Since I have been discerning the call to the ministry a friend of mine recently gave me a copy of "The Elder" by Cornelis Van Dam. The book is a biblical theology of the elder and is really good. I cannot recommend it enough. One area that I am still a bit confused on, however, is the role of the teaching Elder as the Minister of the Word. Van Dam seems to argue for the distinction between ruling and teaching Elders mainly from the Old Testament moving to the New, which I found to be pretty convincing. However, I was not sure if this was the typical argument for the position that only ordained Ministers, not ruling Elders, can preach and administer the Sacraments. If I understand Van Dam correctly, the OT synagogue had its council of Elders who were charged with keeping watch of the congregation, leading the congregation, and judging cases. Each synagogue, however, also had a Priest/Levite assigned to the synagogue who alone held the responsibility of teaching the congregation in an official capacity, making sacrifices, and blessing the people. Anyone else who tried to do these thing could come under judgment. Van Dam argues that, moving to the NT, we would expect these two distinct types of roles to continue. The office of the ruling elder seems explicit enough, but he also makes an argument that the role of the teaching elder is an extension of the role of the Priest/Levite in the synagogue - teaching the Word, administering the ministry of reconciliation (Gospel and sacraments), and blessing the people. Van Dam makes a pretty decent argument. However, is this the way that the reformed church has typically understood the office of the teaching elder? Also, how are we to view this in light of the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, the abolishing of the OT priesthood, etc.? I am mostly trying to wrap my head around why the teaching elder alone is permitted to ordinarily preach and administer the sacraments, and holds a right to the tithes of the church.