Is the Pastor Important? Is he Biblical?

Is the Pastor Important? Is he Biblical? examines the concept of Pastor in Scripture. I defend that the Pastor is a biblical ministry, and that he is central.

I read this post “The Man of God” by Steve Van Nattan, and I greatly disagree with this person’s point of view. For example, he says…

Now, what about your pastor, and the deacons or elders in your local church? Just because a man can shell the corn and get some things right from the King James Bible does NOT mean he is a “man of God.”

So, is a pastor a MAN OF GOD?

Fundamentalists have an exalted view of pastors. The word “pastor” is only used once in the New Testament, and it is never formally defined. The offices of a bishop, elder, and the deacon’s office are well defined, but nowhere is the title “pastor” listed with the other offices. In fact, based on rules of interpretation, the pastor in the local church is not of any special consideration except as a shepherd to feed sheep. “Pastor” is the English equivalent of the Greek word for “shepherd.”

Shepherds in the Bible

Unfortunately, Mr. Van Nattan, doesn’t understand the work of a pastor with animals even in the context of the Old and New Testament. Feeding sheep was not just throwing some hay on the ground for them in a barnyard, it was to wander through the countryside looking for peaceful, good places to let the sheep feed, drink and rest.

This meant that he was in charge of the sheep, and this charge centered on his abilities and perceptions in discerning what is good and what is not good. No shepherd of animals ever took a vote on where to go or when to rest or move on. His work also focused on his character, because the difference between a true pastor and a hireling is that the hireling will not confront evil predators against the sheep.

The Sheep’s owner Trusts the Shepherd

Basically the owner of the sheep says, “Here are my sheep take care of them the best you can.” With that, the shepherd makes all executive decisions for them. While Van Nattan apparently despises the concept of Pastor, God has a higher view of shepherds that Van Nattan.

Jer 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

The very work of God, the care of God’s people, is entrusted to these “shepherds” so Van Nattan sets up a false concept, that a man of God is a great and good thing, and a shepherd is an underling, or a hireling.

The Element of Trust

The first element of a biblical pastor is the great trust by the owner (God) in undertaking this job. Yes, there are good pastors that make bad decisions, and even some that fall into sin. But if people stopped using doctors because they got a bad one, where would we be? Apply that same thought to our politicians.

There is a good deal of things left to the good judgment of the shepherd. So it is extremely important that any pastor be of sound mind, and good headed as far as his decisions and leadership.

Basically, trust is that the person will do the job without taking advantage of the situation for their own vices and pleasures. Yes a church should pay a pastor a livable wage. Pastors should not abuse even if they can do so.

The Element of Responsibility

Responsibility is something a little different than trust. A responsible person will do their duties faithfully. In other words, the pastor is to prepare and equip the flock so that THEY do the work of the ministry. That is why pastors really should be more in the background forcing their people to take action in the ministry.

But a responsible pastor is going to prepare families for the rebellious teen years of their kids. That means dealing with tough issues while they are younger (and in Sunday School). Responsible pastors are going to deal with marital issues like women being submissive to their husbands. Cowards will step all around this and never teach the Bible. Responsible pastors will rebuke husbands that abuse their wives and kids. While it is fair that the pastor should be paid a livable wage, responsibility also demands that he refuse too much salary and benefits when it hurts the economics of the church.

Some References for Responsible Pastors

Responsible pastors teach their flock the marks of a bad minister (see ch41 The marks of a bad minister and ch38 Recognizing a good pastor) when to leave a church (ch43 Time to leave your church?), when to recognize abuse from church leaders, and when to destitute a pastor (ch42 Destitution of Pastor) or if not able to destitute a bad pastor then the member leave that church. (See ch55 Who runs the Local Church?). Pastors, feel free to copy, print out, repost, and use these tracts freely. You have my permission to preach them modified or not, and you do not have to credit me as the source.

Pastorless Flocks

See my tract Ch22 Pastorless Flocks

In this tract I treat exactly this, and why the concept of rejecting pastors is not only wrong, unbiblical, and unwise, but not God’s plan. God saw local church pastors as a great blessing and very necessary element within His church.

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