The ordination of pastors today is of men and not of God.
Some time ago, I was invited as guest-minister to a church celebrating its sixth anniversary. At the beginning of the service, a gentleman informed us that it was his honour and privilege to anoint the host-pastor with oil. He opened a vial of olive oil and poured the entire content on the pastor’s head as she knelt dutifully before him. From then on, he declared, she was no longer to be called “pastor” but “reverend.”
A bogus pastorate
Provoked by the magnitude of the miracles attending Jesus’ ministry, the pillars of the Jewish priesthood confronted him in the temple. They wanted to know by what authority he was operating and who gave him the authority. In his reply, Jesus presented a dichotomy between what is of God and what is of men. He asked them: “The baptism of John- where was it from? From heaven or from men?” (Matthew 21:25).
By the same token, it is pertinent to ask about the ordination of pastors today: is it of God or of men? The question is rhetorical. The ordination of pastors today is not of God. The authority does not come from Jesus, but from Paul.
Paul twisted a verse in Psalm 68 to make it seem as if it is written in the scriptures that the Messiah would establish ministerial positions. The psalmist says men gave gifts to the Lord: “When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you RECEIVED gifts from men (Psalm 68:18). But Paul distorted this to say men received gifts from the Lord: “This is why it says: ‘When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and GAVE gifts to men’” (Ephesians 4:8).
What bogus gifts did Paul then claim Christ gave to men? He says: “He himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-12). As a result, many believe the Lord calls believers to these offices; not knowing they are victims of Paul’s deception. Jesus does not establish these positions in the New Testament church.
A counterfeit church
Jesus specifically prohibits his disciples from assuming ministerial positions of authority. He says: “Do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for one is your teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren” (Matthew 23:8). This means all believers are equal in status. There is no guru; no head-honcho; no general overseer. No Christian should be designated pastor today because we are now, one and all, “a royal priesthood?” (1 Peter 2:9). Noone should be called a priest because Christ has made all believers kings and priests to God? (Revelation 1:6/5:10).
Paul swears to Timothy: “I was appointed a preacher and an apostle- I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying- a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” (1 Timothy 2:7). But Paul is lying. Jesus does not appoint teachers. This is what he says: “Do not be called teachers; for one is your teacher, the Christ” (Matthew 23:10). How then could he have called Paul to be “a teacher to the Gentiles in faith and truth?”
Paul, who like Diotrephes loves to exalt himself (3 John 1:9), even claims Jesus set him as an authority over the church (2 Corinthians 10:8; 13:10). This cannot be true. Jesus teaches that we should not arrogate ourselves as lord and master over other men: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you” (Matthew 20:25-26). He equally warns that we should not be disciples of men: “Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God” (Matthew 23:9).
The Father’s authority
The Father is the source of all authority and from the Father it flows to Jesus, the Son (Matthew 28:18). Jesus did not transfer this authority to his disciples or to some pastor, bishop or pope. Neither did he delegate the authority given to him. The only authority Jesus gives to his disciples is over demons and diseases: “He called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases” (Luke 9:1).
What are we to conclude from this? All those of us who call ourselves pastors are followers of Paul: we are not followers of Jesus. Our authority is not from heaven. Our authority is from men. Jeremiah’s word remains true: “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way” (Jeremiah 5:30-31).