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Sermons & Study Guides

Form Of Presbyterial Church-Government Pt. 17 - Touching The Doctrine Of Ordination.

James Dodson

Form Of Presbyterial Church-Government

Touching The Doctrine Of Ordination.

No  man  ought  to  take  upon  him  the  office  of  a  minister  of  the  word  without  a  lawful calling. Ordination is always to be continued in the church. Ordination is the solemn setting apart of a person to some publick church office. Every  minister of the word is to be ordained by imposition of hands, and prayer, with fasting, by those preaching presbyters to whom it doth belong. It is agreeable to the word of God, and very expedient, that such as are to be ordained ministers, be designed to some particular church, or other ministerial charge. He that is to be ordained minister, must be duly qualified, both for life and  ministerial abilities, according to the rules of the apostle. He is to be examined and approved by those by whom he is to be ordained. No  man  is  to  be  ordained  a  minister  for  a  particular congregation,  if  they  of  that congregation can shew just cause of exception against him.

Question  1.—May  a  man  take  upon  him  the  office  of  a  minister  of  the  word  without  a lawful calling? Answer.—No. John 3:27; Rom. 10:14, 15; Jer. 14:14; Heb. 5:4.  Thus do the Fanatics and others err who  maintain that a  man  might take upon himself the office of minister of the  word  without  a  lawful  calling.    In  the  sacred  assembly  all  things  ought  to  be  done decently  and  in  order,  1  Cor.  14:40,  there  is  nothing in  which  this  ought  to  be  more carefully  observed  than in  settling government, irregularity in  any  respect being  nowhere more perilous.  It was expressly provided that no one should assume a public office in the Church without a call, Heb. 5:4; Jer. 17:16.  Therefore, if any one would be deemed a true minister of the Church, he must first be duly called; and, secondly, he must answer to his calling; that is, undertake and execute the office assigned to him. Question 2.—Is ordination always to be continued in the church? Answer.—Yes. Tit. 1:5; 1 Tim. 5:21, 22.  Thus do the Quakers and other heretics err maintaining that ordination is not always to be continued in the church.  They are confuted for the following reasons: 1.) The doctrine of ordination is listed amongst the first principles of the faith, Heb. 6:1, 2.  And which of these other doctrines has been made obsolete?  2.) The  apostolic  admonition  concerning  the  transmission  of  the  ministry to  faithful  and  able men implies that ordination is to be continued, 2 Tim. 2:2. Question  3.—Is  ordination  the  solemn  setting  apart  of  a  person  to  some  public  church office? 1John 3:27; Rom. 10:14, 15; Jer. 14:14; Heb. 5:4. 2Tit. 1:5; 1 Tim. 5:21 ,22. 3Num. 8:10, 11, 14, 19, 22; Acts 6:3, 5, 6. 41 Tim. 5:22; Acts 14:23; Acts 13:3. 5Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5; Acts 20:17, 28. 61 Tim. 3:2-6; Tit. 1:5-9. 71 Tim. 3:7, 10; 1 Tim. 5:22. 81 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:7. 
Answer.—Yes.  Num.  8:10,  11,  14,  19,  22;  Acts  6:3,  5,  6.    The  act  of  ordaining  is  a setting  apart  to  office.    This  is  seen  in  the  case  of  Joseph,  Acts  7:10;  Pharaoh  did  not confer on him that  which he had before but an office he never had.  Thus did it connote from the earliest times, Deut. 1:13; Ex. 18:21. Question  4.—Is  every  minister  of  the  word  to  be  ordained  by  imposition  of  hands,  and prayer, with fasting, by those preaching presbyters to whom it does belong? Answer.—Yes.  1  Tim.  5:22;  Acts  14:23;  Acts  13:3.    For  prayer,  1.)  In  the  Old Testament,  Aaron  and  his  sons  did  not  enter  upon  their ministry,  until  they  had  been sanctified  by  the  holy  oil,  and  sprinkling  of  blood,  and  had  been  seven  days  before  the Lord  in  the  door  of  the  Tabernacle  of  the  Congregation,  Lev.  8:33.    2.)  In  the  New Testament our Saviour, when he chose his apostles is said to have spent the whole night before  in  prayer,  Luke  6:12,  13.    And  to  this,  Jesus  directs  his  disciples  when  they  lack faithful ministers, Matt. 9:36-38. For joining fasting with prayer, 1.) It is said that the prophets and teachers of Antioch joined fasting to their prayer, Acts 13:1-3.  2.) Paul and Barnabas kept this practice when they went abroad in the churches, Acts 14:23. For the imposition of hands, 1.) We see it to be the constant ceremony of the apostles, Acts 6:6; 13:3; 2 Tim. 1:6.  2.) It is proved from that command of Paul to Timothy, 1 Tim. 5:22.    For  when  Timothy  is  forbidden to lay hands  suddenly, it is implied,  that it  was  his duty  to  lay  on  hands.    3.)  This  whole  work  of  ordination  is  comprehended  under  the ceremony of imposition of hands, 1 Tim. 4:14; 5:22.  4.) The apostle places the doctrine of ordination amongst the first principles of Christ, Heb. 6:1, 2. Question 5.—Is it agreeable to the word of God, and very expedient, that such as are to be ordained ministers, be designed to some particular church, or other ministerial charge? Answer.—Yes. Acts 20:17, 28.  It is an ordinance of God. For we read that Paul and Barnabas appointed presbyters over each of the churches of Lystra, Antioch, and Iconium, Acts 14:23; and Paul himself enjoins Titus to ordain presbyters in every town, Tit. 1:5.  In like manner, he mentions the bishops of the Philippians, and Archippus, the bishop of the Colossians,  Phil.  1:1;  Col.  4:17.    And  in  the  Acts  we have  his  celebrated  address  to  the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus, Acts 20:28. Question  6.—Must  he  that  is  to  be  ordained  minister,  be  duly  qualified,  both  for  life  and ministerial abilities, according to the rules of the apostle? Answer.—Yes. 1 Tim. 3:2-6; Tit. 1:5-9.  None are to be chosen save those who are of sound doctrine and holy lives, and not notorious for any defect which might destroy their authority and bring disgrace on the ministry. Question 7.—Is he to be examined and approved by those by whom he is to be ordained? Answer.—Yes.  1  Tim.  3:7,  10;  5:22.    The  language  of  the  apostle  points  to  an examination  and  approval  by  those  who  are to  ordain.   Particularly  the  right  and  duty  of refusal to ordain those found unqualified is held in the Pauline command to Timothy not to lay hands suddenly on any man. Question 8.—Is any man to be ordained a minister for a particular congregation, if they of that congregation can show just cause of exception against him? Answer.—No.  1  Tim.  3:2;  Tit.  1:7.    We  see  that  by  the  command  of  the  Lord,  the practice  in  electing  the  Levitical  priests  was  to  bring  them  forward  in  view  of  the  people before  consecration,  Num.  8:9,  10.    Nor  is  Matthias  enrolled  among  the  number  of  the apostles,  nor  are  the  seven  deacons  elected  in  any  other  way,  than  at  the  sight  and approval of the people, Acts 1:23; 6:2.