Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The First Pastors

I have realized that nobody in the New Testament church called themselves Pastor. Why do we have people using that title today? Who were some of the first people to call themselves Pastor?

So I started to speculate ...


My guess was that it was some guys in the reformation who no longer wanted to use the title Priest. They didn't want to be confused with those other totalitarian leaders. But didn't know what title to use. So they looked through the New Testament in search of a title.

Overseer? That could have described their position where they watched over those in their established congregations. But no... that is what Bishop means and that had already been used.

What about Teacher, or Father? No, Matthew 23:8-12 would be easily used against them.

So they picked Pastor. It only shows up once in the NT, but maybe they could convince Christ followers that they needed to follow someone called a Pastor (or shepherd). Just enough truth to make it work.

OK... enough speculation...

Google searches have let me down. All I can find is reference that John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli were some of the first people to use the title Pastor. I have to thank them for some of their contributions towards the protestant reformation. However this adds to my disappointment as well.

All I can say is I'm glad I'm not living in their day... I would have objected... and that would have reduced my life expectancy.

As always, I appreciate any feedback, even if you disagree with me. I couldn't find many facts on this. Who first used the title Pastor? What motivated them to do this? Do you agree?

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4 comments:

reformedlostboy said...

Since we acknowlege that pastor was a function and not a title in the NT I wonder what good it would bring to dig into history for the first use of term. I fear my own tendancy to dig up dead men in error in order to sling the fresh mud back upon their face.

Jonathan said...

Thanks reformedlostboy,

Point taken.

I guess the only value I see in doing this is giving a sense of history. We may naturally think that the way things are now, are the way things have always been. Pinpointing when the change occured may cause some to rethink why we do what we do. In this case, recognizing that calling someone a pastor is only a 500 year old tradtion. Some may realize that it is not something they need to hold too tightly too.

But you are correct about the mud slinging tendancy. My job is not to place judgment on them or anyone else. God is a better judge than I.

God bless!

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Yeah, it does seem like mainly all we can do is speculate as to why they chose that particular term over others... (I would guess that maybe it was because it does imply a slightly higher measure of authority than terms like "teacher" or "evangelist"...)

But at this stage, I think I'm more interested in how the "reformers" took that Catholic construction called "the Priesthood" and reinvented it. Even though they rejected the Pope, and the majority of the liturgical aspects of performing as a priest, they still retained and preserved the undrelying concept of the division between "clergy" and "laity", which was the foundational doctrine that the entirety of the Roman Catholic Church had evolved upon over the centuries. They truly did re-FORM the priesthood, into something that would prove over time to be much more discreet, and arguably, having just as much potential to be abused as the unbiblical Roman "priesthood" did...

[Daniel]

Jonathan said...

Thanks Daniel for the comment.

Nice play on words with re-FORM. I know reformers believe in the priesthood of all believers, but the clergy and laity distinction sure makes it hard to visualize equality.

Thanks! God bless!