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All Articles For Ministering to the Saints

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Previous article in this series: March 15, 2012, p. 279. In our last article we began treating the history of the office of elder by examining its presence in the nation of Israel. Particularly we noted what the Old Testament teaches regarding the authority, quali­fications, and work of elders. In this article we treat the period from Israel’s captiv­ity through Jesus’ day, intending to treat the developments in the office after the time of Pentecost in our next article. The Office Continues Two historical events that occasioned development in the office of elder were the Babylonian captivity and the return...

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In our two previous articles we reviewed the history of the office of elder, as well as the necessary qualifications for those filling—or aspiring to fill—this very important office in the church of Christ. At this time I wish to take a very practical look at the work of the elder in the ruling and oversight of the church. I wish to state at the outset that when one attempts to be “practical,” his thoughts will of necessity reflect his own ideas and methodologies. Since every elder’s approach to his work will be somewhat different from that of other elders,...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Byron Center, Michigan. In the last article we contended that Reformed churches have done more than the Romish, Anglican, Lutheran, and Baptist churches to restore the diaconate to its rightful place in the church. This the Reformed churches could do because they understood that Scripture requires the church to have the office of deacon in her midst, and requires that the work of the office be that of caring for the poor and needy. We will support our contention further by examining more closely the place of the diaconate in...

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Rev. Gritters is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan. The letter arrived. You’ve been nominated for the office of elder. After careful thought, you let the deadline pass for declining the nomination. At the congregational meeting, the members chose you. I thank God for you. (The others were not elected. In His inscrutable wisdom, the Lord did not appoint the others, but appointed you to the work of elder.) Ordination has taken place. The questions have been asked: “Do you feel in your hearts…? Do you believe the books…? Do you reject the heresies…? Do you promise…...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Byron Center, Michigan. O God, to Thy Anointed King Give truth and righteousness; Thy people He will justly judge And give the poor redress. The poor man’s cause He will maintain, The needy He will bless, And He will break the strength of those Who would the poor oppress. (Psalter 193, stanzas 1 and 3, versification of Psalm 72 ) In these stanzas, and in Psalm 72, God’s saints express their confidence that Jehovah will care for His beloved poor through Christ, typified in Solomon, God’s anointed king. God’s certain care...

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Rev. Gritters is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan. The elders’ office is to observe and supervise the doctrine and conduct of the minister. Last time (SB, Nov. 15, 2002) I pointed out that the minister’s life must be an object of scrutiny, and that, for the sake of the doctrine. The Form for Installation of Elders, the Church Order, and the Questions for Church Visitation all enjoin the elders to “have regard to the doctrine and conversation of the minister of the word.” Reformed and Presbyterian churches have always recognized the importance of elder-supervision of the...

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Having concluded our treatment of the office of deacon, we will examine various aspects of the office of elder, as God permits. My goal is not to treat every aspect of the office of elder in as much detail as I did the office of deacon, but to focus more particularly on various aspects of the work of the elders. We begin by noting the nature of the office of elder: it is the office of rule in the church of Jesus Christ. Scriptural testimony That the office of elder in the church of Jesus Christ is one of rule,...

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In previous articles we have seen that the office of elder is the office of the rule of Christ in Christ’s church. We turn our attention now to the history of the office of elder in Christ’s church. The church of Jesus Christ “hath been from the beginning of the world” (Belgic Confession, Art. 27). Pentecost was not the birthday of the church; rather, the Spirit’s outpouring on Pentecost marked the church coming to maturity. Nor did the church begin at Sinai; there God formed Israel as His special nation, and designated her as the one in and through whom...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Byron Center, Michigan. We have begun explaining the scriptural and theological basis for the diaconate by demonstrating that God has a special care for His poor and needy. This special care He manifests by commanding us, His church and saints, to care for the poor in our midst and by blessing us in the way of obedience to this command. While this command is reason enough for us to care for the poor, it does not in itself justify devoting an office of the church to this work. The basis...

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Rev. Kuiper os pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. Previous article in this series: February 1, 2009, p. 199. I digress. My articles in this rubric focus on the office of deacon. The deacons’ work is to care for the poor and the needy. In various ways, but primarily by putting money in the collection plate when the collection for benevolence is taken, the congregation supports the work of the deacons. So the support of the ministry of the gospel by contributing to the General and Building Funds of a congregation differs from the support of the work of...

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