Monday, September 7, 2009

Pastoral office is necessary to preserve the church on earth

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
1-3 - Ministry given by God; its functions
1. Christ alone is head, but He exercises authority through other men, since "He does not dwell among us in visible presence." He could do without us, or work through angels, but "He prefers to do it by means of men." Why? Because He has regard for us as His temple - 1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16. It exercises our humility, to have to hear Him "through men like us and sometimes even by those of lower worth than we." See 2 Cor 4:7. It binds us together, to "receive the common teaching from one mouth." "For if anyone were sufficient to Himself and needed no one else's help (such is the pride of human nature), each man would despise the rest and be despised by them." See Eph 4:4-8, 10-16.

2. This ministry is the chief sinew holding the body of Christ together. It destroys the church to argue against this order.

3. "The dignity of the ministry" of preaching is seen in Isa 52:7; Matt 5:13-14; Luke 10:16; 2 Cor 4:6; 3:9. An angel directed Cornelius to Peter, and Paul to Ananias, for preaching - Acts 10:3-6; 9:6.

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