Preaching by men not ordained

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Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Is LC 158 consistent with section 19-1 of the PCA Book of Church Order? LC seems to include a blanket prohibition against non-ordained men teaching. BCO 19-1 permits (on license by presbytery) preaching by ruling elders, candidates, ministers from other denominations, and the very broad “or some other man.”

Here is LC 158:
Q: By whom is the word of God to be preached?
A: The word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently gifted,[1] and also duly approved and called to that office.[2]
Here is 19-1 of the BCO:
To preserve the purity of the preaching of the Gospel, no man is permitted to preach in the pulpits of the Presbyterian Church in America on a regular basis without proper licensure from the Presbytery having jurisdiction where he will preach. An ordained teaching elder who is a member in good standing of another Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America may be licensed after being examined as to his views, according to the provision of BCO 13-6. This license shall immediately become void if the minister’s own Presbytery administers against him a censure of suspension from office or the sacraments, or deposition from office, or of excommunication (in the event of such censures, the Presbytery with jurisdiction shall always notify the licensing Presbytery). A ruling elder, a candidate for the ministry, a minister from some other denomination, or some other man may be licensed for the purpose of regularly providing the preaching of the Word upon his giving satisfaction to the Presbytery of his gifts and passing the licensure examination. (See also BCO 22-5 and 22-6.)
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
Scott, I believe the short answer is, yes. It is consistent.

The PCA BOCO is very similar to most other Presbyterian bodies that I am familiar with; the Presbyterian C of Canada, the ARP, and the Church of Scotland, and the Free Church of Scotland all provide for lay preaching.

According to a good friend of mine who is a presbyterian minister as well as a PhD in (presb) church history, the specific wording of LC158 was a compromise between the C of S delegates and the (English) independants. The Indys wanted a strict ordained TE only view of who could preach as a safe-guard/counterbalence to their independancy.

The C of S delegates on the other hand were operating within a church that had 5 (!) offices. Governors (elders), Deacons, Doctors, Pastors, and Exhorters.

The office of Exhorter was a combination of 2 prior offices of Reader ( could "read" a sermon writen by someone else) and Exhorter ( could deliver a sermon [exhortation] prepared by himself.

The compromise was in the wording of the second phrase "duly approved and called to that office". This wording was acceptable to those for whom it meant "ordained to the office of TE only" whilst also being acceptable to those for whom it meant "ministers of the gospel AS WELL AS 'exhorters' called by a competent body"
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by Kevin
The PCA BOCO is very similar to most other Presbyterian bodies that I am familiar with; the Presbyterian C of Canada, the ARP, and the Church of Scotland, and the Free Church of Scotland all provide for lay preaching.

The Free Church of Scotland, at least on paper, provides for readers. The de facto practice of "lay preaching"is a distortion of the historic de jure order.
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
More than 'just on paper'. There are (if memory serves) 9 Free C of S congregations on Prince Edward Island. They are divided int 3 charges total number of ordained FC of S ministers TWO!

For most of the church in most of the world this is the reality that we live under. In this one respect (shortage of trained ministers) we are very like our pre-Westminister Scottish fathers.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The fact is that after the Disruption there were numerous vacancies. The General Assembly provided for readers, not exhorters. That is the only provision on paper in the event of a prolonged vacancy. The de facto practice of the body which goes by the name of the Free Church of Scotland, is not indicative of Free Church standards.
 

beej6

Puritan Board Sophomore
This question could have belonged to a different thread, but here goes:

I submit that preaching is different than exhorting. Do any of your BCO's define them?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The Free Church Practice allows for two offices within the presbyterate -- ministers and ruling elders. It is the duty of ministers to preach the Word and administer sacraments. It is the duty of ruling elders to join with ministers in the oversight and discipline of the church. There is no room for a hybrid office of exhorter. I would submit that this is the pure Presbyterianism of apostolic and reformation times.

[Edited on 10-3-2006 by armourbearer]
 

brymaes

Puritan Board Sophomore
If preaching, as defined in a previous thread by Dr. Clark, is the authoritative proclimation of the Law and Gospel, could a session not appoint an unordained "agent" on a case by case basis to be the one who proclaims with his authority being derived from the session for that single time alone?

Additionally, what is the actual, substantial difference between "preaching" and "exhorting"?

[Edited on 10-2-2006 by theologae]
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by theologae
If preaching, as defined in a previous thread by Dr. Clark, is the authoritative proclimation of the Law and Gospel, could a session not appoint an unordained "agent" on a case by case basis to be the one who proclaims with his authority being derived from the session for that single time alone?

It makes a mockery of two important fundamentals of reformed and presbyterian polity. (1) The recognition of duly qualified men by the church at large, and (2) the consent of the people themselves over whom the man will act as an "agent." Denial of point (1) is Independency, and denial of point (2) is Popery.
 

brymaes

Puritan Board Sophomore
The recognition of duly qualified men by the church at large
This being defined as the consent of Presbytery, correct?

...the consent of the people themselves over whom the man will act as an "agent."
This shouldn't be any different from any other matter of governance or oversight. The elders are nominated and elected by the congregation, and so they therefore have something of a say in their decisions. If they disaprove of the agent that a Session has authorized, they may appeal to Presbytery and then to Synod/GA. Or am I way off base?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by theologae
The recognition of duly qualified men by the church at large
This being defined as the consent of Presbytery, correct?

Correct.

This shouldn't be any different from any other matter of governance or oversight. The elders are nominated and elected by the congregation, and so they therefore have something of a say in their decisions. If they disaprove of the agent that a Session has authorized, they may appeal to Presbytery and then to Synod/GA. Or am I way off base?

Can you see that there is a world of difference between electing office-bearers to act in your interests, and electing office-bearers who will elect other men to act in your interests? The first is the presbyterian principle, while the second is the prelatic principle on the basis of which offices are multiplied to the offence of the church and the tyranny of her children.
 

AdamM

Puritan Board Freshman
Scott, I think the recent "case law" in the PCA has established that the local Session has a great deal of discretion about who can preach or exhort. I not sure if that's necessarily consistent with a plain reading of BCO 19-1, but just like in the civil realm, the law is what the courts say it is.

[Edited on 10-4-2006 by AdamM]
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Adam: Were there some recent cases on this? In any event, even if the PCA were to allow lay irregular preaching, it would still be good for particular sessions to have a right understanding of preaching so that they stick with the correct approach.
 

brymaes

Puritan Board Sophomore
Can you see that there is a world of difference between electing office-bearers to act in your interests, and electing office-bearers who will elect other men to act in your interests?

How does this apply to pulpit supply? Should a congregation vote on who will preach during a pastor's vacation or time away at presbytery, etc.? In my experience, a session chooses the supply without overt input from the congregation. Are they not, in this case, electing another man to act in their interest?
 

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
Originally posted by theologae
How does this apply to pulpit supply? Should a congregation vote on who will preach during a pastor's vacation or time away at presbytery, etc.? In my experience, a session chooses the supply without overt input from the congregation. Are they not, in this case, electing another man to act in their interest?

No, I don't agree with that. The responsibility of the spiritual welfare of the congregation rests with the Session. That means that the Session guards the pulpit.

The heads of households (males) who have direct responsibility to shepherd those under them also go to the Session and express their concerns if they have reason to believe that the supply is inadequate, incompetant or inappropriate.
 

brymaes

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by jaybird0827
No, I don't agree with that. The responsibility of the spiritual welfare of the congregation rests with the Session. That means that the Session guards the pulpit.

The heads of households (males) who have direct responsibility to shepherd those under them also go to the Session and express their concerns if they have reason to believe that the supply is inadequate, incompetant or inappropriate.

Right. So why is this different than a Session granting authority on a one time basis to an unordained man to preach? The heads of household have the same prerogative to approach the Session if this man's ministry is inadequate.

And what is the difference -- the real, substantial difference -- between preaching and exhorting?

[Edited on 10-5-2006 by theologae]
 
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