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Minister, Watchman, Elder, Teacher, Steward, and Ambassador?
A. To represent the various duties of his office. He is called Bishop, from the oversight he is to take; Pastor, from the spiritual food he is to administer; Minister, from the service he is to render; Watchman, from the vigilance he is to exercise; Elder, from the grave and prudent example he is to set; Teacher, from the instructions he is to give; Steward, from the mysteries or manifold grace he is to dispense; Ambassador, from the treaty of reconciliation and peace he is sent to effect. (f)
Q. 10. What are the principal duties of a Minister of Christ?
A. They are preaching the Gospel, leading in public prayer, administering the sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper, visiting the sick, attending funerals, performing marriage ceremonies, giving private instruction in religious things, especially to the young, and watching over all the spiritual concerns of the people. (g)
Q. 11. Has a minister of the Gospel a right to a maintenance from the people to whom he dispenses the word and ordinances?
A. He has; and his maintenance should not be viewed as a matter of alms and free gift, but as a debt, justly and honorably due. A people are not at liberty to neglect this duty, for God has imposed it upon them,
(f) 1 Tim. iii. 1. This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.-Jer. iii. 15. And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.-1 Cor. iv. 1. Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.-Ezek. iii. 17. Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel.-1 Pet. v. 1. The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder.-Eph. iv. 11. And he gave some-teachers.-2 Cor. v. 20. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
(g) 2 Tim. iv. 2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
and they cannot omit it without sin. And all who share in his labors should contribute to his support. (h) Q. 12. Ought the Deacons of Churches to be ordained?
A. They ought. Every Deacon should be solemnly invested with the office, to which he has been previously elected, by the imposition of hands and prayer by the Pastor. (i)
Q. 13. What are the duties of Deacons?
A. They are to distribute the elements at the communion table, to receive the contribution, made from time to time for the poor and necessitous, to manage all the temporal affairs of the Church, and to assist, in all suitable ways, in promoting the interests of religion.
Q. 14. To whom does the power of executing the laws of Christ in Church government belong?
A. It belongs either to the Church as a body, or to those whom the Church shall delegate for this purpose. (j)
(h) Matt. x. 9, 10. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves; for the workman is worthy of his meat.-1 Cor. ix. 7. 11. 14. Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.-1 Tim. v. 18. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And the laborer is worthy of his reward.-Gal. vi. 6. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
(i) Acts vi. 2-6. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom ye may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
(j) See reference (a) and (o).
Q. 15. Is it proper for women to vote and act in the decisions of the Church?
A. It is not. This belongs to the male members only, as appears from the instructions of God's word, and from the practice of His people under the Jewish dispensation, in the days of Christ and His apostles, and in every age since, by all well regulated Churches. And this is analogous to all good practice in civil affairs. But the sisters of the Church may be consulted, and ought to be treated with all due kindness, and have a right to know the proceedings of the Church, and it is very desirable, that they should be satisfied with all that is done. (k)
Q. 16. Ought the majority to govern in all cases? A. They ought. Unanimity, however, is always very desirable.
Q. 17. How ought the minority to conduct in reference to the decisions of the Church?
A. They should dissent with love, meekness, and a disposition to acquiesce. This behavior may prevent many evils.
Q. 18. Ought the Church to judge of the qualifications of those who offer themselves for membership, and to admit, or reject, as they may think proper? A. Most certainly. Christ has given them this right, and has made this their duty. They are to act as his vicegerents on earth.
Q. 19. Ought persons, before admittance to the Church, to be examined in respect to their doctrinal views and religious experience?
A. They ought, most evidently, to be examined by the Church as a body, or the Officers of the Church, or a Committee appointed for this purpose. The doors of the Church are thus to be kept, and no
(k) 1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35. Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.-1 Tim. ii, 11, 12. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection; but I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence,
one is to enter who is unable and unwilling to give a reason for the hope that is in him. The weak in faith should be received in charity. (1)
Q. 20. What is the duty of Church-members towards each other?
A. They are to watch over one another for good, and, when occasion requires, they are to reprove, rebuke, and admonish. No corporal punishment, whatever, is to be inflicted in any case of mal-conduct; the punishment of the Church is wholly of another nature. (m)
Q. 21. For what are Church-members subject to discipline?
A. For immoralities in practice, and heresy in doctrine. (n)
Q. 22. Has Christ given any particular rule of proceeding in Church discipline?
A. He has, in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew. (0) Q. 23. Does this rule relate to all cases of discipline?
A. It relates specially to private offences, but
(2) 1 Pet. iii. 15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. Rom. xiv. 1. Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
(m) 1 Tim. v. 20. Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear.-Gal. vi. 1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meckness; considering thyself lest thou also be tempted.
(n) 1 Cor. v. 11. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.-Tit. iii. 10. A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject.
(0) Matt. xviii. 15-17. Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church; but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
may with propriety be observed in all cases. spirit of this rule may be preserved in the exercise of discipline by a Committee from the Church, in the first and second steps.
Q. 24. May offenders, if they reform, be restored to Church rights and privileges?
A. They may, upon making suitable confession. (p) Q. 25. Of what nature ought confession to be? A. It ought to relate wholly to the case of censure, and be full, explicit, and public.
Q. 26. What is meant by excommunication?
A. The cutting off from all Church rights and privileges. This should be viewed as a very solemn act by the Church which performs it, and by the person who is excommunicated. (q)
Q. 27. Is it proper for Church members to keep company, or to eat with an excommunicated person?
A. It is in the ordinary affairs and occurrences of life; but not in the way of intimate friendship, or unnecessary social intercourse. Excommunication, in its effects, does not extend to the natural, domestic, or civil relations of life.
Q. 28. Is it justifiable for a person, against whom an offence has been committed by a member of the Church, to absent himself from communion, till satisfaction is made by the offending person?
A. Certainly not. It is warranted by no Scripture, and can never be approved. Communion is with the Church, as a body, and not with individuals.
Q. 29. What ought the offender to do?
A. He ought to go to the person he has offended,
(p) 2 Cor. ii. 6, 7, 8. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such an one should be swallowed up with gvermuch sorrow: Wherefore I beseech you, that ye would confirm your love towards him.
(q) 1 Cor. v. 4, 5. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.-1 Tim. i. 20. Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.