Monday, September 7, 2009

Ministers of Sound Doctrine and Holy Life

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 3 - Doctors and Ministers of the Church
10-16 - Calling of ministers
10. All things are to be done in good order in the church - 1 Cor 14:40 - but especially establishing right government of it. One must be called by God and others, and then respond - Heb 5:4.

11. Each minister has a secret call they sense from the Lord, and the church gives a separate, outward and public call to serve. The church's call is legit, even if the inner call is tainted or suspect, as long as the church is not aware of impropriety.

12. Who should be a minister? Titus 1:7; 1 Tim 3:1-7. Those "of sound doctrine and of holy life, not notorious in any fault." The church must see they are "adequate and fit to bear the burden imposed upon them." See Luke 21:15; 24:49; Mark 16:15-18; Acts 1:8. Ministers should be chosen with reverence and prayer - Acts 14:23; Isa 11:2.

13. Choosing of apostles in Acts 1:23-26 doesn't apply to us, as this was done to have all the apostles chosen not by men but directly by God - Gal 1:1, 12.

14. But even Saul's call included the church - Acts 13:2.

15. Titus and Timothy couldn't "arrange everything according to his own decision." Titus 1:5; 1 Tim 5:22. Elders were elected by show of hands, not appointed by one person - see the Greek in Acts 14:23. A lawful call to ministry requires the consent and approval of the congregation.

16. There is no direct command to lay hands on a minister in ordaining him, but it is described throughout Scripture, in broader application - Gen 48:14; Matt 19:15; Num 8:12; Acts 19:6. It serves "to warn the one ordained that he is no longer a law unto himself, but bound in servitude to God and the church." So it isn't an empty or superstitious ceremony - 2 Tim 1:6; 1 Tim 4:14.

No comments:

Post a Comment