Officers of the Church

Officers of the Church those who are appointed as ministers of the Church, and who therefore exist for its sake, and not the Church for theirs. Some persons are accustomed to think and speak of the spiritual community as if it consisted only of its officers. Hence the error which confounds the Church with the ministry, and which is partly kept up, perhaps, by men's neglecting to notice one peculiarity belonging to Christ's kingdom at its first establishment; viz. that it did then consist of ministers only, though it was by no means designed so to continue. All the disciples who constituted the infant Church were those destined to be employed in various offices therein; so that an inattentive reader is liable to confound together what our Lord said to them as ministers, and what as members; as rulers of a Church, and as the Church itself. SEE BISHOP; SEE CHURCH; SEE DEACON; SEE ELDER.

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