Sunday, June 16, 2013

Print Page Elders, Overseer, Bishops and Pastors are the Same - Thing Are Deacon or Elder Boards Biblical?

It is always important to use the Bible to interpret the Bible. Many churches have a deacon or elder board that rules over the senior pastor of the church. Having a board that rules over the senior pastor is unbiblical and no further argument needs to be given.

Deacon Boards

Many Baptist churches give deacons unbiblical roles. As scripture states:
Acts 6:1-7 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
As you can see the disciples where overwhelmed and because of this widows were being neglected. So deacons were appointed to serve as a help to the members of the church. They were not  appointed to give pastors theological advice or try to sway a pastor in one direction or another.

Elder Boards

Some churches have elder boards. An elder is treated as someone other than a pastor. This view is unbiblical. An elder and a pastor are the same thing. The Bible makes this clear.

Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

As you can see by the previous verses the overseer (bishop) and elder are the same thing

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

These verses in Titus show us that the elder and the bishop are the same thing.

1 Peter 5:1-2 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Here in 1 Peter 5 the same leaders are called elders, feeders of the flock (pastors).


The pastors are to be the leaders of the church.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

1 Timothy 3:1,5  This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

There are only 2 Biblical offices in a church. There is no such thing as Pastors and then elders.

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Even though it appears to be ideal that a church has at least 2 pastors leading it the Bible never commands it and 1 Timothy 3:1-13 appears to leave open the option of just 1 pastor leading a church

We need to get back to the Bible and form our church governments to conform to God's Word. To read more on pastor authority I recommend reading David Cloud's article:

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