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A pastor is a minister or priest of a Christian church. The word itself is derived from the Latin word pastōr which means shepherd.


[edit] Origin

The usage of pastor comes from its use in the Bible. In the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament), the Hebrew word רעה (ra'ah) is used. The word is used 173 times, and is used to describe feeding sheep like in Genesis 29:7 and also in regards to human beings like in Jeremiah 3:15, "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding" (KJV). <ref name=hebrewk> Template:Cite web </ref>

In the New Testament, the Greek word ποιμην (poimēn) is used and is normally translated pastor or shepherd. The word is used 18 times in the New Testament. For example, Ephesians 4:11, "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers" (KJV). Jesus also called himself the "Good Shepherd" in John 10:11. <ref name=greek> Template:Cite web </ref>

New Testament writers seemed to use pastor as a synonym for the office of church elder (presbuteros) or Bishop (episkopos). For example, in Acts 20:17, the Apostle Paul summons the elders of the church in Ephesus to give a last discourse to them; in the process, in Acts 20:28, he tells them that the Holy Spirit has made them bishops, and that their job is to pastor their church. Peter uses much the same language in 1 Peter 5:1-2, telling the elders among his readers that they are to pastor the flock in their charge, acting as bishops.

Paul also gives a list of characteristics that men serving in this office ought to possess. In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Paul gives a list for those serving as bishops. In Titus 1:5-9, a remarkably similar list is given, this time directed to elders, also referred to in 1:7 as bishops.

According to many scholars, the practice of separating the offices of pastor and bishop did not originate until at least the 2nd century. At this time, single bishops (as opposed to the body of bishops, or elders, that churches had in the 1st century) began to oversee an entire city's group of believers, even if they met in different locations around the city.<ref>Bercot, pp 44-45.</ref> By the 3rd and 4th century, some of the most prominent cities' bishops began exercising control over an entire region of churches, in the familiar parish or diocese arrangement of many Christian groups today.<ref>History of Christianity, pp 118-119.</ref>

[edit] Historical usage

Around 400 AD, Augustine, a famous North African bishop, described a pastor's job:
Disturbers are to be rebuked, the low-spirited to be encouraged, the infirm to be supported, objectors confuted, the treacherous guarded against, the unskilled taught, the lazy aroused, the contentious restrained, the haughty repressed, litigants pacified, the poor relieved, the oppressed liberated, the good approved, the evil borne with, and all are to be loved.<ref name=augustine>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Current usage

"At present the pastor is still blessing his flock in the Jordan River: Tapping the believers on the head before sending them into the hallowed waters to be baptized."<ref name=examiner>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] In Protestantism

Many Protestants use the term pastor as a title (e.g., Pastor Smith) or as a job title (like Senior Pastor or Worship Pastor). Some Protestants contend that utilizing the appellation of priest to refer to an ordained minister contradicts the Protestant doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, and, therefore, reject the use of the term priest for their leaders. Such denominations include the Lutherans, Mennonites, Methodists, Presbyterians, Reformed tradition churches, Churches of Christ, and Baptists.

The use of the term pastor to refer to the common Protestant office of modern times dates to the days of John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli. Both men, and other Reformers seem to have revived the term to replace the Catholic priest in the minds of their followers, although the Pastor was still considered separate from the board of presbyters. Few Protestant groups today still view the pastor, bishop, and elder as synonymous terms or offices; many who do are descended from the Restoration Movement in America during the 1800s, such as the Disciples of Christ and the Churches of Christ.

[edit] In other traditions

Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches typically refer to their leaders as priests (although the term pastor may also be used, particularly in North America). In a Catholic parish large enough to have more than one priest, only one of them will bear the title of pastor. This person will be the head of the parish. Anglican churches rarely use the term "pastor", preferring the words rector and vicar.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Bercot, David W. (1999). Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up. Scroll Publishing. ISBN 0-924722-00-2.
  • Dowly, Tim (ed.) (1977). The History of Christianity. Lion Publishing. ISBN 0-7459-1625-2.

[edit] Footnotes


[edit] External links

et:Pastor es:Pastor eo:Pastoro fr:Pasteur hu:Lelkipásztor nl:Pastor ja:牧師 no:Pastor pl:Pastor pt:Pastor ru:Пастор sv:Pastor zh-yue:牧師 zh:牧师


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