This post is a separation of the post called Is ordination a requirement for a female pastor? since it was brought to my attention that the two streams of thought were too much for one post. This post will deal with the ordination of Paul by Jesus as an apostle.
Paul was not ordained by any man yet he claimed to be an apostle ordained by Jesus Christ and chosen to be a witness to the resurrection just as the other eleven were chosen as witnesses of the resurrection.
Matthias was ordained by men, chosen as one of two candidates who were then presented to God for the final decision. God did not speak forth either by prophecy or word of knowledge or through the gifts of the Holy Spirit in choosing Matthias. Rather than a direct word of God, Matthias was chosen by the casting of lots. The question that I asked was whether the decision of men is involved in the gifting and calling of God?
It was disciple’s decision to chose two candidates and Paul was not a candidate put forth by the Apostles because they did not consider that the decision for the twelfth apostle was to be made in the far distant future or that they were not personally responsible for initiating the process. Rather they believed that a witness to the resurrection had to be someone who was among their midst from the beginning so that he could be a witness to the resurrection. Yet Paul was indeed chosen by Jesus to be a witness to the resurrection even though he had not been with the apostles from the beginning.
Let’s examine the ordination requirement of the replacement apostle to Judas. It is found in Psalm 109:8.
Psalm 109:8 Let his days be few; Let another take his office.
The inspired wording says “Let another take his office”. Notice it doesn’t say “Let a group of men give him his office.” The onus is on the successor to Judas to do the taking. When Barsabbas and Matthias were picked by the apostles as two possible replacements, did Matthias say that Jesus had picked him as a witness to the resurrection? Did Matthias give a testimony that he was the one to take the office? No, he did not.
The word in the Greek for “take” is lambánõ. According to the Complete Word Study Dictionary, in the NT, this Greek word means:
to actively take, and, partially in the pass. sense, to receive
So it is an action word that primarily means to “take” and this is why nearly every translation renders it as “take”. What was the “office” that the replacement was to take? It was the “office” of a legal witness to the resurrection. The disciples make this clear in Acts 1:22
…one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.
Judas failed to be a witness of Jesus’ resurrection because in his unfaithfulness he betrayed Jesus and because of his betrayal he committed suicide before the resurrection happened. The replacement for this “office” had to be one who would “take” it himself. The “taking” of the “office” would be a personal witness that one has been called by Jesus Christ as an official witness to the resurrection, and one “takes” the office by claiming and proving their ordination by Jesus.
Did Matthias “take” the office of official witness to the resurrection by his own testimony? It appears that he did not otherwise there would not have been a need to cast lots. Matthias’ testimony that he had been picked by Jesus as the witness to the resurrection would have made such an act of casting lots totally unnecessary. There is no record that Matthias ever claimed to be personally picked by Jesus nor is there any record that the eleven disciples received a witness from Matthias that he was the one who was to “take” the “office” of witness to the resurrection. Instead of Matthias taking the office at the stage where the choice was to be made, the disciples chose to cast lots as an act of their faith that God should be the one who makes the choice.
My question continues in asking did Paul take the “office” of witness to the resurrection? Yes, absolutely! Paul claimed to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, picked to be a witness to the resurrection by the very ordination of Jesus himself. Paul’s ordination was completely opposite to the ordination of Matthias whose ordination proves to be from men alone with no outward miracles or a witness by Matthias himself that he was picked by Jesus as the others had been.
Now how does all of this relate to the ordination of a women Pastors? I personally believe that a true God-ordained choice of Pastor should be only to ratify and recognize what God has already chosen. Man’s ordination cannot make one a Pastor nor can the failure of some to recognize God’s gifting take away one’s gifting and calling from God. Paul’s ordination as an apostle of Jesus was in no way lessened because he did not have the ordination of men. Paul’s proof of his ordination was in his signs and wonders and revelations that stood the test of a true apostle. It was his actions that proved his claims. No ordination of man was necessary.
Have you ever met a Pastor that was ordained but who did not have the fruits of the Spirit or the heart of a shepherd? Such a one is not a true Pastor gifted by Jesus himself. Jesus said that there would be hirelings who do not care for the sheep but who are there as shepherds for other reasons. These hirelings run away when the wolves come to make a meal of the sheep. The fact that they have been ordained by a church cannot truly make them a gift to the church. Only Jesus’ choice and gifting can do that.
Eph 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Eph 4:8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
Eph 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
While there are apostles beyond the twelve who have been gifted by God for service to the church, there are only twelve apostles who formed the foundation of the church along with the cornerstone who is Jesus. Is Paul a member of that special foundation of the church, or is he only one of the other gifted apostles who have been gifted for the service of the body of Christ but not as special foundational apostles? While I believe, as many others do, that Paul was chosen by Jesus as the twelfth apostle, this is something that we can discuss and debate and see what we see in scripture to support our viewpoint. I will be moving the comments from the other post to this one so that we can keep the flow of our arguments.