Biblical Church Government – Part 2

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                                        5.   THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD 

It is significant God spoke the Universe into existence.   Each step of His manufacture of our Earth, is introduced with the words: "And God said!"   Psalm 33:6-9 and Genesis 1:3-26. For just as God's Word, His eternal divine Son, shape our Earth by speaking to it — so too are his human Preachers to shape our Earth further, by speaking the Son's Word to it.

This is then seen in the work of Preachers.   Paul declares: "The Word is near you….   But how shall they believe in Him, of Whom they have not heard?   And how shall they hear, without a Preacher?…   How beautiful are…they that preach!"   Romans 10:8-15.

Matthew Henry here states: "They cannot believe in Him, of Whom they have not heard. Some way or other the divine revelation must be made known to us, before we can receive it and assent to it….   They cannot hear, without a Preacher….   Somebody must tell them what they are to believe….   They cannot preach, except they be sent — except they be both commissioned and in some measure qualified for their preaching work….   To the regularly ministry, there must be a regular mission and ordination….

"The competency of that qualification and the sincerity of that inclination, must not be left to the judgment of every man for himself….   For the preservation of due order in the Church, this must needs be referred and submitted to the judgment of a competent number of those that are themselves in that office and of approved wisdom and experience in it…, and who are empowered to set apart such as they find so qualified and inclined to this work of the Ministry….   They that are thus set apart, not only may but must preach….   The Word preached, is the ordinary means of working faith."

Rev. Professor Dr. Karl Dijk states in The Prophetic Word (pp. 695-701): "There is no calling…other than by means of the Word of God through the agency of Scripture!…   You would never have had any confidence or even knowledge to have come to the Father through Jesus the Son — if Scripture (and/or its Preachers) had not told you….   'How shall they hear, without a Preacher?'   Romans 10:14b….   But preaching…is nothing other than the proclamation of the Word of God….   And 'faith comes by hearing…the Word of God.'   Romans 10:17.

"To preserve the truth or doctrine of the Gospel…, is committed in an especial manner unto the Pastors….   The Apostle frequently and emphatically repeats the charge of it unto Timothy — and in him unto all [to whom] the dispensation of the Word is committed.   First Timothy 1:3f & 4:6f,16 & 6:20; and Second Timothy 1:14 & 2:25 & 4:14-17….   What learning, labour, study, pains, ability, and exercise…are ordinarily required unto the right discharge of these duties!…   Where men may be useful to the church in other things but are defective in these — it becomes them to walk and act both circumspectly and humbly, frequently desiring and adhering unto the advices of them who God hath intrusted with more talents and greater abilities….   The …preaching of the Word…is committed unto the Pastors."   Rev. Dr. John Owen: Duties of Pastors (in Works, XVI, p. 81f).

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"Whenever the Ministry of the Gospel in the midst of the Congregation is not the Ministry of the Word — whenever it degenerates into a concatenation of pious sentences, moving stories, pretty poems, gripping illustrations, practical hints, learned citations, aesthetic disclosures, unspiritual spiritualizations, philosophical tirades and emotional pleasantries, without the Word of God being expounded and without the majesty of Scripture emitting its clear and strong illumination — we not only do a disservice to Scripture but we also in no way help…to come to God and to live and to walk before the Lord."

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