Five Solas


Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, Vol. II, p.703

Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, Vol. II, p.703


Rousas John Rushdoony

Systematic Theology, Volume I, Vallecito, California: Ross House Books, 1994, pp.669-783

1. Introduction
2. Faith and the Church
3. Circumcision
4. Government
5. Training for Governing
6. The Passover
7. The Sabbath
8. The Assembly or Congregation
9. The Holy Assembly
10. The House of God
11. Ministers
12. Presbyters
13. Ritual
14. The Laying of Hands
15. The Joyful and Healing Church
16. Authority
17. Fringes and Tassels
18. Baptism
19. Communion
20. The Ark and the Presence
21. Laymen and the Church
22. Women and the Church
23. The Foundation
24. Loosing and Binding
25. One Flock, One Shepherd
26. Apostolic Succession
27. Unity
28. The Church of the Resurrection
29. The Church as Witness
30. The Church as Property and Function


11. Ministers

 As we have seen, much of our thinking about the church is traditional rather than Biblical; much debate and religious controversy is again based on the customs common to a particular ecclesiastical tradition rather than grounded on Scripture. One such area of thought has to do with the nature of the ministry. Protestants tend to pride themselves on their purity in such matters, but without Scriptural warrant. Much of what follows with respect to the word ministers was much more ably said a few centuries ago by Joseph Mede in his Discourse V, on I Corinthians 4:1, “Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” Mede’s Discourse appeared in print in 1772, so the church has simply chosen to disregard a great scholar’s comments, by no means new with him, in favor of its own usage. (p.703)

 There are three words in the New Testament Greek which are translated as minister or ministers. One of these is leitourgos (related to liturgy), which in the New Testament is used of Christ. He is the minister of the sanctuary in the heavens (Heb. 8:2); angels too are ministers (Heb. 1:7). In Romans 15:16, Paul declares that he is a minister of Jesus Christ, offering up the Gentiles as a living sacrifice to the Lord. The reference is plainly priestly in the Old Testament sense, and Paul declares himself an under-priest to Jesus Christ, who fulfills his calling by bringing the Gentiles to Christ. The word is also used of Epaphroditus’ ministry to Paul’s need (Phil. 2:25); this reference is not sacrificial in nature as is Romans 15:16, and it means rather that, even as a priest servant represents a people to God, so Epaphroditus represented the Philippians in his service to Paul. In Romans 13:6, Paul, who had previously (Rom. 13:4) called rulers ministers (diakonos, servant), now calls them leitourgoi, because they are filling an ordained calling, ordained by God. (p.703)

 A second word for minister is huperetes, under rower. It is used of assistants in the pastoral work, as of John Mark (Acts 13:5); in Acts 26:16, Paul applies it to himself. (p.703)

 The main word used, however, is a third one, diakonos, servant, deacon, minister, or attendant. (p.703)

 Returning now to Mede’s analysis, Mede points out that there are but two ecclesiastical orders, presbyteri and diaconi; all other offices “are but diverse degrees of these two.” The term priest is simply an ‘abbreviation’ or abridgement of presbyter, and the college of cardinals was once made up of seventy laymen who were elders in terms of the Old Testament pattern. Both Catholics and Protestants have forgotten the origins of their offices. (p.703)