• R
    Rory Griffin

    Hi Brent, we have had some nice discussions on Facebook. In particular, it was my response to posts about leaders in The Body of Christ. I promised a response in particular to this post since you gave me a heads up it was coming out in a week or two. But life happened. This stayed on my radar and I finally got to it. I tried to put forth a concise response that can lead to further discussion as you wish. I trust you are doing well. I also still want to get a working usage of BibleArc, but looking for some employment, trying a one-man management consulting effort, and putting together a new believers study - there is no time. But the interest remains. Now, on to the reason for this response.

    Rather than a point for point discussion (even though I love that way) I’m going to group what I see is the scripture behind the 5 fold ministry described in Ephesians 4:11 and that based on roles and functions described they are distinct from the roles described for elders and overseers. My first going through the 5fold ministry is based on major translations, not including paraphrased translations. And then elders, then overseers.
    Let us first view Ephesians 4:11. Scripture clearly defines what their purpose is. It is to lead in the Unity of Faith. Nothing else is mentioned Unity of Faith is a status of the soul in gaining unity of life with the Lord, as a single Body Of Christ. And we also can apply biblical numerology with the number 5 which is grace so it is a favor upon us to help us in gaining at unity each one of us in our life with the Lord. Again to emphasize nothing about what the body of Christ is to do specifically and nothing specifically of how each of those offices would fulfill their commission.
    By looking at all the translations and when each of those offices get mentioned everywhere in scripture and not just the New Testament since the Old Testament is our foundation and the New Testament is the house of being built which, it is equally important to look for those words everywhere. Romans 11:13 is the first description of what an apostle does. An emissary creating connections that do not yet exist. Before that, the title was used as a title only. 2 Corinthians 12:12 adds some of what happens when an apostle is doing their anointed work. There are signs and wonders that follow. Galatians 1, Colossians 1 and 1 & 2 Timothy makes strong reference to no one appointing an apostle but The The LORD Himself. And we just saw a proof is the signs and wonders. Galatians 2:8 also shows us they have target groups. Any other reference is about the apostles who w F, rote or in the writings of The New Testament.
    Since prophets are all over The Old Testament I will bypass those 39 books. The only thing specific before 1Corintiahns is prophets can have trouble in their home towns, those who know them personally. 12:28 list prophets as one of the parts of The Body of Christ. 14:32 follows the principle that prophets must hang out together to help keep each in check. 1Thellesalonians 5:20 warns us (not unlike the Kings of Judah who did not listen). 1John 4:1 talks about false prophets being around. This is only important in this particular talk this way; this letter is to us about false prophets, and they only are effective that can effect followers of YHWH when the false prophets sound like true prophets. So the inference true prophets are also in the future of this letter. Revelations has similar indications of prophets going into the 2nd century and beyond. But I am not giving any verses to avoid the extra discussion points that letter can always raise.
    Evangelists are not in The Old Testament, nor the Gospels. Acts 21:8 lists Philip as an evangelist, and separately as a deacon. In 2Timothy he is identified as an evangelist.
    Pastors in KJV only are mentioned with that title in Jeremiah. Outside of Ephesians 4:11, there is no clear identification of the title ‘pastor’.
    The most famous teacher in The Old Testament is Ezra. Psalm 119:99 Proverbs 5:13 tells us there were teachers all around. The second most famous teacher is Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, a teacher of wisdom. Acts 5 & 13 identify Old Testament and New Testament teachers by name. 1Corinthians 12 list teachers as part of The Body of Christ.
    Elders in The Old Testament were generally tribal leaders. Positional leaders over others. Any other reference is about age in. This continues into the Gospels. Acts 11:30 is the first mention of ‘elders’ that were of a New Testament view. The New Testament view of elder stays until 22:5 when Old Testament usage is used for the Jewish leaders to the end of Acts.
    Overseers is used in The Old Testament for leaders of responsibility, whether some or an entire government. Proverbs 6:7 does give us the purpose of an overseer. They direct the activities of others. A natural function. Acts 20:28 is the first time New Testament overseers are identified. Those particular overseers had responsibility for the church of God (no not the denomination 🙂 ). Philippians opens addressing overseers and distinctly deacons. 1Timothy list character and life qualifications, but no responsibilities. Titus 1 adds the ability to address with sound doctrine.
    Other than where I pointed it out specifically and common knowledge of prophets - no details of what each 5Fold ministry office does is laid out in Scripture.
    Without going to the original languages it is still clear who are elders, overseers, and pastors.
    Elders - older wiser leaders to help guide the ‘tribe’, committed to each a type of group - like a local congregation. No specific authoritative capability based on the title but one is listened to and an influencer. and allowed to be there by defacto admission to the leader’s group.
    Overseers - they would be designated and appointed leaders with authoritative responsibility.
    These 2 titles are used without ever being singled out (except for qualifications) lie the 5Fold ministry roles. They also get mentioned often in story lines and points of receiving instruction.
    The 5fold ministry does not get definitions of what they are as gifts to The Body of Christ, except apostles and prophets. They have a clear mandate, which is to provide more for the Body of Jesus Christ to build upon.
    With the lack of definition via e·lucidation in Scripture, the only clear way would be by the definitions found in Bible Dictionaries and Lexicons.
    So an analysis of what was initially presented, and subsequently what I have shown I see come clear and simple conclusions.
    First - never is there ever a transference of elders and overseers with any 5fold ministry. So they are discreet and different.
    Second - Apostles and prophets have a very strong inference while the work Jesus did was indeed finished on the cross it is not finished with His Resurrection. They are to keep building on the foundation of The Rock, Jesus Christ.
    Third - in all verbs and adverbs, nowhere is there any terminal end indicated or specified. With lack of dates or events or seasons, there is nothing to support any role or position specified in The New Testament fading away at all.
    And in my research I have done so far I found really interesting the translations usage of ‘pastor’ We in the western culture churches for hundreds of years emphasize pastors. And we have pastors of pastors. But that word in all major translations outside of Eph 4:11 appears zero times. So if the scholars for English translations in reading Greek felt pastors have such an important role for The Body of Christ, I would expect to see that reflected more than zero times.
    So in summary, no office has died out directly in Scripture nor shown they will. The 3 offices you have in the title are distinct. One is not another. Nowhere it that detailed. If you wish to continue our discussion on this, I would to study the original languages and usage of the variants (verbs, nouns, etc).

    Be blessed always,
    Rory Griffin

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