After publishing the article “Was there sacramental priesthood the Church of the Apostles?” I received this comment:
I agree that in the church of the New Testament the word “priest” is not mentioned and I even agree that priests in general (but there are exceptions) mislead many people from the truth. But if we speak of words, in the New Testament church we do not find the word “pastor” either, as some evangelical community call this service.
The word “pastor” is used in the New Testament.
Christ gave some as pastors
In the Epistle to Ephesians the Apostle Paul wrote:
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)(NASB)
So, Christ gave the service of a pastor in the Church for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ, i.e. the Church.
Bishops have the duty to shepherd the Church
When he said goodbye to the elders of Ephesus, the Apostle Paul said:
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28)(NASB)
Elders must shepherd the Church
Apostle Peter wrote:
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:1-4)
Unlike what is called today sacramental priesthood, the service of a pastor existed in the first church, but it did not indicate a special position of someone, but the duty to shepherd the Church and those performing this service were also called elders and bishops.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru