Points to Ponder: History and Religion and Their Dual Impact on Community Relations

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pastors and Shepherds: A Contrast of Positions

Jesus often taught about the traditions of men and how these traditions voided the Word Of God and literally made Gods' Word of non-effect. Jesus also taught about deception in several passages;  1 John 4:1-6 and Matthew 24:4-5 are examples.

 Jesus never identified himself as being a pastor. He is The Shepherd of His Church. In most cases, the position of pastor is a paid position.  The position of modern pastor fulfills the position of "hireling" John 10:13. In other words, he/she is paid to do a job. Even that is all wrong. Serving God should not be a job but "work". There is a fundamental difference between a job in the modern sense and Biblical work. What has happened is that the traditions of men have  co-opted the New Testament  Church to serve as "law" in order  to legitimize  positions.  1 Timothy 5:18 which states : "do not muzzle the ox...  used by the modern church to teach New Testament Tithing  is an axiom that Moses used to teach about the proper relationship between employer and employee.  I believe  Paul was not comfortable with accepting "wages" and worked as a tent maker because he understood the danger of accepting a "wage" for service to The Kingdom Of God.  Even Jesus was a carpenter. But, strangely Paul supported those who chose to receive money for their service.

Clearly, our modern pastors are not (with a few exceptions) Biblical elders. They are something else. Something we don't see anywhere in the Bible.

But what about Ephesians 4 verses 11 - 13, you're asking. This is the passage that reads:

"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."

8"But (A)do not be called (B)Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

9"Do not call anyone on earth your father; for (C)One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
10"Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.  Matthew 23:8-10 (cross-reference with 1 Corinthians 1:12, Acts 18:24). Here Paul clearly oversteps Jesus teachings concerning leadership in His (Jesus) Church. How and why did Paul do this?
              But be that as it may, I did not burden you myself; nevertheless, crafty fellow that I am, I took you in by deceit. 2 Corinthians 12:16. Here Paul refers to himself as "crafty" and  a man of "deceit". Maybe Paul called his urge to overstep his Apostolic Office at times a "messenger from Satan. 2 Corinthians 12:7.

But doesn't Ephesians 4 based on Psalm 68  establish the position of "pastor" one might ask.  No. It's a mistranslation and deception.  The original Greek word which is here translated as "pastor" is every other place in the New Testament translated as "shepherd," and used to refer to Biblical elders or Jesus himself. In other words, the passage should read "shepherds and elders" not  "pastors and teachers." But even the corrected translation does not explain the deception that pastors as modern shepherds should be paid could be Biblical.   Jesus never authorized a new class of church leader. Jesus actually taught the opposite. A pastor might be where a shepherd works but in no way is a pastor a shepherd.

In order to understand what has happened here you have to understand the historical context of this Psalm or song of David and  how Paul's words  morphed (were  twisted)  to fit "spiritual gifts". These spiritual gifts were left  to the New Testament church but not as a five-fold ministry but as fruit (gifts) of The Spirit.

There is then, no Biblical basis for having seminary-trained professional Christian pastors in churches. (Kahle)

http://www.davekahle.com/myths.html       From The Kahle Way . A study of  Dave Kahle on how myths enter into the church helps to place this article in perspective and is my main  reference outside the Bible.

  Mistranslations not withstanding,  if the "position of pastor" is not Biblical, how and when did the idea of pastor as shepherd enter into The Word of God.  Let's go back to Ephesians 4:8 . The passage begins with the cryptic  Therefore he says (NKJV) , This is why it says (NIV), This is why the scriptures say (NLT), Therefore it says (ESV) and wherefore  he saith (KJV).  Surely God is not speaking of Himself in the second person "he".  The Lamsa Aramaic Peshitta  says: wherefore it is said , which the KJV translates better. He, it and the scriptures cannot all represent the same thought. He (a proper noun) represents  God in the person Jesus Christ. He with a small "h" is the  common noun used in the above popular translations. It and scriptures represent things. Moses is the  "he" written about  in Ephesians 4 not Jesus Christ God.

The comparative study of Ephesians 4 and Psalm 68 that lead to the confusion of Spiritual Gifts and the unBiblical modern Five Fold Ministry is an Exegesiscal problem. The Targumic translation which is the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) must be consulted in order to understand the problem.

However, in the Targumic translation of this same verse, we find an interesting reading:
You ascended to the firmament, O prophet Moses; you captured captives, you taught the
words of Torah, you gave gifts to the sons of men, and even the stubborn who are
converted turn in repentance, [and] the glorious presence of the LORD God abides upon

This is about Moses leading the captive Israelites out of Egypt into Mt. Sinai where he received The Ten Commandments as gifts for the Israelites from God. Paul had to know this. So, how did a scripture concerning Moses get to be the basis  for what has become known as The Five Fold Ministry gifts to the church? This part of Ephesians is further complicated by the teaching that Jesus went to hell, where it lives on in the legendary Apostles' Creed. Jesus never taught his disciples concerning His death and Resurrection that He would go to hell and set captives souls free and Pauls' letter to The Corinthians supports this:

"I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you -- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once...." 1 Corinthians 15:1-10. Nowhere does this say Jesus went to hell.

Paul often used the Old Testament as did Jesus and His Prophets to teach contemporaries how to live The Word. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16.  But we are admonished to not change or manipulate the scriptures to fit our agendas.

  "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ." Galatians 1:6-10

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: Revelation 22:18.

We have to be Holy Spirit led when studying The Scriptures. Approaching The Bible any other way is not only unacceptable it's dangerous. Make this year 2011 the year you begin studying to show yourself approved. Be Blessed...

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