In the kingdom of God, there is only one church and only one pastor.
I became the pastor of Healing Wings, Chapel of Faith in 1998. But seven years later, I felt constrained to stand before the church to tender my resignation. This caused a bit of a stir initially until people understood I was neither leaving town nor forsaking Christ. My resignation came from the sudden realisation that, even though God called me personally to a healing ministry and gifted me accordingly, he never asked me to pastor a church. I just assumed it was the natural progression of the assignment he gave me.
The dismissal of pastors
Pastors in the bible have one thing in common: they are all bad with Jesus as the singular exception. In the Old Testament, when the bible speaks of pastors (often translated confusingly as shepherds), it is in condemnation. God asks Ezekiel to castigate them all: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” (Ezekiel 34:2). Jeremiah also complains: “My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray” (Jeremiah 50:6).
What does God intend to do in order to rectify the situation? He proposes the summary dismissal of all pastors to be replaced by one single faithful pastor: “I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them- my servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd” (Ezekiel 34:23). “They shall all have one shepherd” (Ezekiel 37:24).
The good shepherd
Jesus is that one true pastor foretold by the prophets who has come to save God’s lost sheep (Matthew 18:11). He says: “I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep, and am known by my own” (John 10:14). This immediately disqualifies all other pastors everywhere. Jesus is the only pastor that can be said to be intrinsically good; meaning all others are bad.
Not even the pastor of the smallest church can claim to know his congregants and they do not really know us. We see them in the pews and they see us on the pulpit. Neither party knows what burdens of sins and sorrows the other is carrying. But the advantage of Pastor Jesus is that he is divine and therefore knows all things (John 16:30).
Jesus says furthermore: “The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). This is hardly the job description for today’s highfalutin pastors. We do not give our lives for our church-members. On the contrary, Ezekiel’s timeless word about us is disapproving: “You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock” (Ezekiel 34:3).
Thieves and robbers
In declaring that he is the “good pastor,” Jesus says all those who were pastors before him were impostors: “All who ever came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them” (John 10:8). What about those who come after him? We cannot but be thieves and robbers as well because Jesus is the one good pastor for all sheep across the ages. Only Jesus can be a pastor yesterday, today and forever (Revelation 1:8). Bad pastors die, but Jesus the good pastor will always be a pastor: “There were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But he, because he continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood” (Hebrews 7:23-24).
Since all Christians claim to be sheep of the good shepherd, how then can some of us also arrogate ourselves as shepherds, thereby usurping the position now reserved exclusively for Jesus? Surely, a man cannot be a shepherd and a sheep simultaneously. Since we are all supposedly striving to inherit the kingdom of God, those of us still claiming to be pastors must actually be lost sheep. Thanks to Paul, we do not understand the peculiar nature of the kingdom of God; confusing things with what obtained under the dispensation of the Old Testament.
The Church of God
Jesus says: “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God’” (John 6:45). Accordingly, human pastors are now anachronistic. Since God has revealed Jesus as the good pastor to us, all other so-called pastors must vamoose. The children of God can only be united if we all have one and the same pastor. In the kingdom of God, there is only one church and only one pastor. Jesus says: “There will be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16). Therefore, every Christian needs to make a decision as to which church he belongs to and who precisely is his pastor.
As for me, I only belong to the Church of God and “the Lord is my pastor” (Psalm 23:1). That Lord is not the Lord Bishop. That Lord is Jesus Christ.