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View Full Version : IMPORTANT Pastor, Elder, Bishop, Presbyter are all the same office



uric3
Dec 15th 2008, 04:51 PM
Recently I have been posted and have noticed a lot of people on this board seem to think that a Bishop and a Elder are two different things... or that a Pastor and an Bishop are two different things, etc... This is not the case and I intend to show you that all these terms refer to the same office. Any feedback is welcome and if you feel that I am incorrect please respond with Book chapter and verse to back up your position. Thanks

So here we go

The church we read about in the Bible was organized in a very simple way. A general pattern was to have 2 or more qualified men overseeing each local congregation or church. These men could be referred to as the "eldership". Each man must meet several high qualifications which the Bible lists in two passages. Elders are the spiritual leaders of a congregation. They also watch out for the souls of the members like a shepherd.


Christ is the head of every local church. There is no human head of the church.
The Bible is the only written creed for each local church, rather than a man-made written creed.
Each local church is autonomous and self-governing. No outside interference from others.
No organizational tie between local churches.
No organization larger than local churches.
The Bible uses Elder, Presbyter, Overseer, Bishop, Shepherd, Pastor interchangeably and they all refer to a single office in the church.
Local churches appoint their own plurality of elders using 1 Timothy 3, and Titus 1 as guidelines for the qualifications.
Elders have authority only over the members of the local church, not members from outside congregations.

There are five terms that the Bible uses to describe the office of an Elder they are as follows.

Greek Word______Define________________Emphasis__________ _Term____

Presbureros______An older man a senior___Experience__________Elder or presbyter

Episcopos_______A guardian or superintendent___Oversight______Overseer or bishop

Poimen________Metaphoric term (tending flocks)___Protection____Shepherd or pastor

Oikonomo______Metaphoric term (treasurer)______Trustworthy____Steward

Presbuterion____Group of older men/elders______Plurality & equality___Eldership




Each term gives us a little more information about the function of the office: Christians are described as: priests, saints, children citizens, soldiers, etc. In the same way we have different descriptive terms for the eldership.
These terms are not honorary titles but descriptions of work to be done: a. It would be wrong to call someone "Elder Smith", or "Pastor Brown"
In the table above, you will notice four individual terms (elder, overseer, shepherd, steward) and one collective term (eldership: which is simply the plural of term elder).



Proof that all terms refer to same office because of their interchangeable usage:

_____________Elder____________Overseer______Shephe rd____Steward
_____________or Presbyter ______or bishop_____or pastor
_____________(Presbureros)_____(Episcopos)___ (Poimen)_____(Oikonomo)

Acts 20:17,28______:thumbsup:____________:thumbsup:____ _________:thumbsup:__

Tit 1:5,7___________:thumbsup:____________:thumbsup:__ ______________________:thumbsup:

1 Pe 5:1,2_________:thumbsup:__________________________ :thumbsup:


Why do people confuse the one office, for many distinct offices:


People are taught false doctrine from their denominations, that the "office of Bishop" is a different office than the "office of Pastor" and the "office of Elder" and the "office of Steward". They are falsely taught that these are three distinct offices, rather than three descriptive terms that describe the same ONE office.
A failure to be shown that in scripture, these terms are used interchangeably, as seen in the chart above. The fact remains, that if these four terms
A failure to recognize that the English terms "Elder and Presbyter come from the same Greek word "Presbureros". That the English terms "Overseer and Bishop come from the same Greek word "Episcopos". And that the English terms "Shepherd and Pastor come from the same Greek word "Poimen". Part of the confusion is that one Bible translation will consistently translation the Greek word "Presbureros" as "Elder, while another translation will render the same Greek word "Presbureros" as Presbyter. We are find no fault with these translations, but people simply do not look closely enough to notice what is really going on between translations.
Each of the three Greek words are translated into two English words, where one of these English word is a true translation and the other is a meaningless man-made ecclesiastical, church term invented by various churches. To prove the point, when in everyday language do we ever use the words, Presbyter or Bishop or Pastor. They have no use or meaning outside of religion and their meaning is obscure. However meaning the words, Elder or Overseer or Shepherd are understood by all and are used in all areas of life. Another example of this is the word "Baptism", which comes from the Greek word "Baptizo" and is translated "immersion". If Bible translations only used the true translations of all these words, it would greatly reduce confusion as well as immediately prove that "Baptism" is immersion, not sprinkling.

Greek Word________True translation______Meaningless "gobbledy goop" words

Presbureros____________Elder______________________ _Presbyter

Episcopos_____________Overseer____________________ Bishop

Poimen________________Shepard_____________________ Pastor

Baptizo________________Immersion__________________ Baptism


Why did God use four different terms to describe the one office? Simple! Each term gives us a distinct view of the various functions of that one office. If God had used only one word, it would not be nearly as clear as it is with the four terms.

Elder
indicates an older man with wisdom that can only come from age and experience.

Overseer
indicates a position of top authority, one who is in charge and makes all final decisions for the local congregation.

Shepherd
is a metaphoric term that indicates the men are to show love, care, dedication and self sacrifice for the members as sheep. The men are not literally Shepherding sheep, but are doing so in a metaphoric sense that everyone immediately understands.

Steward
indicates a man who can be trusted with great treasures. Of course the greatest of these treasures, are the souls of the local church members, over whom he is in charge. But it also indicates the fact that the men are also in charge of the churches financial assets, including church buildings and the weekly collection of money from the church on the first day of every week through freewill offerings.

I hope this helps and is informative enough to explain everything... also please excuse my poor tables kind of limited on here. Thanks for your time.

uric3
Dec 15th 2008, 10:48 PM
This is a bump.

Teke
Dec 16th 2008, 09:14 PM
Uric is your post to point out that all believers are the priesthood without distinction.
While I would agree with the priesthood of all believers, I would disagree with the eldership of all believers. In which case I would say there should be a distinction of some sort.

Personally in my church we make that distinction. Our bishops are elders, but they are also like prophets (in the sense of delivering moral messages to the people). They are also like prophets in the sense that we don't see them all the time, as they are withdrawn from the world in monasticism. Our priests are not monastics, they are representatives of the bishop. Liken to the church representative of Christ on earth though He isn't literally present in body at the present time.

uric3
Dec 17th 2008, 01:08 AM
Uric is your post to point out that all believers are the priesthood without distinction.
While I would agree with the priesthood of all believers, I would disagree with the eldership of all believers. In which case I would say there should be a distinction of some sort.

Personally in my church we make that distinction. Our bishops are elders, but they are also like prophets (in the sense of delivering moral messages to the people). They are also like prophets in the sense that we don't see them all the time, as they are withdrawn from the world in monasticism. Our priests are not monastics, they are representatives of the bishop. Liken to the church representative of Christ on earth though He isn't literally present in body at the present time.

Teke,

Thanks for your response I apologize if I didn't clarify what my post was about. Agreed that all believers are part of the priesthood I too do not agree with the eldersihp of all believers.

The intent of my post was to clarify that the terms such as bishop, elder, pastor, etc all refer to the same office. They are not all different offices but the same office and are descriptive terms to describe what the office of and elder is and does. Obviously to qualify to be an elder you must meet the requirements laid out in Titus 1 and 1st Tim 3.

So the intent of my post was basically to point out that all those terms are not different offices but all different terms describing the same office which is the office of and elder.

uric3
Dec 17th 2008, 08:58 PM
This is a bump.

thegospelgeek
Dec 17th 2008, 09:17 PM
Teke,

Thanks for your response I apologize if I didn't clarify what my post was about. Agreed that all believers are part of the priesthood I too do not agree with the eldersihp of all believers.

The intent of my post was to clarify that the terms such as bishop, elder, pastor, etc all refer to the same office. They are not all different offices but the same office and are descriptive terms to describe what the office of and elder is and does. Obviously to qualify to be an elder you must meet the requirements laid out in Titus 1 and 1st Tim 3.

So the intent of my post was basically to point out that all those terms are not different offices but all different terms describing the same office which is the office of and elder.

I actually thought everyone believed that. It is what the Bible teaches. Are there those who think they are different?

uric3
Dec 18th 2008, 01:23 PM
I actually thought everyone believed that. It is what the Bible teaches. Are there those who think they are different?

Actually there are people who think they are different.

The one that gets confused the most is pastor but even on this board I have seen people think a pastor and and elder is something different etc...

daughter
Dec 18th 2008, 01:35 PM
I agree with your definition of the terms... the whole complicated heirarchy thing that most churches have nowadays seems to be a human tradition.

However, you say that "each local church is autonomous and self-governing. No outside interference from others." What about the Jerusalem Council?

uric3
Dec 18th 2008, 03:30 PM
I agree with your definition of the terms... the whole complicated heirarchy thing that most churches have nowadays seems to be a human tradition.

However, you say that "each local church is autonomous and self-governing. No outside interference from others." What about the Jerusalem Council?


This is an article I found about it by Kevin T. Bauder which I thought covered it rather well.

The so-called Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 is sometimes made the crux of an argument against the autonomy of the local congregation. The suggestion is sometimes made that Acts 15 depicts a subordinate church (Antioch) appealing to a superior church (Jerusalem) to determine correct doctrine and practice, and then submitting itself to the resulting decision. Beyond this, the further suggestion is made that Paul and Barnabas placed themselves under the authority of the Jerusalem Council and obeyed its decrees. This situation is regarded as a prototype for
bodies that exercise authority over the local congregation.

The actual situation in Acts 15 is that aberrant teachers had come to the Antioch church from Judea (v 1). In other words, these teachers were members of the Jerusalem church, a fact that is confirmed in the Jerusalem letter (v 24). This connection of the teachers to Jerusalem is usually overlooked, but it is essential to a correct understanding of the passage. The doctrine of these teachers was in certain respects understandable. When the church came into existence in Acts 2, it was not initially separate from national Israel. It was an entirely contained subset of Israel. Everyone in the church was also in Israel. In Acts 10, however, the gentile Cornelius and his household were admitted into the church. The status of these gentiles was ambiguous. What position did they occupy in the church? One suggestion (apparently
adopted by these teachers) was that the gentile believers ought to become Jews. Only if they did this could the church remain a subset of Israel.

Whether or not this was the actual reasoning of the teachers from Jerusalem, their
doctrine did not receive a cordial reception at Antioch. In fact, these teachers met with very vigorous opposition from Paul and Barnabas, who were leaders of the church at Antioch. At this point, the Antioch congregation should have been in a position to determine its own teaching and to enforce its own doctrine. Why, then, would “they” (v 2, apparently a reference to the congregation as a whole) determine that Paul and Barnabas should be sent to Jerusalem about the matter?

The simplest and most obvious answer to this question is this: because the false teachers were from Jerusalem. This factor introduced two complications into the situation. First, the church at Antioch might reasonably want to know whether these teachers really represented the views of the whole Jerusalem congregation—if so, trouble was clearly brewing. Second, the congregation at Antioch had no authority over teachers from another church. If the aberrant teachers were to be called into account, Jerusalem would have to do it.

In Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas were received not only by the apostles and elders, but by the whole church. After they had rehearsed the work that they had done among the gentiles,a cadre of Pharisees insisted that gentile believers should be circumcised and required to observe the Mosaic Law. Evidently, the teachers who had gone to Antioch enjoyed a measure of support within the Jerusalem congregation. This was serious enough to warrant a staff meeting on the part of the Jerusalem leadership, apparently conducted in the presence of the whole church (the crowd or multitude of v 12). At first this staff meeting was rather discordant, but then Peter rehearsed his experiences at Cornelius’ household, arguing rather forcefully against the Pharisees. This restored a measure of composure to the meeting, at which point James stepped forward to summarize certain relevant biblical principles and to offer his counsel to the
church’s leaders.

What Acts 15 depicts is not in any sense a church council, presbytery, synod, classis, or congress of bishops. The closest modern equivalent would be a local church’s business meeting, with Christians meeting and embedded in the middle of it. The meeting was held, not to settle doctrine for Antioch, but to clarify the Jerusalem church’s own position. Paul and Barnabas certainly precipitated the meeting, as they intended to do. The text nowhere indicates, however, that they were somehow under the authority of this assembly.

Acting upon the counsel of James, the Jerusalem congregation quickly rejected the position of the Judaizers. Still, the mere existence of such teachers alerted the church to a potential problem. Jews regarded gentiles as idolaters—generally, with good justification. For any church or any Christian to become identified with idolatry would be to contradict the nature of the church as a people of God. Therefore, gentile believers would have to be especially careful to avoid any practices that might identify them with idolatry in the eyes of unsaved Jews.

Having clarified its own views, the church at Jerusalem now had to communicate its position to the gentile churches. It did this through letters that were addressed to the gentile congregations and carried by official appointees from the Jerusalem church. These letters made three points. First, the teachers who had gone to Antioch had not been given authority from the Jerusalem congregation (v 24). Second, Jerusalem officially rejected the doctrines that those teachers had proclaimed (v 28). Third, gentile believers would need to observe certain strictures in order to preserve their testimony among Jews (vv 20-21, 29).

A further word needs to be said about these strictures. One of them (avoiding
fornication) was clearly a moral issue in itself and did not rest upon the authority of the
Jerusalem church. Two of them (abstaining from blood and strangled things) are not otherwise addressed in the New Testament. One of them (avoiding meat offered to idols) is considered separately by Paul in 1 Corinthians 8-10, where he clearly teaches that eating such meat is permissible under certain circumstances. In other words, the Jerusalem strictures were not necessarily an open-and-shut case. They must be viewed as fraternal advice from one congregation to others, rather than as binding pronouncements issued from a superior body to inferior ones.

In sum, Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to deal with two issues. They wanted the Jerusalem church to clarify its own doctrinal position and they wanted it to call its own members into account. The “decrees” of the Jerusalem council were a public response that did three things. First, they communicated that the Jerusalem church would hold its members accountable. Second, they clarified the teachings of the Jerusalem congregation. Third, they offered fraternal advice to other congregations for the maintenance of a clear testimony. Acts 15 certainly shows that autonomous congregations are not independent congregations. These two churches clearly maintained close ties of fellowship. They communicated with each other, inquired of each other, and advised each other. Nothing in this chapter, however, provides a convincing reason for thinking that either church answered to the other in any official sense. Nothing in this chapter provides a convincing reason for believing that any body outside of the local congregation has the right to determine that congregation’s doctrine or practice. Furthermore, nothing in this chapter contradicts the notion that local churches are to be governed under Christ by the consensus of the congregation, achieved after patient consideration of the teaching of the Word and the advice of mature leaders.

Teke
Dec 18th 2008, 06:28 PM
That was a bit confusing Uric. While I agree that a local congregation isn't governed by another over ruling congregation. I do not see how those appointed (in the example you've presented that being Paul and Barnabas who were appointed by the Apostles) are not having council with the other churches.

The fact that they do take council among themselves shows fellowship with one another. I wouldn't view that as "church business" which sounds like a modern device of sorts.

I guess I don't see the authors understanding in this matter. Perhaps he doesn't understand how such a thing worked.

In my church, we would call those "appointees" bishops. In fact all such "appointees" in my church are in a succession of being appointed from the Apostles. For two thousand years they've taken great pains in order to sustain such, in order for the traditional Apostolic teachings to remain unbroken.

So are you now stating that such Apostolic teaching or authority is not necessary to be maintained, but instead that any congregation can appoint whomever to say whatever?