I became the Pastor of Healing Wings, Chapel of Faith in 1998. But nine years later, I felt constrained to resign. My resignation came from the sudden realisation that even though God specifically called me to ministry, he never asked me to pastor a church. I have also come to realise that Jesus while Jesus calls prophets, wise men and inspired writers (Matthew 23:34); he calls no one to be a pastor for the simple reason that he is the only pastor of the Church of God.
One single pastor
In the Old Testament, when the bible speaks of pastors, it is often in condemnation. Ezekiel castigates them as self-centred and egocentric. (Ezekiel 34:2-4). Jeremiah says as a result of their incompetence, the sheep of God have gone astray. (Jeremiah 50:6). How does God intend to remedy the situation? The answer lies in Jesus Christ; the wisdom of God.
Solomon warns that we should be wary of a situation where God is said to lead his people through more than one pastor: “The sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings which are given by ONE PASTOR. My son, beware of anything beyond these.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11-12). Therefore, God decrees the summary dismissal of all pastors; to be replaced by one solitary true and faithful pastor: “I will establish ONE PASTOR over them, and he shall feed them- my servant David. He shall feed them and be their pastor. And I, the LORD, will be their God. (Ezekiel 34:23-24). “David my servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have ONE PASTOR.” (Ezekiel 37:24).
In asserting that “the Lord is my pastor,” David himself acknowledges that it is the Lord that must be the pastor of his people. (Psalm 23:1). Much later, Matthew confirms that the promised pastor is Jesus, the root and the offspring of David. (Revelation 22:16). He says: “Thus it is written by the prophet: But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a ruler who will pastor my people Israel. (Matthew 2:5-6). Indeed, Jesus is the only pastor since David who is also “the king of Israel.” (John 10:11; 19:14).
The good pastor
Jesus identifies himself as the promised pastor of the scriptures. He declares: “I am the good pastor; and I know my sheep, and am known by my own.” (John 10:14). In Jesus is fulfilled God’s promise to take care of his flock all by himself: “I will feed my flock, and I will make them lie down. I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick.” (Ezekiel 34:15-16).
Since Jesus distinguishes himself as “the good pastor,” it follows that all other pastors are “bad pastors.” Indeed, Jesus declares: “All who ever came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.” (John 10:8). He then maintains that, in the Church of God, there will be one congregation and one pastor: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock and ONE PASTOR.” (John 10:16).
That means one church and one pastor. A man cannot have two pastors at the same time? That would just be confusing. The sheep cannot follow two shepherds going in different directions. God hates the double-minded. (Psalm 119:113). James is categorical: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8). So we have to make a choice as to which church we belong and who exactly is our pastor.
Accordingly, Jesus specifically prohibits his disciples from assuming ministerial positions of authority since they are reserved exclusively for him alone. He says: “Do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for one is your teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren” (Matthew 23:8). He says furthermore: “Do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.” (Matthew 23:9-10).
This means all those still calling themselves “Pastor Moses” and “Father Paul” today are charlatans; without exception. In the Church of God, the Father is the source of all authority and from him it flows to Jesus, the Son. (Matthew 28:18). Jesus does not transfer this authority to some pastor, bishop or pope. Neither does he delegate the authority given to him.
Instead, he warns us: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28).
This means in the New Testament church, all believers are equal in status. There is no guru; no head-honcho; no general overseer. Nobody should be designated pastor today because we are now, one and all, “a royal priesthood?” (1 Peter 2:9). There is no exclusive office of the priest today because Christ has now made all believers priests to God? (Revelation 1:6/5:10). The only power and authority Jesus gives to his disciples is over demons and diseases. (Luke 9:1).
How then can we explain the proliferation of pastors in Christian churches today, in spite of Jesus’ clear-cut injunctions? The answer lays in Paul, a man who systematically undermines Jesus in the bible.
Paul twisted a verse in Psalm 68 to make it seem as if it is written in the scriptures that Jesus would establish ministerial positions. The psalmist says men gave gifts to the Lord: “When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you RECEIVED gifts from men. (Psalm 68:18). But Paul distorted this to say men received gifts from the Lord: “This is why it says: ‘When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and GAVE gifts to men.’” (Ephesians 4:8). This then enabled him to say that pastors are God’s gift to men. (Ephesians 4:11-12). This is entirely bogus.
Bible translators conspire to hide Paul’s contradiction of Jesus by translating the same Greek word, “poimen” as “shepherd” (John 10:14); when it refers to Jesus’ injunctions, and as “pastor” (Ephesians 4:11), when it refers to the leadership of the contemporary Christian church. That way, the undiscerning remains unaware that Jesus’ radical injunctions are applicable to the thief-and-robber pastors of today.
What are we to conclude from this? All those who still call themselves pastors today are not disciples of Jesus. Their authority is not from heaven: their authority is from men. Pastors today are people flagrantly violating the will of God. Jesus warns: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21).
Article originally published on Vanguard Newspaper
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