Pastor To Pastor -- By: Warren Vanhetloo

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 11:3 (Fall 1968)
Article: Pastor To Pastor
Author: Warren Vanhetloo


Pastor To Pastor

Second Of A Series

Warren Vanhetloo

Dean Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis

This study was brought at the annual gathering of Central Alumni August 27, 1964.

In at least five passages of the New Testament (John 21:15–17; I Pet. 5:2–3; Eph. 4:11; I Cor. 9:7; and Acts 20:8–29) a figurative comparison is employed by God to identify the Lord Jesus Christ as Chief Shepherd or owner of the flock and local elders as the undershepherds, herding a small flock. Study of these passages reveals a stress on the continuing ownership (“feed My sheep”) and the future accounting each pastor must give to the Lord for that local responsibility to which he has been assigned (cf. I Pet. 5:2–3; Acts 20:28–29; Heb. 13:17). Christ is the good shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11, 15). There is also considerable in these passages concerning the shepherding task of the pastor as he guides the local flock. Based on common practices in the Near East, though not directly suggested in Scripture, there seems also to be profitable study concerning the relation of one undershepherd to other undershepherds serving the same Chief Shepherd. Such is the purpose of this study.

Tending sheep was perhaps the most common and one of the most respected occupations of the land of Palestine. All familiar with the relationship of fellow shepherds would tend to realize the applications to pastoral work suggested here. Those not acquainted with practices among shepherds of Palestine might tend toward a different attitude regarding fellow pastors. Just as there is a fellowship of the faith (I John 1:3 and many others), so there is and should be a fellowship among pastors of like faith and practice.

The sections to follow have, first, special bearing on practices of Near Eastern shepherds, and then, second, emphasis

on applications of these practices of benefit and importance to ministers today.

The Shepherd In The Ancient Near East

As Related To His Chief Shepherd

A shepherd might own his entire flock, or he might be a chief shephe...

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