WHAT PREACHERS ARE
AND ARE NOT
By Cougan Collins
There is a lot confusion in the
religious world about what the Bible teaches on different topics. One of those
topics is what a preacher is. Consider the following:
are men, because only men have the authority to preach God’s message to a
congregation that has both men and women in it. Paul said: “And I do not permit a woman to
teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:12). “… as in all
the churches of the saints. Let your women keep silent in the churches,
for they are not permitted to speak” (1 Cor.
14:33-34). Most churches either don't know
or refuse to accept this fact.
may or may not marry. Peter was married (I Cor. 9:5), Paul was not.
Enforced celibacy is a "doctrine of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
are proclaimers or teachers of God's Word. Paul told
the young preacher Timothy to "preach
the word" (2 Tim. 4:2). The words “evangelist”
and “preacher” both convey the thought of one sent forth with a message to
are ministers (1 Cor. 3:5). This term describes
their role as servants of the congregation and its members. They serve;
they do not "run" the church.
are not elders, pastors, or bishops of the congregation. These terms all
describe the leaders chosen by the members to oversee them, which have
specific qualifications (1 Tim. 3:1-7). A man may serve as a preacher his
whole life and never serve in that office. The congregation may ask him to
serve as one of the elders, and he may accept, but that role would give
him additional responsibilities that he did not have as a preacher.
should not be called "Father." Christ
says, "Call no man your father
on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven"
(Mt. 23:8-9). Nowhere in Scripture are preachers called
"Reverend." Neither Christ nor the apostles were
called this. Preachers should be addressed
just as other brothers in Christ. For example, Peter wrote of "brother Paul" (2 Pet. 3:15).
are not clergymen who are superior to other Christians who are called laymen. Instead, there are only three designations in
the church. You are either an elder, deacon, or
saint (Phil. 1:1). Peter says that we are all a royal priesthood (1 Pet.
do not wear special garments to distinguish them from other Christians.
Jesus condemned the Jewish scribes "who desired to go around in long robes" and sought
special recognition (Lk. 20:46).
Now that you know more about what the Bible teaches about
preachers, how does it compare to what your congregation teaches about
preachers? Do you call your preacher your Pastor or refer to him as Reverend?
If you do, then you are doing something that God has not authorized in
Scripture. Let us always do our best to be pleasing to God and not to man. We
invite you to worship with us at the Lone Grove Church of Christ –
Adapted from John Waddey