• Church of Scotland Assembly

Chapter 05


Of Doctors and their Office, and of the Schools.

1. One of the two ordinary and perpetual functions that labour in the Word is the office of the Doctor, who also may be called Prophet, Bishop, Elder, Catechiser, that is teacher of the Catechism and rudiments of religion.

2. His office is to open up the mind of the Spirit of God in the Scriptures simply, without such application as the Minister uses, to the end that the faithful may be instructed, and sound doctrine taught, and that the purity of the Gospel be not corrupted through ignorance or evil opinions.

3. He is different from the Pastor, not only in name but in diversity of gifts. For the Doctor is given the word of knowledge to open up by simple teaching the mysteries of faith; to the Pastor the gift of wisdom, to apply the same by exhortation to the manners of the flock, as occasion craves.

4. Under the name and office of a Doctor we comprehend also the order in Schools, Colleges, and Universities, which has been from time to time carefully maintained as well among the Jews and Christians as among the profane nations.

5. The Doctor being an Elder, as has been said, should assist the Pastor in the government of the Church, and concur with the Elders his brethren in all assemblies; by reason the interpretation of the Word which is sole judge in ecclesiastical matters is committed to his charge.

6. But to preach to the people, to minister the Sacraments, and to celebrate marriages, pertains not to the Doctor, unless he be otherwise called ordinarily; howbeit the Pastor may teach in the Schools, as he who has also the gift of knowledge oftentimes meet therefor, as the example of Polycarp and others testify.

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