William Styles, A Guide To Church Fellowship (Complete)

Article 17 – Pastors And Deacons

Articles Of The Faith And Order Of A Primitive Or Strict And Particular Baptist Church Of The Lord Jesus Christ, Based On The Declaration Of Faith And Practice Of John Gill, D. D., 1720

XVII. Pastors and Deacons.

We believe that the officers of Christian churches are Pastors, (or Bishops,) and Deacons, and that the right of choosing these is vested in each individual Church as such. That a Pastor’s duties are spiritual, namely, to tend the flock of God; to administer the ordinances of His house; to expound the Word and preach the Gospel; instruct inquiring sinners; visit the sick; and generally to watch for the souls of those under his care as one “that must give an account.”[1]

That Deacons are honorary servants of the Church, who, for Christ’s sake and love to His cause, attend to all temporal matters, and thus leave their Pastor more free to pursue his high and holy calling.[2]


[1] Jer 3:15; Ez 34:3; Acts 6:2; 20:16-21; 1 Tim 3:2-7; 4:16,16; 2 Tim 4:2; Tit 1:6-9; Heb 13:7; 1 Pet 5:2; Rev 1:20, where “the angels of the seven churches ” were probably their Pastors.

[2] Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim 3:8-13; Js 5:14; Phil 1:1 



Or Christians who hold that Churches should be governed by Bishops (episkopoi, overseers) contend that there are three Orders of Christian Ministers—Deacons, Priests, and Bishops. Deacons are probationary ministers, having authority to read prayers in public and to preach: but not to repeat the Absolution (either in Church or to the dying); to administer the Holy Communion; to marry; or to bury the dead.[1]

The second Order is the Priesthood. It is urged by Evangelical Clergymen that the word Priest (being, as it is admitted, a contraction of Presbyter or Elder) is simply employed here in the sense of a senior or experienced minister, and that no sacerdotal idea is involved. This, High Church clergymen with reason deny. “The Form and Manner of Ordering Priests,” in the Book of Common Prayer, directs “the Bishop to lay his hand upon the head” of the minister who is ordained, and to say, “Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven, and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful Dispenser of the Word of God and of His holy Sacraments.” A Priest is thus commissioned to dispense the Word of God, and His holy Sacraments, and to perform those ministerial acts which (as above) are forbidden to the inferior clergy.

The highest Order is that of the Bishop, who is not only (as the word implies) the clerical overseer of the district placed under his jurisdiction, but has power to confirm Christians in the Faith; to confer authority upon Deacons, and to ordain Priests. He is also an Ordinary or established Judge of Ecclesiastical causes. All this he becomes by the ordination (if practicable) of an Archbishop who bids him (for the second time) “Receive the Holy Ghost,” etc.

A glance at a Prayer Book will show the Scriptures relied on in the support of all this—but the reader will probably admire the candour of the late Professor Jowett, M.A., Master of Baliol College, Oxford, who, while contending that “the Episcopal Form of Church Government has sufficient grounds,” concedes that “the weakness is the attempt to derive it from Scripture.” Essays and Reviews, page 361.


Are Christians, who while they believe in but two orders of ministry, namely Pastors and Deacons, deny the Independency of the Churches and plead that they should in many matters be governed by an Assembly exterior to themselves. This Body is composed of Presbyters, or men (both ministers and laymen) who are venerable for their sanctity and experience (rather than their age) and who are elected by the Churches to represent them. Thus while each Congregation has some liberty or independence of action, the General Assembly exercises a jurisdiction over alL

Strict and Particular Baptists

Hold that “a Church gathered and completely organised according to the mind of Christ, consists of officers and members;[2] and that the officers appointed to be chosen and set apart by the Church (so called and gathered) are Bishops (or Elders) and Deacons.” Baptist Confession of Faith. 1689.

The Christian Bishop.[3]

Note 1.—The presiding minister of a Gospel Church is ordinarily in the New Testament styled its “Bishop” or “Elder”—the two terms denoting the same officer.

Thus Acts 20:17,28. To the “Elders” for “Presbyters” of the Church at Ephesus, Paul said—“the flock, in the which the Holy Ghost hath made you Bishops (or overseers), Revised Version.

In 1 Timothy 3:13, Paul mentions Bishops and Deacons—the word “Elder” not occurring. This would not have been omitted if there were in the Church three distinct Offices, Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons.

Again in Titus 1:5-7, “Elders” are mentioned and subse­ quently referred to by the synonymous and interchangeable term of “Bishop.”

1 Peter 5:1,2. “The Elders I exhort…tend the flock…exercising the oversight,” or, literally, “fulfilling the office of Bishops.” See also Phil. 1:1.

Other titles are occasionally found—as Phil. 2:25, Epaphroditus is styled “your Messenger or Apostle” (apostolos)—not as the Philippians’ Messenger to Paul, but God’s Messenger to them. The Pastors of the Asian churches are called “angels,” or messengers, (a{n)ggellos,) Rev. 1:1. “Steward,” or house-manager, Tit. 1:7. Christian ministers, as such, are never styled Priests. The assertion that sacerdotal ministry is implied in Rom. 15:16 cannot be sustained. “Ministering [hierourgeo) the Gospel.” Hierourgeo does not mean, officiating as a priest, but simply serving or ministering in holy things.[4] This is the only passage to which appeal is made in defence of the official priesthood of Christian ministers.

Note 2.—Limited space forbids the discussing of the question of the plurality of Elders in one Church—namely, whether there may not be, in addition to the minister or preaching and presiding elder, spiritually gifted men appointed to visit the sick, instruct the young in the truth, &c., &c., under the title of Elders. It has been feared that this involves a serious modification of what has always been considered the Scriptural order of our Churches; but Philip Doddridge, Archibald Maclean, and C. H. Spurgeon favoured it, as has Charles Hill.

Pastoral Qualifications.

Note 3.—The Epistles to Timothy and Titus are what would now be styled Open Letters. Addressed primarily to indviduals, their ultimate design was the instruction of all whom they concerned.

When the hearts of a people were set on a minister, it devolved on the Apostles or their colleagues (who, like them, possessed at least some measure of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit) to ordain him by the imposition of hands. 1 Tit. 1:5.

The Apostles appear to have been endowed with such insight into character as to be able, in ordinary cases, to form an accurate estimate of those who professed to possess grace. This faculty was not granted in equal measure to their colleagues and immediate successors.[5]

To inform two of these concerning the ministers on whom only they should “lay their hands,” and to guide all Churches in the choice of Pastors to the end of time, was therefore the object designed in 1 Tim. 3:2-7, and Titus 1:5-9.

These passages are often supposed to contain fuller instruction than thoy do. They are not complete portrayals of an ideal minister.

Nothing is said about Conversion to God; Faith in Christ; Spirituality of mind; Habitual prayerfulness; Knowledge of the truth; Studious habits; Concern for the purity of the Church and the salvation of sinners; or a measure of rhetorical and oratorical ability—all of which are essential for efficient pastoral work. Paul, however, rather presents the moral and social qualifications such a minister should possess.[6]

The reason is plain. A Bishop is first an Evangelist (see page 146), then a settled Minister. The qualifications of a preacher may be learned elsewhere; and Paul here assumes that Timothy, Titus, and the Christians he had in mind were able to “try the spirits,” (1 John 4:1) and to judge whether or not any man should be recognised as a Minister. At present he is dealing only with such traits of character and relative advantages, as preachers whom Churches contemplated choosing to the pastorate, should possess.

1 Tim. 3:2-7. It behoves the Bishop [of a Church][7] to be (verse 2.) 1. Irreproachable; 2. The husband of [but] one wife; 3. Sober, (or temperate in judgment, of an equable disposition); 4. Of sound mind, (or discreet); 5. Orderly (or decorous); 6. Hospitable; 7. [Naturally] apt to teach (born with the faculty of imparting knowledge); (Verse 3) 8. Not addicted to wine; 9. Not contentious (in spirit); 10. But gentle; 11. Not quarrelsome (in conduct); 12. Not a lover of money (Verse 4); 13. One that governs his own family well [and] with all dignity (not harshness or austerity) and has his children in subjection; 14. Not a novice (or recently converted person.)

Moreover, it behoves him to have good testimony from (to be held in good repute by) those that are without. Titus 1:6-9. As I gave thee charge…ordain elders in every city. (Verse 6) If any man is 1. Unimpeachable; 2. The husband of [but] one wife; 3. Having faithfal (or trustworthy) children, [who are] not under accusation of dissoluteness (not justly chargeable with dissipation), or in­ subordinate (either to their parents, or perhaps—in a political sense—not overtly hostile to the powers that be). Verse 7. For it behoves the Bishop [of a Church][8] to be 4. Unimpeachable, as God’s steward; 5. Not self-willed (or conceited); 6. Not passionate; 7. Not addicted to wine; 8. Not contentious (in spirit); 9. Not seeking gain by base means, (Verse 8) but 10. Hospitable; 11. A lover of [what is] good; 12. Of sound mind (or discreet); 13. Just (or upright in relation to men); 14. Holy (or pious in relation to religious things—a consistent Christian); 15. Self-controlled (or temper­ ate); 16. Holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching (holding fast the Christian doctrines which he had orally received from the Apostles and their colleagues.)

These, then, were the tests by which the qualifications of one who sought to be inducted to the office of the Bishop of a Church should be judged. They should engage the attention—

1. Of all Churches seeking a Pastor. If a Preacher is not a true Evangelist, or if any of these characteristics are conspicuously lacking in him, he is unfit to take the oversight of a Church, and to promote his election, were to offend the Lord. (See also page 140, 146.)

2. The directions should be studied by all who take part in the Settlement or Induction of a Minister. Satisfaction should be sought and obtained that these traits are to be found in his character,—or the service is a breach of God’s order. It is true that none can now (in the full sense of the word) ordain, but one’s presence implies sanction and sympathy, which should never be lightly accorded.

3. The passages demand the attention of all who desire the Pastoral Office. Unless sure that their character is here depicted, they should steadfastly refuse a position which they know they are not qualified to fill.

The Election of Ministers.

Note 3.—It is hold by Episcopalians that the right of appointing a Clergyman to the oversight of a Congregation lies with a person styled a Patron—namely, one who has the gift of a Benefice, or Ecclesiastical living.

He may be a wealthy layman; in which case the living is styled an Impropriation. His right is often valuable, and he can, if he chooses, part with it—the sale of Advowsons (as the right of patronage or presentation to a Church benefice is styled) being common.

The Patron may, however, be a high ecclesiastic, a Bishop or Archbishop, or the living may be in the gift of a Body, as a College, or the Dean and Chapter of a Cathedral.

In neither case, are the wishes or welfare of the congregation consulted. With the appointment they have nothing to do but to acquiesce.

In contrast to this, Plymouth Brethren deny that there is such an office as the Minister of a congregation. It is true that many of them virtually occupy this position; and it is suspicious that the presiding preacher is generally a man of wealth and social position—often the owner of “the room” in which “the gathering” meets.

Churches should elect their own Pastors.

This Strict and Particular Baptists assert—the burden of the proof, of course, lying with them. (Page 7.)

It is granted that we have no account in the New Testament, of a Church making formal choice of a Minister; nor are we told in so many words, that it is their right and duty so to do. But:—

1. Granting that a Church should have a presiding Minister, such an officer must either be ohosen and appointed by himself: but this would be contrary to delicacy and propriety. He should, indeed, “long eagerly for [the office of] a Bishop” that is, his heart should be set upon his work; but this is far different from thrusting himself on a particular Church. Or:—

2. He must be appointed by some man, or body of men ontside the Church. But this would be a violation of the principles of Congregational Independency. The Apostles and their immediate successors indeed “ordained elders,” (Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 5:22; Titus 1:5) thus conferring honour and gifts on the already chosen servants of the churches; but they did not force Pastors upon them. Or:—

3. Pastors must be chosen by the united voice and vote of the churches. This we hold, The risen Saviour till the end of time will confer on all Christian Congregations the officers requisite for their well­ being. This includes the gift of a Pastor and Teacher, (Eph. 4:11.) Every Church has the right to accept the man whom Christ sends, without submission to the dictation or authority of any one besides.

Principles of Pastoral Election.

Note 4.—The principles exemplified in the choice of the first Deacons, (Acts 6:3-6) should rule a Church when choosing a Pastor. They should “look out” a man of suitable moral, educational and spiritual qualifications,—one “who will care naturally—that is, truly, genuinely, sincerely, and not in a cold, formal and perfunctory way—for their state.” Phil. 2:20. They should consult Paul’s First Open Letter to Timothy (chapter 3:1-7) and mark the qualifications he should possess. They should confidently expect that the Lord will send him, and pray accordingly. They should be “swift to hear, and slow to speak,” (James 1:19.) They should wait till unanimity prevails before expressing their united decision, (2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 1:27, and 2:2.) Haste is folly. If the object of their attention is God’s servant, he will gladly wait God’s time.


Note 5.—The earlier Dissenting Churches attached more importance to the Induction[9] (or public introduction to office) of Ministers than we—it is to be hoped with increasing light—have been led to do. The imposition of hands and other ceremonies were at one time practised, and the service was regarded as a veritable Ordination. We, however, rather believe that the extraordinary functions of the Apostles and their successors ceased with them, and that none have now power to ordain elders. Lacking the power, we have therefore abandoned the form, and regard an Induction Service as a friendly and fraternal recognition on the part of other ministers and churches, of the brother who has been duly elected pre­ viously by the people of his choice and charge.

Even now, the scripturalness of some popular proceedings may be questioned. If without the formal sanction of other ministers and brethren, the minister who has been chosen by a Church must not be recognised as having assumed the pastoral relation, there is an end of the independence of our Churches in one of their most important proceedings. A brother who has been set apart by a Church by fasting and prayer (Acts 13:3) as its minister, is as much ordained as, under existing circumstances, he can possibly be; nor can the presence and prayers of any that are without—however holy their characters and high their station, make his call to his office more solemn or valid.[10]

Ministerial Remuneration.

Note 6.—The New Testament distinctly sanctions and enjoins that a minister who devotes his whole time to God’s work among his people should be entirely maintained by the offerings of his Church and congregation. An ox that trod out corn was not to be muzzled…“even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live (not starve) of the gospel,” (1 Cor. 10:14.) There is nothing to prohibit a Church from naming an annual sum which, God permitting, they are prepared to promise. The squeamishness of Plymouth Brethren and others in this matter is sickening. Many of these furtively receive more than honest Baptist Ministers, in a manly and straightforward manner, accept.

Every Christian community is bound to maintain, according to its ability, the man who unreservedly devotes himself to its service, Gal. 6:6, (where “communicate” means “to share with,” or, to impart a share): 1 Tim. 5:17,18, (where “double honour”—time—is used to signify remuneration for service.) Efficient Ministers are not only, like Deacons, (See Note on 1 Tim. 3:13, page 136) to be treated with high respect, but they are to receive a competent reward or stipend. 1 Pet. 5:2. Not sordidly, or for the sake of money only—for their motive would then be “unworthy eagerness for disgraceful gain.” It is, however, implied that money is given and received, in a frank and uncovetous spirit. Ministers are simply warned against making this their primary consideration.

On the other hand, Ministers who are treated generously by their people, have distinctly no right to become Managers of money-making Societies, etc., for the sake of the remuneration paid for their services. Doubtless, as Ministers of the Gospel, they make good advertisements for the projects with which they are associated and earn their pay, but such men do in conceivable harm in the professing Church. 1 Tim. 4, 6:5-10, where read, “supposing that godliness is a way of gain.” R.V. Verse 5, “They that WILL, or study to, he rich,” at any risk—whatever else they do. “For the love of money”—not simply a due estimate of its value as the circulating medium—is a root of all evil,” verse 10.

The Work of an Evangelist.[11]

Note 7.—In the Church of the first age, there were several kinds of Ministers—namely, Apostles, to whom all the truths of the Gospel were made known by special and direct revelation, Eph. 3:3; their colleagues, like Timothy and Titus, who were also, in measure, endowed with special gifts; and Evangelists, like Philip, Acts 8:5-39, and 21:8, who appear to have largely resembled our own Itinerating Preachers. As their title imports, they were messengers of good tidings, or evangelical Ministers, but had not the stated care of Churches. Spiritual gifts were needed and bestowed for their work, Eph. 4:11.

To this order of Ministers, Timothy belonged, though his special and peculiar gifts conferred on him power and authority which ordinary Evangelists did not possess, 1 Tim. 4:14, 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:6,14. Paul, therefore, while enforcing on him his higher duties—the laying on of hands, 1 Tim. 5:22, etc.—reminds him that he is still a “minister of Jesus Christ,” 1 Tim. 4:6, and enjoins him to “do the work of an Evangelist,” 2 Tim. 4:5.

What—according to the New Testament this work is—may be gathered from many scriptures.

Our Annotations on Articles XI. and XII., pages 59 to 90, contain much Scriptural information on the point, specially the notes on The Nature of the Gospel, page 59; Gospel Invitations, page 70, etc.

The reported sermons found in the Acts of the Apostles, notably that in 13:16-41, which is addressed to Jews, and that in 17:22-81, which is an appeal to Gentiles, are admir­ able models.

In the Epistle to Timothy and Titus it is difficult, in some instances, to know whether these are simply addressed as Evangelists, or as possessing the higher gift, but generally the sense is evident.

This subject is of immense present importance. No one should be allowed to preach in our chapels who does not possess the Scriptural qualifications of an Evangelist—though the utmost recklessness is manifested by Deacons in this matter.

A preacher should “make full proof of his ministry” as an “Evangelist” before a Church proceeds to enquire whether he possesses the higher qualifications of a Bishop or presiding teacher and preacher. (See page 140.)

The Christian Deacon.

Note 8.—The term Deacon is a transliteration of the Greek word Diakonos—a waiting-man or servant. Among ourselves, it is solely applied to brethren who manage the secular business of a Church.

The origin of the office is related in Acts 4:34-37, and 6:1-6. The Church at Jerusalem, in a fit of beautiful enthusiasm, adopted the fantastic and impracticable theory known in modem times as communism, divesting themselves of individual property, and throwing all they had and earned into a common stock.[11] This necessitated a daily distribution (or deaconing) of goods and money, which appears to have been at first done in an informal way, without the special appointment of any brethren to the delicate and important duty. Trouble at length arose, the Grecian Jews complaining that their widows did not receive due consideration. The Apostles pleaded that their spiritual duties precluded their making this matter their concern. They could not consistently neglect the word of God to serve (literally, to deacon) tables. They, therefore, desired the multitude of the disciples to look out seven suitable men to whom the daily ministration (or deaconing) might be entrusted, or who, in other words, might, to the satis­ faction of all, serve (or deacon) tables. The counsel proving acceptable, the seven were chosen or elected, (ex-elexanto.) It is true that such brethren were not at first called Deacons,[12] but the humble unobtrusive title (as is obvious from 1 Tim. 3:8-13) was subsequently applied to them from their Office, which became a permanent one in the Churches of Christ.

Note 9.—It is plain that no society can meet at stated times in one building without secular matters claiming attention, and expenses being incurred. It is as evident that it is uncomely, and even objectionable, for Ministers to have the financial responsibility of the Chapels in which they preach. It is still “not reason that they should leave the word of God,” and attend to these things.

To meet this constant exigency the office of Deacon has been appointed by Jesus Christ. (See Note 1, page 149.)

Note 10.—The secular business connected with a Church should be entrusted to recognised Christians only—not to out­ siders. A Committee composed partly of members and partly of persons who make no profession of religion, is an expedient unknown in the Scriptures.

The Polity of the New Testament knows of no governing body but the Church—namely the spiritually-minded men and women acting in their corporate capacity.

The Ideal Deacon.

Note 11.—It is clear that Deacons must not only be in fellowship with the Church, but men well-known for the spirituality of their religion, the consistency of their lives, their adherence to the doctrines of the gospel, and their manifested fitness for the work.

They were originally to be (Acts 6:3) members of the Church, “Look out men from among yourselves respectable, —“borne witness to,” or “of good report:” spiritual, “full of the Spirit;” and wise “[full] of wisdom.’’

When the office was subsequently fully recognised it is stated that—1 Tim. 3:8. [It behoves] Deacons[13] in like manner [to be] 1. Grave; 2. Not double-tongued; 3. Not given to much wine; 4. Not seeking gain by base means (verse 9); 5. Holding the mystery of the Faith in [connection with] a pure conscience. (Verso 10) And (before their actual election) let these (brethren who manifest such traits of Christian character) first be proved: then, (by your formal choice) let them serve as Deacons, if they be (possibly so long as they are) blameless. (Verse 11) Even so [it behoves] their wives[14] [to be] grave, not slanderers; and that they should be sober (or temperate in judgment, of an equable disposition); faithful in all things. (Verse 12) 6. Let the Deacons be [the] husbands of one wife; 7. Ruling their children and their own families well. Thus in seven particulars the characteristics of those only whom Churches should choose to serve as Deacons are given.

Note 12.—The familiar statement that Deacons have to see to the Lord’s Table, that the elements are duly provided: the Minister’s Table, that he be relieved of temporal anxiety: and the Table of the poor, that they do not suffer the bitterness of actual want—is worthy of continual remembrance.

Is the Office of Deacon a Perpetual One?

Note 13.—It is the usage of our Churches to regard a Deacon as chosen for life unless he resigns his Office,[15] or manifests moral or spiritual unfitness for it. As a Deacon is first a member of a Church; then its official servant; it is obvious that if his membership from any cause, ceases, he fails out of office. Deacons who know that they lack any of the qualifications of 1 Tim. 3:8-13, should honourably resign their position. None who are not humble, consistent, devout and truth-loving Christians can possibly serve Churches in this capacity, to their advantage and the glory of God. Moral and spiritual deficiency are fatal to usefulness. On the other hand, men of few natural gifts and many lawful engagements often prove most useful—and the Office should never be lightly abandoned on account of deplored inability.

Periodical Deacons.

Note 14.—It is a vexed question whether Deacons should not be invariably elected for a limited time only (say twelve months) and reinstated or passed over at the expiration of this period by the suffrages of the Church. The New Testament is hardly decisive on the point—but it is indisputable that the majority of wise and reliable Christians of our Section of the Denomination regard the election of a Deacon by a Church as a life-choice with the reservations mentioned in Note 11.[16] The advantages of being able to rid ourselves of a Diotrephes (3 John 9) are indeed great; but if Churches chose none but brethren who had first demonstrated their fitness for the office by unobtrusive, unofficial service, and rejected all persons in whom the qualifications of 1 Tim. 3:8-13 were conspicuously lacking, the sorrows often complained of would be so minimised as to put an end to all criticism and complaint.

The Church-order here insisted on is Divine and, therefore, satisfactory. It fails only when Church members disregard the principles so clearly laid down in the New Testament.


Note:—15. Christ “gave some…Pastors and Teachers.” Eph. 4:11. Does this refer to two offices, or to one only? Are these Pastors and Teachers different individuals, or the same—the two terms presenting two features of the work of a regular minister?

The latter view is the more common. The grammar of the passage seems to require it. It does not read “He gave some (tone men) apostles, and some (tom de) prophets, and some (tom de) evangelists, and some (tom de) pastors, and some (tons de) teachers,” but “pastors and (kai) teachers”—the last two terms in the series being united, not dissociated. Moreover, a settled minister, if efficient, is unquestionably a Pastor-teacher. In 1 Pet. 5:2, those who have the oversight (or are Bishops) of the Churches are bidden to “feed” (or act as the Pastors of) their “flocks while in 1 Tim. 3:3) they are required to be “apt to teach.”

George Wright, of Beccles,[17] however, a high authority, judged that two Offices are intended. “Apostles and prophets were given [to the Church] for a short season only. Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers are continued, that, by the use of their various gifts they may, in their respective Offices, contribute their quota of service for perfecting ‘the body of Christ.’”

“Evangelists are endowed with the gift of preaching the word, and are ordained to go whither the Lord may direct them, to publish the glad tidiugs.

“Pastors are bishops, or overseers, who are appointed to rule over a body of congregated believers united in fellowship under the headship of Christ, according to His word.

“Teachers are brethren, who being partakers of the Holy Ghost, and holding the mystery of the Faith in a pure conscience, are able in a private capacity to instruct others by teaching them the word of God more perfectly.”

The reader must come to his own conclusion. It may be observed that—The instruction of Christians who are less taught than ourselves is undoubtedly a Christian duty. (Col. 3:16; Heb. 5:12; Acts 18:26.)

That there were men styled “Teachers” in the early Churches is clear. Acts 13:1, “There were at Antioch prophets and teachers.” 1 Cor. 12:28, “God set (or placed) in the Church…teachers.” Rom. 12:7, “He that teacheth, [let him occupy himself] in teaching.”

See also Gal. 6:6, “Let him that is taught (orally instructed, or catechised, katcchso) in the word, share with him that teaches (or catechises) in all good things.” The verb of which our familiar word “catechise” is a transliteration is here employed.

Whether these were official Teachers, set apart for the work by an act of the Church may be questioned. Certainly honour was paid to those who thus laid themselves out to instruct their brethren; and we are taught how we should regard the conductors of Bible classes, etc., in our own Churches.

Not 16.—“Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers: these Offices are distinct yet harmonious, resembling the wheels of a well-constructed machine, working together, each in its place; that as an adjusted organism they may promote and preserve the spirituality and glory of the Church.

“Brethren who are called to any special ministration, should, by great searchings of heart and fervent prayer, seek to ascertain which of these Offices it is the will of God they should occupy. For want of a just discernment, we may err, by supposing that we are able to fill one Office when our gifts are only adapted for another. A Teacher may thus imagine that he should go forth in public as an Evangelist; or an Evangelist that he should take the shepherd’s rod and become the Pastor of a flock. Instances are not uncommon in which an Evangelist who has been useful in a village or town has stepped into the Pastor’s office, and become comparatively useless or even worse; the Church of which ho accepted the oversight having suffered loss from his want of capacity to rule and feed. Let brethren and the Churches deliberately and solemnly consider this, that when occasion arises they may act wisely. “Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain,” Prov. 25:14.—George Wright.

No folly is greater than the promotion of inefficient men to posts of responsibility—yet how common it is!

“Impatience and undue anxiety to obtain a settled Minister, in order to remove the inconvenience and trouble of procuring Supplies, have led to the election of persons altogether unqualified for the discharge of the onerous and sacred duties of the Pastorate.

“Pecuniary considerations, too, [a desire to secure the services of a man simply because he can be had cheaply] have often unrighteously influenced a Church in this most important matter. A policy so worldly and carnal has been followed by consequences in harmony with the [wicked] principles thus adopted and carried out.”—Charles Hill.


[1] Whether the word Deacon (diakonos, minister or servant) is appropriate to such officials, and whether 1 Tim. 3:8-13, at all answers to the character and functions of young men whose characters are undeveloped, whose principles are unproved, and who are ordinarily unmarried—the reader must determine. The contention that verse 13, “They that have used the office of a Deacon well, purchase unto themselves a good degree,” means that if a (Deacon or) half-ordained clergyman behaves properly, he is entitled to full ordination as a Priest, is disproved by the words themselves. Nothing is said about obtaining a better, higher, or more honourable position or degree—but a good one. “Gain (or acquire) to themselves a good standing,” (Revised Version) “or step”—“not promotion to the higher office of a Presbyter,” admits Rev. A. R. Fausset, A.M.—a worthy Clergyman. The evident meaning is that, though Deacons receive no pay, they obtain the honour of high estimation by their brethren, and joy and confidence in their own souls.

[2] The author demurs to the phrase “officers and members” as Office presupposes membership, and membership, with its privileges, duties and responsibilities does not cease when Office is assumed. Thus, before a Minister is recognised as a Pastor, his membership should be transferred, and he himself publicly received at the Lord’s Table as a member, by a responsible person in the name of the whole Church. Nor does the office of Deacon interfere with a person’s individual standing as a private member. This is no mere crotchet. While in the Established Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons are Christians of a higher order than the rest, we plead for the common brother­ hood of all alike. Bishops and Deacons are simply brethren who have the honour of serving the rest, (Matt. 23:11.)

[3] The prefix “Reverend” has no Scriptural sanction. The modern fashion introduced by C. H. Spurgeon, of addressing a Christian minister as “Pastor”—though convenient to distinguish Open Baptist preachers from those who hold the Faith and Order of the New Testament—has also no Scriptural warrant. The word “pastor” occurs but once in the New Testament, (Eph. 4:11) and is not employed as the designation of an individual. The word Pastor or Shepherd in the Old Testament (see Jer. 23:1,2, and Ezek. 34) when applied to public officials, refers to secular governors, not to those who had the care of souls. Thus in Jer. 2:8 and 3:15, the pastors intended are “not ordained ministers according to the familiar application of the word in modern times, but…temporal rulers (or) kings.” Cambridge Bible for Schools. Jeremiah, by A. W. Streane, M.A. “Mr.” (the ordinary title of courtesy) is the most appropriate style of address for Baptist Ministers.

[4] Dictionaries or Lexicons to the Greek Testament are not to be wholly trusted, being often tinctured with the views of their compilers, who were mostly clergymen. Thus Bloomfield (whom Robinson follows) renders, “hierourgounta to eua[n)g- gelion, ministering as a priest [in respect to] the gospel.” Rom. 15:16. T. S. Green, however, gives as the meaning of hierourgeo “to minister in a Divine commission J. H. Bass, “to discharge a sacred office:” and, S. G. Green (then of Rawdon College.) “to minister in holy things,” Its derivation is hieros, sacred, and ergon, a work.

[5] Acts 8:13. Philip the Evangelist baptised Simon under the impression that he was a spiritual believer. Peter, however, was not deceived. Verse 23, “I SEE that thou art,” etc. Yet even Paul was mistaken in Demas (Col. 4:14 and 2 Tim. 4:10) and Alexander (Acts 19:33; 1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 4:14.)

[6] “Holy,” in Titus 1:8, may seem to oppose this; but the word here stands, not for hagios, holy through the grace of Sanctification; but hostos, holy according to the observation of others, pious or religious.

[7] The Bishop—an incidental proof that Paul contemplated each church as having but one. As we say, The Queen, The Mayor. (Compare Note, page 148.)

[8] “Not greedy of filthy lucre,” or “not seeking gain by base means,” (aischrokerdes) is rightly omitted in the Rev. Veb.

[9] Induction—the act of giving a clergyman formal possession of the Church to which he has been appointed—was adopted bv some Dissenters during the earlier decades of the nineteenth century, in place of the term Ordination to which many objected. It is to be wished that it were common among Strict and Particular Baptists.

[10] John Hazelton, though he assisted at many such services, was never ordained or recognised himself.

[11] This, it will be noticed, God neither sanctioned nor con­ demned, but suffered the wild idea to be worked out to its issue. It led to the division of Acts 6:1, and the tragedy of Acts 5:1-10, and appears to have been gradually dropped. It is clear from allusions in the Epistles that it soon ceased to be practised.

[12] The above will, it is trusted, be deemed a sufficient reply to the objection that Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Tim. 3:8-13 do not refer to the same officials. The “administration” of Acts 6:1, is the daily “deaconing,” {diakonia). “To serve tables,’’ verse 2, is to deacon them (diakoneo) in contrast to “the minis­ try {diakonia) of the word” of verse 4. In 1 Tim. 3:8-13, the officers specified are called Deacons (diakonos.) Their business is to “serve or wait on,” {diakoneo, to serve as deacons) verse 10. They are to be moral; of good repute; sound in the faith, and with well-ordered homes. Not a word is said about their preaching or ministering the word.

[13] Not the Deacon, as in verse 2, The Bishop. The ideal Church which the Apostle had in his mind possessed one Bishop and several Deacons. (Compare Note, page 141.)

[14] The Revised Version renders this simply “women.” Some refer it to Deaconesses like Phoebe, Rom. 16:1, who is supposed to have been a chosen official of the Church at Cenchrea. The word gang is, however, rendered “wife” in verses 2 and 11, and it seems hardly permissible to change its meaning here. The teaching, to our thinking, is, that if a Christian man is united to a woman who is a slanderer—the word used is diabolos (false accuser, one of the names of Satan)—or intemperate or false, he should on no account be suffered to act as a Deacon.

[15] Philip was first a Deacon, afterwards an Evangelist. So many worthy Deacons have to-day become honoured Itinerant Ministers, and some, Pastors. The assertion that the word chreia, rendered “business” in Acts 6:3, has the exclusive meaning of “a transient emergency” is not true. “Business” is the correct translation. The seven brethren were chosen to transact the business in hand, or any other which did not come under the head of the “ministry of the word.”

[16] If 1 Tim. 3:10 means, “Let him use the office of a Deacon so long [only] as he is found blameless”—it is clear that a Church should depose a blameworthy Deacon.

[17] “The New Testament Ministry”—the Circular Letter of the Suffolk and Norfolk Association of Particular Baptist Churches for 1860, page 20. The above is quoted with approval in the Circular Letter for 1862, on “The Government and Discipline of a Gospel Church,” by Charles Hill, page 15. The quota­ tions on page 151 are also made from these.

William Styles (1842-1914) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He is the author of several works, including “A Guide To Church Fellowship As Maintained By Primitive Or Strict And Particular Baptists” and “A Manual Of Faith And Practice”.

William Styles, A Guide To Church Fellowship (Complete)
William Styles, A Memoir of John Hazelton (Complete)