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Have you done away with pastors and bishops?

Submitted: 4/9/2006
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Question: So does your church just do away with pastors and bishops? According to Ephesians 4:11,12 And he gave some...... pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. How can you do away with pastors? There should be pastors, elders, and deacons.

Answer: In the Bible, pastors, elders, and bishops are synonymous terms referring to the men who lead a local assembly. In Acts 20:17 Paul called for the elders of the church of Ephesus and in verse 28 told them, 'Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers [episkopoi, bishops], to shepherd [verb form of pastor] the church of God....' In 1 Peter 5:1-2 the apostles wrote, 'The elders who are among you I exhort,...Shepherd [verb form of pastor] the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers [episkopoi, bishops]....' In Titus 1:5-7 Paul wrote, 'For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you --6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God....' This passage uses the terms 'elder' and 'bishop' interchangeably.

To answer your question, absolutely not. We have not done away with either pastors or bishops. We have established a team of four pastors, who are elders (mature men) serving as bishops (overseers). To designate some men as pastors and others as elders or bishops contradicts the local church polity set forth in the Scriptures.

Please read our articles on this important subject on Shelf 2 of the Apostolic Free Library.