Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

Why are there so many denominations today?

Because Christians (both true and false) do not adhere to Biblical teachings about the following:-

  1. The autonomy of the local church When churches cease to be autonomous, a denominational hierarchy develops.
  2. Which church do I join? Instead of following the Biblical principle of joining the (Biblically defined) church that is nearest to their residence, people join churches that attract them in some other way. Because of this, churches become characterized by a particular emphasis, ethnicity, doctrine, style of worship, etc. Churches that are similar to each other become denominations.

If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ then it is God's will for you to join a church that is a church in the Biblical sense of the term.

Was Timothy a single, outsourced, pastor of the church at Ephesus?

No. Timothy was actually a missionary (an evangelist) who accompanied Paul (Acts 16:3). Paul's travels brought him to Ephesus. When Paul decided to move on, he asked Timothy to remain at Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3). There was a specific purpose: the church at Ephesus was besieged by false teachers and Paul asked Timothy to remain there to counter them (1 Timothy 1:3-4). Writing to Timothy, Paul makes reference to "an elder" (1 Timothy 5:1). This indicates that there were elders in the church. So was Timothy a pastor above the elders? No; the terms elders and pastors are interchangeable. Thus, Timothy was not a pastor leading the church at Ephesus. The church had its pastors/elders and Timothy was helping them.

Can one person occupy more than one church office?

Paul was an apostle (Romans 1:1), a missionary (Acts 13:4), and a pastor-teacher (Acts 11:26). Timothy was a missionary and pastor-teacher (Acts 16:3, 1 Timothy 1:3). Thus, it is possible for one person to have more than one office.

Do the church office-bearers keep their secular jobs?

Paul supported himself financially with his tent making profession (Acts 20:34, Acts 18:3) while Peter seems to have left his fishing trade. Thus, God's workers may, but need not, be in "full time ministry". 

 

How are full-time church office bearers to be supported?

God wants them to rely on the free-will gifts of God's people for their sustenance (1 Corinthians 9:4-14). This is not the same as a person agreeing to pastor a church in return for a salary. If you are an elder/pastor or a missionary/evangelist, and you believe God wants you to be in "full time ministry", that is, leave your job and devote all your time to ministry, then by all means do so. If God has called you to be in full time ministry, you are His employee and He will pay you - through His people. Do not seek employment with a church! Peter never agreed to work as pastor of the Jerusalem church or Babylon church for a certain salary. But God provided for Peter - using His people, of course.
 
There is a fundamental difference between working for people and being on their payroll (like a secular worker does) versus working for God and being on His payroll, with people merely being the means that God uses to pay you. The first position is wrong and the second is right. Paul was not on the Philippian payroll, but the Philippians did send him a gift (Philippians 4:18).
 
Those of us who have secular income need to be sensitive to the needs of evangelists and pastors who are doing full time service just as in ancient times, the people of Israel were to be sensitive to the needs of Levites (Deuteronomy 14:27).