Your pastor is not an angel. (part 1)

In his most recent book, Given By Inspiration, Pastor Bill Grady says on page 47, “‘Pseudo King James Onlyites’ are some of the shallowest Bible students in the Body of Christ.  They are always lacking in two areas – right division and cross-referencing.”  This fact was on display mightily a couple of weeks ago during a discussion on Twitter.  The discussion centered on “the angel of the church” in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 and who this angel may or may not be.

The most common teaching, which was espoused by a couple of people in this discussion, is that the angel spoken of is THE pastor of the church.  The reasoning is: an angel is a messenger; a pastor delivers messages; therefore “the angel of the church” is the pastor.  This does make logical sense, doesn’t it?  But is it correct?  No.  First of all, not all angels are messengers (Matt. 4:11; Dan. 12:1 Rev. 14:17,19).  But there are a few common sense problems with this “private interpretation”: first, most churches have more than one pastor, which one is being addressed?  The scriptures speak of no such divisions such as senior pastor, youth pastor, associate pastor, etc.; you either have the qualifications of a bishop (this assumes you believe bishop/pastor are the same thing) or you don’t.  Secondly, Psalm 8:5, Hebrews 2:7,9 tell us that Jesus was made “a little lower than the angels.”  Logic tells me that if man is lower than the angels, but the angel of the church is the pastor, does that mean your pastor has some elevated status over you in the pew?  Didn’t Jesus say he hates the deeds and doctrine of the Nicolaitans?  But of course, we don’t have any striving to be Baptist “popes”… do we?

The last error is the most serious.  When I and one other person asked the two people that believe the angel is the pastor for other verses confirming this “truth” none could be given.  That’s right…NOT ONE.  While this may not immediately stand out as an issue to you depending upon your personal development in the scripture and Bible study, this type of interpretation goes against God’s method for proper Bible study.  God has a method for proper Bible study and it doesn’t include Strong’s Concordance, a Hebrew and Greek interlinear or textual criticism.

First it involves context; that is to say who is being addressed primarily?  It is one of three groups of people: Jews, Gentiles, or the church of God (1 Cor. 10:32).  In other words, you need to be a “workman…rightly dividing the word of truth.”  There is a serious need for dispensational teaching amongst most Baptist denominations today.  Inserting an interpretation based on a single verse and what is “logical” is the same thing the Papists do with most of their false doctrines; randomly insert a meaning, then run to some “historical position”, church (heretics) fathers, or Greek “study helps” to establish their heresy.

The second problem is the matter of cross-references.  The Bible states plainly in the Old and New Testaments God’s way of studying and understanding the sense of scripture.  It is found in Isaiah 28:9-10 and 1 Cor. 2:13:

Isaiah 28:9-10 ~ “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”

1 Corinthians 2:13 ~ “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

Or as Martin Luther put it, compare scripture with scripture.  Comparing scripture with scripture will lead you right into the Biblical doctrine of having at least two or three passages of scripture to establish a doctrine (Deut 19:15, Matt 18:16, 1 Cor. 13:1).  Imagine how much heresy wouldn’t exist, even in Baptist churches, if people would adhere to this principle alone.

Without the cross-references with 2-3 witnesses and proper context, we cannot yet believe “the angel of the church” is THE pastor.

So then, if the angel is not the pastor, who is the angel?

~                    ~                    ~                    ~

Tony Brown is a born again, right dividing, King James Bible believing, non-fundamental Baptist (in that order). He currently attends Faith Baptist Church in Kearney, Bebraska with his wife, Lisa, and 18-month-old daughter, Brianna. You can read his blog, The Apostolic Baptist, over {here}. You can also follow him on twitter here – @apostolicbaptst.


Posted on July 20, 2011, in Guest Post and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. It’s good to see people following God’s word rather than tradition or blind acceptance of leader’s thoughts.

  2. So, how then do you explain my wings, huh?

    • This made me chuckle. It reminds me of something my uncle would say! He isn’t a pastor though, but he does preach at my grandma’s mission in downtown Detroit.

  3. Time to start inspecting for some halos I think.

  4. You are right. People don’t want to think, to study, to learn or to grow. They want be given the answers. Give them a guru to throw some false enlightenment and

  5. You are right. People don’t want to think, to study, to learn or to grow. They want be given the answers. Give them a guru to throw some false enlightenment, toss in a simi- moral story 2 lame jokes and they will flock to it.

  6. i agree with what you said.. however, out of curiosity, I would like to pick your brain on something (kind of being devil’s advocate):

    You referred to someone’s “private interpretation” and how when they were asked “for other verses confirming this “truth”” none could be given.

    You wrote: “…this type of interpretation goes against God’s method for proper Bible study. … God has a method for proper Bible study and it doesn’t include Strong’s Concordance…”

    Could you please point out where God, in the Bible, tells us what His “proper method of Bible study” is -and, where does He say it doesn’t include Strong’s Concordance?

    • So many times people want to read the bible but my question is is the bike reading them? See the bible isn’t just a book it’s our guide book and road map to spiritual success.

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