Since reading Joshua Harris’ I Kissed Dating Goodbye as a teen, I haven’t really kept up with his work. So, I was pleasantly surprised today when I came across a blog post he wrote, quoting a passage from Alexander Strauch’s Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call To Restore Biblical Church Leadership.
Most important, biblical eldership guards and promotes the preeminence and position of Christ over the local Church. Jesus left His disciples with the precious promise that “‘where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst'” (Matt. 18:20). Because the apostles knew that Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit, was uniquely present with them as Ruler, Head, Lord, Pastor, Master, Overseer, High Priest, and King, they chose a form of government that reflected this distinctive, fundamental, Christian truth. This concept was no theoretical idea to the early Christians–it was reality. The first churches were truly Christ-centered, Christ dependent churches. Christ alone provided all they needed to be in full fellowship with God and one another. Christ’s person and work was so infinitely great, final, and complete that nothing–even in appearance–was to diminish the centrality of His presence among and sufficiency for His people.
So in the first century, no Christian would dare take the position or title of sole ruler, overseer, or pastor of the church. We Christians today, however, are so accustomed to speaking of “the pastor” that we do not stop to realize that the New Testament does not. This fact is profoundly significant, and we must not permit our customary practice to shield our minds from this important truth. There is only one flock and one Pastor (John 10:16), one body and one Head (Col. 1:18), one holy priesthood and one great High Priest (Heb. 4:14ff.), one brotherhood and one Elder Brother (Rom. 8:29), one building and one Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:5ff.), one Mediator, one Lord. Jesus Christ is “Senior Pastor,” and all others are His undershepherds (1 Peter 5:4).