Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Did this group just die?
Dear brother Chris,
Excellent subject matter!! How about the office of the "Doctor"? As the Form of Presbyterian Church Government (FPCG) details it; the office of the Teaching Elder is sub-divided into the Pastor and the Doctor. This is in addition to the Ruling Elders. Thus, could it be argued that the office of Elders is three-fold: Pastor, Teacher/Doctor, & Ruling, no?
THE scripture doth hold out the name and title of teacher, as well as of the pastor.
Who is also a minister of the word, as well as the pastor, and hath power of administration of the sacraments.
The Lord having given different gifts, and divers exercises according to these gifts, in the ministry of the word; though these different gifts may meet in, and accordingly be exercised by, one and the same minister; yet, where be several ministers in the same congregation, they may be designed to several employments, according to the different gifts in which each of them doth most excel. And he that doth more excel in exposition of scripture, in teaching sound doctrine, and in convincing gainsayers, than he doth in application, and is accordingly employed therein, may be called a teacher, or doctor, (the places alleged by the notation of the word do prove the proposition.) Nevertheless, where is but one minister in a particular congregation, he is to perform, as far is able, the whole work of the ministry.
A teacher, or doctor, is of most excellent use in schools and universities; as of old in the schools of the prophets, and at Jerusalem, where Gamaliel and others taught as doctors.
AS there were in the Jewish church elders of the people joined with the priests and Levites in the government of the church; so Christ, who hath instituted government, and governors ecclesiastical in the church, hath furnished some in his church, beside the ministers of the word, with gifts for government, and with commission to execute the same when called thereunto, who are to join with the minis n the government of the church. Which officers reformed churches commonly call Elders.
I also agree that the RE is a Biblical Presbyter.
Yours in Christ,
--- In email@example.com, trygvesson@... wrote:
> In a message dated 10/25/2006 7:15:20 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> raging.calvinist@... writes:
> "Hey, did my group die while I wasn't looking? About a dozen posts in
> 2 months...
> To quote Bob Dylan, "It's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there."
> LOL! I have been pretty busy with ER work and a recent family trip to
> Scotland, but things appear to be normalizing a bit now.
> The list has been rather quiet of late. If you are dying for new topics of
> list conversation, how about this question:
> "Are ruling elders biblical presbyters?"
> On the affirmative side of the question are Calvin, Beza, Rutherfurd,
> Gillespie, Henderson, Robert Baillie, Samuel Miller, James H. Thornwell, Robert L.
> Dabney John Murray etc. On the negative side are Charles Hodge, Thomas Smyth,
> Peter Campbell, Thomas Witherow, Iain Murray etc.
> My own view is simply that of the Scottish Second Book of Discipline [Andrew
> Melville], which I have pasted below, that both the gospel minister and the
> ruling elder are the biblical presbyter, and that these are distinguishable
> offices within one order.
> I would be interested to read what others views are on this subject.
> "The Second Book of Discipline (1578)
> Chapter 6
> Of Elders and Their Office
> 1. The word elder in the scripture sometimes is the name of age, sometimes
> of office. When it is the name of an office, sometimes it is taken largely,
> comprehending as well the pastors and doctors, as them who are called seniors
> or elders.
> 2. In this our division, we call those elders whom the apostles call
> presidents or governors. Their office, as it is ordinary, so it is perpetual, and
> always necessary in the kirk of God. The eldership is a spiritual function, as
> is the ministry. Elders once lawfully called to the office, and having gifts
> of God meet to exercise the same, may not leave it again. Albeit such a number
> of elders may be chosen in certain congregations, that one part of them may
> relieve another for a reasonable space, as was among the Levites under the
> law in serving of the temple. The number of elders in every congregation cannot
> well be limited, but should be according to the bounds and necessity of the
> 3. It is not necessary that all elders be also teachers of the word, albeit
> chiefly they ought to be such, and so are worthy of double honour. What
> manner of persons they ought to be, we refer it to the express word of God, and,
> namely, the canons written by the apostle Paul.
> 4. Their office is, as well severally as conjunctly, to watch diligently
> upon the flock commit ted to their charge, both publicly and privately, that no
> corruption of religion or manners enter therein.
> 5. As the pastors and doctors should be diligent in teaching and sowing the
> seed of the word, so the elders should be careful in seeking the fruit of the
> same in the people.
> 6. It appertains to them to assist the pastor in examination of them that
> come to the Lord's table: item, in visiting the sick.
> 7. They should cause the acts of assemblies, as well particular as
> provincial or general, to be put in execution carefully.
> 8. They should be diligent in admonishing all men of their duty, according
> to the rule of the evangel. Things that they cannot correct by private
> admonitions they should bring to the assembly of the eldership.
> 9. Their principal office is to hold assemblies with the pastors and doctors
> (who are also of their number) for establishing of good order, and execution
> of discipline. Unto the which assemblies all persons are subject that remain
> within their bounds."
> Christopher Coombes