Cambridge Platform, confine the ministerial function to the pastoral relation. That Platform held that ?the pastoral relation ceasing, the ministerial function ceases and the pastor becomes a layman again to be restored to the ministry only by a second ordination, called installation. This theory of the ministry proved so inadequate that it was held scarcely more than a single generation. It was rejected by the Congregational churches of England ten years after it was formulated in New England.?
?The National Council of Congregational Churches, in 1880, resolved that any man serving a church as minister can be dealt with and disciplined by any church, no matter what his relations may be in church membership or ecclesiastical affiliations. If the church choosing him will not call a council, then any church can call one for that purpose?; see New Englander, July, 1883:461-491. This latter course however, presupposes that the steps of fraternal labor and admonition, provided for in our next section on the Relation of Local Churches to one another, have been taken and have been insufficient to induce proper action on the part of the church to which such minister belongs.
The authority of a Presbyterian Church is limited to the bounds of its own denomination. It cannot ordain ministers for Baptist churches, any more than it can ordain them for Methodist churches or for Episcopal churches. When a Presbyterian minister becomes a Baptist, his motives for making the change and the conformity of his views to the New Testament standard need to be scrutinized by Baptists, before they can admit him to their Christian and church fellowship. In other words, he needs to be ordained by a Baptist church. Ordination is no more a discourtesy to the other denomination than Baptism is. Those who oppose re-ordination, in such cases, virtually hold to the Roman view of the sacredness of orders.
The Watchman, April 17, 1902 ? ?The Christian ministry is not a priestly class which the laity is bound to support. If the minister cannot find a church ready to support him, there is nothing to prevent his entering another calling. Only ten per cent of the men who start in independent business avoid failure and a much smaller proportion achieve substantial success. They are not failures, for they do useful and valuable work. But they do not secure the prizes. It is not wonderful that the proportion of ministers securing prominent pulpits is small. Many men fail in the ministry. There is no sacred character imparted by ordination. They should go into some other avocation. ?Once a minister, always a minister? is a piece of Popery that Protestant churches should get rid of.? See essay on Councils of Ordination, their Powers and Duties, by A. H. Strong, in Philosophy and Religion, 259-268; Wayland, Principles and Practices of
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