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Should we call men pastors?

Submitted: 1/7/2011
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Question: I would like to ask if it is biblical to call someone pastor other than Jesus? Also, are we to call each other brother and sister? Thank you. I enjoyed the paper 'Response to Should Every Local Church Have a Senior Pastor?'

Answer: We do not believe the term 'pastor' should be used as a title (i.e. Pastor Smith, Pastor Jones). The word 'pastor' simply means shepherd. It is descriptive of the spiritual work some men do. Having said this, we recognize that old habits die hard. Most people are so accustomed to calling their leaders Pastor So-and-so that it is difficult to break the habit. But we believe that the men serving in that role would be wise to discourage its use. Please see our article 'Offices and Titles in the Local Assembly' located on Shlef 4 of the Apostolic Free Library on this website.

We do believe that 'brother' and 'sister' are appropriate terms to use when adressing the members of our spiritual family. In Matthew 23:8, 'For one is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.' And when people spoke to Paul, they called him 'Brother' (see Acts 9:17, 21:20, and 22:13).