Thomas Goodwin on the office and work of ruling elders

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... As I. To open and shut the Doors of God’s House, by Admission of Members, by Ordination of Officers, by Excommunication of notorious and obstinate Offenders. 2. To see none live in the Church inordinately without a Calling, or idle in their Calling. 3. To prevent and heal Offences whether in Life or Doctrine, that might corrupt their own Church, or other Churches also, if their Counsel be required. 4. To prepare Matters for the Churches Consideration, and to moderate the Carriage of all Matters in the Church-Assemblies, as to propound Matters to the Church, and to order the Seasons of Speech and Silence in the Church. 5. Finally, To feed the Flock of God by a Word of Admonition; and, as she shall be called, to visit and pray for their sick Brethren. ...

For more, see Thomas Goodwin on the office and work of ruling elders.

N.B. I am not entirely sure what he means by point 5.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
Slight typo in your citation - "as they shall be called", not "as she shall be called". His explanation is later in the work, if this is what you are referring to.

"It is the elder’s office to feed the flock of God with a word of admonition, for we heard before that all the elders were to be apt to teach and able to convince an adversary. Now what word doth remain for them? Not a word of exhortation nor doctrine, for that belongs to pastors and teachers; but the apostle expresseth it, 1 Thes. 5:12, ‘Now we beseech you, brethren,’ &c., where he distinguisheth between them that labour and them that rule: ‘know them that labour among you,’ that is, your pastors and teachers; and ‘know them that are over you,’ that is, your ruling elders. And what work do they? They rule principally by a word of admonition; that is, such a word that warneth every man in his place to take up some calling, and to be diligent in his calling, to be able to teach this or that to be lawful or unlawful. This is he both able and fit for to do, and this he ought to do according unto God, Acts 20:31. Paul propounds his own example to them, how he ceased not to warn day nor night with tears; and this warning is a principal part of rule, and therefore when good Lot did but sadly admonish those lewd persons, Gen. 18:19, they said, Shall he judge and rule? So that this is the work of the elders, to admonish the church. Finally, when they are called for, they are to visit the sick brethren, and to pray over them, James 5:14, 15; being called for, they ought to speak some word of edification to the sick, and to pray over them, and God hath promised to heal them both in soul and body: ‘The prayer of faith shall save the sick.’ As for anointment with oil, it is not ceased, as is the gift of miracles, but it is a marvellous strong promise that is given to the prayers of the elders of the church, for the Lord did know that this ordinance would be despised; and to prevent it, the Lord doth marvellously encourage them to the use of it by the promise of this very blessing, that ‘the prayer of faith shall save the sick; and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him;’ so that it will be a wholesome medicine both to soul and body. Not that God doth promise that this shall ever be granted, for then men should never die when they send for the elders to pray over them; but they shall find it to be a usual blessing to the honour of the elder’s office, that at their prayer for the sick the Lord will raise up their estate and strength again, though it seems desperate. Thus you see the whole duty of these ruling elders, and how they are to assist the pastors and teachers in all other acts of rule besides word and doctrine."

Thomas Goodwin, The Works of Thomas Goodwin, vol. 11 (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), 508–509.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Slight typo in your citation - "as they shall be called", not "as she shall be called".

Thanks for spotting it. That one could have been misleading. :lol:

Thanks also for providing the additional information. That extract has been in my backlog for a while, so I had forgotten the wider context.
 
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