Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

           

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Sermons & Study Guides

Form Of Presbyterial Church-Government Pt. 9 - Of The Officers Of A Particular Congregation.

James Dodson

Form Of Presbyterial Church-Government

Of The Officers Of A Particular Congregation.

For officers in a single congregation, there ought to be one at the least, both to labour in the word and doctrine, and to rule. It is also requisite that there should be others to join in government. And likewise it is requisite that there be others to take special care for the relief of the poor. The number of each of which is to be proportioned according to the condition of the congregation. These officers are to meet together at convenient and set times, for the well ordering of the affairs of that congregation, each according to his office. It is most expedient that, in these meetings, one whose office is to labour in the word and doctrine, do moderate in their proceedings.

Question 1.—For officers in a single congregation, ought there to be one at the least, both to labour in the word and doctrine, and to rule? Answer.—Yes. Prov. 29:18.  Thus do the Quakers and certain Anabaptists err denying that church officers are requisite for the well being of the church.  They are confuted because: 1.) The apostle commends such officers as both labor in word and doctrine and rule to the remembrance and honor of the assembly, 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:7.  2.) The well being of the church requires elders for the better ordering of the government of the church, Tit. 1:5.  Christ commissioned the apostles and their successors (i.e., teaching elders) to disciple  (μαθητεύσατε-matheteusate)  the  nations,  by  baptizing  and  teaching (διδάσκοντες-didaskontes), Matt. 28:19, 20; which belongs not to those elders who only bear the rule.  Therefore, it is most conducive to the good of the church and people of God that this elder be a teaching elder. Question 2.—Is it also requisite that there should be others to join in government? Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 12:28.  Thus do the Papists and Prelates err maintaining that the government  belongs  to  the  hierarchical  bishop.    They  are  confuted  for  the  following reasons:  1.)  At  God’s  instruction,  Moses,  who  was  gifted  above  all  prophets,  took  to himself a plurality of elders to assist in the government of the people of God, Num. 11:16-18, 24, 25.  2.) We see that pattern repeated throughout the history of Israel; in each parish there were elders to assist in the government of the people of God, 1 Sam. 16:4,5; Ps. 107:32.  3.) We see the Jews still maintaining this system of joint governing in the days of Christ and the apostles, Matt. 26:57-60; 27:1; Acts 4:15, 18, 23.  4.) So, we see the apostles ordaining elders in all the churches, from whom counsel is taken together with a joining in the government of the churches, Acts 14:23; 15:2, 6; 16:4. The pastor of a congregation must employ a great part of his time in studying the oracles of God—in composing sermons—in qualifying himself with various literature for 1Prov. 29:18; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:7. 21 Cor. 12:28. 3Acts 6:2,3. 41 Tim. 5:17. 
the defense of the gospel—in attending to the general concerns of the church, and of the world,  as  far  as  it  respects  the  church:  he  cannot  be  intimately  acquainted  with  the disposition  and  behavior  of  every  member  of  a  congregation:  he  may  be  young  and inexperienced, or aged and infirm: nothing can be more reasonable, therefore, than that some of the most grave and judicious members be deputed by the church to co-operate with their pastor; and this expedient is absolutely necessary to the proper exercise of discipline in any congregation. Question 3.—Is it likewise requisite that there be others to take special care for the relief of the poor? Answer.—Yes. Acts 6:2, 3.  The sole design of appointing deacons in the church, is to remove the burden of attention to its temporal concerns from the ministers and elders, when it becomes embarrassing to them: deacons are appointed to manage the funds, inspect  the  state,  and  serve  the  tables  of  the  poor.   Christian  congregations  should maintain such persons as are incapable of providing for themselves the necessaries of life; discreet officers are, of course, necessary to manage the funds which may be raised for that purpose, 1 Cor. 16:1-3.  Paul, in 1 Cor. 12:28, enumerates deacons, with the other officers “set in the church,” under the denomination of “helps,” for they were originally instituted, as we learn from the account of the choice of the first deacons, in Acts 6, to be helps, or assistants to the apostles in the work of distributing the Church’s stock. Question 4.—Is the number of each to be proportioned according to the condition of the congregation? Answer.—Yes.  Tit. 1:5;  Acts  6:1.    Both  the  light  of  nature  and  reason,  as  well  as Christian prudence, instruct us to this principle of proportionality, Ex. 18:21-25; Deut. 1:15; 1 Cor. 14:26, 33, 40.  There is no proportionality in a body that is all head or hands or feet; neither is there in the church when such confusion reigns so that all or none do exercise church office, 1 Cor. 12:4, 5, 14-26. Question 5.—Are these officers to meet together at convenient and set times, for the well ordering of the affairs of that congregation, each according to his office? Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 14:40; Acts 15:4, 6.  Again both the light of nature and reason, as well as Christian prudence, dictate that these officers must meet together at convenient and set times, in order to deliberate and adjudicate matters for the well ordering of the affairs of each congregation, Mark 14:53, 55; and that each officer exercise himself, in these sessional meetings, in the gift of his respective office for the benefit of the church is also made clear, Rom. 12:4-8. Question 6.—Is it most expedient that, in these meetings, one whose office is to labour in the word and doctrine, do moderate in their proceedings? Answer.—Yes. 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Cor. 14:33.  It is most convenient for that officer whose office  is  concerned  with  most  broad  responsibilities  in  the  church  to  moderate  these sessional meetings; but those whose office it is to labor in word and doctrine are also concerned in matters of government and deaconship; ergo, it is most convenient for such to  moderate.    Thus  we  see,  in  the  meeting  of  the  greater  synod  at  Jerusalem,  the moderator was one who was an apostle, Acts 15:13.