“American Christianity would collapse if the pastors were removed.” (Frank Viola)
The Greek word poimēn is translated into the English word pastor(s) only one time in the New Testament.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11)
The other seventeen times the Greek word poimēn is used in the New Testament, it is translated into the English word shepherd(s), as in –
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. (John 10:12)
There is no evidence in the New Testament of a pastor – or shepherd – being the scripturally chosen person to preach a sermon every Sunday to a church and also being the CEO in charge of the affairs of that group of believers. Not one mention!
Even Paul in his letters to the churches did not address his messages to pastors. He wrote to all of the believers. Only in one letter did Paul make a special reference to elders, and that was a fleeting one in the first verse of Philippians.
So, how does a modern pastor justify his position as the CEO of a church?
Mainly through tradition.
Where did the tradition of the pastor begin?
Martin Luther dropped the title of priest from himself during the reformation and added the title of pastor instead. From that point forward, pastors became the heads of the Protestant churches.
Now, just so you know, I do not disagree that God has used many pastors over the centuries as His anointed leaders. Yet even so, we are in the last days, and I believe God wants His Son to take His rightful place in His body —
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, ( 1 Timothy 2:5)
I think Frank Viola exaggerated a little bit about American Christianity collapsing if the pastors are removed because many hundreds of thousands of strong believers have already walked away from the traditional church. These believers would not be affected by pastors being removed from the religious scene.
But if Viola would have narrowed his focus and said, “Black Christianity would collapse if its pastors were removed,” then I believe he would have been closer to the truth.
(Continued in Part 5…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)