“If the NT required multiple pastors for every church, this passage would have said so – but it does not.”

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TOvermiller's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

There is another often over-looked factor, namely, can a church afford a plurality of elders? It seems to me that a clear NT teaching that elders should be financially supported by the church, is often sacrificed upon the altar of achieving plurality. How does a NT precept get trumped by a NT description?

Yes! If you follow my upcoming posts at P&D, you'll find that I make this same argument. The more I've studied this, the more firmly I've grown convinced of it.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

TOvermiller's picture

TylerR wrote:

On the practical way for small churches to make plural elders work = both elders have to be committed to being bi-vocational.

I will suggest that Paul teaches quite clearly that the biblical ideal and norm is for churches to provide their pastors with full-time remuneration, presenting bi-vocational work as a necessary evil in certain cases. If - as you suggest - the Bible requires multiple pastors for every congregation, then this expectation should not *require* bi-vocational work. If it does, then the NT sets up two conflicting ideals, each of which cancels out the other. If multiple pastors, then full-time remuneration is not possible (in your view). If full-time remuneration, then multiple pastors is not possible.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

TOvermiller's picture

Due to my personal schedule in the next two weeks, I may eventually (esp. Monday forward) be less involved (if at all) in this discussion string. Just don't want anyone to feel like I'm abandoning the conversation if this happens Smile

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

Dan Miller's picture

TOvermiller wrote:
I will suggest that Paul teaches quite clearly that the biblical ideal and norm is for churches to provide their pastors with full-time remuneration, presenting bi-vocational work as a necessary evil in certain cases. ...

I look forward to reading it. I take the opposite view - that full time pay is more the exception.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Overmiller wrote:

If - as you suggest - the Bible requires multiple pastors for every congregation, then this expectation should not *require* bi-vocational work. If it does, then the NT sets up two conflicting ideals, each of which cancels out the other.

The reality is that most churches cannot even adequately support one fulltime pastor. Bi-vocational is what young pastors should expect, going forward. Expect to lose tax-exempt status, prepare to not own a church building, and prepare to lose housing allowance. Prepare right now to not have enough people to fund one fulltime pastor. It's gonna happen. Be prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to minister to a culture without enjoying the blessings of "fulltime Christian service." 

This is a pagan culture that requires a missional mindset. 

My two cents!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

Thanks. I never heard of using Diotrophes to support dual elders, so the article was a wash for me!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

G. N. Barkman's picture

Tyler, that's not the impression I received.  I only saw Overmiller using Diotrophes to illustrate sinful, overbearing leadership.

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

Bro. Barkman, this is what I was referring to:

Those who insist that every church must always install multiple elders are sensitive to the need for pastoral accountability. They tend to distrust any form of leadership by one man and believe that multiple pastors are God’s mandated universal solution to this problem.

To underscore this sentiment, some may highlight Diotrephes. This man employed a domineering, manipulative leadership style in the church of which he was a part (3 John 9-11).

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

Check this one out

Remember, just because you never heard of an example doesn't mean no one has ever used it!

heh

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

G. N. Barkman's picture

Tyler, you read the article more carefully than I.  I stand corrected.

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

I know; no worries! Don't think Diotrophes is a good argument for plural elders!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

Not that it is necessarily a good argument, and it certainly isn't Thomas' argument.

I did a search on "multiple elders Diotrophes"

The link I sent was the first one on the list. There are more.

So some use it as part of their argument for multiple pastors, and Thomas points out how it isn't a good argument. I'm not sure why that throws you off from the article?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Dan Miller's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

For those interested, here is the final installment

How Churches Provide for Multiple Pastors

I have a different belief about what the scriptures teach about payment, but this was a good article. And even though it didn’t change my mind, it did temper my view somewhat.

Perhaps sometime I’ll have time to write about it, but in a nutshell, I think of payment for Elders kinda like Aaron thinks about moderate alcohol. It is technically allowed, but there’s so many reasons not to do it that it should be done a lot less than it is.

Larry's picture

Moderator

I think of payment for Elders kinda like Aaron thinks about moderate alcohol. It is technically allowed, but there’s so many reasons not to do it that it should be done a lot less than it is.

Isn't paying pastors commanded? Those who preach the gospel are to live of the gospel just like farmers, soldiers, priests, etc. The elder is worthy of double honor. How can a church be obedient if they do not pay their pastors?

TOvermiller's picture

Dan Miller wrote:

It did temper my view somewhat.

It is technically allowed, but there’s so many reasons not to do it that it should be done a lot less than it is.

Dan, thanks for sharing your thoughts on my article! If you have an additional moment available, I'd be curious to know what content or point(s) you found to be especially helpful, having the net effect of "tempering your view."

Also, I'm curious to understand how you have come to believe that pastoral remuneration is "technically allowed." As you might guess, I take the opposite view, that *not* paying a pastor is technically allowed but not ideal (for the reasons I offered).

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

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