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All Articles For Decency and Order

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“No one, though he be a professor of theology, elder or deacon, shall be permitted to enter upon the minis­try of the Word and the sacraments without having been lawfully called thereunto. And when anyone acts contrary thereto, and after being frequently ad­monished does not desist, the classis shall judge whe­ther he is to be declared a schismatic or is to be pun­ished in some other way.” (Art. 3, D.K.O.).

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Thomas Nichols said, “We believe that the gospel ministry is the noblest and most exalted office to which man can aspire. But not everyone is qualified to preach.” This is another way of saying that one is un­able to put himself into the office of the ministry of the Word. There is only one entrance into that position and that is thru the lawful calling of which both the third and fourth articles of our church order speak.

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The fourth article of our church order defines the lawful calling of candidates to the office of the min­istry of the word. In this respect it is to be disting­uished from the next article which speaks of the cal­ling of ministers who are already in the office. Later articles in our church order speak of the calling and ordination of elders and deacons. The order to be pursued by the church in calling one to the ministry as prescribed by our church order is not above criticism. We cite the article here in its entirety:

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The last time we were discussing the first part of the fourth article of our church order. We wrote about some of the methods that are employed in nomi­nating and calling a minister of the gospel. It was observed that our churches do not follow the letter of the church order in this matter. The latter, because of historical circumstances, advocates that the candi­date be chosen by the consistory and deacons and then submitted to the members of the church for approba­tion.

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The above caption is a Latin title by which a group of self-appointed itinerant preachers of the sixteenth century were called. The phrase means, “walking Levites.” It rather appropriately fits this class of itinerant preachers because they refused to be ministerially connected with any particular church but travelled about from place to place as they saw fit.

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