IV. The four elements which comprise a biblical call to the pastoral office Introductory clarifications and qualifications
A. An enlightened and sanctified desire for the work of the pastoral office
Robert L. Dabney, “What is a Call to the Ministry?” in Discussions: Evangelical and Theological, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1967), p. 34.
1. The necessity and legitimacy of this desire
a. The desire ordinarily precedes and attends the work.
1 Tim. 3:1
The desire is to be strong and prevailing, not weak and intermittent. The use of two strong present-tense verbs underscores this.
b. The desire is to focus upon the work connected with the office and not just a “desire to preach.”
c. The desire is desirable and noble.
1 Pet. 5:2
Patrick Fairbairn, A Commentary on 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002), pp. 136-137.
2. The focus of this desire
a. A longing to be used in self-denying service to edify the people of God
1 Pet. 5:2ff
b. A longing to be used in a spirit-filled ministry to call out more of God’s elect
2 Tim. 2:10
1 Cor. 9
C. H. Spurgeon, “The Call to the Ministry,” in Lectures to My Students (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim Publications, 1990), book I, p. 29.
c. A longing to discharge a growing sense of God-given stewardship
1 Cor. 9:16-17
1 Cor. 4:1-2
See also Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry, pp. 94-98.
3. The assumed context of this desire
1 Tim. 3:15
4. The proper channels for expressing this desire
a. To God Himself
b. To one’s wife, if married
c. To one’s overseers
d. To mature, trusted, spiritual friends and counselors