On an Extraordinary Calling

“And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions…  As for Saul, he made havoc of the church…  Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Word.”

Acts 8:4

“‘Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.’  And Jesus said unto him, ‘Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.'”

Lk. 9:49-50

“The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, ‘Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?’  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman…'”

Jn. 4:39

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Subsection

On Extraordinary Acts of Church Government under Necessity, Superintendents & Assessor Elders, etc.

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Order of Contents

Rutherford’s 11 Distinctions
Quotes
On How Universal Consent Establishes a Thing

In Ordinary Circumstances Gifts do Not Infer an Office
In Extraordinary Circumstances, Gifts may be an Evident
.        Extraordinary Call from God

The Implicit Consent of the Church is Sufficient for the Call of
.       Officers
The Implicit Consent of Church-Governors is Sufficient for the Power
.        of being an Officer
In Extraordinary Circumstances, God May Supply the Call & the Power of
.       Ordination
Consent of the People is Not Wholly Necessary in Extraordinary
.       Circumstances
Extraordinarily Called Persons May be Accountable Immediately
.        to God

Extraordinary Practices are Not Justified in Ordinary Circumstances
On a Church Calling Someone to be Their Pastor who is not yet
.          a Pastor

On the Question of Presbyterial Succession
The Extraordinary Call in Congregationalism

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Rutherford’s 11 Distinctions

The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644), pt. 1, Question 5, ‘From whence had Luther, Calvin & our Blessed Refor­mers their Calling to the Pastoral Charge?’, p. 203-8 & 29  irregular numbering

“1st Distinction.  That is, 1. Properly extraordinary which is im­mediately from God without any other intervening cause; so Moses, his calling, when God spake to him out of the bush to go to Pharaoh and command the letting go of his people was extraordinary, for both the matter of the calling and the per­sons designation to the charge was immediately from God.  Luther’s calling this way was not extraordinary, because he preached no new Gospel, nor [was it] by any immediate calling from God.

2.  That is extraordinary which is contrary to the Law of nature.  Neither the calling of Luther nor of Huss and Wycliffe was extraordinary; for that any enlightened of God and members of the Catholic Church should teach, inform, or help their fellow-members being seduced and led by blind guides, is agreeable to the Law of nature…

3.  That is extraordinary which is beside a divine positive Law.  So that one should be chosen a pastor in an island where there be no elders nor pastors at all, and that the people only give a calling, is extraordinary, and so it is not inconvenient that something extraordinary was in our reformers.

4.  That is extraordinary which is against the ordinary corruptions, wicked and superstitious forms of an ordinary call­ing: so, in this sense, Luther and our reformers’ calling was extra­ordinary.

2nd Distinction.  A calling immediately from God and a calling from God some way extraordinary are far different.  An im­mediate calling often requires miracles to confirm it, especi­ally the matter being new; yet not always; John Baptist’s cal­ling was immediate, his sacrament of Baptism [was] beside the posi­tive order of God’s worship, yet he wrought no miracles; but an extraordinary calling may be where there is an immediate and ordinary revelation of God’s Will and requires not mi­racles at all.

3rd Distinction.  Though ordinarily in any horologe [time-keeping device] the higher wheel should move the lower, yet it is not against ordinary art that the horologe be so made as inferior wheels may move without the motion of the superior.  Though by ordinary dispensa­tion of God’s standing Law, the Church convened in a synod should have turned about Huss, Wycliffe, Luther, to regular mo­tions in orthodox divinity, yet it was not altogether extraordi­nary that these men moved the higher wheels and labo­red to reform them.  Cyprian urged Reformation, Aurelius, Bishop of Carthage, Augustin and the African bishops did the like; the bishop of Rome [?r]epining thereat; It is somewhat extra­ordinary that reformation should begin at scholars and not at principal masters.

4th Distinction.  A calling may be expressly and formally corrupt in respect of the particular intention of the ordainers and of the particular Church, ex intentione ordinanris & operantis [out of the intention of the ordainers and of the one working]. Thus Luther’s calling to be a monk was a corrupt calling, and eatenus, and ‘in that respect’ he could not give a calling to o­thers.  But that some calling may be implicitly and virtually good and lawful in respect of the intention of the Catholic Church and ex intentione operis & ipsius ordinationis [out of the intention of the work and the ordination itself], he was called to preach the Word of God.

5th Distinction.  Luther’s oath to preach the Gospel did oblige him as a pastor, this is his calling according to the substance of his office, and is valid; but his oath to preach the Roman Faith, intended by the exacters of the oath, was eatenus, ‘insofar’ un­lawful, and did not oblige him.  Even a wife married to a Turk, and swearing to be a helper to her husband in pro­moving the worship of the Mahomet, or being a papist, is en­gaged in an oath to promote Romish Religion; if she bee converted to the true faith of Christ, needs not to be married de novo [anew], but remains a married wife, but is not obliged by that unjust oath to promove these false religions, though the marriage oath, according to the substance of marriage duties, ties her.

6th Distinction.  A pastor may, and ought, to have a pastoral care of the catholic Church, as the hand cares for the whole bo­dy, and yet neither Luther nor Zwingli are universal pastors as were the apostles.  For they had usurped no power of go­verning and teaching all Churches: though I profess I see no inconvenience to say that Luther was extraordinarily called by God to go to many Churches, to others than to Wittenberg where he had one particular charge; yea even through Ger­many and the Churches of Saxony, and Zwingli through the Helvetian and Western Churches, which yet does not make them essentially apostles, because:

1. They were not wit­nesses of Christ’s death and resurrection, which as a new doctrine to the world, as Apostles they [were] behoved to preach, Acts 1:22.  They only revealed the old truth borne down by an universal apostacy.

2.  Because they were not immediately called, nor gifted with diverse tongues.  And the like I may say of A­thanasius, for men in an extraordinary apostasy to go somewhat farther than to that which a particular Church calls them to, is not formally apostolic, yet lawful.

7.  A calling to the ministry is either such [1.] as wants the es­sentials, as gifts in any messenger and the Church’s consent, or these who occupy the room of the Church, the Church consenting: such a minister is to be reputed for no minister; or 2. an entry to a calling, or a calling where diverse of the apostles’ requisites are wanting, may be a valid cal­ling, as if one enter as Caiphas, who entered by favor and mo­ney and contrary to the Law, was High-Priest but for a year: yet was a true High-Priest and prophesied as the High-priest [Jn. 11:49-51].

8.  If the Church approve by silence, or countenance the mi­nistry of a man who opened the Church door to himself, by a silver key, having given the prelate a bud.  The ordinance of God is conferred upon him, and his calling ceases not to be God’s cal­ling because of the sins of the instruments both taking and giving.

9.  Though Luther was immediately called by men, anno 1508, by the Church of Wittenberg, as may be seen, tome 9, Wet­tenber., p. 104 in his writ­ings as [John] Gerard shows, and the Jesuit Becanus says, he was called and ordained a presbyter, and so had power to preach and administer the sacraments, yet that hinders not that his calling was yet from the Church whereof he was a member, that is from the Roman Church, and from God, and that [1.] his calling to cast down Babylon was not from the Church of Rome: and his gifts being extraordinary; 2. his spirit heroic and supernaturally courageous, and so extraordinary; 3. his faith in his doctrine great, that he should so be blessed with success in his ministry extraordinary, his calling in these considerations may well be called extraordinary, though not immediate or apostolic.

10.  Then we may well acknowledge a middle calling be­twixt an ordinary and every way immediate calling, and an ex­traordinary and immediate calling, for the calling of Luther was neither the one, nor the other, in proper sense, but a middle be­twixt two; and yet not an immediate calling.

11.  The question, if such a pastor be called lawfully, is a question of fact, not a question of law; [it is] as this [case]: if such an one be baptized and there be an invincible ignorance in a questi­on of fact which excuses.  And therefore we may hear a gifted pastor taken and supposed by the Church to have the Church’s calling, though indeed he received no calling from the Church at his entry.”

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Order of Quotes

1500’s-1600’s

Chemnitz
Vermigli, Zanchi, Perkins
Forbes
Rutherford

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Quotes

1500’s

Martin Chemnitz  (a Lutheran)

Examination of the Council of Trent (1565-73), 9th Topic, Concerning Holy Orders, from the 23rd Session, Section 4, ch. 4, in Chemnitz’s Works, vol. 2: Examination of the Council of Trent (1978; St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2007), in ed. Littlejohn & Roberts, Reformation Theology: a Reader of Primary Sources with Introductions  (Davenant Institute, 2017), p. 501

“22.  But they say:  ‘Those who have not been called, ordained, and sent by the usual ecclesiastical authority are thieves and robbers.’  That will make thieves and robbers of the apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers, presbyters and deacons of the apostolic church, who were not ordained by the chief priests, who at that time had the regular ecclesiastical power.

That is the same question which the chief priests once attacked the ministry of the Baptist (John 1:19-25) and of Christ Himself, (Matt. 21:23): ‘Who gave You this authority?'”

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1500’s-1600’s

Peter Martyr Vermigli, Jerome Zanchius, William Perkins

Samuel Rutherford, The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644), pt. 1, p. 204

“And thus Perkins (on Gal. 1:8), if the Gospel should arise in America where there were no ministers, ordination might be wanting.  And why not (say I) election also in another case, if as Petrus Martyr says well (on Judges 4:5), a woman may be a preacher of the gospel; yea, and a Turk converted by reading the New Testament (says Zanchius, Commentary on Eph. 5), and converting others, may baptize them whom he converts, and be baptized where both ordination and election should be wanting.”

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1600’s

Patrick Forbes

A Defense of the Lawful calling of the Ministers of Reformed Churches Against the Cavillations of Romanists…  (Middleburg, 1614), pp. 3-4

“…for all argument they come at last to this,’By what authority doest thou these things; and who gave thee this authority?’ where the Lord answering for Himself, then, and for us now in the like case, most plainly and at length shows that, howsoever in the ordinary course of a constitute Church, a careful regard must be had to the ordinary calling, yet when (as sometime it falls) that the ordinary husband-men become murderers, and the ordinary builders become destroyers, there God extraordinarily stirs up men whose ministry proves itself to be from Heaven and not from men, even by this, that they come in the way of righteousness: and sinners are converted by them, that, so the Lord of the vineyard may report fruit thereof, even when the ordinary husbandmen rebel, and that the stone, rejected, even of the ordinary builders, may yet be made the head of the corner: which, howsoever it be marvelous in our eyes, yet it is the Lord his doing.”

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Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea  (1642)

pp. 197-8

“Answer.  In an extra­ordinary case a private man, yea a prophet, as Samuel has performed, by the extraordinary impulsion of the spirit, that which King Saul should do, to wit, he may kill Agag;”

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The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644), pt. 1

p. 8

“3rd Distinction.  There is a formal ordinary power, and there is a virtual or extraordinary power.

1st Conclusion.  Christ Jesus has immediately Himself, without the intervening power of the Church or men, appointed offices and officers in his house, and the office of a pastor, and elder is no less immediately from Christ (for men as Christ’s vicars and instruments can appoint no new office in the Church) than the office of the apostles, Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:28; Mt. 28:19.  The offices are all given to the Church immediately, and so absolutely, and so the power of the keys, is given to the Church the same way.  But the officers and key-bearers now are given mediately and conditionally, by the intervening mediation of the ruling and ministerial Church, that she shall call such and such, as have the conditions required to the office by God’s Word, 1 Tim. 3:1-3…

2nd Conclusion.  I deny not but there is a power virtual, not formal in the Church of believers, to supply the want of ordination of pastors or some other acts of the keys simply necessary, hic & nunc [here and now]; this power is virtual, not formal, and extraordinary not ordinary, not official, not properly authoritative, as in a Church in an island, where the pastors are dead or taken away by pest[ilence] or otherways; the people may ordain pastors or rather do that which may supply the defect of ordination, as David without immediate revelation from Heaven to direct him, by only the Law of nature, did eat showbread;

So is the case here, so answer the casuists and the schoolmen, that a positive law may yield in case of necessity to the good of the Church; so Thomas, Molina, Suarez, Vasquez, Vigverius, Sotus, Scotus, Altisiodorensis, Durand, Gabriel; and consider what the learned Voetius says in this:

What if in an extreme case of necessity, a private man, endued with gifts and zeal should teach publicly, after the example of the faithful at Samosaten.  Yea and Flavianus and Diodorus preached in Antioch, as Theodoret says; yea, says Voetius, an ordinary ministry might be imposed on a laic, or private person by the Church, though the presbytery consent not, in case of necessity.  God (says Gerson) may make an immediate intermission of a calling by bishops; yea (says Anton. speaking of necessity’s law) the Pope may commit power of excommunication, quia est de jure positive, pure laico & mulieri, to one mere laic, or a woman; though we justify not this, yet it is hence concluded that God has not tied Himself to one set rule of ordinary, positive laws: a captive woman (as Socrates says) preached the Gospel to the king and queen of Iberranes, and they to the people of the land.”

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p. 165

“4.  Stephen [a deacon] did no more (Acts ch. 7) in his apology than any witnesses of Christ convened before rulers may doe who are obliged to be ready always to give an answer to every one who asks them of the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear, 1 Pet. 3:15, yea though it were a woman who yet may not preach, 1 Cor. 14:34.”

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p. 185

“First, a succession in the Church is necessary ordinarily; extraor­dinarily, and in cases of necessity it may be wanting…  Occam [a Medieval Romanist] says laymen and teachers extraordinarily raised up may succeed to he­retical pastors.”

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p. 186

“2nd Conclusion.  Thence may well be deduced that they are law­ful pastors and need not a calling revealed, who, in cases of ex­traordinary necessity are only chosen by the people, and not ordained by pastors; and that pastors ordained by pastors, as such, are pastors of the same nature, as Matthias called by the Church and Paul immediately called from Heaven, had one and the same office by nature.”

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p. 195

“I answer, there is, in an extraordi­nary necessity, where there are no presbyters at all, as little neces­sity of ordination if there be presbyters in other congregati­ons to ordain.  And since you never read that any in the apostolic Church ordained pastors, but pastors only; why, but we may have recourse to a presbytery of other congregations for or­dination, as well as for baptizing [in such circumstances, contra congregationalists];”

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p. 199

“Answer 1.  That ordination be wanting where ministers are wanting, is extraordinary and not against, 1 Tim. 4:14; no more than that one not baptized for want of a pastor should yet believe in Christ.”

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pp. 454-455

“But a woman in no case is capable of administrating baptism or the Lord’s Supper, except she were extraordinarily and immediately inspired to be a prophetess…

2.  There is no such moral necessity of the sacraments as there is of the ministry of the Word, and consequently of some use of the keys where a scandalous person may infect the Lord’s flock.  For where vision ceases the people perish, but it is never said, where baptism ceases the people perish; and therefore uncalled ministers in case of necessity, without ordination or calling from a presbytery, may preach and take on them the holy ministry and exercise power of jurisdiction, because the necessity of the souls of a congregation in a remote island requires so, but I hope no necessity in any [of] the most extraordinary case requires that a midwife may baptize, or that a private man remaining a private man may celebrate the Lord’s Supper to the Church without any calling from the Church.”

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Pt. 2

p. 204

“Answer.  First, we hold that by a calling or ordination he is made a pastor; by election he is restricted to be ordinarily the pastor of his flock.

Secondly, a pastor is a pastor of the catholic Church, but he is not a catholic pastor of the catholic Church, as were the apostles.

Thirdly, the Reformed Churches may send pastors to the Indians, for that which Acosta says of Jesuits, we may with better reason say it of our selves: That pastors are as soldiers, and some soldiers are to keep order and remain in a certain place; others run up and down in all places; So some are affixed to a con­gregation, to feed them; others may be sent to those people who have not heard of the Gospel, which sending is ordinary and lawful in respect of pastors sending and the pastors who are sent, because in pastors, even after the apostles be dead, there remains a general pastoral care for all the Churches of Christ.  Thus sending is not ordinary, but extraordinary in respect of those to whom the pastors are sent; yet is it a pastoral sending [as opposed to this being absent in congregationalism in such a case].

…but a pastoral care for the Churches is not proper to apostles only, but only such a pastoral care by special direction from Christ immediately to preach to all,  2. Backed with the gift of tongues and of miracles; and this essentially differences the apostle from the ordinary pastor; but the former pastoral care to preach the Gospel to all nations, and to convert, is common both to the apostle and pastor.”

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p. 293

“‘The Samaritan woman’ (says [John] Robinson [a congregationalist]) ‘Jn. 4:28, preached, and many of the Samaritans believed because of her, v. 39, and without preaching of the Word of God, none can believe, Rom. 10:14-15.  If a woman may teach without the Church, then may a man teach in the Church.’

Answer 1.  A woman may teach, 2. in a non-constituted Church where there is no salvation and they worship they know not what, Jn. 4:22.  3.  A woman may occasionally declare one point of the Gospel, that Mary’s Son is Christ.  But hence it follows not, [that] therefore, 1. a man 2. in a constituted Church 3. may ordinarily preach the whole Gospel to the Church in public: a weak spar for so vast a roof.

2.  He abuses the place, Rom. 10:14, and would hence prove that a woman or any gifted teacher is a sent preacher by whom faith ordinarily comes; for otherwise who dare deny but faith comes by reading? and just as the [Socinian] Catechism of Raccovia expones the place, Rom. 10:14, to evert the necessity of a sent ministry, so does Robinson expone the place.”

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p. 303

“But [1 Cor. 14] v. 34, he sets down a new canon about women who took on them to prophesy publicly, and he inhibits so much as ordinary prophesying, yea so much as speaking in the Church; and I deny not but Irenaeus, Eusebius, yea and Tertullian, Cyril, Chrysostom, Theophylactus, with warrant teach that always women extraordinarily inspired may prophesy, for in that God immediately exalts them above men.

But for ordinary prophesying in public, it is of moral equity, and perpetual, that the women should not teach, for Adam was first formed; this Paul brings as a moral argument against women’s preaching.”

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p. 272

“1st Distinction.  There is one power of public preaching in a Church not constitute[d], and another in a Church constitute[d]; gifted persons in ex­traordinary cases, where a Church is not planted, may publicly preach, but the case is otherwise in a Church constituted.

3rd Distinction.  Public preaching, as it is the ordinary mean of saving such as believe, is proper and peculiar to the Church, both subjectively, as being only in the Church, and objectively as being only exercised on the Church members per se, but upon pagans by accident.

4th Distinction.  There is a call to an habitual and ordinary prophesying; here is required not only a calling by gifts, but also a collation of au­thority to the office, either immediately by God, or mediately by the Church, and there is a call to some particular or occasional acts of ex­horting, as the martyrs and Stephen [Acts 7] are called to give confession of their faith, and a king in battle, to exhort his army, or a prince his sub­jects to piety, and to this latter there is no other call required but the place and profession of the exhorter, though he bee not by office a pastor.

5th Distinction.  There is a formal calling of the Church, as the laying on of the hands of the elders, and a virtual and interpretative calling or tacit approbation of the Church, when learned men of eminent gifts, not in office, do write commentaries, sermons on canonic Scriptures, and tractates refuting heresies; to this the tacit approbation of the Church is required, but these have not ordinary pastoral care, nor are they the ordinary converters of souls to Christ, as the pretended pro­phets of [the] Separatists are.

6th Distinction.  Gifted Christians may occasionally admonish, warn, re­buke and exhort one another:  1. privately; 2. without any pastoral care of souls as they are a Church, but only as they occasionally con­verse with them; 3. ex communi officio charitatis [out of the common office and charity], by the Law of na­ture, charity tying one member to help another; 4. Not authorita­tively by special office; but all authority here is from the Word occasionally spoken.

The pastor is to preach, 1. publicly; 2. to the Church as the Church. 3. with a pastoral obligation to all alike, whe­ther he converse daily with them or not. 4. not only by the tie of com­mon charity, but by a virtue of a special office. 5. With authority both objective from the Word and official from his charge. 6. and is obliged to separate himself for this charge allanerly [singly, especially or wholly], as a watchman who must give an account in a special manner to Jesus Christ.”

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p. 411

“Hence our Fifth Conclusion: when there is an equal rupture in the body, nothing extraordinary would be attempted if or­dinary ways can be had: if Saul the ordinary magistrate had at God’s commandment killed Hagag, Samuel the prophet should not have drawn his sword;

And therefore in this case [of a major and irresolvable rupture in the Church] the magistrate would first seek help from other Churches, as that learned Apollonius says.  But if that cannot be con­veniently had, as in a national Church it may fall out, then the magistrate, as a preserver of peace and truth, may command the sincerer part [of the ministry] to convene in a synod, and do their duty, as the good kings of the people of God did: 2 Chron. 15.

Asa gathered together a people who entered in Covenant to seek the Lord God with all their heart, and laid an obligation of pu­nishment to death on the rest, vv. 12-13, and Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 23:4, he laid charge on Hilkiah the High Priest, and the priests of the second order, whom he knew to be better affected to the work, to bring out the vessels made for Baal; which proves that the king should put the sincerest to do that, which in com­mon belongs to the whole;

In which case of the erring of the most part of the Church, the prince indirectly condemns the erring part of the synod, because it is his place to for­bid and to punish with the sword, the transgressors of God’s Law.  But because his power is accumulative, not privative, un­der that pretense he has not power to hinder the sincerer part to meet and determine according to the Word of God.”

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A Survey of the Survey of that Sum…  (1658).

pp. 217-8

“Mr. Hooker [wrote]: ”An eminently gifted man in an island, where no pa­stors are, is no less (says Mr. Rutherford) tied in conscience in the extra­ordinary employment of his calling than if he were formally ordain­ed and chosen their pastor.  In some extraordinary cases a gift and Christian love ties even as much to onerousness [difficulty] in using means to save as the office itself.’  See what I add in that place,’ (Mr. Hooker says) ‘then this gifted man in an island, in using his general calling as a Christian, destroys his particular [calling] as a merchant, and turn[s] mini­ster.  2. This is to confound the general and particular calling.’

[Rutherford’s] Answer:  Not at all, for in this case, the extraordinary necessity of gaining souls, when other pastors cannot be had, and or­dination and election by that means are invincibly wanting hic & nunc [hear and now], turns his Christian calling in place and room of the particular calling of a pastor; and so Mr. Rutherford said well, that in some extraordinary case like this, ‘The naked relation of juris­diction adds nothing to [the] care and onerousness in point of labor by preaching the Gospel.'”

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p. 472

“Mr. Hooker [a congregationalist]:  ‘If government by independent congregations be insuf­ficient because it authorizes not persons to be pastors over pagans, government by synods is sick of the same disease.’

[Rutherford’s] Answer:  [1.] We judge the essence of a pastor not to stand in the call and choice of those to whom they are pastors; for it makes Paul, Barnabas and the apostles to be no pastors to the gen­tiles and to the heathen, to whom they preach, and [it] makes the apostles as apostles to be no pastors.

[Margin Note:] Evangelists are now ceased as well as a­postles.

2.  Synods from Acts 15 and Acts 13 may lend men, autho­rized with pastoral power, to heathens to spread the Gospel; and private men as no pastors, but as private men, are intruders [though] authorized by Mr. Hooker, for they have no promise, such as pastors have by Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-17; Jer. 1:6,17-18, to plant Churches among the heathens; nor is there a warrant to say that evangelists are ordinary officers left by Christ to plant Churches.

If Richard Hooker have any ground from Eusebius or Scri­pture for evangelists now, or in Trajan’s time, he must show that they have the gift of tongues: for how could evangelists be fellow-helpers to preach the Gospel to the Churches planted by the apostles if they were not an extraordinary office only?  See those divines in the margin, and my learned and dear bro­ther, Mr. George Gillespie, Miscellaneous Questions, ch. 7.  If the Church should send any to the heathen any way rip[…] for the Gospel, these could be no other than ordinary pastors to them.

[Margin Note:]  Tilen, Syntagma, dis. 19, th. 38, Apostolorum vice, ubi res poscebat, fun­gebantur. Professors of Leided, in Synopsis of Pure Theology, dis. […], thesis 17, p. 605; Bucan, in loc., Com. 42, q. 45; Calvin, Commentary on Eph. 4, Apostolis proximi erant Evangelistae, & munus affine habe­bant.  Bullinger, ibid., In plebe potissimum e […]udienda; Zanchi, Com. ibid. Apostolorum Co­mites—non immediate mi […]—sed assumebantur.  Dr. Robert Boyd from Trocherig, Commentary on Eph. 4, p. 493, Apostolorum Comites modo huc, modo illuc missi, modo re vocati ab Apostolis, extraordinarii.”

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On How Universal Consent Establishes a Thing

In Civil Jurisprudence

Phillimore, John George – p. 324  of Principless & Maxims of Jurisprudence  (London, 1856)

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In Ordinary Circumstances Spiritual Gifts of Themselves do Not Infer an Office

Samuel Rutherford

The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644), pt. 1, p. 33

“…gifts give not the keys, nor authority to use gifts; and so that all believers, though gifted and graced also, have not power of the keys.  2. It’s certain that in a constituted Church there be no hands nor mouths to do and speak by authority, and ex officio, by virtue of an office, save only elders and pastors; and that if they do or speak, they do it extraordinarily, when Churches’ hands are lame and her eyes blind; or if they do and speak ordinarily, it is from the law of charity in a private way, not by power of the keys, and as judges and officers.”

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In Extraordinary Circumstances, Gifts may be an Evident Extraordinary Call from God

Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea  (1642), pp. 126-7

“2.  Because when the Church is overgone with heresy and apostasy, our reformers, in the exercise of their ministry, were not to keep a certain flock as in a constitute[d] Church, and suppose they had no cal­ling but eminent gifts, they were to spread the Gos­pel to nations, as Luther did;

And suppose the people should resist them, as in many places they did; yet God called them, and they were not to expect election from people: So [men of] Cyprus and Cyrenus preached, Acts 11 and 18, and we read of no vocation that they had from either people or apostle.  So Origen preached to a people in a certain town where there was not one Chri­stian, and afterwards he was chosen their pastor.”

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A Survey of the Survey of that Sum…  (1658), pp. 421-3

“Nor will it follow that it is intrinsically unlawful for a synod of New England [who were congregationalists] to send 24 gracious youths understanding in the lan­guage, ordain them pastors by laying on of hands of the elders, and by fasting and praying, instruct them to go and act as pa­stors among the savages, preaching and baptizing; and their warrant is Acts 13; and here are pastors without certain flocks [contra congregationalism].

If any (Acts 13) say [that] the Spirit gives a special command there, and names Saul and Barnabas, but its not so here: I answer, there is without question something extraordinary in Acts 13, nor are we with Seekers (too much fortified in their way by our [congregationalist] Brethren’s doctrine) to wait for the Lord’s naming from heaven John, Thomas, to be preachers in such a place.  But to me:

1.  The nearness to the savages,
2.  The knowledge of their language (as I suppose),
3.  Their weak desire, or the professed not hating of the Go­spel [by the savages], were equivalent to a command from heaven, ‘Go preach to the Americans’, and that in the capacity as proper pastors.”

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The Implicit or Tacit Consent of the Church (Laypersons and/or Officers) is Sufficient for the Call Between the Church & the Officer

1600’s

Samuel Rutherford

The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644), pt. 1, Question 5, ‘From whence had Luther, Calvin & our blessed Refor­mers their calling to the pastoral charge?’, p. 203-8 & 29  irregular numbering

“11.  The question, if such a pastor be called lawfully, is a question of fact, not a question of law; [it is] as this [case]: if such an one be baptized and there be an invincible ignorance in a questi­on of fact which excuses.  And therefore we may hear a gifted pastor taken and supposed by the Church to have the Church’s calling, though indeed he received no calling from the Church at his entry.”

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1800’s

Thomas M’Crie

‘On the Right of Females to Vote in the Election of Ministers and Elders’, p. 5  from Miscellaneous Writings, Chiefly Historical  (1841), pp. 669-76

“…I believe it is generally allowed that the choice and call of the people, in certain extraordinary cases, forms a valid and sufficient warrant for exercising the pastoral office.”

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The Implicit or Tacit Consent of Church Governors is Sufficient for the Power of Being an Office-Bearer

Samuel Rutherford

The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644), pt. 1, Question 5, ‘From whence had Luther, Calvin & our blessed Refor­mers their calling to the pastoral charge?’, p. 203-8 & 29  irregular numbering

“7.  A calling to the ministry is either such [1.] as wants the es­sentials, as gifts in any messenger and the Church’s consent, or these who occupy the room of the Church, the Church consenting: such a minister is to be reputed for no minister; or 2. an entry to a calling, or a calling where diverse of the apostles’ requisites are wanting, may be a valid cal­ling, as if one enter as Caiphas, who entered by favor and mo­ney and contrary to the Law, was High-Priest but for a year: yet was a true High-Priest and prophesied as the High-priest [Jn. 11:49-51].

8.  If the Church approve by silence, or countenance the mi­nistry of a man who opened the Church door to himself, by a silver key, having given the prelate a bud.  The ordinance of God is conferred upon him, and his calling ceases not to be God’s cal­ling because of the sins of the instruments both taking and giving.”

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In Extraordinary Circumstances, God May Supply the Call & Power of Ordination

Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea  (1642)

pp. 5-7

“4th Conclusion is this…  Now if a church should be in a remote island, not consociate with other churches, and yet wanting guides [officers], our [congregationalist] brethren say in this case, the power of the keys should be seen to be in believers, and they might choose and ordain their own officers.  I grant they have great [Romanist] schoolmen to say with them…

But I say in this case necessi­ty is an unbooked and naughty lawyer, and God extraordinarily should supply the want of ordination, as He can do the de­fect of second causes: so that if God send some pastors to a congregation that were unwilling to choose their own eldership, pastors might ordain themselves pastors in that case to these people, and God should supply their want of popular election…”

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p. 48

“2. The Church of believers have no au­thority ecclesiastical, nor power of the keys, if all the pa­stors on earth were removed from the Church by death; and in that case the keys should indeed be only in Christ’s hand, and the case being extraordinary, Christ [would be] behoved extraordi­narily to supply the want of ordination, which Timothy, Ti­tus and other elders do ordinarily give, for the Church of believers could not give that which they have not…”

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pp. 266-67

“2.  What is essential for making a minister who is extraordinarily called of God, is not ever more essen­tial to the making of a minister ordinarily called of God, in an island where the Gospel is: if all the pastors should die, the people might choose pastors to themselves, but they could not then make pastors; God only, without the ministry of other pastors, in that case should make pastors; but it follows not hence that pastors ordina­rily have not their calling to be pastors from the ordina­tion of pastors.”

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pp. 267-68

“…nor do we hold a constant ordina­tion of pastors in a continual line of succession from the apostles, made by pastors; the succession may be interrupted, but then God Himself supplies the want of ordinary ordination, appointed by Himself, 1 Tim. 4:14; Tit. 1:5; 1 Tim. 5:21-22; Acts 6:6.”

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p. 269

“Answer.  Suppose in this or that Church all the mini­sters should die, yet it follows not that a ministry can utterly fail in the Church: It is contrary to Eph. 4:11 and to the perpetuity of Christ’s kingly govern­ment and throne, which shall endure as the days of hea­ven: And what if God extraordinarily supply the want of ordination in this or that particular church?  A mi­nisterial power is conferred in that case immediately upon some in a Church removed from any Church-consociation from other Churches, and so Christ’s ministe­rial power dies not.”

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A Survey of the Survey of that Sum…  (1658), ch. 21, p. 116

“For God sends not private men, or Christian unofficed scholars (or if he do, their extraordinary sending makes them public pastors and prophets, not the peo­ple), but he sent Philip an evangelist, and after Peter and John to Samaria, Acts 8, Paul to Macedonia, Acts 16, and his own ministers, Titus 1:5; 1 Tim. 4:14 & 5:22, Paul and Barnabas, men in office, some more than zealous Christians and scho­lars to the Gentiles, Acts 13, Jonah to Nineveh, Ananias to baptize Paul, Jonah 3; Acts 9.”

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Consent of the People is Not Wholly Necessary in Extraordinary Circumstances, God Supplying the Call

Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea  (1642)

pp. 5-7

“4th Conclusion is this…  Now if a church should be in a remote island, not consociate with other churches, and yet wanting guides [officers], our [congregationalist] brethren say in this case, the power of the keys should be seen to be in believers, and they might choose and ordain their own officers.  I grant they have great [Romanist] schoolmen to say with them…

But I say in this case necessi­ty is an unbooked and naughty lawyer, and God extraordinarily should supply the want of ordination, as He can do the de­fect of second causes: so that if God send some pastors to a congregation that were unwilling to choose their own eldership, pastors might ordain themselves pastors in that case to these people, and God should supply their want of popular election…”

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pp. 267-68

“Yea, and God at same times supplies the want of popular ele­ction while He calls one to preach to a people never consenting he shall be their pastor;”

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The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644)

pt. 1

p. 204

“And thus Perkins (on Gal. 1:8), if the Gospel should arise in America where there were no ministers, ordination might be wanting.  And why not (say I) election also in another case, if as Petrus Martyr says well (on Judges 4:5), a woman may be a preacher of the gospel; yea, and a Turk converted by reading the New Testament (says Zanchius, Commentary on Eph. 5), and converting others, may baptize them whom he converts, and be baptized where both ordination and election should be wanting.”

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p. 493

“But you [a congregationalist] will say, in a church in an island, one may be a pastor without any ordination if the people elect him and there be no elders to ordain.

I answer: it is true: but so many pastors send a pastor to be a pastor to a congregation, though that congregation never choose him, as possibly they be for the most part Popish or unwilling; yet both cases are extraordinary and the Church [is in the case of] not [being] constituted and esta­blished.”

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pt. 2

p. 272

“4th Distinction.  There is a call to an habitual and ordinary prophesying; here is required not only a calling by gifts, but also a collation of au­thority to the office, either immediately by God, or mediately by the Church…”

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Extraordinarily Called Persons may be Accountable Immediately to God, not Necessarily to Visible Church Government

Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea  (1642)

pp. 126-7

“2.  A calling is extraordinary, either in habit or in exercise; in habit, as to be an apostle and have the gift of miracles: Thus our reformers cal­ling was not extraordinary, they were not immediate­ly called by God from Heaven; for they would not have concealed such a calling, if they had had any such:

Or a calling is extraordinary in the exercise, and that two ways; either in the principle moving them to teach, or, 2. in the manner of teaching and efficacy; a calling extraordinary in the principle moving is two­fold: Either a mere prophetical impulsion of reve­lation stirring them up to such an act, as the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul and he prophesied; this our reformers had not because we never find that they allege it. 2. A more than ordinary motion with il­lumination by God’s Spirit speaking in the Scriptures, in which motions they were not subordinate in the exercise of their ministry to the Church of pastors, but immediately in that subordinated to God; and in this I prove that our reformers were extraordinary do­ctors.

1.  Because Eze. 34, in a universal apostasy of the prophets and shepherds, the Lord extraordinarily wor­ks, v. 11, ‘For thus saith the Lord God, behold I, even I will both search my sheep, and seek them out.’  Now this is by pastors, when the ordinary pastors are all failed.  So Rev. 11, in that universal apostasy under Anti­christ, when the gentiles tread upon the outer court of the Temple and the holy City, God stirs up two wit­nesses to prophesy in sackcloth; that is, some few pastors (for two is the smallest number) and they prophesy and are slain, and yet they rise again.  We need not apply this to men in particular, as to John Huss and Jerome of Prague; but certainly, some few spake against Babylon and they were borne down and oppressed and killed, and men of that same spirit rose and spake that same truth as if the very two men who were slain had risen within three days again.

2.  Because when the Church is overgone with heresy and Apostasy, our reformers, in the exercise of their ministry, were not to keep a certain flock as in a constitute[d] Church, and suppose they had no cal­ling but eminent gifts, they were to spread the Gos­pel to nations, as Luther did; and suppose the people should resist them, as in many places they did; yet God called them, and they were not to expect election from people: So [men of] Cyprus and Cyrenus preached, Acts 11 and 18, and we read of no vocation that they had from either people or apostle.  So Origen preached to a people in a certain town where there was not one Chri­stian, and afterwards he was chosen their pastor.”

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Extraordinary Practices are Not Justified in Ordinary Circumstances

The Church Order of Dort  1618-19

“3.  No one, though he be a professor, elder or deacon shall be permitted to enter the ministry of the Word and sacraments without having been lawfully called thereto; and if anyone acts contrary thereto and, having been frequently admonished, does not desist, the classis shall judge whether he is to be declared a schismatic or is to be punished in some other way.

4.  The lawful calling of those who formerly have not been in office, both in the cities and in the country, consists:

first, in their election, which shall be carried out after previous fasting and prayer by the consistory and deacons…

Second, in the examination or investigation both of doctrine and life which shall be done by the classis in the presence of the deputies of the synod or some of the same.

Third, in the approbation and approval of the authorities, and thereafter of the members of the local Reformed congregation…

Finally, in the public ordination in the presence of the congregation, which shall take place with proper stipulations…  with the understanding that the laying on of hands may be done in the classical meeting for the newly graduated minister who is sent to the Churches under the Cross.

8.  No schoolmasters, artisans or others who have not followed the prescribed course of study for the ministry shall be admitted to the ministry, unless there is assurance of their singular gifts, godliness, humility, modesty, common sense, and discretion, together with gifts of public speaking…”

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Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea  (1642), p. 257

“…some private Chri­stians, Acts 8:4, preached the Gospel, but when?  In time of heavy persecution when they were scattered, vv. 1,4.  [According to the inference of congregationalists:] Then all gifted Christians, tradesmen or what else, not separated by Christ and his Churches’ calling may now preach the Gospel, yea be the ordinary and only converters of souls and gatherers of the saints [as regular preachers or pastors]; it follows no ways.”

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The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644), p. 272

“1st Distinction.  There is one power of public preaching in a Church not constitute[d], and another in a Church constitute[d]; gifted persons in ex­traordinary cases, where a Church is not planted, may publicly preach, but the case is otherwise in a Church constituted.

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A Survey of the Survey of that Sum…  (1658), p. 426

“4.  Mr. Hooker [a congregationalist] will not say all that were scattered, Acts 8[:4] (for they were all scattered, except the apostles, verse 1) did preach the Gospel, for there were of them women, verse 3; then some of them only preached.  And if Mr. Hooker say they were not officers, Mr. Rutherford says they were officers, and that the extraordinariness of their condition supplied the want of a Church-calling, and let Mr. Hooker but attempt to bring a proof for it.

5.  If nothing extraordinary was here, l […]t Mr. Hooker or any for him vindicate the place, Acts 8, from Anabaptists who allege the same place, Acts 8, to destroy the standing ordinance of the ministry: and read the judicious Tractate of the Ministers of London, of Mr. Collings.”

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On a Church Calling Someone to be Their Pastor who is not yet a Pastor

Intro

This circumstance happens often in presbyterianism when someone training for the ministry is called to be a pastor of a church.  It is similar (though not exactly the same) as choosing someone to marry who one is not yet married to.  The choosing is a prerequisite to the marriage, and the choosing of one to be a pastor, in regular circumstances, is a prerequisite to their being given the power to be an officer through the consent of the presbytery.

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Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea  (1642), pp. 267-68

“…but a Church mystical, or a Church of be­lievers may choose pastors before they can ordinarily be their pastors, but they cannot make pastors…”

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On the Question of Presbyterial Succession

Articles

Gillespie, George – English-Popish Ceremonies, bk. 3, ch. 8, Digression 1, p. 166, point 1  (Edinburgh, 1844).

Rutherford, Samuel – pt. 1, pp. 185-189  under ‘3rd Question. Whether or not Ordination of Elders may be by the Church of Believers Wanting all Elders or Officers’ under Ch. 8, section 8, ‘Of Election of Officers’  in The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644)

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The Extraordinary Call as Understood in Congregationalism

Owen, John – The Duty of Pastors & People Distinguished, or a Brief Discourse Touching the Administration of Things Commanded in Religion…  (London, 1644)

ch. 4, ‘Of the duty of Gods people in cases extraordinary concerning his Worship’

These chapters are not recommended.  Owen publicly came out with his congregationalist principles in 1644.  Congregationalists typically had a looser view of an extraordinary calling than presbyterians.  Presbyterians held, apart from necessity, an extraordinary calling did not take place in ordinary, constituted Church circumstances. 

Congregationalists tended to affirm that extraordinary callings occured in constituted church settings where there was no public necessity for it.  That is to say, for congregationalists, lay-preachers and teachers might preach and teach publically on a regular or semi-regular basis in constituted churches, apart from public necessity, and that there was not a need for ordination (or for a formal relationship of being governed by an eldership) for this.

Owen’s blurring of (unnoticed) distinctions of things that ought to be distinguished and differentiated is evident. 

ch. 5, ‘Of the Several Ways of Extraordinary Calling to the Teaching of Others; the First Way’

ch. 6, ‘What Assurance Men Extraordinarily Called can give to Others that they are so Called in the Former Way’

ch. 7, ‘The Second Way whereby a Man may be Called Extraordinarily’

ch. 8, ‘Of the Liberty & Duty of Gifted, Uncalled Christians, in the Excercise of Diverse Acts of God’s Worship’

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“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word…  when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.  And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.  Then tidings of these things came unto…  Barnabas…  who, when he…  had seen the grace of God, was glad…”

Acts 11:19-23

“God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, ‘Moses, Moses.’  And he said, ‘Here am I.'”

Ex. 3:4

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Related Pages

On Positive Laws & Ordinances

On the Ordinances, Order & Policy of the Church

On Ordination

On Excommunication

On the Roman Catholic Church being a Church, her Baptism being Valid, that the Reformers’ Ministerial Calling was Valid, the Necessity of Separation from Her & Whether Romanists may be Saved

Presbyterianism

The Sacraments

The Church

Pastors

Preaching

Open-Air Preaching

The Ruling of the Church

Historic, Reformed Books of Church Order, Discipline and Minutes