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Proclaimer of God’s Word

The shepherds of Christ’s church are not priests—they do not stand as mediators between God and man. The function of a Christian pastor is to lead the church to the one mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), through the Word in which he is revealed.


I fail to see that St. Paul ever supports the favourite theory that there was intended to be a sacerdotal ministry, a sacrificing priesthood in the Church of Christ. There is not a word in the Acts or in his Epistles to the Churches to warrant such a notion. It is nowhere written, ‘God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, then priests’ (1 Cor. 12:28). There is a conspicuous absence of the theory in the Pastoral Epistles to Timothy and Titus, where, if anywhere, we might have expected to find it. On the contrary, in these very Epistles, we read such expressions as these, ‘God hath manifested His Word through preaching,’ ‘I am appointed a preacher.’ ‘I am ordained a preacher.’ ‘That by me the preaching might be fully known’ (1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11; 2 Tim. 4:17; Tit. 1:3). And, to crown all, one of his last injunctions to his friend Timothy, when he leaves him in charge of an organized Church, is this pithy sentence, ‘Preach the Word’ (2 Tim. 4:2). In short, I believe St. Paul would have us understand that, however various the works for which the Christian minister is set apart, his first, foremost, and principal work is to be the preacher and proclaimer of God’s Word.

—J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Banner of Truth, 2014), 380.

Posted 2017·03·29 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Ecclesiology · Holiness (Ryle) · J C Ryle

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