Four or Five-Fold Ministry in Ephesians 4?

Four or Five-Fold Ministry in Ephesians 4? March 2, 2008

More than once I have been accused of appropriating Lloyd-Jones to my charismatic cause. Today I want to restart my MLJ Monday tradition by sharing a quote which comes from a context where the Doctor is strongly disagreeing with one of my positions. He is talking about the so-called Ephesians 4 ministries. The Doctor divides these into two groups, believing that all but pastors and teachers are temporary. I believe that they all continue, although I think of modern-day apostles as being, in some important ways, different to the original. Anyway, the Doctor then goes on to speak into what is perhaps a less interesting discussion, but one that is worth opening up nonetheless. Does Paul have in mind two distinct groups, the pastors and the teachers, or one group of people who are both pastors and teachers? Let’s see what he has to say:

The permanent offices are described as those of ‘pastors and teachers.’ This group is much simpler to understand, although there has been much dispute as to whether pastors and teachers are two different offices. I agree with those who say that they are one. Were they two separate offices we would expect to read, ‘He gave some, apostles; some, prophets; some, evangelists; some, pastors; some, teachers’; but the apostle writes, ‘some, pastors and teachers,’ linking the two together; and generally speaking, these two offices are found in the same man. Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-JonesThey apply to a more settled state of the Church, and have persisted throughout the centuries. The office of a pastor is generally concerned about government and instruction and rule and direction. It is borrowed, of course, from the picture of a shepherd. The shepherd shepherds his flock, keeps the sheep in order, directs them where to go and where to feed, brings them back to the fold, looks after their safety and guards them against enemies liable to attack them. It is a great office, but unfortunately it is a term which has become debased. A pastor is a man who is given charge of souls. He is not merely a nice, pleasant man who visits people and has an afternoon cup of tea with them, or passes the time of day with them. He is the guardian, the custodian, the protector, the organizer, the director, the ruler of the flock. The teacher gives instruction in doctrine, in truth. The Apostle proceeds to elaborate this, showing that we need to be built up, and that we must not remain ‘babes.’ We must be protected against ‘every wind of doctrine,’ and the way to do so is to give instruction and teaching.

Although I say that these two offices generally go together and have done so throughout the long history of the Church, sometimes one man has had more of a pastoral gift than a teaching or preaching gift; at other times a man has more of a teaching and preaching gift than a pastoral gift. This is a matter of individual variation according to the gift of the Spirit. But in the Church you have these offices, these men who teach and preach and care for the souls of the members of the church.”

— David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Christian Unity, Studies in Ephesians (Chapter 4, verses 1 through 16), Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1972, p. 192.

For more information on Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, see this summary post or the MLJ Recording Trust.

I have had an e-mail from a correspondent who strongly believes that Lloyd-Jones was wrong about pastors and teachers being one office. My correspondent cited the grammatical work of Dan Wallace (see p. 284 of his Greek Grammar—Beyond the Basics) and an article on the evangelist, which discusses this point (p. 30ff).

I also have had another e-mail on the subject which said, “We actually had to study a full-length technical paper on this verse by Dan Wallace as part of our second-year Greek course. He does not argue that they must be two separate offices—he does not go that far. What he says is that the Greek language does not demand that they be one office. We should determine the answer from the context. Personally I go with theoretically separate giftings which are very commonly held by the same person. (Apostles can also be teachers, etc.)”

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  • Angel

    I confessed {ROMANS 10:9)” That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Je’sus, and shalt believe in thine heart that GOD hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”. I gave my life to JESUS at the tender age of 14, and about two weeks later this is what happened to me. On one morning in late 1986, I was getting up and I was on my way to use the restroom and saw that everybody was sound asleep. Right across my room was the restroom, and as I begin to walk toward the restroom, I heard the spirit of GOD say to me, “Look in your hand”. I began to say back to the spirit of GOD, “Why would I look in my hand?” Then the spirit of GOD spoke for the second time, “I said look in your hand”. By now I am still talking back to the spirit of GOD and looking up at the ceiling because I didn’t know what was going on. I was only 14 years old when this happened to me, so as you can imagine, I was frightened. So for the third and final time the spirit of GOD’s voice got louder and louder! HE said to me, “I said to look in your hand!!!” This time I looked at my right hand and I saw what looked like a puddle of blood, but here’s the thing: it was not bleeding. (EXODUS 3:2-3) “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.3. And Mo’ses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.”Then, right in the center of my right hand I noticed that GOD had put a beautiful cross there!
    By now I had gone to my mother’s room and knocked as hard as I could on her door and when she opened the door and saw my hand, the only thing she was saying was Oh my God! Oh my God! We did not know what to do, so we just decided to pick up the phone book and call up some of our local pastor’s to tell them what had happened to me. My mother and I came across a particular pastor in Newnan, Georgia, and we decided to call him. My mother started to tell this pastor about all that had happened to me, and this is what the pastor told my mom: “Tell your daughter to show as many people as she can. The pastor also told my mother that GOD had ‘Marked your daughter’. It was so amazing and so touching that GOD had chosen me to put a cross in my right hand, and yes this is a true story! I just Love spending time every day in GOD’s Word and prayer, drawing closer to GOD with each passing day, (PSALM 141:2) “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” JESUS CHRIST is my passion!! I just Love Him with every little heart beat and with every breath and with every step I take every day, I’m always over joyed when witnessing to others and sharing the Love of CHRIST! JESUS has worked so many miracles in my life, one of the miracle is that I was a still born baby and JESUS raised me back to life again to do His will here on earth, GOD has a plan for us all {JEREMIAH 29:11} “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Another miracle that JESUS did in my life was in 1993 my husband and I lost our first child but I believed with all my heart that by faith JESUS was going to bless my husband and I with more children [HEBREWS 11:1}” Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.} So, in 1994 GOD blessed us to have a baby boy! And then in 1995 GOD blessed us to have a baby girl! This is just to name a few of the many miracles that JESUS has done in my life! {ROMANS 5:8} “But GOD commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST died for us.” JESUS gave us His all and I want to give Him my all, HIS sacrifice shows how deep His Love is for us, and when I think about just how deeply HE Loves us tears just fall from my eyes. I am so happy that one day I will see Him and live with Him forever!
    God Bless You!