Monday, April 9, 2012

Johann Gerhard, On the Ministry, Part One

The latest volume of Johann Gerhard's Theological Commonplaces is On the Ministry, Part One. The table of contents gives a great overview of what the volume is about.

Editor’s Preface
Comparison of Editions of Gerhard’s Loci

Commonplace XXVI/1: On the Ecclesiastical Ministry, Part One
The preface shows the connection of this commonplace with the preceding commonplace, § 1, and explains the three estates in the church, § 2, as well as the necessity of the ecclesiastical ministry, § 3, and its usefulness and dignity, § 4.

Chapter I: The nomenclature for the ecclesiastical ministry.
(I) As for the ministry, in Holy Scripture it is called: “The ecclesiastical order,” § 5. “Ministry” (διακονία), § 6. “Public service” (λειτουργία), § 8. “Watch,” “Service,” “Inspection,” and “Stewardship,” § 11. In writers of the church it is called: “Holy work, priestly service” (ἱερουργία) and “hierarchy” (ἱεραρχία), § 12. (II) As for the ministers, in Holy Scripture there are various titles, § 13. In the Old Testament, the proper titles are: “Priests,” § 14. “Patriarchs,” § 17. “Prophets,” § 18. “Seers,” § 21. “Men of God,” § 22. “Angels,” § 23. “Anointed ones,” § 24. The metaphoric titles are: “Watchmen,” § 25. “Builders,” “shepherds,” “fathers,” § 26. In the New Testament, the proper titles are: “Bishops,” § 27. “Presbyters,” § 28. “Deacons,” § 30. “Teachers,” § 31. “Presidents, rulers,” § 32. “Leaders,” § 33. “Scribes,” § 34. The metaphoric titles are: “Salt of the earth,” “light of the world,” “laborers in the vineyard,” “servants who invite people to the wedding,” “to a banquet,” “fishermen,” “laborers in the harvest,” “fellow workers in agriculture,” “stewards,” “physicians,” “ambassadors of God,” “witnesses,” “preachers,” “trumpeters,” “winds,” § 35. In ecclesiastical writers they are called: “leaders,” “parsons,” “priests,” § 36. The Papists call our ministers “preachers” as a term of contempt, and call their own ministers “clerics,” § 37.

Chapter II: Whether there is an ecclesiastical ministry.
(I) The existence of the ministry is proved: (1) By their titles. (2) By the continuous line of teachers from the beginning of the world to our times, in the Old Testament: Patriarchs, § 39. Priests and prophets, § 40. And in the New Testament: John the Baptist, the apostles, and bishops, § 41. The fathers and scholastic doctors, § 42. (3) By the divine promises concerning the preservation of the church and, consequently, of the ecclesiastical ministry until the end of the world, § 43. (4) By the distinction of this order from the other estates and orders, § 45. (II) Gerhard responds to arguments against the necessity of the ministry: That believers of the New Testament no longer need to be taught, § 46. That they have their anointing from God, § 47. That God can illuminue us without the work of the ministry, § 48.

Chapter III: The efficient cause of the ecclesiastical ministry.
The principal efficient cause of the ministry is the Holy Trinity, § 49. The distinction and order of Persons in this work is explained, § 50.

Section I: Whether a particular call is required to take on the ecclesiastical ministry.
What the call is, § 51. Whether it is distinguished from “choosing,” § 53. Its necessity is affirmed, § 54. Gerhard responds to the objections of the Anabaptists and Photinians, § 65.

Section II: How many kinds of call to the ministry there are.
Among various divisions of the call, § 75, the chief distinction is between the mediate and immediate call, § 76.

Section III: The immediate call specifically.
The questions arise: (1) In how many ways the immediate call occurs, § 79. (2) Whether the power to perform miracles is always connected with it, § 80. (3) How one should discern between it and the deceit of fanatics, § 81. (4) Whether it should be expected still today? § 82.

Section IV: The mediate call.
The mediate call is no less divine than the immediate, § 83. By what means it is accomplished, § 85. Each estate of the church participates in the calling of ministers, § 86. But the Papists argue that the laity and the Christian magistrate should be excluded from the call, § 99.

Section V: Episcopal right and the right of patronage, § 108.

Section VI: Things that must be avoided in the calling and selection of ministers, § 115.

Section VII: Controversies and some doubtful questions and cases that often occur in dealing with the call, § 117.

Section VIII: The call of blessed Luther.
The controversy concerning Luther’s call is reviewed, § 118. Luther’s call was mediate, § 120, was confirmed three times, § 121, and Luther often appeals to this mediate, solemn call, § 122. Yet something extraordinary was also present in Luther’s call, § 123. The Papists’ arguments against Luther’s call are refuted, § 124.

Section IX: The calling of ministers in the churches that they call “Evangelical,” § 127.

Section X: The calling of bishops in the Papist church, § 130.

Section XI: The degree of doctorate: Whether it is a call to the ministry, § 136.

Section XII: Ordination.
(1) Whether ordination is absolutely necessary for the ministry, § 139. (2) Whether ordination is a sacrament, § 141. (3) Who the legitimate minister of ordination is, § 152. (4) Whether those whom heretics have ordained should be ordained again, § 155. (5) Whether one who has not been called to a certain place should be ordained, § 158. (6) The ceremonies of ordination: The imposition of hands, § 159. Anointing, § 160. Tonsure, § 163. (7) What the effect and fruit of ordination are, §165.

Section XIII: The examination preceeding ordination, § 166.

Section XIV: The investiture of ministers, § 170.

Section XV: The transfer of ministers, § 171.

Section XVI: The removal of ministers, § 174.

Chapter IV: The material cause of the ministry, 178.

Section I: The matter in which of the ministry.
(1) The matter in which, or subject, of the ministry is human beings. God ordinarily uses their work for the wisest of reasons, both with respect to God, § 179, and with respect to human beings, § 180. (2) What sort of persons are to be selected for the ministry is taught from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, § 181. (3) The questions arise: (a) Whether the ministry is bound to a certain family, § 184. (b) Whether those who are to be called must have a certain number of years, § 185. (c) Whether women, too, should be used for the ecclesiastical ministry, § 186. (d) Whether the ministry should be entrusted to those afflicted with a bodily defect, 187. (e) Whether bastards may be promoted to the ministry, § 188.

Section II: The matter concerning which of the ministry.
The matter concerning which, or object, of the ministry is the Lord’s flock, committed to the care and protection of shepherds, § 189.

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