Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Vision (2/28/13): Jairus: An Example for Christian Parents

Note:  In one of the closing applications from last Sunday’s sermon from Luke 8:41-56 I urged us to consider Jairus as an example of how parents should be spiritually concerned for their children:

“….and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:  For he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay dying….” (Luke 8:41-42)

What father, if his dear one and only child had a sickness unto death, would not do everything in his power to give that child life giving treatment?  Would he not go to the best hospitals, seek out the best doctors, procure the best medicines?  Surely we find an exemplary model of parental concern in Jairus, the synagogue ruler, as he seeks out Jesus to cure his daughter.

But now, fathers and mothers, consider the spiritual state of your dear children, if they stand apart from the love of God in Christ.  They have a sickness unto death, for this is the wages of their sin (Romans 6:23).  Have you fallen down at the feet of Jesus and besought him to come into your house?  To raise your children out of their spiritual death and darkness?

Do we care more for the bodies and minds of our children than for their souls? Do we strive to make sure they do their best in school, wear fashionable clothing, participate in the right sports, hobbies, or civic organizations, but then neglect to bring their great spiritual need before Jesus? What does it profit our children if they gain the whole world and lose their souls?

Consider that God used the instrument of a concerned father to raise a dead girl to life.  He can use the concern and intercession of godly fathers and mothers to bring spiritual life to our children.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Calvin on the Four Gospels

The evangelical history, related by four witnesses divinely appointed, is justly compared to a chariot drawn by four horses:  for by this appropriate and just harmony God appears to have expressly prepared for his Son a triumphal chariot, from which he may make a magnificent display to the whole body of believers, and in which, with rapid progress, he may review the world.  Augustine, too, makes an apt comparison of the Four Evangelists to trumpets, the sound of which fills every region of the world, so that the church gathered from the East, and West, and South, and North, flows into a holy unity of faith.  So much the more tolerable is the curiosity of those who, not satisfied with the heavenly heralds, obtrude upon us, under the name of a Gospel, disgusting tales, which serve no purpose than to pollute the purity of the faith, and to expose the name of Christ to the sneers and ridicule of the ungodly.
-John Calvin in the Epistle Dedicatory to his Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Vision (2/21/13): Are you passionate?

Note:  This article appeared as a blog post back on January 5, 2013 on the Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog.  Theologian James Renihan points out that the modern broad-evangelical call for “passion” may be misguided.  Perhaps we ought to call instead for faithfulness. –Pastor Jeff Riddle

It seems that evangelical preachers and writers have become passionate about being passionate. This might be one of the most common buzzwords of the day. We are urged to have a passion for God, to be passionate about winning souls, to be passionate in worship etc. ad nauseum. If you aren’t passionate, you probably are not really living as a Christian should-or so it would seem to be implied. But it seems to me that there is a problem with the use of this language, and it ought to cause us to reconsider our terms.

Today, ‘passion’ is generally thought to be good. It is used to describe powerful emotions, or deep and profound commitment. These things may be very good in themselves. The problem is, however, that we Christians inherit an older sense of the term that is utterly contradictory to anything good.

If you look at most conservative translations of the Bible-for example the New American Standard Version or the New King James Version-you will find that when ‘passion(s)’ is used in the New Testament, it always has a sinful connotation: Romans 1:26 “God gave them up to vile passions;” 1 Cor. 7:9 “It is better to marry than to burn with passion;” Gal. 5:24 “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires;” we are even told in Col. 3:5 “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

Isn’t it confusing to preach to people, telling them to be passionate about something good, when all that they read about passion(s) in the Bible is evil? What do they think when they read the scriptures?

And making matters even more confusing for serious minded believers, our Confession tells us that God is “without body, parts, or passions.” This is an important theological point, often misunderstood. While we speak somewhat simplistically of emotions, our tradition spoke more specifically, not about emotions, but about affections and passions. Affections are righteous attributes which have their source within God; passions are unrighteous attributes which have their source outside of God. Our Triune Lord has true affections, but he has no passions. Preachers who understand and subscribe to our Confession should comprehend this point and think through its implications for their communication with their people. Isn’t it confusing to urge people to strive to be passionate about imitating God when we rightly confess that God has no passions?

Language changes over time, this is certain. And it may be that we are witnessing a change in the use of ‘passion’ and its derivatives. But it seems to me that Confessional Christians who are serious about the Scriptures ought to be careful in their use of language. We need to avoid confusion or confusing terms. It might be better for us to refrain from using this term in a positive sense, finding another to replace it. This would avoid the difficulty of telling our people to be passionate even when the Scriptures tell us to mortify our passion.

Are you passionate? Maybe you need to repent!

James M. Renihan, Dean

The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New "Reformed Baptist Trumpet"

I just sent out the latest issue of The Reformed Baptist Trumpet (Vol. 3. No. 4), the quarterly e-journal of the Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Virginia (RBF-VA).  Yes, I know it is the  October-November-December 2012 issue!  Hopefully, we will get caught up with the next issue.
In this issue:
  • Announcement for the 2013 Keach Conference
  • The second in a two-part series by Joel Beeke on Job's Submission to Providence.
  • Book reviews of W. Gary Crampton's Grant What Thou Commandest:  The Theology of Augustine of Hippo (reviewed by Jeff Riddle) and Alan J. Thompson's The Acts of the Risen Lord (reviewed by Richard Barcellos).
  • Book note on D. Scott Meadow's God's Astounding Grace.
  • Benjamin Keach on Comfort to Believers.
The issue can be read online at the RBF-VA website.  To be added to the email list, send your request to:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Do we pray for revival? One man says, "No."

I recently ran across Herman Hanko’s article Ought the Church to Pray for Revival? (read it online here) while reading through the anothology The Church Effeminate (Trinity Foundation, 2001), edited by the late John W. Robbins.

Hanko has something in this article to offend everyone, critiquing Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Banner of Truth, the Puritans, and, especially, revivalistic “mysticism.”  He closes with the provocative statement:  “Do we pray for revival?  No.  May we pray for revival?  No.”  His point:  We must not confuse “church reformation with revivalism.”


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lenten Superstition

Back in 2009 I did a post on Moderate Baptists and Ash Wednesday, noting that many liberal Baptists were embracing the liturgical year, including observing the season of "Lent."
Richard Barcellos has recently written a critique of the movement toward Lenten observance among the "New Calvinists" as promoted on the Gospel Coalition blog.  He posted his critique on the Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog after the GC moderators rejected it.  I like one of the comments someone posted on the RBF blog, noting they wished the Gospel Coalition had more "Gospel" and less "Coalition."
Tom Chantry has also written an insightful reflection on The Lenten Brouhaha.  I like this paragraph:
One of the arguments which Rich hints at is that Lent necessarily moralizes the gospel. It places the burden of redemption on our own shoulders when Christ, our second Adam, has already shouldered that load. With that in mind, consider Calvin’s words on Lent, which have been helpfully provided this week by Dr. R. Scott Clark. Calvin saw the practice of Lent as an example of the legalism of the Roman church growing out of its failure to acknowledge the uniqueness of Christ.
Following this discussion made me realize again how glad I am to be in a confessional and Reformed church.  We had no Ash Wednesday service.  We are not encouraging our folk "to give up something for Lent" or to read "Lenten devotionals."  We will not hold "Maundy Thursday" or "Good Friday" services during "Holy Week."  We will simply gather Lord's Day to Lord's Day to worship the risen Lord.  Chantry makes reference to Jeremy Walker's post on this topic in which he notes the correlation between the demise of Sabbath observance and the rise of Lenten supersition.  Yes, there does seem to be a connection.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Vision (2/14/13): Criterion of Embarrassment

How do we know that what the four Biblical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) record about Jesus is true?

One standard that faithful interpreters through the years have appealed to when interpreting and defending the Bible is called “the criterion of embarrassment.”  What does this mean?  It means that the Gospels tend to include descriptions of things in their accounts of the life of Jesus that might, on the surface, be considered to be embarrassing either to Jesus or to the disciples.

Here are some examples:

          Matthew 28:17 says that when the eleven disciples saw the risen Jesus they worshipped him.  It then adds:  “But some doubted.”

          Mark 3:21 records that at one point early in his ministry  “the friends” (KJV; NKJV:  “His own people”) of Jesus “went out to lay hold of Jesus for they said, He is beside himself.”

          Mark 8:33 says that Jesus rebuked Peter, saying, “Get thee behind me Satan!”

          Luke 24:11 records that when the women reported the empty tomb to the apostles they were not initially impressed:  “And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.”

          John 7:5 reports:  “For neither did his brethren believe him.”

The point is that such statements would not have been things that the early church would have been likely to fabricate (make up out of thin air) concerning Jesus or his disciples.  They have a ring of authenticity to them.  The Gospel writers would not have recorded them unless they were true.  The fact that the Gospel writers include such “embarrassing” statements tells us that they had a concern truthfully to report the facts of Jesus’ life.  They were not literarily “air-brushing” or “photoshop-ing” the life of Jesus.  They tell the unvarnished truth, warts and all.  Of course, the Gospels go on to tell how those wavering disciples and unbelieving family members were eventually fully convinced that Jesus is the Christ, and they were willing to abandon all to follow him. Even the reports of their embarrassing weaknesses, in the end, affirm the power of Christ.

The “criterion of embarrassment” is one proof that we can trust the veracity of the Gospels.

Grace and Peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Evangelism Series (Part Nine): Lloyd-Jones on the Office of Evangelist

Here’s a follow up to my recent post in the Evangelism Series on the office of evangelist:

In his exposition of Ephesians 4:11, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reaches a similar conclusion (from Christian Unity:  An Exposition of Ephesians 4:1 to 16 [Baker Books, 1980]):

If any are surprised that I place the evangelist and his office in the same extraordinary and temporary category as the apostles and prophets, the probability is that they are thinking of an evangelist in terms of the modern use of the term.  This is something essentially different from its use in the New Testament, where we are not told much about the evangelists.  Philip, who is mentioned in the eighth chapter of the Book of Acts, was an evangelist.  He is mentioned again in the twenty-first chapter.  It is quite clear also that Timothy and Titus are evangelists.  The Apostle Paul reminds Paul to do the work of an evangelist.  It seems clear from these references that an evangelist was a very special man who was in close association with the apostles….  The evangelist is a man who had been given special ability and power to make known, and to expound, the facts of the Gospel.  Generally, he was a man appointed by the apostles themselves, and can be described as a kind of understudy to the apostles.  He was one sent by the apostles to do a given work.  Sometimes he was sent ahead of the apostles, as Philip was sent to Samaria, but generally, he followed the apostles…..

This does not mean that there have not been men since then, and in the Church today, who are given a special call to preach the Gospel in a particular way and manner, but strictly speaking they are not evangelists in the New Testament sense of the word.  It would be better to call them ‘exhorters’, as they were called at the time of the evangelical awakening of the eighteenth century (pp. 191-192).

Description of a Youth Minister (from "Evangellyfish")

Last month I read Douglas Wilson’s novel Evangellyfish (Canon Press, 2012), which was the Christianity Today 2012 book of the year in the fiction category.  I can’t say I loved the book, but there were some interesting parts.  One of the minor characters is a mega-church youth minister named Johnny Quinn who leads the “WildLife 4 Youth Rampage” ministry at Wilson’s fictional “Camel Creek” church.

Here is Wilson’s initial description of Quinn:

He had short, blond hair and a diamond-stud earring—big enough to give him street cred, so necessary in youth work these days, and yet the earring was small enough to not worry the small handful of people at Camel Creek who might possibly have a problem with it.  At one point in the church’s history, there might have been a handful of people disturbed by this kind of thing in the church, but they had all died and gone to heaven quite a number of years before.  Frankly, none of those people cared about it now, apparently having better things to think about.  But Johnny still agonized over such things—what size earring would the apostle Paul have worn if his mission had been to the skateboarding and pants-droopy youth of today?  Not an easy question to answer (p. 92).

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Riddle Quartet: "Seize the Day"

We had a great time at our church fellowship talent show last night with a broad variety of CRBC talent including comedy, Scripture recitations,. swing dancing, skits, tap dancing, singing, and dramatic readings.  Here is a quartet of Riddle kids doing an acapella rendition of "Seize the Day" from the broadway musical "Newsies."

Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Vision (2/7/13): "Good Ground" Hearers

Note:  Last Sunday I preached from Luke 8:1-15 on Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (or perhaps we might call it The Parable of the Soils).  Here are some notes from my exposition of the final verse in the passage:

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience (Luke 8:15).


Last, there are those seed which fell on the good ground.  After the first three seed that fell on the path, on rocky soil, and among thorns, we might have been losing hope, but don’t forget there are good ground hearers.  God does not allow his Word to return to him void (Isaiah 55:11).  This should give us confidence in preaching the gospel and in evangelizing our culture.  There will be good ground hearers.

These are they, Jesus says, who have “an honest and good heart.”  But didn’t Jeremiah say:  “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked:  who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).  How then can Jesus speak of those who have honest and good hearts?  This can only be so, if they have hearts that have been remade, hearts that have been transformed by the grace of God.  They have regenerate hearts.  As with Lydia of old, the Lord must open their hearts to heed the things spoken by him (Acts 16:15). 

Jesus says that these having heard the word that is made effectual to salvation for them, do two things:

(1)    They keep it.  The verb is katecho, to hold fast, to possess.  Their belief in Christ cannot be wrenched out of their hands.  Temptations, trials, successes, failures, praise, condemnation … nothing can take their faith in Christ from them.

(2)    They bring forth fruit.  This is shown in their words, in their conduct, in their homes, in their families, in their relationships.  It is shown in their demonstration of what Paul called in Galatians the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:22-23).  It is seen in the kingdom accomplishments performed through them by the Lord.

Notice the last little phrase.  They do these things “with patience.”  This applies to both the steadfast keeping and the fruitfulness.  The phrase “with patience” also has the sense of “with endurance” and “with steadfastness.”  How sad it would be if a man ran 25.9 miles of a marathon and gave up before running the final tenth of a mile to finish the race.  Sadder still would it be to see one seem to start the Christian life and then run off the course before crossing the finish line.

May we be found to be “good ground” hearers.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle   

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Yet another new translation coming: The MEV

Charisma House announced this week its plans to release yet another English Bible translation (see this announcement).  This translation will be called "The Modern English Version" (MEV).

According to the press release, the MEV will be "the most modern translation produced of the KJV in 30 years."  That, however, is a rather strange statement.  Does this mean they are going to translate from the Hebrew and Greek originals or from the English text of the KJV?  I assume the quote is a misstatement and they intended to say that the MEB will offer a translation from the originals that will also attempt to be a revision or updating of the KJV.

The text that will be used in the translation is not mentioned.  The announcement does say that the translation intends to follow a "literal" approach.  By this I assume it means the MEV will follow the formal correspondance method.  It also says it plans to capitalize the references to God (as the NKJV already does) to maintain "reverence."

The press release also states:   "Editors of the MEV translation represent institutions such as the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Harvard University, Oral Roberts University, Westminster Theological Seminary and Yale University." Only three scholars associated with the project are mentioned by name:  Stanley M. Horton [a Pentecostal systematician from the AG tradition], senior editoral advisor; Jonathan M. Watt, adjunct professor at Reformed Presbyterian Seminary; and James F. Linzy, chief editor and chairman of the "Committee on Bible Translation" [sounds impressive, but I assume this is a publisher's in-house group].

The Lake Mary, Florida based Charisma House is a publisher of works in the charismatic tradition, noting on its website that is produces resources from the likes of John Hagee and Joyce Meyer (see here).

The introduction of the MEV will place another option in the already crowded English Bible field.  This version will apparently come with the twist that it may perhaps follow the TR (if, that is, it makes good on its expressed intent to follow the KJV--we'll see).  It seems to represent the continued Balkanization of the Bible market, since it will apparently be marketed to charismatic churches and their constituencies.  So, mainline Protestants can use the NRSV, new Calvinists the ESV, Southern Baptists the HCSB, non-denominational evangelicals the NIV, and, soon, charismatics the MEV.  The question is whether or not we really need another English Bible translation.  If the desire is to have a formal correspondance translation based on the traditional text that follows the general wording of the KJV (along with capitalized references to Deity), why not just use the NKJV?

To paraphrase Ecclesiasties, "Of the making of English Bible translations there appears to be no end...."

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Video of the Week: How to Write a Worship Song (In 5 Minutes or Less)


This is made all the more humorous by the fact that it is so true.  Makes me glad to go to a church that sings psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with little accompaniment to (mostly) old tunes.


Saturday, February 02, 2013

Juncos on a winter's day

It's been a cold day in Central Virginia with snow blowing this afternoon.  We've enjoyed looking at out our kitchen window to the back porch to watch Juncos eating seeds out of our seed boxes (a science experiment designed by our boys to see which color [red or yellow] would attract more birds).
One cannot help but call to mind the teaching of our Lord:  "Behold the fowl of the air:  for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?" (Matthew 6:26).

Evangelism Series (Part Eight): Quotes "Against Lay Preaching"

Note:  I ran across this collection of quotes "Against Lay Preaching" [posted on a PRC website] from various Reformed stalwarts.  The quotes challenge the revivalistic assumption of many contemporary evangelicals who see preaching the gospel (euangelizo) as open to non-ordained ministers and sometimes border on hyper-egalitarianism, arguing that this kind of public ministry is expected of all Christians under the duty of "personal evangelism."  They might be surprised to find that men like A. W. Pink, for example, called such views "ecclesiastical socialism" (see below).  Chapter 26 of The Second London Baptist Confession (see paragraph 11) might be added to the quotes in that it notes that the Pastors are to be instant in preaching while only allowing others to peach the gospel who are "approved and called by the church." Here are the quotes:

John Calvin: "God has repeatedly commended its dignity by the titles which he has bestowed upon it, in order that we might hold it in the highest estimation, as among the most excellent of our blessings. He declares, that in raising up teachers he confers a special benefit on men, when he bids his prophet exclaim, 'How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace' (Isa. 52:7), and when he calls the apostles the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13-14). Nor could the office be more highly eulogised than when he said, 'He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me' (Luke 10:16). But the most striking passage of all is that in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, where Paul treats as it were professedly of this question. He contends that there is nothing in the Church more noble and glorious than the ministry of the Gospel, seeing it is the administration of the Spirit of righteousness and eternal life. These and similar passages should have the effect of preventing that method of governing and maintaining the Church by ministers, a method which the Lord has ratified for ever, from seeming worthless in our eyes, and at length becoming obsolete by contempt ... Now seeing that in the sacred assembly all things ought to be done decently and in order (I Cor. 14:40), there is nothing in which this ought to be more carefully observed than in settling government, irregularity in any respect being nowhere more perilous. Wherefore, lest restless and turbulent men should presumptuously push themselves forward to teach or rule (which might otherwise happen), it was expressly provided that no one should assume a public office in the Church without a call (Heb. 5:4; Jer. 17:16). Therefore, if any one would be deemed a true minister at the Church, he must first be duly called; and, secondly, he must answer to his calling; that is, undertake and execute the office assigned to him. This may often be observed in Paul, who, when he would approve his apostleship, almost always alleges a call, together with his fidelity in discharging the office. If so great a minister of Christ dares not arrogate to himself authority to be heard in the Church, unless as having been appointed to it by the command of his Lord, and faithfully performing what has been entrusted to him, how great the effrontery for any man, devoid of one or both of them, to demand for himself such honour" (Institutes 4.3.3, 10).

Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. & A. 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, and also duly approved and called to that office."

George Gillespie: "The act of ordination stands in the mission to the deputation of a man to an ecclesiastical function with power and authority to perform the same; and thus are pastors ordained when they are sent to a people with power to preach the Word, minister the sacraments, and exercise ecclesiastical discipline among them. For 'How shall they preach except they be sent?' ... If it were an intolerable usurpation, in a man's own family, if any man should take on him the steward's place to dispense meat to the household, not being thereunto appointed, how much more were it an intolerable usurpation in the church ... Suppose they be well gifted, yet they may not preach except they be sent ... Thus sending needs be ordination, not the church's election; a people may choose to themselves, but they cannot send to themselves ... There are five necessary means and ways which must be had and used by those who look to be saved: (1) calling on the name of the Lord; (2) believing on him; (3) hearing his Word; (4) a preaching ministry; (5) mission or ordination. If the first four be perpetually necessary to the end of the world, so must the fifth be; for the apostle lays almost as great necessity on this last as on the rest ... There can be no ministerial office without a mission or ordination" (Aaron's Rod Blossoming).

John Owen: "... for a public, formal, ministerial teaching, two things are required in the teacher: — first, gifts from God; secondly, authority from the church (I speak now of ordinary cases). He that wants either is no true pastor. For the first, God sends none upon an employment but whom he fits with gifts for it, 1. Not one command in the Scripture made to teachers; 2. Not one rule for their direction; 3. Not one promise to their endeavours; 4. Not any end of their employment; 5. Not one encouragement to their duty; 6. Not one reproof for their negligence; 7. Not the least intimation of their reward, — but cuts off ungifted, idle pastors from any true interest in the calling. And for the others, that want authority from the church, neither ought they to undertake any formal act properly belonging to the ministry, such as is solemn teaching of the word; for, — 1. They are none of Christ’s officers, Ephesians 4:11. 2. They are expressly forbidden it, Jeremiah 23:21; Hebrews 5:4. 3. The blessing on the word is promised only to sent teachers, Romans 10:14-15. 4. If to be gifted be to be called, then, — (1) Every one might undertake so much in sacred duties as he fancies himself to be able to perform; (2) Children (as they report of Athanasius) might baptize; (3) Every common Christian might administer the communion. But endless are the arguments that might be multiplied against this fancy. In a word, if our Saviour Christ be the God of order, he hath left his church to no such confusion" (Works, vol. 13, p. 43).

John Owen: "... God distinguisheth persons with respect unto office. He ... puts them into the ministry. This of old Korah repined against ... But the office is honourable; and so are they by whom it is discharged in a due manner. And it is the prerogative of God to call whom he pleaseth thereunto. And there is no greater usurpation therein than the constitution of ministers by the laws, rules, and authority of men. For any to set up such in office as he hath not gifted for it, nor called unto it, is to sit in the temple of God, and to show themselves to be God" (Hebrews, vol. 5, p. 362).

Thomas Manton: "Christ himself had his call to authorise him: ‘Thou hast sent me into the world;’ therefore much more should you have a call to authorise you. If the work doth not lie within the compass of your office, you do not glorify God, and cannot please him; and it will be ill for your account; you cannot, when you die, say as Christ, ‘I have glorified thee upon the earth, I have finished the work which thou hast given me to do’ (John 14:7). You do not glorify God with anything but that which He hath given you to do. It is notable that Christ would not intermeddle out of his calling. When one came to entreat him to ‘speak to his brother to divide the inheritance with him,’ He said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?’ (Luke 12:4). Who was fitter to judge than Christ? Yet this was not the work He came about" (Exposition of John 17, pp. 328-329).

Francis Turretin: "… no one, unless sent by God, ought to usurp the office of teaching in the church, whether a new doctrine is proposed or an old one, because it is always evident that no one ought to assume the part of a … minister unless he is sent by the Lord. And as many as teach in the church without being called or sent are said ‘to teach in their own name’ and not in the name of Christ (John 5:43) (i.e., not sent by God), by themselves and their own authority and thrust in by themselves, who on that account deserve the name of thieves and robbers and not of true shepherds (John 10:8)" (Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 3, p. 212).

Wilhelmus a Brakel: "Question: Is a divine commission necessary for the office of minister? Answer: Socinians and others answer negatively; however, we answer affirmatively. The need for a divine commission is first of all evident from several clear texts ... Ephesians 4:11, 'And he gave some, apostles ... and some, pastors and teachers.' As you can observe, Christ has given pastors and teachers as well as apostles 'for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ' (Eph. 4:11-12) ... Consider also Romans 10:15, 'And how shall they preach, except they be sent?' It is as much as being stated that no one can or may preach without being sent. One cannot evade the issue here ..." (The Christian's Reasonable Service, vol. 2, p. 118).

John Gill: "[Preachers] must have a call both from God and men to this work; 'No man takes this honour to himself, but he that is called of God;' which is the inward call, and is known by the kind of gifts bestowed upon a man, fitting for such service; and by the providence of God, inclining and directing the church to separate him to the work to which he has called him; and the outward call is by the church itself, upon trial of his gifts ... They must be sent forth, they must have a mission from Christ, and that by the church (Rom. 10:15), the apostles of Christ were sent forth by him, as he was by his Father (John 20:21), there were some in [Jeremiah’s] time who ran, and were not sent; prophesied, though not spoken to; but these were not true prophets and ministers of God" (Doctrinal and Practical Divinity, vol. 2, p. 666).

John Brown: "... none, without being regularly called to it, however well qualified, ought to exercise any part of the ministerial office. (1) The Scripture plainly distinguishes between gifts for, and a mission to that office (John 20:21, 23; Isa. 6:6-7, 9). (2) It most expressly declares a call absolutely necessary to render one a public teacher (Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4, 6; Jer. 23:21, 32). (3) The characteristics of preachers, heralds, ambassadors, stewards, watchmen, angels, messengers, etc. necessarily import a divine call (I Cor. 9:17; II Cor. 5:20; I Cor. 4:1-2; Heb. 13:17; Rev. 1:20). (4) Rules prescribed for the qualifications, election, and ordination of gospel ministers, are declared binding until the second coming of Christ (I Tim. 3:1-8; 5:21-22; 6:13). (5) God severely punished Korah, Saul, Uzza, Uzziah and the sons of Sceva, for their intermeddling with the work of the sacred office (Num. 16:3-11, 32-38, 40; I Sam. 13:8-14; I Chron. 13:9-10; II Chron. 26:16-18; Acts 19:13-16). (6) To rush into the ministerial office without a proper call is inconsistent with a proper impression of the awful nature of the work of it (II Cor. 3:5-6; 2:16; Eze. 3:17-21; 33:1-20; Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:15-16; John 3:27-28; Heb. 13:17; 5:4-5) and introduces wild disorder and error (Gal. 2:5). (7) Christ's manifold connection with this office—in his being the author of it (Eph. 4:11-12), his suspending much of the order and edification of his church on it (Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:1-3), his including such power and authority in it (Mat. 16:19; 18:18), his committing such an important trust to ministers (Col. 4:17; I Tim. 6:20), his enjoining his people to honour and obey them (I Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:7, 17), and his promising present assistance in, and future gracious rewards to, their faithful discharge of their work—manifests the necessity of a divine and regular call to it (Matt. 28:20; I Peter 5:4)" (Systematic Theology, p. 566).

R. L. Dabney: "[Christ] has taught [his] church that her public organic functions are all to be performed through these officers, whose names and places he has himself assigned … It was thus the highest evangelists were appointed (Acts 16:1-3; I Tim. 4:14; II Tim. 1:6). Thus the ordinary ministers of the church are to be perpetuated (II Tim. 2:2). We thus see that Christ has not left anything to human invention, as to the instrumentality for preaching his gospel; that matter is distinctly settled. It should be enough for the humble Christian that thus Christ has ordained. Hence, we are as sure that Christ’s plan is the wisest, as any human experience can make us; we do not need the lessons of church history, so often repeated, where the betterments which man’s officious zeal has insisted on making upon Christ’s plan have borne their regular fruits of mischief and confusion, to make us content with the ordained method. Amidst all the plausibilities and excitements of the human inventions, we remain quiet in the conviction that Christ knows best ... If, for instance, such laymen as the late Mr. Brownlow North and Mr. Moody have the qualifications and the seal of the divine blessing which their friends claim for them, this is, to our mind, a demonstration that God calls them into the regular ministry, and they should seek a regular ordination like other ministers, each in that branch of the church which has his conscientious preference ... Let all Presbyterians, then, bear in mind, as one 'fixed fact,' that the recognition of laypreaching means broad-churchism" (Discussions: Evangelical and Theological, vol. 2, pp. 78-79).

A. W. Pink: "It is true, blessedly true, and God forbid that we should say a word to weaken it, that all believers enjoy equal nearness to God, that every one of them belongs to that 'holy priesthood' who are to 'offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ' (I Peter 2:5). Nevertheless, all believers are not called by God to occupy the same position of ministerial honour, all are not called to be preachers of His Gospel or teachers of His Word (James 3:1). God calls and equips whom He pleases to engage in His public service, and bids the rank and file of His people 'obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves' (Heb. 13:17). Yet, sad to say, in some circles the sin of Korah is repeated. They demand an ecclesiastical socialism, where any and all are allowed to speak. They 'heap to themselves teachers' (II Tim. 4:3). This ought not to be" (Exposition of Hebrews, p. 374).

Gordon Clark: "Exercising the office without ordination is a sin ... Ordination confers authority to preach, administer the sacraments, and exercise discipline ... The dunamis or ability of gifts is one thing; the exousia or authority to it is another thing ... Ordination ... is not simply an apostolic function to cease with the first century. Preaching is ordinary and regular. Therefore, mission or sending is too. The Great Commission of Matthew 18:19-20 shows that mission is perpetual, and thus sending likewise. To the same effect Luke 12:42. Since the illustration describes the work of a steward, its lesson is not applicable to all Christians. The immediate application is to the disciples or apostles themselves. The extended application is to future stewards. The steward of the parable and the minister of a church have therefore been appointed with authority. The connection between a steward and a bishop is made in Titus 1:7 ... Hebrews 6:1-2 list some elementary teachings, such as might be required of catechumens before baptism or even before a church was organized. One of these elementary points is ordination, clearly necessary to the organization of a church. Thus in addition to repentance and faith, ordination ranks as an elementary doctrine ... I Timothy 4:14 shows that ordination is an act of presbytery. I Timothy 5:22 warns against laying hands suddenly on some attractive neophite. And Titus 1:5, by the words 'in every city,' shows that ordination is regular and ordinary ... Ministers of the Gospel are called shepherds, entering by the door and not breaking in; they are called angels, ambassadors, and rulers. But men do not give themselves the position of ambassador or even of shepherd. They must be appointed and sent ... Paul calls himself a steward in I Corinthians 4:1, and calls all bishops so in Titus 1:7. Ministers are therefore servants; they invite guests to the wedding feast. But clearly no one can properly invite guests to a lord's wedding feast, unless the lord has previously appointed him. Paul was so appointed: 'Wherefore I am ordained a preacher and an apostle' (I Timothy 2:7), in which phrase we note that Paul was ordained a preacher as well as an apostle. He repeats this in II Timothy 1:11. Preachers, therefore, are to be given authority to preach by ordination" ("The Presbyterian Doctrine of Ordination," in The Church Effeminate, pp. 192-201).