The Instigator
inspyre
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points
The Contender
moonshine311111
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

There is no scriptural support for the concept of Pastoral Authority

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/26/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,808 times Debate No: 9048
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)

 

inspyre

Pro

Today's institutional church system is based on a clergical model. In the case of protestantism, we see a prominent teaching that Pastoral Authority is the sanctioned system of government for the Church. Pastoral Authority is the concept that the Church should have a pastor who governs the affairs of a local assembly, as a shepherd to a flock of sheep. he is the sole visionary and leader of His assembly, speaking as the mouthpiece of God to the congregation, and the last word on the church's doctrinal matters.

Yet, no such position exists in the NT, nor was any position endorsed by Christ. This debate will seek to simultaneously establish both the lack of evidence for the concept of Pastoral Authority and to expose the Biblical model of eldership and shepherding.
moonshine311111

Con

when i was a christian i read the whole bible and i found numerous texts supporting pastoral authority. so here we go.

* Matt. 2:6;
* Lk. 17:7;
* Jn. 21:16;
* Acts 20:28;
* 1 Co. 9:7;
* 1 Pet. 5:2;
* Jude 1:12;
* Rev. 2:27; 7:17; 12:5; 19:15 * Matt. 9:36; 25:32; 26:31;
* Mk. 6:34; 14:27;
* Lk. 2:8, 15, 18, 20;
* Jn. 10:2, 11f, 14, 16;
* Eph. 4:11;
* Heb. 13:20;
* 1 Pet. 2:25
Debate Round No. 1
inspyre

Pro

First, let me take use a few words to thank my opponent for accepting this challenge. I, in advance, appreciate the time will be taking to research my points and reply with answers that are worthy of a rebutal.

On to the debate...

The initial set of scriptures provide than enough subject matter to get this debate started. However, upon deeper investigation, the list seems like a list of very vague references to shephering, most of which have nothing to do with the subject at hand. I will devide the list into several sections.

SCRIPTURES THAT REFER TO CHRIST NOT PASTORS

(Matthew 2:6) And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

(Revelation 7:17) For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

(Revelation 12:5) And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

(Revelation 19:15) And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

(Matthew 25:32) And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

(Matthew 26:31) Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

(Mark 14:27) And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.

(John 10:2) But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

(John 10:11) I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

(John 10:14) I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

(John 10:16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

(Hebrews 13:20) Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

(1 Peter 2:25) For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

REBUTTAL: These scriptures all refer to Christ Himself, substantiating the very point of the debate. Jesus, our ONE shepherd (Jn 10:16) is Biblically the only one over the sheep. He is referred to as the chief shepherd, alone responsible for the direction of the sheep. He steps aside from this role only to allow the Holy Spirit to work on His behalf:

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."—John 14:26.

He keeps his role as sole shepherd, teacher, and leader, relinquishing his active role in helping the followers decifer these teachings to the Holy Spirit.

SCRIPTURES THAT DO NOT RELATE AT ALL

(Luke 17:7),(Jude 1:12),(Luke 2:8),(Luke 2:15),(Luke 2:18),(Luke 2:20)

REBUTTAL: These are not in any way relating our subject. They are stray references to shepherding that don't make any sense in our debate.

VALID SCRIPTURES FOR THIS DEBATE

(John 21:16) He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

REBUTTAL: The order to feed the sheep belonging to a shepherd does not assign authority to the feeder. A farm helper can not claim that the animals in the farm are his just because the farmer tells him to feed the animals. Jesus was telling Paul that if he REALLY loved Him, he would teach others the things that Jesus had spent His time teaching him. This is very plain and simple.

(Acts 20:28) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

REBUTTAL: Here, Paul is addressing the Elders of the Church at Ephesus. The collection of Elders, defined as older men who were respected in their community of faith, was charged with caring for their local "flock". The manner of doing so is simple: for the younger to respect the older as you would a father, but the older to entreat the younger as a brother. There IS a Biblical order to things, but it is not through SINGLE PASTOR rule.

(1 Corinthians 9:7) Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

REBUTTAL: This is a very interesting reference. It actually refers to the fact that Paul believed in the local Churches supporting the expenses of the apostle's food, travel, and arrangements while they were with them. His point here is simply that if he was taking the time to "work" for them, leaving his home and traveling there, it was right for them to pay his expenses. This is an echo of Jesus' teaching. But, this in no way demonstrates pastoral authority, only supporting one who you are asking to come and teach you.

(1 Peter 5:2) Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

REBUTTAL: This, again, is to elders. It speaks of them in the plural, and encourages them to continue to "feed the flock" - which is to continue teaching and guiding them diligently. No authority is assigned here - simply responsibility. And, again, no mention of the pastor role.

(Revelation 2:27) And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

REBUTTAL: This speaks of "everyone who wins the victory and keeps on obeying me until the end" as detailed in the previous scripture. This does not speak of pastors.

(Matthew 9:36) But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

(Mark 6:34) And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

REBUTTAL: Jesus saw the people coming to him as a scattered people. The national of Israel was a mess. Jesus took the role as shepherd. This was never assigned to another.

(Ephesians 4:11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

REBUTTAL: Ah - the ONE verse that mentions the actual TITLE of a pastor. Notice his position on the list. Also, notice the way this is stated - "and he gave SOME..." There are times where people need a pastor, or counselor, in one's life. Sometimes marriages need someone to help "pastor" them through the hard times. Children need their parents to "pastor" them into adulthood. Sometimes, we even need our own friends to "pastor" us through our situations and problems. But, that is not always needed. Here we see a clear declaration of the need being situation, as only SOME are given pastors. This does not even state that those people will always need the same thing.

In addition, this passage in context demonstrates that the pastor role is a SUBORDINATE one to the Church. It is a support role, but not the star of the movie. The star is the ACTUAL CHURCH, a Body of followers of Christ, not a man supposedly representing Him.
moonshine311111

Con

1.verse :(John 21:16) He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
You said:The order to feed the sheep belonging to a shepherd does not assign authority to the feeder. A farm helper can not claim that the animals in the farm are his just because the farmer tells him to feed the animals. Jesus was telling Paul that if he REALLY loved Him, he would teach others the things that Jesus had spent His time teaching him. This is very plain and simple.
rebuttal: I agree paul didnt own the sheep but he was responsible for taking care of them, much like a pastor is responsible for taking care of his/her church and it's people.

2.Verse:
(Acts 20:28) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
You said:Here, Paul is addressing the Elders of the Church at Ephesus. The collection of Elders, defined as older men who were respected in their community of faith, was charged with caring for their local "flock". The manner of doing so is simple: for the younger to respect the older as you would a father, but the older to entreat the younger as a brother. There IS a Biblical order to things, but it is not through SINGLE PASTOR rule.
rebuttal: i agree but there are more verses, let's continue.

3. verse:Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
you said:This is a very interesting reference. It actually refers to the fact that Paul believed in the local Churches supporting the expenses of the apostle's food, travel, and arrangements while they were with them. His point here is simply that if he was taking the time to "work" for them, leaving his home and traveling there, it was right for them to pay his expenses. This is an echo of Jesus' teaching. But, this in no way demonstrates pastoral authority, only supporting one who you are asking to come and teach you.
rebuttal:pastor's are going out of there way to preach a sermon, thus we pay something in return, tithing.

those are my opening rebuttals. hopefully this debate goes well
Debate Round No. 2
inspyre

Pro

Thank you, moonshine. I want to first apologize for a mistake I made in my last rebuttal. References to Jon 21:16 are of PETER, not Paul. I mistyped there.

OK...

For scripture reference #1, your argument is indirect contradiction of the verse. You stated:

"I agree paul didnt own the sheep but he was responsible for taking care of them, much like a pastor is responsible for taking care of his/her church and it's people"

If the sheep ALL belong to Christ, and THAT is the Church, then how can a pastor have "his/her" church? They own nothing. The commission given to Peter was an apostolic commission passed to the elders of the local congregation, not to individual pastors to create their own mini cults.

In scripture reference #2, you agree with me. So, there is no reason to rebuttal.

For scripture reference #3, I have to refer to my own experience as a pastor (now ex-pastor). A pastor is nowhere in scripture commissioned to "preach sermons". They are there to shepherd, or provide guidance, which does not necessarily require the preaching of a sermon. Arguably, that is the least effective and laziest way to accomplish this task.

In addition, a typical 3-point sermon takes less than an hour to compose. I will say that there have been times where I have spent hours researching a teaching that I wanted to bring. But, in all reality, it is the duty of each believer to do that for themselves. You see how flawed that system is when you realize that people will not go back and research what was taught. They just accept it. So, assuming a leadership position that the scripture does not endorse only serves to cause dangerous sects, with leaders like Jim Jones. At the very least, it creates an army of drones that don't really believe in anything but what the preacher preaches.

Let's look at what Jesus said in Matthew 23:8-11

"But none of you should be called a teacher. You have only one teacher, and all of you are like brothers and sisters. Don't call anyone on earth your father. All of you have the same Father in heaven. None of you should be called the leader. The Messiah is your only leader. Whoever is the greatest should be the servant of the others."

This looks just a LITTLE different from the idea of Pastoral Authority, which makes a man teacher, father, and leader. It assumes a role that only Christ Himself fits.
moonshine311111

Con

1.wow i did contradict my self, well that scripture is out of the debate.

2. my rebuttal is an entertaining bill cosby impersination

3. wow since your an expastor you are very knoledgeable on the subject. no matter i will rebute you. ok this is the only sermon left in play. this is starting to get entertaining.

you said:For scripture reference #3, I have to refer to my own experience as a pastor (now ex-pastor). A pastor is nowhere in scripture commissioned to "preach sermons". They are there to shepherd, or provide guidance, which does not necessarily require the preaching of a sermon. Arguably, that is the least effective and laziest way to accomplish this task.

In addition, a typical 3-point sermon takes less than an hour to compose. I will say that there have been times where I have spent hours researching a teaching that I wanted to bring. But, in all reality, it is the duty of each believer to do that for themselves. You see how flawed that system is when you realize that people will not go back and research what was taught. They just accept it. So, assuming a leadership position that the scripture does not endorse only serves to cause dangerous sects, with leaders like Jim Jones. At the very least, it creates an army of drones that don't really believe in anything but what the preacher preaches.

Let's look at what Jesus said in Matthew 23:8-11

"But none of you should be called a teacher. You have only one teacher, and all of you are like brothers and sisters. Don't call anyone on earth your father. All of you have the same Father in heaven. None of you should be called the leader. The Messiah is your only leader. Whoever is the greatest should be the servant of the others."

This looks just a LITTLE different from the idea of Pastoral Authority, which makes a man teacher, father, and leader. It assumes a role that only Christ Himself fits.
rebuttal: a pastor provides guidance by speaking to his church members, sounds like a sermon huh?
Debate Round No. 3
inspyre

Pro

Funny stuff, moonshine! This is definitely a fun debate. Thanks for making it lighthearted.

First, Let's look at your statement:

"a pastor provides guidance by speaking to his church members, sounds like a sermon huh?"

The current system, one based on the organizational structure of a nonprofit organization headed by a man who calls himself a pastor provides for the enlistment of church members, who have agreed to be in submission to this man and his mission. These are his followers, following his teachings, observations, and interpretations. These serve as the basis for all spiritual reality. His sermons, 15-45 minute editorials on the Bible, are his way of spreading his version of "the Gospel" - in accordance to one of the over 33,000 demonimations in the world.

This does not sound like the united Church Jesus birthed.

So, to answer the question, "sounds like a sermon, huh?", I would say no. If we put all the pieces together, the "job" of pastoring belongs to respected, experienced members of a community of faith, who simply pass on their knowledge and guide those younger and less experienced. Those elders also exist to arbitrate any disagreements and to correct deviations from the teachings of Christ as a unit. But, even they are subject to the same scrutiny. In other words, there is no where in scripture that assigns them, and certainly not one man other than Christ, the authority to RULE over the Church. Providing guidance to people is something that does not require authority. It just requires that we be respectable enough to be trusted by people. Thus, this list of qualifications from the scriptures for elders from 1 Timothy 3:

- must be blameless,
- the husband of one wife,
- vigilant,
- sober,
- of good behaviour,
- given to hospitality,
- apt to teach;
- Not given to wine,
- no striker,
- not greedy of filthy lucre;
- but patient,
- not a brawler,
- not covetous;
- One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
- Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
- Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

I don't even know a lot of so-called PASTORS that fit this! These people are truly special people within a local community of faith. They bring maturity and sincerity to a community without the need to have top/down authority. They lead by EXAMPLE, sometimes never needing to even say a word.

Not once do I see anything legitimizing the need, nor the mandate, for today's modern concept of Pastoral Authority. You?
moonshine311111

Con

moonshine311111 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
inspyre

Pro

Although my opponent forfeited the last round, I would love for him to post a final argument. In this debate, he has failed to demonstrate the need or the premise for pastoral authority within the Church. This is with good reason - there is none. The entire clergical model is based on the thought that the masses need people to instruct them in a very specific interpretation of scripture. But, in doing so, it traps people in the specific opinions and editorials preached for pulpits every Sunday.

Jesus Himself assigned only the Holy Spirit to take His place. The Biblical community of faith is illustrated in Acts 2, where the believers met together and shared in the doctrine taught to the by the apostles. But, they were not governed by those men. Elders were appointed among each community of faith to 1) protect against blatant heresies, 2) arbitrate in the event of disagreements, and 3) teach the younger what they have learned in life. But, they were not given any power to make decisions on behalf of the Church, nor was the Church commanded to "bear his armor".

In addition, the supposed "five-fold ministry" was clearly instituted to SERVE the Church, not lead it. It is there to edify, or "build up", the Church, not lord over it. The pastoral role is a role that should be played by every one of us at some time. It is the role that enables us to counsel our own friends and family in their times of need or despair. But, it is not restricted to specific individuals, nor is it given any prominence in scripture.

Therefore, I conclude that there is no scriptural support, nor logical basis, nor spiritual purpose for the concept of pastoral authority in the Church that Jesus Christ created. If any of us wants to be great, let him serve the rest. That's the way He taught us to live.
moonshine311111

Con

moonshine311111 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by wjmelements 5 years ago
wjmelements
Pro pwnd here. Welcome to the site, inspyre.

AGRUMENTS to PRO
SOURCES to CON (video: PRO, you need to post links so I can give you credit for sources)
S/G to PRO (CON skipped on punctuation and capitalization)
CONDUCT TO PRO (CON FORFEITED MULTIPLE ROUNDS)
Posted by inspyre 5 years ago
inspyre
Round one hasn't even stratched the surface. Let's try to crank up the heat a little, moonshine.
Posted by inspyre 5 years ago
inspyre
Mongesse, good point. I certainly don't mind the challenge. At the end of the day, the arguments will develop and reasoning should prevail. I look forward to moonshine's response. I agree, this is gonna be fun.
Posted by Volkov 5 years ago
Volkov
That isn't necessary "impossible," just an improbable task due to it being as daunting as it would be.

I was going to argue this based on 1 Corinthians 11:1 "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" as support of Pastoral authority, since following Christ's example as the "shepherd" would make sense.
Posted by moonshine311111 5 years ago
moonshine311111
teehee everybody vote con jk. may the best debator win even though using the bible as reference can be tricky. this is gunna be a fun debate
Posted by mongeese 5 years ago
mongeese
And even as I comment, somebody accepts. Snap.
Posted by mongeese 5 years ago
mongeese
Technically, PRO has an impossible BoP. He has to go through every piece of text in the Bible and explain why it does not support the concept of Pastoral Authority.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by wjmelements 5 years ago
wjmelements
inspyremoonshine311111Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:52