The 14 Theses of the Pastoral Office

Peter Kucenski

(An Official Theological Statement of the ACCS)

Thesis I  The Promise Of An Office

God promised to be the Good Shepherd, to gather together the scattered sheep and to give the Church Shepherds (A.K.A. Pastors) after his own heart, so that they might tend and teach the Church after Him. (Jeremiah 23:3-4 and Jeremiah 3:15)

Thesis II  God’s Fulfillment Of His Promise

God fulfilled His promise to the Church and became God and man in one, having the name Jesus (John 1:1-5 andJohn 1:14-18).  So then the Father sent the Son and He became the Good Shepherd and gathered the sheep together (John 10:1-5, 11-18).  He then finished His promise and set up Shepherds over the sheep (John 20:21-23).  Therefore, He did not set up the sheep over themselves, nor did He allow them to be scattered and weary (Matthew 9:36-38), but He Himself provided for them (Matthew 10:1, 5-8) and for the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20).  In so doing, God has created a separate and distinct office from the royal priesthood of all Christians (1 Peter 2:9-10) for the benefit of that same priesthood (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Thesis III  The Duties Of The Pastoral Office          

The duties that have been entrusted by God to the Pastors for the benefit of His people are to:

1.      Shepherd them (John 21:15-17):

·         Lead them Faithfully
·         Tend them
·         Protect them
·         Seek out the Lost Sheep of the fold

2.     Preach to them (Romans 10:14-15), knowing that “…it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”  (Luke 24:46-47 NKJV) because “…all [Christians and non-Christians alike] have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NKJV):

(Note: These things could be preached in a different order,
but all of the elements should remain.)

1st)   The Law (Galatians 3:23-24); this the knowledge of condemnation (Romans 3:20, 6:23), to make available the path to a Godly Sorrow

2nd)  Godly Sorrow to make true Repentance possible (2 Corinthians 7:10)

3rd)   Repentance (Luke 24:46-47), to pave the way for Faith in the Gospel (Acts 20:21)

4th)   Faith in the Gospel, which is the trust in Jesus Christ who died and was raised again for our Salvation (Galatians 3:8-9Galatians 2:16 and Hebrews 4:2)

5th)   Salvation in Jesus Christ, so that they might know the free gift of grace given to them (Ephesians 2:8), and this, being spoken after their Godly sorrow and knowledge of condemnation, might allow them to grasp the height, the width and the depth of the Love of God, which will encourage them to hope and trust in Him (Ephesians 3:14-19)

6th)   The Love of God, to motivate (1 John 4:7-11) and to allow those having faith to do the Good Works of Faith (Hebrews 11:6)

7th)   The Good works of Faith, that the validity of their faith might be made apparent (2 Peter 1:2-11James 2:20James 2:18 and James 2:26), the Kingdom of Heaven might grow even more (Matthew 5:14-16), and that they, through their faith, might please God (Hebrews 11 [v.1-6, 13-16, 23-27, 32-40])

3.      Teach them (Mathew 28:20):

·         Everything that is commanded by God
·         Only the things that are commanded by God

4.      Baptize them
5.      Make new disciples of (Matthew 28:18-20):

·         Every age
·         Every place
·         Every race

6.      Administer Holy Communion to them (1 Corinthians 4:1 and Luke 22:19-20)
7.      Love all of them beyond measure, serving them and the Church diligently just as Christ did for His Church and for the entire world. So much that Christ went so far in His service as to die for all (John 13:3-17 and John 3:16). Therefore, they should not lord over the Church or the people entrusted to them, but they ought to serve it patiently and by example as our Lord Jesus Christ does (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Thesis IV  Duties Are Conferred By God To The Pastor

But it is, however, not by any of the Church’s authority, power or responsibility that the Pastor does the duties given to him, but he has received them per the instruction of God Himself (Thesis III).  Furthermore, the Pastor is not from the church, or by the church, but he is a free gift for the Church’s benefit, from the hand of God Himself (Jeremiah 6:3-4Jeremiah 3:15Matthew 28:18-20 and Hebrews 13:17).

Thesis V  The Benefit Of The Pastoral Office

The benefit, for which God has given these duties to the Pastors, and the Pastors to the Church, is so that they might build, strengthen, unify, and prepare the Church in the knowledge of salvation and peace.  And that benefit will lead to a church that is strong in love, and it will serve the Lord by doing all the good works planned for it before the world was formed.  (Ephesians 4:11-16 and Ephesians 2:10)

Thesis VI  Reasons Why The Pastor Does His Duties

Pastors should do the duties given to them for a three-fold reason:

1)      It has been commanded that they should do their duties (1 Corinthians 9:16-18)

2)      They ought to love God, and in so doing, love the Church just as Christ loves the Church and the Shepherd individually (John 21:15-17)

3)      They know that God wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

Thesis VII  Warnings Given To Unfaithful Pastors

God has also given very strong and direct warnings to the Pastors that they should carry out their office faithfully and diligently.  For there will come the time when those Shepherds who did not, will be judged for their deeds and for the cost of their actions upon the Lord’s people (Isaiah 56:9-57:1Jeremiah 23:1-2Jeremiah 25:34-38,Ezekiel 34:1-19 and Zechariah 11:15-17).  However, if an unfaithful Pastor is found in the midst of the Church (for it is the duty of the Church to examine the Pastor’s words and to be constantly aware of them [Revelation 2:2 and Acts 17:10-11]), the Church should do its best to try to correct that Pastor in his doctrine before fleeing from him and excommunicating the unrepentant sinner to save his soul, which is the right of the Church to do. (1 Timothy 2:3-4John 10:2-5Titus 1:12-16Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-5)

Thesis VIII  The Continuing Fulfillment Of God’s Promise Through The Church

Even though God has chosen to no longer come down in His visible flesh and use His audible voice, He has established a way for Himself to continue to fulfill his promise (a promise reinforced in Matthew 28:20) that there will be faithful Pastors to the end of the age.  And He has fulfilled this promise by working through the Church (Acts 1:15-17, 20-26).

Thesis IX  Pastoral Qualifications And Discernment Tools For The Church

Because God has chosen not to use His own audible voice to send Pastors, He has given the Church a way to discern between men. God has done this so that the church would know whether or not the man in question would be sent as one from God’s own heart, or as one for judgment because of the Church’s own sinful desires. He has done this by:

1)      Giving the Church a list of qualifications for the Pastors saying that they should be:  (quotations from 1 Timothy 3:1-7 NKJV)

·         “Blameless”
·         “Husband of one wife”
·         “Temperate”
·         “Sober-minded”
·         “Not a novice”
·         “Having a good testimony”
·         “Of good behavior”
·         “Hospitable”
·         “Able to teach”
·         “Gentle”
·         “Not given to wine”
·         “Not greedy”
·         “Not quarrelsome”
·         “Not covetous”
·         “One who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence” 
·         Having the gender of, and genetically being, a man (1 Timothy 2:12-13)
·         Not a homosexual (1 Timothy 3:2 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

2)   Giving us guidelines to examine their actual practices, so that if they are, or do any of these, then they are “disqualified for every good work,” (Titus 1:15-16 NKJV) especially their own office of Pastor (1 Timothy 3:1):  (quotations from Titus 1:10-14 NKJV)

·         An “idle talker”
·         A “deceiver”
·         Work for “dishonest gain,” 
·         Listen to and teach “commandments from men” 
·         “Disobedient” 
·         “Teaching things which they ought not”

Thesis X  Training Of Pastors Ultimately In God’s Word

Even though God has chosen not to use His own audible voice to send Pastors, He has not solely left the training of Pastors in the hands of the Church.  Nor has God left the training of new Pastors solely in the hands of His own Pastors, even though it is a part of the Pastors’ duty to teach them.  Rather, God Himself has declared that His own Words will be able to train Christians and make them able to do every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), including the work of the Pastor if by necessity (1 Timothy 3:1-2 and 1 Timothy 2:3-4).  In addition, this training makes men legitimately eligible for a call from a congregation (1 Timothy 2:12-13).  Therefore, no matter how well trained the Pastors are who train new Pastors at the Seminary, the Seminary itself is not a requirement nor is it necessary in the upbringing of a Pastor.

Thesis XI  The Distribution Of The Keys

God has been merciful to us and has given the Keys of Heaven to:

1)      The collective Church, to both exercise compassionate examination (Matthew 18:17-20) and a compassionate judgment by way of excommunication for the salvation of souls (1 Corinthians 5:4-5)
2)      The Pastors in their duty as overseers, including preaching, teaching and administering sacraments to give the forgiveness of sins to many, (Romans 10:13-15John 20:21-23 and Matthew 28:18-20)
3)      The Christians of every vocation, to proclaim the praises of their merciful God (1 Peter 2:9-10), to give a defense for their hope (1 Peter 3:15-16) by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and forgiving sins (Matthew 18:15, 18 and Matthew 6:12) because God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4). 

However, everyone must be careful, considering that no individual ought to bind another person’s sin alone, lest God Himself should bind the un-forgiver’s sin (Matthew 18:33-35).  The Keys of Heaven are only to be used to promote the salvation of a soul and repentance, not to destroy another person (1 Corinthians 5:1-5 and 2 Corinthians 2:5-11).

Thesis XII  Helping Roles And Their Regulations

God has not prescribed the means by which a Pastor ought to perform their duties in His Word.  However, in the Words of God, He has given us examples of the Church and individual Christians assisting the Pastor in two ways:

1)      They may serve informally as the Pastor’s physical hands, voice or as any other instruments to help the Pastor perform tasks when needed (Exodus 17:11-12).

2)      They may serve in a formal way as Deacons if the persons are men, both in genetics and in gender (1 Timothy 2:12-13), and not a homosexual (1 Timothy 3:12).  As Deacons they do temporal duties to support the Ministry of the Word (Acts 6:1-4).  But in this, and in all formal cases in the Church, there must be consent between both the Church and the Pastor for the person’s placement into that position (Acts 6:3).

In each case, whether formal or informal, the authority, the responsibility, and the accountability for the Ministry of the Word still rest on the Pastor, just as the Pastor is responsible to the Church.  Also the supporting duties, in both cases, are only being done on the behalf of, and under the complete control, and direction of, the Pastor. (The Deacon or Christian may never deviate from the Pastor’s instruction nor may they go outside what they have been told to teach, say or do) (Thesis I-VIIExodus 4:14-16 and Exodus 18:13-27).  Therefore, the Pastor can remove an individual from their position when he feels it is necessary or warranted. However, he should go through the same steps as the Keys (Thesis XI) except only ending in the removal from their position. Nevertheless, the Church has the authority to overrule a Pastor and a Pastor cannot remove another Pastor.

Thesis XIII  The Pastoral Office Cannot Be Fragmented

Because God has instituted and given a single office of the Pastor (Theses I-IV), the church may not take away, separate, or distribute any of the duties, responsibilities or authorities of the Office in a limited form to one or more persons (a person must either have the whole office of Pastor or not at all).  When only a portion of the Pastoral Office may seem necessary or needed, two or more pastors may be called to the same place or institution, but specialized to do certain duties (Galatians 2:6-10).  However, the Office itself must always remain complete, being fully intact, and not fragmented (Acts 9:19-20 and Acts 10:44-11:1).  (1 Corinthians 1:17and 1 Corinthians 1:14, 16)

 

Thesis XIV  The Role Of Women In Relation To The Church And Pastor

Women are equally a part of the Holy Nation and the Royal Priesthood of all believers, which means they cannot be forbidden from assisting the Pastor or doing things in the Church (1 Peter 1:1-2, 2:9-10).  However, women’s service is different because they are under the head of man and they are helpers to him (Genesis 2:18, 21-22,Genesis 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 11:3).  Therefore, women’s activities fall under three categories:

1)      Duties and positions that women should not have or do because they clearly have a formal authority in the Church or lead the service (e.g. teaching, distributing communion, preaching, preparing the lessons or order of service, ushering, the final say in hymns or songs, voting, being a Pastor etc) (1 Timothy 2:11-13).

2)      Duties and positions with informal authority, that are unnecessary for women to hold, blur the line, or otherwise confuse people, when women do them, should be avoided and not be done.  The first set of these is done in the Church service, and has the informal speaker’s authority, with the appearance of formal authority (e.g. reading the lessons in church, being an acolyte, etc).  For such duties, it is better advised to have a young man, who may be considering becoming a Pastor, do them.  The youth would then be able to get a feel for what it is like to be in front of a congregation.  It is acceptable for a young man, and not women, to do these duties because of the informal and formal speaker’s authority and presence, which is given to the Pastor to preach to the congregation the Word of God.  A young man might one day hold the formal authority, even though he only holds the informal here and speaks what the Pastor told him to speak.  Women cannot receive the formal authority of a Pastor unless called directly by God; thus it is confusing and unnecessary if she receives the informal authority by reading the lessons or being an acolyte.
     The second set of duties and positions that should be avoided includes things outside of the service, and involves informing the children about the word of God (Sunday Schoolteachers, Youth Leaders, Christian Day-Schoolteachers, etc).  The Deacons of the Church should legitimately do all of these other duties, if not a Pastor (and thus be held by men).  However, women may do them under the direct direction of a Pastor, thus they do not have any formal authority, and because they do not involve men.  (Thesis XII: They are merely the physical hands, or mouth, doing, or speaking, the Pastor’s instructions.)

3)      Duties that should be done.  Women should do things that do not blur or go against the order of creation (e.g. cooking, caring for the elderly, caring for the children, caring for the homeless, performing maintenance, decorating, greeting strangers, proclaim praises to God who called them out of darkness, speaking the truth to others in a private setting, etc) (Matthew 5:14-161 Timothy 5:9-10Acts 9:361 Peter 3:1-6 and 1 Corinthians 7:13-16).

And the men ought to be grateful, respecting and esteeming those women who are a help to them, because those women do their work, which is just as necessary, to the same God.  For women are not incapable or less qualified than a man to do the work of a man; rather it is the loving institution of structure in the Church that God has created for the benefit of both.  Therefore, when in Old Testament God saw that men were not willing to do their duties, He Himself judged them, by calling a woman directly as head over them for reproach (Judges 4:1-2, 4-9).

 

Copyright © 2006 by Peter Kucenski. All rights reserved.

 Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.