Dr. Couch, I agree that the pastor should be one among equals with the church elders, but would you explain the reasons that an elder and pastor are not different offices?
ANSWER: In the NT, and the NT alone, we find that there is a leadership group (plural) in the church that is given four titles. Or, to put it another way, they each are given four titles: pastor (shepherd), teacher, elder, overseer. Thus you have a board or group of men with each designated as: pastor/teacher/elder/overseer. This means we have four designations or four functions in the same person(s).
All of this is easy to prove from Scripture but the only problem is (1) people are not reading their Bibles, and (2) they are running on traditional denominational gas and not by what the Scriptures say.
For example, Paul summoned together the ELDERS (pl.) of Ephesus (Acts 20:17) and he called them also the OVERSEERS (pl.) (v. 28). (Overseer is "episcopos" and means "to over scope, overlook.) He then uses the verb SHEPHERD (to pastor) as what these men together are to do with the flock at Ephesus (v. 28). Paul uses the word PASTORS (shepherds) as a noun describing the church office only once (Eph. 4:11). There, he puts it this way: "PASTORS (AND, INDEED) TEACHERS." So PASTORS are to pastor by being TEACHERS!
Thus the four descriptions describing the same group of guys!
To further prove that the ELDERS and OVERSEERS are the same guys, all you have to do is notice that Paul describes their characteristics as church leaders in two lists, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and Titus 1:5-9. Same list, but he begins 1 Timothy 3:1 by calling them the OVERSEERS, yet in Titus 1:5 he calls them the ELDERS!
To really get it biblically settled you need my two books Biblical Theology of the Church and Pastors’ Manual for Doing Church. Thanks for asking. Dr. Mal Couch
Thanks for asking!
Dr. Mal Couch