The Officers of a Gospel Church - Choice,
Qualifications, and Ordination of Ministes
THE qualifications and setting apart of persons to the gospel ministry are clearly pointed out in the New Testament, and also the choice, qualifications, and ordination of the only other real officers of a church, viz, deacons. The following is wisely said in the treatise of discipline of the New Jersey Association:
Call to the Ministry
"First, of God, styled the inward call, which is a zeal for the glory of God in the salvation of the souls of men, and a strong desire to be made useful; with a persuasion of God's designation of the person for that office. This is the voice of God in the conscience (Hebrews 5:4; 1 Corinthians 9:16, 17; Romans 10:15).
"Secondly, the person must be called to the church whose duty it is to look out for useful gifts, and when the church approves, they are by action to set him apart, etc.
The ancient usage of Baptists in this scriptural
action was set forth by the Philadelphia Association: "The essence of ordination consists in the call of the church by voting in his (candidate's) favor and designating him by said vote to the ministerial work, which power it is necessary should be lodged somewhere with a view to maintain order; yet to give the designation weight and solmenity, there should be a public and formal prodecure when we instate a person in the ministerial office (Luke10:1; Acts 14:23; Mark 3:14)."
Order in Proceeding in the Ordination of a Minister
II. Introductory prayer.
V. Short address on object of meeting by presiding minister.
VI. Prayer for guidance.
VII. Questions to the church.
Question. Who represents this church?
Answer. (The person appointed for that purpose rises and says: "I do.")
Question. Is the candidate to be ordinaed to the office of an evangelist or a pastor?
Answer. (As the case may be.)
VIII. A short address to the candidate, and then propound these questions to him:
Question 1. Will you state how and when you became convinced of your need of religion, and also your personal interest in the work of Christ?
Answer. (Candidate relates his Christian experience.)
Question 2. What has influenced you to enter on the work of the ministry?
Answer. (The candidate relats his call.)
Question 3. Do you willingly, and not by constraint, and not for personal or lucrative ends, devote yourself to the sacred office of the ministry?
Question 4. Do you firmly believe, and purpose by divine assistance, to preach the doctrines of free, rich and sovereign grace? And will you state concisely what those truths are which you propose to teach to others?
Answer. (States his conviction in regard to inspiration, the Trinity, atonement, spiritual influence, repentance, faith, justification, sanctification, perseverance of the saints, resurrection of the body, and future rewards and punishments.)
Question 5. Do you intend to administer the ordinances agreeable to divine authority and practised by the Baptist churches?
Answer. (Candidate states his views in regard to baptism and the Lord's Supper.)
Moderator. Has any member of the Presbytery any questions to ask? Has any member of this, or any other church in fellowship with it, any questions to ask?
(To the Presbytery.) Brethren, are you satisfied with the answers this brother has given?
Answer. We are satisfied.
(To the church.) Is the church satisfied and still desirious to proceed with this ordination?
(Either a vote of the church is taken or the preson apponted for the purpose will answer.)
(To the candidate.) The answers you have given are satisfactory, and being assured, as mortals can be, of your requisite qualifications, such as your resolution, pious life, and abilities, we feel willing to proceed in settng you apart.
by the authority of God and this church, more fully to the important and solemn work of the ministry.
IX. The candidate kneels and hands are laid on him.
X. The ordination prayer.
XI. The candidate rises and the right hand of fellowship is given.
Usually a Bible is presented to one ordained, with a charge by one of the Presbytery (Minutes New Jersey Confession, 1820).
[Samuel H. Ford, Baptist Waymarks, ABPS, 1903. Typed from the original document by Linda Duvall; the document was provided by Pastor Steve Lecrone, Burton, OH. - jrd]
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