Page 11 - May 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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ravelling in Southeast Asia brings   ing up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12).
              its own peculiar challenges for a   Who, then, are these shepherds and what
        TScottish evangelist. In addition to   is their function?
        the cultural contrasts, there are customs   It is helpful to look at two occasions in
        declarations, numerous conversations   the NT where the verb form of the word
        in broken English and local languages   occurs. Note first Paul’s use of the word
        about employment, and the inevitable   in Acts 20:28: “Be on guard for yourselves
        failed attempts to shake off the title of   and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit has
        “Pastor.” The assumption seems to be that   appointed you to as overseers, to shepherd
        anyone who works for the Christian God   the church of God, which He purchased
        or Church is a pastor or priest.      with His own blood” (HCSB). Note also
          The  word  “Pastor”  in  our  Western   Peter’s use: “So I exhort the elders among
                                              you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the
        culture has different associations. There   sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker
        are the ridiculous caricatures of cult per-  in the glory that is going to be revealed:
        sonalities flying about in private jets, with   shepherd the flock of God that is among
        churches housed in concert venues and   you, exercising oversight, not under
        homes like mansions – the not “over the   compulsion, but willingly, as God would
        hilltop” type. Then there are the scandals.   have you; not for shameful gain, but ea-
        Who hasn’t winced when “pastors” with   gerly; not domineering over those in your
        a significant organisation and media pres-  charge, but being examples to the flock.
        ence hit the headlines for all the wrong   And when the chief Shepherd appears,
        reasons, leaving wreckage in their wake?  you will receive the unfading crown of
          We find pastors all over the world, but   glory” (1Pe 5:1-4).
                                                We discover that shepherding describes
        do we find them in the Bible? Without   work done by “overseers” and “elders”
        getting too technical, the word finds its   among the Christians in Ephesus and
        origin in Latin and French and was a trans-  readers of Peter’s epistle, and will be re-
        literation of the NT Greek word poimen,   warded by the “Chief Shepherd” at His
        found in Ephesians 4:11-12. The English   appearing.
        Standard Version of the Bible changed   Other articles in this series deal with the
        the traditional English translation from   identity, character, calling and account-
        pastors to shepherds. “And he gave the   ability of these roles within a local church.
        apostles, the prophets, the evangelists,   However, it is worth stating again that
        the shepherds and teachers, to equip the   ¹ Bible quotations in this article are from the
        saints for the work of ministry, for build-  ESV unless otherwise noted.
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