Concerning the Ministry


J. H. S. Burleigh, Thomas F. Torrance and F. W. Camfield, "Concerning the Ministry," Scottish Journal of Theology 1 (1948): 184-206; #1948-TFT-4


Burleigh, J. H. S., Thomas F. Torrance, and F. W. Camfield. "Concerning the Ministry." Scottish Journal of Theology 1, no. 2 (1948): 184-206; #1948-TFT-4

Publication life cycle / General notes

This reference consists of Parts I, II and III; see #1948-019 for Part II, and Conflict and Agreement in the Church, I, Order and Disorder#1959-139g.

Page 184: ”A critical review of the issues raised by The Apostolic Ministry, Essays on the History and the Doctrine of Episcopacy, prepared under the direction of Kenneth E. Kirk, Bishop of Oxford... and The Ministry of the Church, by Bishop Stephen Neill and others."


In His Foreword to an impressive volume, the Bishop of Oxford hails as the happiest ecclesiastical development of the last halfcentury the growing desire for unity among Christians. Nevertheless he finds himself profoundly disquieted when as in South India this desire leads to the formulation of plans for reunion which accept the institution of episcopacy but stipulate that no theory of it shall be obligatory. “The doctrine of the ministry is the crux of the whole matter, involving the continuous integrity of the Gospel of Christ throughout the ages.” With this Presbyterians must have some sympathy. Dr. Kirk has oversimplified the problem and, so far as Presbyterianism is concerned, quite misunderstood it, when he continues: “Is the ministry ‘from above’ or ‘from below’? Is it a gift to the Church from her Founder and Saviour, or an expedient evolved by the Church to meet the exigencies of her daily life? Has it a commission transmitted in orderly sequence from the Lord Himself, or is it commissioned simply and solely by the congregation of believers among whom the minister is to serve?” On this issue Presbyterians stand solidly with him, except in the interpretation of the words “transmitted in orderly sequence”. To make matters of order enter into the substance of the faith is primitive Presbyterianism, as it was no feature of original Anglicanism.


Part I, J. H. S. Burleigh, pp. 184-189.
Part II, Thomas F. Torrance, pp. 190-201.
Part III, F. W. Camfield, pp. 201-206.