Monday, November 2, 2009

In Defense of Pastoral Leadership


Recently, a friend, Arthur Sido at "A Voice Crying in the Wilderness", has posted on his blog his own views and the links to others supporting the view that there is to be no human authority within the local church. The NEMRS affirms the view of church leadership expressed in the Westminster and London Baptist Confessions concerning the leadership of the local church. While these confessions differ in the details concerning church leadership, they both agree that the elders of a church are its leaders appointed by Christ to govern the local church.

Two words of caution are in order. First, ecclesiology is not something that Christians ought to divide over. It does not rise to the same level of importance as other doctrines such as theology proper or soteriology. In these areas of theology, we are in full agreement with Arthur, and we consider him a fellow laborer. In addition, many of his critiques of modern church methodology are valid and very much worth listening to (Hence the reason we have a link to his blog). Second, we do not affirm the traditional view because it is traditional nor do we affirm it because it is in our confessions. We affirm this position because we believe that it is the biblical view.

We believe that elders have been given the responsibility to lead the congregation God has placed them over. Paul describes elders as those "who rule" (1 Tim. 5:17). The Greek word used here is defined by BAGD to mean "1. to be the head of, rule, direct 2. care for, be concerned about, give aid." One may be tempted to argue that the second meaning is the one Paul intended. However, this same word is used in 1 Tim. 3:4, 5 to describe the duty of a father in his home. I doubt our friend would be willing to argue that men are only to care for their homes rather than lead their homes because he believes in male leadership in the home. In addition, the term elder itself was used to describe the leaders of Israel. These passages make it obvious that elders are to lead the church similarily to the way fathers are to lead the home.

The writer of Hebrews also says: "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God" (13:7). The word translated leaders is defined by BAGD as "a leader, guide...leaders of religioius bodies." In Acts 15:22, this same word is used of Paul and Barnabas, who were obviously leaders in their local church.

Other biblical evidence includes: the term bishop or overseer implies spiritual oversight, Timothy and Titus are both commanded by Paul to command their congregations (1 Tim. 4:11, Titus 2:15) implying authority, Paul told Timothy that he did not allow women to teach or exercise authority over men (This passage is used to rightly disqualify women from being elders), and Peter refers to elders as shepherds, which was a term used for a leader of Israel.

Bbilically, it is clear that elders are the persons Christ has apppointed to govern his church. Of course, no elder has the right to lead any congregation contrary to the rule of Christ, the Head of the Church. Therefore, elders are not the absolute authority in a church. Elders must submit to the absolute authority of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

Pastor Jeremy Lee
Twining Baptist Church

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

OK, Jeremy you may expand on women in leadership. Should women be in any ministry of the local church? Is it Biblical for women to be evangelists, ministers, missionaries in countries other than the United States or Europe? I am thinking of the proliferation of female ministers to countries such as Africa, India and China, this seems to be acceptable. What are your thoughts about this

Jeff Ryan said...

Thank you, Jeremy, for your passion and courage to stand up for a Biblical truth in a day when truth is being accommodated for cultural and pragmatic reasons (and not for reasons based on solid Biblical exegesis).

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jeremy and Jeff, this is what the reformation society of North East Michigan is all about i.e. calling the church back to Confessional Christianity. This is my passion and the passion of the NEMRS and I might add the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals thus the name "Confessing Evangelicals" again thank you Jeremy.
Ken Clouse

A. Amos Love said...

Just wondering...

In the Bible, How many people...
have the title pastor?

In the Bible, How many people are...
referred to as pastor?

In the Bible, How many people are...
ordained as a pastor?

In the Bible, How many congregations are...
led by a pastor?

Be blessed in your search for truth... Jesus

Jeremy Lee said...

Mr. Love,

Thankyou for visiting our blog and leaving your comments.

In response to your questions, first I do not believe I used the term pastor in my blog, and I did that intentionally. The primary word the Bible uses to describe church leaders is elders. Thus, I used the more biblical term.

While no person is referred to with the noun pastor, some are charged with pastoring God's people. In John 21:16, Peter is told by Jesus, "Tend My sheep." Tend is a verb, but in it's noun form it refers to a shepherd or pastor. Thus, Peter is to provide pastoral care to the people of God.

Elders are also charged with pastoring in Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:1-4. Therefore, anyone who was ordained as an elder is a pastor, and every congregation that had elders was led by pastors.

To imply that no one is called a pastor in Scripture is absurd. If the Bible commanded people to run but never called those who obeyed runners, does that mean we cannot refer to people who obey this command as runners?

Finally, signing your comment as if it is from Jesus is treading on dangerous ground. If you did not receive these words from Jesus, you are a false prophet.

Pastor Jeremy Lee

A. Amos Love said...

Jeremy

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Ending the last comment with “Jesus”
was referring to your search for truth.
As in when you search for truth you find Jesus.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way,
the truth, and the life:
John 14:6

And you are correct.
You did not use the word “pastor” in your post.

Your title of the post included
“Pastoral” Leadership.

Not “Pastor.”

My apologies once again.


Can you help me out with
the use of the word leader?

Just wondering how you reconcile the use
of the word “leader” With what Jesus said.

Jesus, in Mat 23:10, told His disciples “NOT”
to call themselves master/“leaders”
for you have one master/"leader” the Christ.

King James Version -
Neither be ye called masters:
for one is your Master, even Christ.

The Interlinear Bible -
Nor be called leaders,
for one is your leader the Christ.

Phillips Modern English -
you must not let people call you leaders,
you have only one leader, Christ.

Today's English Version -
nor should you be called leader.
your one and only leader is the Messiah.

The Amplified-
you must not be called masters ( leaders )
for you have one master ( leader ) the Christ.

Jesus told His disciples not to be
called "leaders" and none did.

Ro 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ...

Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus,
the servants of Jesus Christ...

Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you,
a servant of Christ...

Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God...
Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God...
2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant...

His disciples "all" called themselves "servants,"
none called themselves "leaders." None? None.
None called themselves "servant-leader." None.

If Jesus instructed “His disciples”
NOT to call themselves leaders
and someone calls themself a "leader"
or thinks they are a "leader;"

Are they a "disciple of Christ?"

Didn't Jesus make Himself of no reputation,
take on the form of a servant,
and humble Himself? Phl 2:7

Just wondering. Be blessed.

Josh Gelatt said...

A. Amos,

I think I hear what your saying and am inclined to agree with much of it. But certainly you cannot press the "no leader" thing to far, since we are clearly commanded to obey our leaders (Heb 13:17), and I would tend to think assuming Jesus' prohibition against calling anyone "master" precludes the recognition of any leader is to treat master/leader as synonymous when they are not.

Clearly there are leaders in the local church. I don't think that can be denied (assuming one holds to the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture).

However, I would agree that the common practice of single pastoral leadership (or "senior pastoral leadership") is a step away from the rather simple method of leadership prescribed in scripture (note: the term "pastoral leadership" is actually a rather biblical phrase, is it not?). I for one would maintain there is no "office" of pastor in scripture---the only offices are that of elder and deacon. The first category are godly men who have spiritual discernment and a shepherd's heart and the second category are godly men who have earned the trust necessary to be given oversight of some of the key ministries of the church (especially those areas where abuse can easily occur unless overseen appropriately, such as money issues). Both of these have servanthood at the heart.

Today there seems to be a broad movement to return to this more biblically grounded model of ministry, with more and more churches reclaiming a plurality of elders and seeing their "pastor" as one elder among many (though perhaps also seeing him as uniquely gifted in teaching ministry). This is a very welcome move, in my opinion.

A. Amos Love said...

Josh

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

There was a time I desired to be a “pastor/leader/elder”
and was reading all the “How To” books
on how to be a good “pastor/leader.”
There are lots of them.

“If a man desire the office of a bishop,
he desireth a good work.”

I thought that meant “pastor/leader” at the time.
That’s what I was taught by “my elders.”

"My elders" wanted to make it official,
and give me the title elder,
I refused and said,
being a believer was good enough.
I didn’t need a title.

I wasn’t being humble at the time.
I knew I still had a few “character defects?” (SIN)

I knew I didn’t yet measure up for
the qualifications for a “pastor/leader/elder.“

Must be blameless, ( I wasn’t.)
have your family in order, (Mine wasn’t.)
holy, just, temperate, not quarrelsome, etc...

How many believers take those qualifications
for “bishop” and “elder” seriously today?

The Bible talks about bishops, and elders.
And qualifications for bishops and elders.

Can you have one without the other?

Bishops “must be” blameless...

After finally leaving “the religious system,”
(Much pain, tears and spiritual abuse.)
And struggling with these things about
elders/leaders/shepherds/bishops, etc.
(as I see your struggles and many others also.)
I now see it this way. Well today anyway.
Subject to change? As I write this?...Mercy Lord.

That “must be” is the same Greek word as
...You “must be” born again. John 3:17
Seems to be a small word but very important.

It’s Strongs #1163, die. - It is necessary (as binding).
Computer - necessity established by the counsel
and decree of God.

Bishops “must be.” Hmmm? Very important or...?

Blameless... How important is this word?

Webster’s - Without fault; innocent; guiltless;
not meriting censure.

Synonyms - faultless, guiltless, innocent,
irreproachable, spotless, unblemished.

Computer - that cannot be reprehended,
(cannot be, rebukable, reprovable, cannot find fault)
not open to censure, irreproachable.

Strongs #423 - anepileptos
inculpable, blameless, unrebukeable.

How many, who honestly examine themselves,
seriously considering these qualifications,
can see themselves as blameless, without fault
and thus qualify to be an overseer, elder?

And if you can see yourself as blameless;
Is that pride? And no longer without fault?

The Bible talks about bishops, and elders.
And qualifications for bishops and elders.
Can you have one without the other?

This is only one of many qualifications.

Don’t many today ignore some, if not many,
of the qualifications?

Didn’t Paul also leave us a way out
“if” we can’t find someone who qualifies.

In Titus 1:5, Paul tells Titus,
to ordain elders in every city.

But in verse 6 Paul leaves a loophole (?) saying,

“If” any “be blameless.”

This is a very large, little, word: “IF.”
This “IF” is found many times in scripture.

In verse 7 he explains why he leaves an opening.

For a bishop “must be blameless.”

I have never met one “leader/pastor/elder”
as nice and as humble as one might be,
who could live up to that “one qualification,”
never mind all the other qualifications.

Paul didn’t say “they” can grow into being blameless.
To be ordained bishop “they” must “be” blameless.

Titus 1:6 If any be blameless...
Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless...

Who do you know who is “blameless,”without fault?

I came pretty close for awhile.
I came so close “my elders” even
gave me a medal for being humble.

Then, only one week later,
they took it away from me
when I wore it.

Only God, and sometimes me,
know the hidden motives of my heart.

Only God, and sometimes me,
know “the idols” of my heart. Ezek 14:3-7

Can “titles become idols” - of the heart?

Doesn’t God then talk to us, and direct us,
according to those “idols” of the heart?

Be blessed in your search for truth... Jesus

Anonymous said...

Amos, your problem isn't that you find being an elder, or bishop is out of the reach of the human being i.e. yourself due to the failure to be perfect. Your problem is a lack of Justification or the understanding there of. I beg you to study the doctrine of Justification, of election, of imputation. Doing this you will then see how you can be perfect in Christ Jesus. You will then Trust our Savior for the perfection you need to execute the offices He appoints you to. You are dancing all around the issue that God gives ministries to people, and calls them to the ministry of Elder, Deacon, Pastor, Teacher etc.. I can only conclude that you are disobedient to God in committing your talents to Him or you are un-regenerated.
Kenneth L. Clouse
5700ken@centurytel.net

A. Amos Love said...

Kenneth

Thanks for the encouragement and reminding me of
the doctrines of justification and election.

“God gives ministries to people, and calls them to the ministry of Elder, Deacon, Pastor, Teacher etc..”

If God calls people to the “ministry of teaching?”
How do you, KEN, reconcile Jesus, in Mat 23:8
telling “His Disciples” NOT to be called “Rabbi.”

Luke 6:46
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?

KJV Matthew 23:8
But be not ye called Rabbi:
for one is your Master, even Christ;
and all ye are brethren.

Rabbi - #4461 rhabbi {hrab-bee'} Rabbi, a “title”
used by the Jews to address their “teachers.”

Rabbi - Dictionary - an ordained teacher,
The spiritual head of a congregation.

Rabbi - Strongs - my master,
as an official “title of honor:” Master, Rabbi.

NKJV
“But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’;
for One is your Teacher, the Christ,
and you are all brethren.

NLT
Don’t ever let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’
for you have only one teacher,
and all of you are on the same level
as brothers and sisters.

NRSV
But you are not to be called rabbi,
for you have one teacher,
and you are all students.

1Co 14:26
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together,
every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine,
hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

If Jesus told “His disciples”
NOT to be called “Rabbi/teacher” and none did.

If someone calls themself a “teacher,”
has the “Title Teacher,” or thinks they are a “teacher,”
Are they a “disciple of Christ?”
If that is your choice Ken,
to be “known” as, and have the “Title” teacher,

Or be a “disciple of Christ?”

Which one will you choose?

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 10:16

One Fold - One Shepherd - One Voice.
If Not Now, When?

Be blessed and be a blessing.

Jeremy Lee said...

Mr. Love,

You are right I did use pastoral in the title. I overlooked this. No apologies are necessary because you have been respectful in all of your questions and responses, which I appreciate.

I would like to answer your question to Ken and myself with a question: How do you reconcile Jesus teaching in Matthew 23:8 and following with what has been demonstrated from Scripture in this blog concerning leadership? Clearly, Scripture teaches that there are leaders in the local church, and this must be reconciled with what Jesus said. Or, Scripture is in error, which I for one do not accept.

My understanding of this passage is that Jesus is denouncing men who practice their piety to be seen by others. In others words, they like the titles because of the prestige it affords them.
So, Jesus forbids people from exalting themselves over brothers, God, or himself (Notice this progression in the passage); rather than exalting ourselves, we should be humble before God, Christ, and one another. However, being in the position of leadership does not mean by necessity that one person is being exalted over another. Although, all believers should certainly be aware of this sinful tendency. Therefore, Jesus is not forbidding human leadership absolutely, but he is forbidding self-exaltation to be noticed by others rather than by God.

Another thing to consider is that Jesus is speaking hyperbollically. For example, he forbids calling any human being father. Does this mean I should punish my children for calling me father? Does this mean I have exalted myself when I refer to myself as a father? Does this mean I have assumed this title for self aggrandizing? I think not.

Pastor Jeremy Lee

A. Amos Love said...

Jeremy

Appreciate the dialog. Thanks.

“they like the titles because of
the prestige it affords them.” Agreement here.

I have seen the dangers of "Titles,"
of being known as “pastor/leader.”
Spiritual abuse for both the "leader"
and those “being led.” ,

It seems that,
leaders = lord it over = exercise authority = abuse = always

I'm not not new to "ministering healing" to those
who have been abused by those who
"thought they were pastor/leaders."

Folks who have been *burnt,** burnt out,** kicked out,*
or *crawled out* of "the religious system."

With it's leaders, submission to spiritual authority,
and other unbiblical "heavy weights" put on folks shoulders.

I also spend a fair amount of time with pastors,
"so called leaders," who can't do it anymore.
Trying to run the show and please so many masters.

Trying “to please” the denominational leaders,
the congregation, the congregations leaders,
your own family, and of course Jesus.
Who is often relegated to last place. Hmmm?

Serving so many masters, that's tough; Yes?

Peaching every week... and it better be good, being the CEO, the team leader, counciling, marrying, burying, smiley face. etc. etc.

If "pastors/leaders" (as we see them today) are of God?
He's not taking very good care of His shepherds; Is He?

This is info from a website helping burned out Pastors.

PastorCare offers support and encouragement
for pastors and their families.

At PastorCare we care about YOU and we want to help.

http://www.pastorcare.org/PastorCare/About_Us.html

According to the Francis A. Schaeffer
Institute of Church Leadership (2007)
• 77% say they do “not” have a good marriage.
• 71% have felt burned out or depressed.
• 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
• 40% report a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
• 38% are divorced or seriously considering divorce.

According to the Ministering to Ministers Foundation...
• Over 1600 pastors in the U.S. are forced out of their positions each month.
• Nearly 1 in 4 pastors experience a forced termination at least once during their ministry.
•Only 54% of pastors go back into full-time church related positions.

Think we might have a problem with “pastor/leader?”

Read that again. This is not possible.
77% say they do “not” have a good marriage.
70% of pastors feel depressed or burnt out.
70% Don't have a close friend. Hmmm?

That's who is running the show. Yes?
That's who is abusing God's sheep and being abused.
I have been both abused and the abuser. It’s not pretty.

1600 pastors a month, that's 19,000 a year, leave or are pushed out. Wow!!!
That's a lot of broken hearts, disappointments, feelings of failure, pain, abuse.

Hmmm? Todays “Pastor/leader,”
is this a “Title” or "position" in the scriptures?

And every pastor I’ve met also had the “Title” “Reverend.”

Does anyone have the “Title” reverend in the Bible?

Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person,
neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
For I know not to give flattering titles;
in so doing my maker would soon take me away.
Job 32:21


Don’t “titles” become idols?

Don’t “titles” divide?

And cause walls of seperation?

Don’t “titles” say, I am, you’re not?
Don’t “titles” say, we are, they’re not?

Baptist, Lutheran, Assemblies of God; --- separation.

Reformed, Evangelical, Charismatic; --- separation.

Clergy – Laity;--- separation.

Leaders – Followers;--- separation.

Shepherds – Sheep; --- separation.

Jesus said we are all brethren. Mat 23:8

Didn’t Jesus make himself of no reputation,
and take upon himself the form of a servant
and humble himself? Php 2:7

Don’t “titles” make a reputation whether you want it or not?

Didn’t Jesus say I receive not honor from men?

Don’t “titles” create honor whether you want it or not?

Peace...

Anonymous said...

A.A.

I agree that the qualification list given in the Timothy correspondence is weighty, but you make it sound like no Christian can possibly met that qualification list. Considering that Paul commanded Timothy to "appoint elders in every city", it would seem odd that he would then give a list that no one could possibly meet.

Also, Paul talks about elders everywhere. In his final days at Jerusalem he even summoned the Ephesian elders to meet with him.

Clearly the apostle Paul felt many in his day fully met the biblical qualifications of elder.

In your drive to disprove and wipe away any hint of pastoral/elder leadership, you are ignoring scripture. While you rightly cite the passages of Jesus that command against leadership excesses ("do not call anyone teacher"--written in response to the Pharisees, by the way), you completely ignore scores and scores of passages that talk about the leaders within the Church---even the passages that command obedience to the leaders, passages that describe the church choosing its leaders, and passages that describe the activities of the leaders.

Like it or not, Jesus used titles and so does the rest of the New Testament. It refers to the church's leaders as shepherds and the rest of the congregation as sheep. It refers to them as overseers, as elders, as teachers, as shepherds. All of these titles come from scripture. Therefore, if Jesus' prohibition is meant to be taken as extreme as you seem to think, than the Apostle Paul (among other biblical new testament writers) is in direct violation against Jesus' command.

There is no question (if we are to truly take scripture seriously) that there ARE leaders to whom we must submit in a local assembly. There are---at least there is supposed to be. The "church" that rejects any form of human leadership (under Christ and His word) is not a church in the New Testament sense of the term. The issue is what is the nature of that leadership.

I think you are bending over backwards and doing a lot of hermeneutical twisting in an attempt to deny that you must submit yourself to another human being. Pride comes in many forms---those who seek leadership for reason of vanity, as well as those who repudiate it for reasons of autonomy.

A. Amos Love said...

Anonymous

I appreciate your fervor and defense of the scriptures.

1 - How do you reconcile today's “pastor/leader”and
how they conduct a meeting, being the central figure.
Most folks just being spectators, being entertained,
expected to remain silent and follow the program.

“Pastors in pulpits, preaching to people in pews.”
(Where did they learn that? Is that in the Bible?)

With what Paul said in 1 Cor 14:26?

How is it then, brethren? when ye come together,
every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine,
hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Every one participating, brethren sharing what Jesus
has taught them, the body ministering to the body,
no one lording it over or exercising authority?

In His service. By His Grace

Jeremy Lee said...

Mr. Love,

You continue to raise further questions but make no attempt to prove your assumptions biblically. Even when I have asked you to reconcile your beliefs about Matt. 23:8ff and the rest of the Bible's teaching on leadership, you have failed to do so. Rather, you seemingly ignore these questions and point out further proof texts. Constantly bringing up proof texts that do not prove what you assume they prove is not furthering the debate.

The reason for this discussion is to persuade others or understand another's point of view, but it seems like you are involved in this discussion just to cause controversy. If this is the case, we do not need to discuss this further.

However, if we are in error, we would be happy to correct ourselves in order to be accord with Scripture. In order to demonstate that we are in error, you need to point out our interprative errors and offer a consistent alternative interpretation.

Pastor Jeremy Lee

Jeremy Lee said...

Mr. Love,

I will not post any further comments from you on this subject. Unless you attempt to either refute the position I have defended or support biblically your own position. All of your questions have been sufficiently answered, and they were not ignored. I explained the reason pastor is a legitimate title, and I offered an interpretation of Matt. 23:8ff that is consistent with my position that there should be human leaders in the church. Another person answered your questions about the qualifications of elders. Yet, you have not even attempted to show how our interpretation is in error aside from continuously quoting a verse that does not mean what you think it means. This debate will go nowhere if you do not attempt to do this, and I do not have the time to waste restating my position over and over again when I have already answered once.

I will be happy to post comments from you that attempt to refute our position biblically or defend your position. Also, feel free to comment on any other future posts. I commend you for not succumbing to personal attacks although some of what has been said about you is unfair. I regret especially that someone said you may be unregenerate. I would add that I never said you were just trying to cause controversy; rather, I said you “seemed” to just want to cause controversy. I included the word seemed to give you the benefit of the doubt. I apologize if I did not communicate that well.

Pastor Jeremy Lee

A. Amos Love said...

Jeremy - In two parts

Okay - lets start with Hebrews 13 and Acts 15
which you mention in your original post.

Sorry, I’m still using the KJV.
It’s keyed to all my study books.

“The writer of Hebrews also says:
"Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God" (13:7). The word translated leaders is defined by BAGD as "a leader, guide...leaders of religious bodies." In Acts 15:22, this same word is used of Paul and Barnabas, who were obviously leaders in their local church.

Heb 13:7
Remember them which have the rule over you,
who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Heb 13:17
Obey them that have the rule over you,
and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls...

Heb 13:24
Salute all them that have the rule over you,
and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

The greek word “hegeomai” is 28 times in the NT

Only 3 times as, “have the rule over” all in Heb 13.

It is Strongs #2233 hgeomai
In the KJV it is translated - count 10, think 4, esteem 3, have rule over 3, be governor 2,

As you stated, it does mean, to lead, to guide,
it also means “to go before.”
A guide who goes before or I’m the leader?

Seems the qualification to who we submit to is in
Heb 13:7 “who have spoken unto you the word of God.”
Heb 13:17, “they watch for your souls.”
Not a “Title” pastor or a “position” leader or elder,
BUT, someone who knows you and cares for you.

This hgeomai is being attentive to me.
Speaking the word of God and watching.
Not demanding that I submit to him.

If they aren’t “watching for my soul” do I submit?
Not anymore. Thank you Jesus.

The Greek word for “Obey” in Heb 13:17
is the root word for faith.

Strongs #3982 peitho - pi'-tho

KJV - persuade 22, trust 8, obey 7,
have confidence 6, believe 3, be confident 2,

Hmmm? persuade, trust, have confidence, believe.
Maybe that word “obey” then is different
from how we understand “obey” today. Yes?

Maybe we need to go to God and ask Him what
He means here.

Deuteronomy 4:36
Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,
that he might instruct thee.

Outside of Heb 13 in your version is “leader” ever used?
And “Elders’ are NOT mentioned as “leader” in Heb 13.

It’s interesting that “hegeomai” is also “esteem” 3 times.

Php 2:3
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;
but in lowliness of mind let each “esteem” other
better than themselves.

1Th 5:13
And to esteem them very highly
in love for their work’s sake...

The same word “hegeomai,” which you say proves
leaders, a high place, is used when encouraging those who need to be in “lowliness of mind” and to “esteem”
others better than themselves.

That “ hegeomai” is different then today’s leader. Yes?
Don’t find many “leaders/pastors” esteeming others
better then themselves today.
They seem to want the TOP spot.

You can tell which “hegeomai” is present when
confronted with opposition or a different opinion.

What kind of fruit do we see when things get tight;
“Accusation” “ Argument” “Ridicule”“Name Calling”
or “lowliness of mind?” Love, joy and peace?

A. Amos Love said...

Part two

Elders = given to hospitality, patient, not a brawler.

Given to hospitality
Strongs #5382 philoxenos
KJV - given to hospitality 1, lover of hospitality 1,
1) hospitable, generous to guests.

But patient
Strongs #1933 epieikev {ep-ee-i-kace'}
KJV - gentle 3, patient 1, moderation 1; 5
1) seemingly, suitable 2) equitable, fair, mild, gentle.

Not a brawler
Strongs #269 amacov
KJV - not a brawler 1, no brawler 1; 2
1) not to be withstood, invincible 2) not contentious
3) abstaining from fighting.

Here’s Heb 13:17 in the “NKJAV.”

That’s the “New King James Amos Version.”

Heb 13:17
Be persuaded by, trust, and have confidence in
those you esteem and think to submit yourselves:
for they watch and are paying attention to your soul...

There's more on leaders. Didn’t cover Acts 15 yet.
Go back and check, I don’t think “hegeomai”
is referring to Paul and Barnabus there.

I think it refers to those who went from the ekklesia
in Antioch, with Paul and Barnabus, to Jerusalem.

Couldn’t find anything about Paul and Barnabus
being leaders in their local church.

Just for your own information words like “clearly”
and “obviously” are not helpful in a debate.

This is from the dictionary on my compute.
I did not write it. There are some harsh words
but helpful when stating your opinions.

USAGE NOTE for “Clearly”
Exaggerators like this word, along with its cousins
( obviously, undeniably, undoubtedly, and the like).
Often a statement prefaced with one of these words is conclusory, and sometimes even exceedingly dubious.
As a result—though some readers don't consciously
realize it— "clearly" and its ilk are ‘weasel words’—
that is, unnecessary words that supposedly intensify the meaning of a statement, but actually weaken it.
Just how much clearly can weaken a statement is
evident in the following example, in which the author uses the word to buttress a claim about his own state of mind: “Clearly, I am not to be convinced that this is a small matter.” (Stephen White, The Written Word; 1984.) — BG

I am clearly enjoying the challenge of trying to explain what I’m obviously seeing.
An undeniable thanks.

Anonymous said...

A.A.

No one denies that there are people in leadership positions within churches that shouldn't be. Certainly there are people who abuse their authority. Granted.

But you are trying to characterize all modern day church leadership as being overly authoritarian. That is both wrong and illogical.

There are countless churches---presbyterian, baptist, methodist, etc---that practice godly, God-honoring, servant-based leadership. These leaders truly care for the souls of their congregation, and are doing a remarkable job. These churches are also incorporating the spiritual giftedness of its members, with many taking an active part in the worship services.

In my own congregation multiple people prayer, others stand to give testimonies, more and more of the men stand and give devotionals while other adults request a hymn or a chorus (particularly on Sunday nights and in small groups). Yet I have the title "pastor" on my office door and the entire congregation cheerfully recognizes that this church has a human group of leaders. On what grounds can you accuse us of being unbiblical?

You seem to object to my statement about pastors in the pulpit preaching to people in the pews. Yes, that's biblical. No, I'm not referring to the furniture---I don't care where he is standing or where they are sitting (or even if they/he are standing and sitting). But, it is scriptural that the elders of the church be that congregation's spiritual teachers. For all your attempt to get rid of the human authority that Christ, Paul, and others in the NT wrote about, it is impossible to legitimately ignore the fact that Christ's plan was to lift up teachers for His local body.

I agree with your statement about everyone participating and no one lording it over others, but your belief that no one should be 'exercising authority' is frankly anti-biblical, absurd, and in complete violation of multiple scriptures. Paul, in fact, takes great care to get the spiritual leaders to actually step up to the plate and exercise godly authority. He commands Timothy to appoint elders in every town to do just that. This authority is exercised by teaching, praying over the people, discerning false teaching (meaning that they must hear what others are saying and stop those within the congregation who are saying things that are contrary to scripture---so while people have a right to talk about the bible in the church, it is not an unqualified right, it still must come under submission to the elders), etc. Being an elder isn't just about holding someone's hand in the hospital, it is also about lovingly confronting two ladies in the church who have been arguing and gossiping about each other for years. In the first scenario people feel cared for, in the second they simply get angry (at least initially). In both, their souls are being cared for--whether or not they recognize it.

Again, your attempt to deny any human authority seems telling. Why is it that you have taken such great pains to try to deny that you must submit to a congregationally appointed elder?

Your view point is, frankly, too Western-----too American. It has less to do with Scripture, and far more to do with a Western anti-authoritarianism (the so-called 'rugged individualism' of American culture). Or, as my wife puts it (she is from the East), 'You can always tell an American, they walk around with the attitude 'nobody tells me what to do'."

Jeff Ryan said...

THANK YOU, whoever you are, for the last post. I hope that can be the last word in this long debate!