On Those Training for the Ministry, Licentiates & Probationers

“And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the Lord…  Then said he [the son of the prophet] unto him, ‘Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee.’  And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.”

1 Kings 20:35-36

“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”

2 Tim. 1:13

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Order of Contents

Quotes
Excerpts
That those Training for the Ministry may Preach

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Quotes

Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea...  (1642), ch. 20, 10th Article, ‘Schools & Doctors’

“There are with us doctors of divinity who teach in schools and universities, men tried to be holy and learned, and then put in office (as 1 Tim. 3:10), under whose instruction are students aiming at the holy ministry, called expectants, as in the Jewish church in their colleges were young prophets, or sons of the prophets (as 1 Sam. 10:5; 2 Kings 2:7; 2 Kings 4:1; 1 Kings 20:35).  These doctors and also the teachers of human literature, who train up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4), if they aim at the ministry, prophesy in our presbyterial meetings (1 Cor. 14:29).”

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George Gillespie

pp. 27 (bot. rt.) – 28 (top lt.), Point 2  in ch. 5, ‘Whether these Prophets & Porphesyings in the Primitive Church…’  in A Treatise of Miscellany Questions…

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Westminster’s Directory for the Publick Worship of God

Preface

“…the [Anglican] Liturgy hath been…  a matter of endless strife and contention in the Church, and a snare both to many godly and faithful ministers, who have been persecuted and silenced upon that occasion, and to others of hopeful parts, many of which have been, and more still would be, diverted from all thoughts of the ministry to other studies; especially in these latter times [the 1600’s], wherein God vouchsafeth to his people more and better means for the discovery of error and superstition, and for attaining of knowledge in the mysteries of godliness, and gifts in preaching and prayer.”

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That Those Training for the Ministry May Preach

Intro

It is a common practice in American presbyterian denominations that those training for the ministry may only ‘exhort’ the congregation in the worship service from the pulpit, but they do not actually preach.

It is true that any layman may exhort, edify, comfort or rebuke fellow Christians (Heb. 3:13; Lev. 19:17; 1 Thess. 5:11-12; Col. 3:16; Heb. 10:23; Mal. 3:16; Zech. 8:21), though that this may or ought to be done in a worship service is another question.  Often such ‘exhorting’ sounds like preaching, feels like preaching, seems like preaching, and could hardly be materially distinguished by anyone listening from preaching.  This is unfortunate, as in the Church of Scotland in the 1600’s (as well as in the Bible and from Nature) exhorting was quite materially distinct from preaching.

It should be noted, as evidenced below from the Word of God, Westminster and the Church of Scotland, those training for the ministry do have the authority to preach if they have been called of God unto the pastoral office and have been given that sanctified gift of God.  The Church is to recognize this gift; it does not give it.

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Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea...  (1642)

ch. 16, p. 248

“2. To preach publicly as ordinary messengers, I say ‘ordinary’ because of our expectants of the ministry, who preach by the call of the Church for a time, as the sons of the prophets, while they be ordained pastors [in the time that they are in the process of being or becoming ordained].  To preach, I say, ‘publicly’, is a formal act of pastors who are sent, Rom. 10.”

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ch. 20, 13th Article, ‘Private Worship’

“None may preach the word with us but pastors, the sons of the prophets, and such of their sort who aim at the holy ministry.  And that ecclesiastical authority must warrant them is clear by our law and practice, as it was in the Jewish Church (1 Sam.10:5; 2 Kings 2:7; 2 Kings 4:1; 1 Kings 20:35).”

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A Survey of the Survey of that Sum of Church Discipline…  (London, 1658)

bk. 1, ch. 26, p. 171

“2.  Expectants being pastors in fieri [in the making], sons of the prophets, by command of the prophets, vi materiae [unto the strength of the matter], for trial must prophesy;”

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bk. 2, ch. 4, pp. 210-11

“3. Neither Mr. Rutherford [contra what Thomas Hooker said of him] nor any judicious man can teach that either a gift to write books, or of eminent preaching, praying, exhorting, proceeds out of a power of office; it is a sanctified gift which the Church sees and judges to be in any before they call him to office; and any gift is by order of nature and time before the office, and so proceeds not from the office;”

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George Gillespie

pp. 18 (bot. rt.)-19 (top lt.), ‘Exception 5’  of ch. 3, ‘Whether Ordination be Essential to the Calling of a Minister?’  in A Treatise of Miscellany Questions…

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Westminster

Larger Catechism

“Q. 158. By whom is the Word of God to be preached?

The Word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently gifted,[k] and also duly approved and called to that office.[l]

[k] 1 Tim. 3:2,6Eph. 4:8,9-11Hos. 4:6Mal. 2:72 Cor. 3:6.
[l] Jer. 14:15Rom. 10:15Heb. 5:41 Cor. 12:28,291 Tim. 3:101 Tim. 4:141 Tim. 5:22

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Directory for the Publick Worship of God

Of Publick Reading of the Holy Scriptures

“Howbeit, such as intend the ministry, may occasionally both read the word, and exercise their gift in preaching in the congregation, if allowed by the presbytery thereunto.”

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Related Pages

Seminaries

On an Extraordinary Calling