C. An adequate external confirmation of fitness for the work of the pastoral office
1. Principal axiom
While sober self-assessment of our desires, graces, and gifts is a personal responsibility which no man can righteously evade, an external confirmation of that assessment by a cross-section of spiritually minded people is essential to a valid call to the pastoral office.
2. Proof of this axiom
a. Necessity of a prayerful, sober self-assessment
1 Peter 4:10-11
1 Jn. 2:27
1 Tim. 3:1-7
b. Self-assessment alone neither safe nor biblical
1) The assumed context of self-assessment in the life and ministry of the church.
Robert J. Breckinridge, “The Christian Pastor, One of Christ’s Ascension Gifts,” The Southern Presbyterian Review 35.3 (July 1884), pp. 470-472.
2) It is clear from the Scriptures that earned credibility by a cross-section of spiritually minded people is crucial.
2 Tim. 2:2
Prov. 11:14; 15:22; and 24:6
C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 6 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984), pp. 1-2 (comments on Proverbs ch. 18).
John Owen, The Church and the Bible, vol. 16 of The Works of John Owen (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1967), pp. 73-74.
Edmund P. Clowney, Called to the Ministry (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1964), pp. 84, 85, 86, 87, 88.