Elder-pastors and deacon-evangelists : the plurality of offices and the marks of the church

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James V. Brownson

Abstract

When I began preparing this lecture, I thought it would be an argument in favor of establishing an office of evangelist in the Reformed Church in America. In the course of my research, however, I changed my mind, and came to the conclusion that we should not create a new office of evangelist. I changed my mind for three reasons. First, I came to the conclusion that, if we added an office of evangelist, I didn't know how or where to stop adding offices. Why not add every office or role that is listed in the New Testament: prophets, teachers, bishops, benefactors, etc.? That seemed a bit much, for some reasons that I'll get into shortly. Second, I came to the conclusion that the Reformed Church's present approach to the offices was sufficiently flexible to accommodate a variety of new roles and functions within its basic structure. We don't need new offices to unleash new ministries. Our existing ones will work just fine to do that. Third, I have become even more convinced that our present structure of offices embodies a deeply biblical and theologically profound vision for the church.

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Keywords
Church officers; Elders (Church officers); Deacons; Church officers -- History; Church -- Marks; Reformed Church orders; Reformed Church in America -- Clergy; Church work; Pastoral theology
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