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The evangelical world has been abuzz over whether or not it is biblical for a woman to be called a pastor. This came to a head once again at the recent annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, California. A few years ago, I wrote an article defending the notion that women may rightly be referred to as pastors. I revisit that issue in this article. As you might expect, many pushed back hard against my argument. In addition to the original post, I here have combined the many objections to my view, together with my answer to each one.

Let me go on record as saying that I am a Complementarian. I believe only qualified men may serve as Elders in the local church and that the responsibility to preach, teach, and apply the Scriptures to the gathered assembly of God’s people on a consistent basis is restricted to men (1 Tim. 2:11-14).

It’s important that we spend some time looking at how the NT actually makes use of the noun “pastor” or “shepherd” and the verb “to pastor.” You may be surprised by what you see.

The verb “to shepherd” or “to tend sheep” or “to rule” is poimaino. It is used 11x in the NT. It is used with reference to Jesus in Matthew 2:6; Revelation 2:27; 7:17; 12:5; and 19:15. It is found in Luke 17:7 and 1 Corinthians 9:7 in the general sense of someone who tends or shepherds sheep. Jesus exhorts Peter to “tend” or “shepherd” his sheep in John 21:16. In Jude 12 we read of false teachers who are described as “shepherds feeding themselves.”

The only texts where the verb to shepherd or to pastor is used of leaders in the local church are Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:2. In the former Paul is addressing the Elders at Ephesus, and in the latter Peter is likewise giving instructions to Elders.

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers [i.e., bishops or elders], to care for [poimainein; present, active, infinitive] the church of God, which he obtained with is own blood” (Acts 20:28).

“shepherd [poimanate; aorist active imperative] the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you” (1 Peter 5:2).

Clearly, these two texts where the verb is used indicate that an essential role or ministry of the Elders in a local church is to shepherd or to pastor the people of God. Thus, it stands to reason that all Elders must, in some sense, be pastors. But nothing in the way this verb is used should lead us to believe that all pastors must be Elders. No text asserts the latter.

The noun poimen (“pastor” / “shepherd”) is found 18x in the NT. Jesus saw that the people were “like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36). The word is used in a similar way in Matthew 25:32; 26:31; Mark 6:34; 14:27; John 10:2. In Luke 2:8 we read of the “shepherds” “keeping watch over their flock by night” (likewise in Luke 2:15, 18, 20).

Jesus refers to himself as “the good shepherd” (twice in John 10:11). The word is used in similar fashion in John 10:12, 14, 16. In Hebrews 13:20, Jesus is described as “the great shepherd of the sheep” and in 1 Peter 2:25 he is called “the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

There is only one text where the noun “shepherd” or “pastor” is used of leaders in the local church.

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds [poimenas; masculine, accusative, plural] and teachers” (Eph. 4:11).

In this latter text, Paul is identifying several representative gifts that Christ has given to the church. We know that prophets are those with the gift of prophecy and that evangelists are those with the gift of evangelism and that teachers are those with the gift of teaching. Whether or not apostleship is a spiritual gift or office (in some sense of the term) is a debatable question. It would seem, then, that we should conclude that pastors are those with the gift of pastoring.

Contrary to what many in the charismatic world believe, there is nothing in this text that would lead us to conclude that Paul is identifying five specific offices or governmental positions. One often hears of the so-called “five-fold ministry” in Ephesians 4:11. But everywhere else where Paul lists spiritual gifts (such as prophecy, teaching, evangelism, etc.) he simply mentions certain representative gifts. He could just as easily here in Ephesians 4:11 have mentioned mercy instead of teaching, or tongues instead of prophecy, or helps instead of evangelism. These five nouns refer to people who were blessed with a particular gift, not a position of authority in the local church. Of course, apostles are of a different order and did exercise authority over churches.

Some insist that the nouns “pastor” and “teacher” are one gift, and thus translate it “pastor-teacher.” The argument from the Greek text is that each of the first four nouns has the definite article (“the”) preceding it, but the definite article is absent from “teachers.” Some insist that when two plural nouns, connected by kai (“and”) have only one definite article, we are to understand them as closely related or in some sense overlapping in meaning. Other Greek scholars disagree. There appears to be no consensus. Some also take the kai as explicative or appositional and translate it to mean, “that is,” hence “pastors, that is, teachers” (in this way identifying the two).

Dan Wallace, the premier evangelical Greek grammarian, believes that in a construction of this sort the first noun is a subset of the second. In other words, “all pastors are to be teachers, though not all teachers are to be pastors” (Greek Grammar, 284). That certainly makes sense, as it is difficult to see how a person can pastor or spiritually shepherd people if he/she cannot teach. But a teacher need not be someone who shepherds or pastors. But perhaps we’re drawing too fine of a distinction here between the two gifts. I suppose it is possible that someone might have the gift of pastoring and not be gifted to teach. Nothing in the NT precludes this possibility (unless Wallace’s suggestion above is unequivocal).

In any case, even if we take Paul as referring to only four gifts, “pastor-teacher” would still be a gift, not an office or position of governing authority. It is certainly the case that a “pastor” or “pastor-teacher” may also be appointed to the office of Elder or Overseer, but nothing requires us to believe that all “pastors” or all “pastor-teachers” are necessarily Elders.

Why, then, do most evangelical churches use the word “Pastor” to refer to an authoritative office, most often equated with that of an Elder? I identify two reasons.

First, tradition! We have become accustomed to speaking of pastor and Elder in this way and it is difficult for many to break from the habit of doing so. It would call for considerable humility in acknowledging that we were wrong and that we have not accurately interpreted the NT on this point. It would also require that denominations and local churches make changes in their long-standing and cherished doctrinal statements, something they are strongly disinclined to do.

Consider, as one example, the Baptist Faith and Message (2000) that serves as the doctrinal standard for the Southern Baptist Convention. In Article VI we read this:

“While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

In point of fact, as we have seen, this statement is false. They should have said, “the office of Elder is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” But many (most?) SBC churches do not have a plurality of Elders. The Senior Pastor often is recognized as “the Elder” of the local church, with Deacons serving in a slightly lower authoritative role.

The point being that most evangelicals think of “pastor” as an office that carries governing authority and the responsibility to preach and teach and apply the Word of God to the conscience of God’s people on a regular (weekly?) basis. Whereas this may often be the case, in that one man who holds the office of Elder may also be designated as the Senior or Lead Pastor, nothing in the NT suggests, far less requires, that anyone who has the spiritual gift of pastoring will be an Elder or will serve as the primary expositor of Scripture.

There are several reasons why a person may well have the gift of pastoring but not serve as an Elder. It may be that the individual is too young. Although the NT nowhere gives us a specific age requirement for serving as an Elder, it may be that a person does not have sufficient experience in church leadership because of their comparatively young age. But that doesn’t mean they don’t or can’t have the spiritual gift of pastoring and be referred to as a “pastor”. There may well be other qualifications of an Elder (see 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1) that such a person does not yet possess. But this need not be a determining factor as to whether or not they should be referred to as a pastor.

Second, fear! I sense that another reason why many continue to affirm that “pastor” is an authoritative office and that all pastors are also Elders is the fear that to predicate this noun of a woman will launch us down a slippery slope into full-scale egalitarianism. Many complementarians are afraid of the answer to this question: “If a woman can be a pastor, why can’t she be an Elder?” The simple answer is two-fold. First, as we’ve already noted, “pastoring” is a spiritual gift that may be found in numerous individuals of both genders who do not yet (or never will), for a variety of reason, qualify as Elders. Second, I believe 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 restrict the office of Elder to qualified males.

Thus, I am persuaded that the NT makes room for recognizing women as pastors, or even pastor-teachers. Of course, yet another task is determining in what contexts, how often, and to whom a woman might exercise the spiritual gift of teaching. Mary Kassian has written on this at in an article titled, “Where Can Women Teach? Eight Principles for Christian Churches” (October 26, 2019). But that need not detain us here.

My conclusion from the use of the relevant terminology in the NT is that a woman may well be given the spiritual gift of pastoring and thus bear that title, just as one with the gift of teaching may be called a teacher and one with the gift of prophecy may be called a prophet or one with the gift of evangelism may be called an evangelist, etc.

In sum, there is no indication in the NT that the spiritual gift of pastoring, unlike the office of Elder, is gender specific. The Holy Spirit may well grant this gift to both men and women. Therefore, I believe that one may continue to embrace a biblically based complementarianism while speaking of certain women as “pastors” in the local church.

Responding to Objections

As you might expect, my complementarian friends (and they are friends!) pushed back against my proposal with several objections. I’ve combined their responses and respond to them here.

(1) One argument was made that “bishop/elder/pastor” are merely three ways of referring to the one office of leadership in the local church. This conclusion, so it was asserted, is the fruit of biblical exegesis, not tradition or fear. But in point of fact, the Bible says no such thing. There is not a single text in Scripture (not even 1 Peter 5:1-2, to which many made an appeal) which says that “every pastor” is also a bishop or elder. It most assuredly does say that every bishop or elder is to serve as a pastor. But the reverse is simply not true. If my friends cannot point me to a text that says every pastor is an elder, I remain steadfast in my assertion that women can be pastors.

(2) I often heard it said, in response, that “pastor” is an office. But again, no biblical text has been cited to prove this. The word “pastor” is never used in the NT of an “office.” It is a spiritual gift (see Eph. 4:11; much like the prophet has the spiritual gift of prophecy, and the teacher has the spiritual gift of teaching, and the evangelist has the gift of evangelism, and the apostle has the gift of apostleship [see 1 Cor. 12:28-29]). Yes, those who hold the “office” of Elder are to fulfill their calling by pastoring God’s people. But nowhere does the NT say that a person who “pastors” God’s people (however we may end up defining the specific tasks in doing so) is necessarily also an Elder.

(3) Someone also cited Peter’s description of Jesus himself as “the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). So, yes, Jesus both shepherds God’s people and oversees them. But this in no way proves that in a local church a person with the gift of pastoring will always and invariably be an overseer. An overseer in a local church will always and invariably be responsible for pastoring or shepherding God’s people, but the reverse is being assumed, not demonstrated.

My friendly opponent contends that since Jesus shepherds the entire flock, anyone who is a shepherd in the local church has the same extensive authority and responsibility. But Jesus leads and teaches the entire church not because he’s a shepherd, but because he’s Jesus! As Jesus, Lord of all, he shepherds and leads all. But that doesn’t mean that a person in a local church cannot serve as a shepherd or have the spiritual gift of teaching unless he/she exercises authority over the entire congregation. Similarly, Elders shepherd (or pastor) the entire flock not because they have the gift of pastor, but because they are Elders!

(4) Others who responded to me cited Acts 20:28 where Paul urges all the elders in Ephesus to pastor or shepherd God’s people. They concluded from this text, along with Acts 20:17, that Luke also has all three word-groups appearing in this one chapter to refer to the one office. No! That is not what Luke does. He assuredly equates the elder with the bishop/overseer, and assuredly encourages all such elders/bishops/overseers to exercise their gifting as pastors to shepherd God’s flock. But this is not the same thing as saying that “pastor” is an office. Pastoring is a gifting that is to be exercised by those who hold the office of Elder. But nowhere does the NT assert that Elders/Bishops/Overseers are the only ones who can function as pastors.

(5) One friend pushed back against me by saying that to make “pastoring” a non-authoritative gift would strain the clear teaching of the function of a pastor in the New Testament” But what is that “clear teaching”? Where is it clearly taught that to serve as a pastor one is necessarily exercising senior governmental authority? Answer: nowhere! So please listen closely. Those who hold senior governmental authority in the church, that is to say, those who hold the office of Elder/Bishop/Overseer, must also be pastors. But to say it yet again (and yes, I know it is getting repetitive), the reverse is not true. Nowhere are we told that to serve as a “pastor” one must also be an Elder/Bishop/Overseer.

(6) This same individual contends that the pastor teaches, leads, protects, and cares for the entire flock. Again, I have to say, No. The elder/overseer/bishop teaches, leads, protects, and cares for the entire flock. But no NT text says this is what all pastors do.

Consider the analogy with teaching. All Elders must teach. But not all teachers are Elders. Someone can possess the spiritual gift of teaching and make use of it in a variety of contexts in the local church, but that does not mean that this person is therefore also an Elder.

I’m still waiting for someone to show me where all pastors must be Elders. In the absence of such a text, and given the fact that “pastor” is a spiritual gift, not an office, I see no reason why a woman cannot be given that title. As I said above, the way in which a woman can then exercise that spiritual gift without violating 1 Timothy 2:12 will be explained below. I can think of numerous ways, especially as I see some women at my church, Bridgeway, who shepherd and care for people in our body but in no way do so in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12.

(7) Another said that my view is an argument from silence that goes like this: “The New Testament doesn’t say that women can’t be pastors, therefore they can.” The point of this pushback is that even though no text says a woman can’t be a pastor, there is good and necessary inference in the NT that provides us with more than enough information to know that a woman can’t be a pastor.

In other words, my friend argues that God has given us clear instruction about the function of a pastor and about whether a woman is permitted to exercise those functions. By good and necessary inference, so he claims, we have more than enough revelation from God’s word to know that God does not approve of women serving as pastors (whether or not one conceives of pastor as an office). According to this argument, in scripture, the primary role of the pastor is leading and teaching the entire flock. And it is these two activities that the Bible explicitly forbids to women (1 Tim. 2:12).

In response to the contention that my case is an “argument from silence” I would simply ask, if it is such an essential element in NT ecclesiology that women can’t be pastors, wouldn’t you think the NT authors would say so explicitly? The silence in this regard is deafening, and quite substantial. Let us also not forget that “the NT doesn’t say that all pastors must be men.” Yet those who take issue with my view insist that they are.

Let’s also apply this line of argumentation to other spiritual gifts. Is it not reasonable to conclude that since the NT doesn’t say that women can’t be evangelists, therefore they can? Or since the NT doesn’t say that women can’t exercise the spiritual gift of faith, therefore they can. And we could do the same with virtually all the spiritual gifts, since none of them is gender specific (with the possible exception of apostleship).

In other words, why should the NT be expected to tell us that women can be pastors, especially if it is a spiritual gift and is not inextricably identified with one gender to the exclusion of the other? So again, nowhere does the NT say that women can’t be exhorters or ones who show mercy or ones who have the gift of giving. We do not dismiss these possibilities because it is an argument from silence. We simply acknowledge that since there is nothing gender specific about faith or exhortation or evangelism or giving or showing mercy that any and all can potentially be the recipient of such gifts.

(8) The objector concedes that it is true that there is no line in scripture that exactly says, “A woman must not be a pastor” or “A woman may not have the gift of pastoring.” But he then goes on to assert that God has given us clear instruction about the function of a pastor and about whether a woman is permitted to exercise those functions.

No, in fact God has done no such thing. He has given us clear instruction about the function of an Elder or Bishop or Overseer (all of which are largely synonymous and interchangeable). All such individuals must be men and all such men must be pastors. But no text says or suggests that all pastors must be men.

You shouldn’t be bothered by the fact that the NT doesn’t describe the functions of a pastor or provide us with specific qualifications for someone who might be so designated. The NT doesn’t do this for most spiritual gifts. We aren’t told the function of someone who has the gift of word of knowledge or the gift of giving or, for that matter, of any other spiritual gift. But this doesn’t hinder us in identifying when someone displays these charismata. I honestly don’t think it’s all that difficult to know what it means to say someone has the gift of pastor, any more than it is difficult to say that one has the gift of teaching or the gift of tongues or the gift of prophecy, etc.

(9) One individual, in an attempt to refute my position, repeatedly inserts the word “shepherd” in place of Elder to prove his point that the former always has authority over “all the flock” or the entirety of the church. He contends that “the shepherd/pastor metaphor has reference to the entire flock, not parts of it.” No, the office of Elder/Overseer has reference to the entire flock. They are to “pastor” or to “shepherd” the entire flock, but that does not necessarily mean that no one else, of either gender, can serve in a pastoral gifting to the benefit and blessing of a single individual or smaller groups within the body of Christ.

Consider the situation here at Bridgeway Church, where I serve. I have a young man who pastors the youth of our congregation. He is incredibly gifted as a pastor as he leads them, encourages them, prays for them, loves them, and tenderly cares for their spiritual welfare. But he is not an Elder (although one day he likely will become one). Should we not call him a “pastor”? Is he not the shepherd over our youth? No one in the church thinks of him as exerting authority over the entire flock simply because he is referred to as a “pastor”. The same is true of our worship pastor, as well as the pastor who leads our discipleship and oversees our community groups. They both fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to one who has the spiritual gift of pastor but is not yet an Elder. They both know, as does our Youth Pastor, that the extent of their authority and responsibility is limited.

(10) This same individual again asserts that “the Bible clearly reveals that the pastoral gift involves functions that are exclusive to the office of elder/overseer – namely, the functions of leading and authoritatively teaching the entire flock.” Of course, as you’ve come to expect from me, my response is that the Bible nowhere reveals anything of the sort.

I simply don’t understand how anyone can continue to make such an assertion in the absence of a biblical text that says this. Our church is blessed with a lady who pastors those in her care, prays for them, encourages them, teaches them, rebukes them when needed, and always faithfully loves and guides them, yet she is not an Elder and does not, in the use of her spiritual gift, in any way violate the guidelines of 1 Timothy 2:12.

Do some pastors exercise authority over and teach the entire flock? Absolutely. Elders do. But other pastors may make use of their gifting in less comprehensive ways and without the governing authority that inheres in the office of Elder.

(11) It has also been said that my view is pastorally unwise. What the objector means is that there’s a widespread assumption that pastors are office holders and that they do exercise authority/oversight over the whole church. So, when someone in our context says that women can be pastors, what are they effectively doing? They are saying that women can exercise authority/oversight over the whole church and that they hold this office. This will be the effect of arguing that pastor is a gift but not an office.

Of course, I agree with him about how “pastor” is understood in today's world. But this is part of my point that our use of the word “pastor” is more governed or shaped by traditions within the church, as in the way we use language, than it is by Scripture itself. My friends are certainly correct that we would face an uphill battle in re-educating our people, even children, in what it means to be a “pastor”. Perhaps it is a battle we could never win. But I'm still committed to doing everything I can to bringing our language into conformity with Scripture rather than merely capitulating to how that language has been used.

One lady in particular has been director of children's ministries for several years. She is extremely pastoral in that she encourages, prays for, challenges, instructs, teaches, and guards the people who serve under her leadership. She knows she will never be an Elder, nor will any other female at Bridgeway. But I don't know how I can justify biblically not calling her or referring to her in accordance with the spiritual gift that we believe God has given her. She thus has been given the title, Pastor of Children’s Ministries.

(12) The noun “Pastor”, so I’m told by those who take issue with my view, ordinarily connotes preaching and overseeing. The word “pastor” in the English-speaking world today is taken, by almost everyone who knows the word, to refer to a person with official leadership in the local church that ordinarily involves preaching and governing. Thus, “pastor” would be roughly the same as lead elders or overseers. That’s the ordinary meaning of the word in English. So, the question becomes, should a word with that ordinary meaning in English be used to refer to laypeople in the church, whether men or women, who do not have that kind of official leadership role of preaching and teaching and governing as elders and overseers? The answer given by this individual is, No.

I concede that this person is correct when he says that in the English-speaking world the word “pastor” ordinarily refers to a person with official leadership and governing authority. That is precisely why I wrote this article, to argue that this shouldn’t be permitted, that it is inconsistent with the way the word is used in the NT. The objector’s point is not an argument against referring to women as pastors but a simple acknowledgment as to why it typically isn’t.

(13) This same individual pointed out that Greek has only one word for shepherd and pastor: poimen. Aside from Ephesians 4:11, the English word “pastor” never occurs in the ESV. In fact, it doesn’t even appear there, as the ESV translates poimen with the English word “shepherd.” He then argues that if I really want to recover NT language, a case could be made for calling people “shepherds” and not “pastors.” He concludes by saying that it’s highly misleading to claim that in applying the word pastor to laypeople, we are recovering New Testament usage. That’s highly misleading when the word pastor does not even occur in the ESV, and only once does it occur in other versions.

But I don’t see how this is an argument against the legitimacy of referring to some women as pastors. All that has been done is to point out the obvious, a fact that no one denies, namely, that the Greek word poimen can be rendered either “shepherd” or “pastor” and that perhaps we should refer to local church leaders as “shepherds” rather than “pastors”. In other words, my friend has argued that the very word “pastor” itself is not the most accurate English term to translate poimen, but that “shepherd” is more accurate. So? What does this prove? How is this an argument against applying the Greek word poimen or the English word “shepherd” to women?

(14) Related to several points made earlier by those objecting to my argument, this person once again asserts that Elders and overseers shepherd the flock. He contends that when the apostles Peter and Paul describe church leaders as doing the work of a shepherd (with the verb poimaino, which has the same root as the noun poimen), they were thought of not as laypeople, but as elders and overseers.

Respectfully, No, I would suggest that Peter and Paul do no such thing. They do not identify shepherding with the task of overseeing. Rather they identify overseeing as involving shepherding. Yes, all overseers are to shepherd or pastor people. But nowhere do Peter or Paul or any other NT author say that anyone who has the spiritual gift of pastoring necessarily serves as an overseer. It is one thing to say that all Elders “pastor” or “shepherd” God’s flock. It is another thing entirely to say that no one else does. All Elders are also called on to “teach” the flock, but no one would argue that teaching is the exclusive responsibility of Elders. So why is it argued that everyone who has the gift of pastoring must be an elder/overseer? Of course, one more thing that this individual has failed to do is address the argument I put forth that pastoring is a spiritual gift, not an authoritative office.

An appeal was also made to John 21:16, where Jesus says to the apostle Peter, “Shepherd my sheep.” So, not only is there no New Testament word that corresponds to pastor as distinct from shepherd, but the idea of shepherding in the New Testament was consistently associated with the leadership of elders and overseers.

Yes, it was “consistently associated with the leadership of elders and overseers” in that to be an elder one must also pastor or shepherd God’s flock. But what this person assumes and fails to demonstrate is that a person who has the spiritual gift of pastoring is always an elder. That is something the NT nowhere asserts.

Another thing Peter says is that all elders/overseers are to be “examples” to the flock. But does this mean that someone who isn’t an elder can’t serve as an “example” to God’s people? Of course not. All elders must be “one-woman” men, that is, faithful to their spouse. But non-elders also are called on to be faithful to their spouse. So my point is simple: the fact that the NT twice (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2) exhorts elders to pastor/shepherd God’s flock does not mean that only elders pastor/shepherd God’s flock.

As I pointed out earlier, it is not at all difficult to understand how one may “pastor” or “shepherd” God’s people without holding an authoritative office. Here at my church we have more than a few women who encourage and warn and counsel and teach and exhort and pray for and lovingly rebuke other believers and provide profound and extremely wise and timely insight into situations that call for decisive action and yet they are not Elders.

They serve in areas of women’s ministry, inner healing and deliverance, lead evangelistic outreaches and often supply practical guidance to many who are facing challenging circumstances. And those are only a few of the ministry tasks into which they speak and provide leadership. And all this occurs as only called and qualified men continue to exercise authoritative governance as Elders/Overseers. As I have watched and greatly benefited from what these women do, I have no hesitation in contending that what they bring to the life of God’s people is a result of their having received the spiritual gift of pastoring.

(15) Continuing along the previous line or argumentation, this person says that the title pastor for a woman undermines the New Testament teaching on church leadership. Giving the title “pastor” to a woman is going to inevitably communicate, over time, especially to our young people growing up in the church and to people newer to the church, that the office of pastor, as almost everyone understands it in English, is properly filled by women.

My response is to say, not necessarily. It won’t undermine the NT teaching on leadership if we take the time to teach our people, especially our young people, that the NT explicitly restricts the office of elder/overseer to men. It won’t undermine the NT teaching on leadership if we labor to explain how the NT term poimen is actually used, how that it isn’t said to be solely the responsibility of elders, that it is a spiritual gift and not an office.

In fact, it is precisely part of the responsibility of elders/overseers to take steps to ensure that our young people understand how biblical language is used, how not all elders possess every spiritual gift, how non-elders may often possess the same spiritual gifts that elders do, and that nowhere does the NT teach that only elders are gifted to pastor God’s people.

There are other NT words that need to be carefully explained to our people that otherwise might cause confusion, words like “predestination” and “election” and “fornication” and “homosexuality.” If we should discover that many of our young people are investing in these words meanings and implications that are inconsistent with Scripture, we must take steps to inform and instruct them otherwise. And that is precisely what I am advocating for in the use of the word “pastor” or “shepherd.”

I respectfully rest my case.


How to plant the seed that will lead to the real "Liberal Drift"?
Conservatives are really stupid, they didn't learn anything about what happened to PCA(USA), Lutherans and Methodists.
Follow-up: In your understanding, would it be permissible for a woman to teach men gathered in a group smaller than the gathered assembly of God's people, say, in a Sunday school class or other small group Bible study? Would such a woman be recognized as a pastor of a small group of men and women within a congregation?
Thanks. Seeking to understand ...
No, a woman could not serve as Senior Pastor because of Paul's instruction in 1 Timothy 2.11-15 that prohibits a woman from teaching men in the gathered assembly of God's people.
In light of your thesis, is it biblically permissible for a woman to be called and to serve as the senior pastor of a congregation as long as she is not also an elder? If so, why? If not, why not?
very interesting. What about ordination? If a woman can be a pastor can/should she be ordained? I recall that the Vineyard, back when John Wimber was alive, did not ordain women.

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