti 3:8 Likewise must ye ministers be graue, not double tongued, not geuen to much wine, neither greedy of fylthy lucre:
1Ti 3:9 Holdyng the misterie of the fayth in a pure conscience.
1Ti 3:10 And let them first be proued, then let them minister, beyng blamelesse.
1Ti 3:11 Euen so must their wyues be graue, not euyll speakers, sober, faythfull in all thynges.
Next, we have the Geneva Bible, also found at E-Sword:
This is a true saying, If any man desire the office of a Bishop, he desireth a worthie worke.
1Ti 3:2 A Bishop therefore must be vnreproueable, the husband of one wife, watching, temperate, modest, harberous, apt to teache,
1Ti 3:3 Not giuen to wine, no striker, not giuen to filthy lucre, but gentle, no fighter, not couetous,
1Ti 3:4 One that can rule his owne house honestly, hauing children vnder obedience with all honestie.
1Ti 3:5 For if any cannot rule his owne house, how shall he care for the Church of God?
1Ti 3:6 He may not be a yong scholer, lest he being puffed vp fall into the condemnation of the deuill.
1Ti 3:7 He must also be well reported of, euen of them which are without, lest he fall into rebuke, and the snare of the deuill.
1Ti 3:8 Likewise must Deacons be graue, not double tongued, not giuen vnto much wine, neither to filthy lucre,
1Ti 3:9 Hauing the mysterie of the faith in pure conscience.
1Ti 3:10 And let them first be proued: then let them minister, if they be found blameles.
1Ti 3:11 Likewise their wiues must be honest, not euill speakers, but sober, and faithfull in all things.
1 Timothy 3
Wycliffe Bible (WYC)
3 A faithful word [I shall say]. If any man desireth a bishopric [If any man desire a bishopric], he desireth a good work.
2 Therefore it behooveth a bishop to be without reproof [Therefore it behooveth a bishop to be irreprehensible, or without reproof], the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, chaste, virtuous, holding hospitality, a teacher;
3 not given much to wine, not a smiter, but temperate, not full of chiding, not covetous, [not given much to wine, not smiter, but temperate, or patient, not litigious, or full of strife, or chiding, not covetous,]
4 well-ruling his house, and have sons subject with all chastity [having sons subject with all chastity];
5 for if any man know not how to govern his house, how shall he have diligence of the church of God [how shall he have diligence, or keeping, of the church of God]?
6 not new converted to the faith, lest he be borne up into pride, and fall into [the] doom of the devil.
7 For it behooveth him to have also good witnessing of them that be withoutforth, that he fall not into reproof, and into the snare of the devil.
So, we see it's not just the old KJV that has the same wording, but also the translations prior to the KJV. Most of the newer translations also continue on with the pastor being a male, husband to one wife. This can be seen at E-Sword.net or at Bible Gateweay. If you get a moment, take a look at the different translations--it really is interesting to see the wording differences!
From these four translations, we can gather that a pastor/bishop must be a male. A husband is not a female.
Based on the qualification of being husband to one wife, this takes out many who claim to be Pastor/Rev./Minister/Bishop and are women. This runs a lot through the Charismatic churches and in many mainline Protestant denominations. According to Paul's list of qualifiers, women are not able to be pastors/bishops. Now, before you shoot the messenger, remember the scripture that we just read. This is not my opinion.
In Titus, we see qualifications again concerning the office of Bishop/Pastor/Elder. All three of these terms were used for the same office. In Titus 1:5-9 we find the order of the church. At this time the church has been established, and needed organization to be effective.
"If any be blameless, the husband to one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly, (7) For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre. (8) But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good , sober, just, holy temperate; (9) Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." (Titus 1:6-9)
Blameless in this passage doesn't mean sinless. No man is without sin, or else we wouldn't need Jesus. It means without blame or rebuke. "Husband to one wife" is pretty self explanatory, especially in the early days when polygamy was common. In our world today it eliminates the divorced/remarried man from the pulpit, as he is no longer husband to one wife by man's law. Some denominations allow a divorced pastor, the more conservative denominations do not. Of course, some denominations allow for women in the pulpit, as well as practicing homosexuals in the pulpit. But let's stick to what Scriptures say.
A Pastor/Bishop/Elder in the church is not the lone ranger. Or at least he's not supposed to be. If he is following the scriptural model, he is under submission first to Jesus. Secondly, he is accountable to the qualified deacons of the church. What are deacons? These men meet the same qualifications as a pastor. They do administrative duties, they assist the pastor in various offices of the church. Their wives are to meet the qualifications we find in Titus 2. A Pastor is also accountable to the elders of the church, who are most usually older, who meet the qualifications of pastor, and who helps in teaching, such as in a Sunday School class, fills in for the pastor when he is gone, maybe oversees the children's ministry. They are more of the supportive non-administrative position. The pastor who bucks accountability shows the thread of pride, a dangerous trait that can ruin a church. There are many wonderful pastors who work well with deacons and elders, there are some pastors who will not allow for deacons or elders and must run the church on his own, micromanaging each detail along the way.
Take a look within your own church and view how your leadership operates. Do they stay by the landmark of a Scriptural pastor and leadership?
There are a great number of wonderful, bible preaching and teaching pastors out there. They are shepherds who lovingly tend their flock. There are also some who are hirelings, who, like those who are hired to tend sheep, do not care much about their flock and let the wolves come in amongst the sheep. If you have that solid biblical shepherd, pray for him, take good care of him, and be very thankful!
This concludes our 3rd installment of "Moving the Landmarks". Stay tuned for part 4 coming soon!
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1. Thomas Nelson KJV Study Bible Notations, 1988, Liberty University
2. E-Sword, found at www.e-sword.net
3. Wycliffe Bible found at http://www.biblegateway.com
Joyfully shared with:
The Better Mom
The Modest Mom
Far Above Rubies
Time Warp Wife