<<Hi Andrew, We appreciate your reply about our question on "pastors"---but it is an interesting point that you made--most of what we believe about pastors must come from our experience (example: a "pastor manages the church"---biblical fact: there never was any person called a pastor who managed any of the churches of those days.) rather than from what the Bible states. Most of what we commonly imply about the "duties of a pastor" come from Biblical implication to our experience (example: a pastor is a shepherd--he "rules sheep"--problem: "sheep" in the Bible are the unsaved, saved people are called "servants or ministers")

Let's look at some Bible facts.

1. The word "pastors" is only used once in the entire New Testament. It is one of the 5 "gifts of Christ" which the Bible says are "given unto every one of us"

7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (see Psalm 68:18--the Old Testament verse which establishes the 5-fold ministry) 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; (Ephesians 4: 7-11)

2. The Greek word which is translated here to the English "pastor" (poimen--shepherd) is used only about a dozen other times in the New Testament Bible---and every other time this word relates to one person--Jesus Himself. But it specifically relates to a certain action that Jesus does. In the Bible--ministry is action--not rulership--not a title for a person to bear--not authority over others...

25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. (Luke 22:25-26, KJV).

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; (Matthew 20:25-26, KJV).

3. There is one place in the Bible in which the word pastor (translated "shepherd") is used more than any other--John chapter 10. In this chapter, Jesus relates a parable of a good shepherd (pastor), and He says quite simply that the good shepherd (pastor) does this:

"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." (John 10:9)

What exactly is Jesus refering to? In order to understand the parable in John 10, we must read John chapter 9, to see exactly what Jesus is refering to, to whom He is speaking, and what He is speaking about.

1 ¶ And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. (John 9: 1-7)

In John chapter 9, Jesus heals a blind man--but He does so much more! Jesus sees in the blind man, not a sinner, but a minister. First He says that the man is blind, not becasue of sin--"but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." Jesus is not saying that He is going to heal the man--Jesus is not bragging about His abliity to heal--he is saying that the blind man will now work the works of God--that he will become a minister.

Jesus healed people in many different ways--but this blind man is healed in a very specific way. First Jesus makes clay--the reference here is to the potter's clay--the reforming of the life of a man--Next He "anoints" the man with the clay--which again speaks of "the gift of Christ" (the gift of the anointed One and His anointing) which is ministry. Finally, Jesus tells the man to " Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.)" The word in English, "Sent" (notice it is capitolized--it is a name) is the Greek word "apostello"---apostle. The blind man is being healed, but he is also being baptized into apostelship.

Read the rest of John chapter 9 and you will see that the blind man goes about witnessing Jesus to everyone he meets--he does the work of an apostle (to be a messenger of God). At the end of the chapter the blind man again meets Jesus...

35 ¶ Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. 39 ¶ And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. (John 9: 35-41)

Now this really blows away all our theology (I love when Jesus does this!)--the blind man has been released to be an apostle, and he wasn't even saved yet! Which proves to us exactly what psalm 68:18 states about ministry...

18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. (Psalms 68:18, KJV).

The gifts of ministry are given to "men" (Hebrew: Adam--meaning mankind)--"for the rebellious also"--ministry is not training or education--it's the anointing. Ministry is given to all in the incarnation--not by experience or the approval of man. (Good God--if we could just realize this in other people--if we could just realize this potential--the anointing in others--and release them immediately to serve God--the way that Jesus does here--we could get the world saved in an afternoon!)

The Pharisees then react to what has happened--they ask if they are blind also--they had judged this man a sinner--and Jesus makes him an apostle. At which point, Jesus begins to relate to them, this parable of a good pastor (shepherd). Now in all the Bible, the next verses refer to "pastors" more than any other place. The parable that Jesus relates is about a "good pastor"--as opposed to the thief-- who comes to steal and destroy. The good pastor leads the sheep "in and out--and they find pasture" (nourishment). Jesus has lead this man into the kingdom--and released him to his pasture--released him to his ministry--in the time it takes Him to spit on the ground, make clay, anoint and baptize.

Jesus is saying quite clearly, that the pastoral anointing is the action of releasing others to ministry.

Now, we might say--"well, this is Jesus doing this--we can't do what He did". But wait, there is another, almost identical example of this same release to ministry in the Bible. Sometime, read Acts chapter 9--compare it to John chapter 9. In Acts 9 we read of a man named Saul--who at the beginning of the chapter is described "breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,"---Now we know what happens to Saul on the way to Damascus--he meets Jesus--but he is blind (Just like the blind man in John 9--he meets Jesus--but is blind until he washes in the pool of Siloam-)--until he gets to the church of Damascus-where they lay hands on him and.....

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Saul is baptized (immersed in the Spirit)--spends only a few days at Damascus, and is immediately released to preach Christ--He immediately walks into his apostleship.

If we were to study the Bible about the pastoral anointing, and not look at what our experience says, or at what we see around us. If we were to take the word of God by faith alone (we rely on our salvation through faith--our walk--our life in God is supposed to be by faith--why not ministry?), we would see that the pastoral anointing is a gift which any of us can function under, to release others to serve God. Biblically, this anointing has nothing to do with the "rulership of a church", but rather is a gift of God which releases others to serve God. This certainly is a gift which is much needed, and very powerful unto the Lord.