The Distinction between an Elder and a Minister


Puritan Board Freshman
Hi all,

One issue I have struggled to gain clarity on is the biblical grounds for the distinction between a minister and an elder. The question I'm still struggling with is this; why is it that an ordained minister can do things which an ordained ruling elder cannot? I have a hard time seeing any kind of clear distinction between types of elders in the NT, other than the fact that "those who labor in preaching and teaching" are especially worthy of double honor.

I'm in the PCA, where we essentially have a 2.5 office view, so that may be coloring my perception somewhat. Can anyone give me a concise explanation, or point me to helpful resources on this issue, on where Scripture sets up this distinction for the Church?

Note: I know this is a confessional issue, and I am not arguing against or undermining the confession-- I am simply asking for help in understanding.

Jeri Tanner

Staff member
Here is a discussion I remember from back in the day.



Puritanboard Brimstone
An elder is someone who’s been recognized as being wise and a faithful steward of the culture, customs, and beliefs of a given group and so they are vested by the group with decision making capacity.

A minister is an official appointed by a ruler to administer a public office on behalf of, and with the backing authority of, that ruler.