Chapter 6: Of the Officers of the Church, and Especially of Pastors and Teachers 


Of the officers of the church, and especially of pastors and teachers.

1. A CHURCH being a company of people combined together by covenant for the worship of God, it appeareth thereby, that there may be the essence and being of a church without any officers, seeing there is both the form and matter of a church ; which is implied when it is said, the apostles ordained elders in every church. Acts, xiv. 23.

2. Nevertheless, though officers be not absolutely necessary to the simple being of churches, when they be called, yet ordinarily to their calling they are, and to their well-being; and therefore the Lord Jesus, out of his tender compassion, hath appointed and ordained officers, which he would not have done, if they had not been useful and needful for the church ; yea, being ascended into heaven, he received gifts for men, and gave gifts to men, whereof officers for the church are justly accounted no small parts, they being to continue to the end of the world, and for the perfecting of all the saints. Rom. X. 17. Jer. iii. 1.5. 1 Cor. xii. 23. Eph. iv. 11. Psalm Ixviii. 18.Eph. iv. 8, Jl. and iv. 12, 13.

3. These officers were either extraordinary or ordinary: extraordinary, as apostles, prophets, and evangelists; ordinary, as elders and deacons. The apostles, prophets, and evangelists as they were called extraordinarily by Christ, so their office ended with themselves; whence it is that Paul directing Timothy how to carry along church-administrations, giveth no direction about the choice or course of apostles, prophets, or evangelists, but only of elders and deacons; and when Paul was to take his last leave of the church of Ephesus, he committed the care of feeding the church to no other, but unto the elders of that church. The like charge doth Peter commit to the elders. 1 Cor. xii 28. Eph. iv. 11. Acts, viii 6, IG. 19, and xi. 28. Rom. xi.13. I Cor. iv. y. 1 Tim. iii. 1,2, 8-13. Tit. i. 5. Acts, xx. 17, 23. 1Pet. V. 1, 2, 3.

4. Of elders, who are also in scripture called bishops, some attend chiefly to the ministry of the word, as the pastors and teachers; others attend especially unto rule, who are therefore called ruling elders. 1 Tim. ii. 3. Phil. i. 1. Acts, xx. 17, 28. 1 Tim. v. 7.

5. The office of pastor and teacher, appears to be dis-tinct. The pastor’s special work is, to attend to exhortation, and therein to administer a word of wisdom; the teacher is to attend to doctrine, and therein to administer a word of knowledge; and either of them to administer the seals of that covenant, unto the dispensation whereof they are alike called; as also to execute the censures, being but a kind of application of the word: The preaching of which, together with the application thereof, they are alike charged withal. Eph. iv. 11. Rom. xii. 7, 8. 1 Cor. xii. 8. 2 Tim. iv. 1,2. Titus, i. 9.

6. And forasmuch as both pastors and teachers are given by Christ for the perfecting of the saints, and edify-in cy of his body ; which saints and body of Christ is his church : therefore we account pastors and teachers to be both of them church officers, and not the pastor for the church, and the teacher only for the schools : Though this we gladly acknowledge, that schools are both lawful, profitable and necessary for the training up of such in good literature or learning, as may afterwards be called forth unto office of pastor or teacher in the church. Eph. iv. 11, 12. and i. 22, 23. 1 Sam. x. 12, 19, 20. 2 Kings, ii. 3, 15.