Historical Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy

By W. M Ramsay

XV. QUALIFICATIONS OF THE DEACONS.

The rules (or rather the advice, for there is no real question of fixed regulations in the letters) about Deacons are very similar in character to those about Bishops or Elders. Corresponding to the lesser importance of the office, they are more briefly given; but it would be a mistake to conclude too quickly that the differences are due solely to abbreviation or omission of some of the principles respecting the Bishops. The variations require to be examined in detail, and are not uninstructive. We are deprived of the help of comparison with the other Pastorals, as Deacons are not mentioned in Titus, and in 2 Timothy iv. 5 the Diaconate of Timothy is merely spoken about in general terms (translated " ministry " in the Revised and the Authorized Version).

It would at first sight appear as if the condition of good reputation required for the Bishops, and regarded in their case as so important that their reputation even among the pagans must be scrutinized, was not required in the selection of Deacons. But instead of it a much more effective provision is introduced, which attains the desired end in a more certain way there shall be a certain period or kind of probation, before they are definitely appointed: "but let these also first be proved; then let them serve as Deacons, if they be blameless."

In Meyer-Weiss's Kommentar it is maintained that the opening phrase, καὶ οὖτοι δέ, indicates " the Deacons in distinction from the Bishops"; and yet in the same work it is maintained that the "proving" of the Deacons is substantially the same process as the examination of the reputation of the Bishops. But there is no need for the adversative "but," if the process is the same in both cases. Meyer-Weiss put forward as a reason for the adversative, that in the case of the Bishops only those qualifications are mentioned which can be observed through scrutiny of their past life, whereas in the case of Deacons regard is paid also, and especially, to those qualifications whose presence will first be shown in the exercise of the duties of their office. Surely, however, it is as important to scrutinize the latter class of qualities in a Bishop as in a Deacon: moreover, when Meyer-Weiss give examples of the latter class of qualities, they mention only two, " not given to much wine,'' and, " not greedy of filthy lucre." Now, with regard to those two qualities we observe that (1) they are expected and mentioned also in the case of a Bishop:1 (2) it is simply absurd, and pure verbiage, to say that those qualities could be detected only in the discharge of a Deacon's office and not earlier. There is no quality easier to detect and more difficult to hide than the tendency to drink; and there is very little, if any, reason to think that, in the circumstances of ancient life, the Deacon would be more exposed to temptation in this respect after than before he took office.

Even if we assume that Meyer-Weiss are right, and that the peculiar form of this provision in the case of Deacons is intended to ensure qualities which can be observed only in the actual discharge of their duties, the best way would be to submit the Deacons to a probation as well as to a scrutiny of their past life; but Meyer-Weiss will not admit that a probation (in the full sense which is ordinarily attached to the word) was intended. It must, of course, be allowed that the Greek word2 does not necessarily imply probation, and is quite well satisfied by a careful scrutiny; but Meyer-Weiss lay special emphasis on the fact that exactly the same kind of scrutiny was applied to the Bishops.3

For my own part I cannot understand the pointed contrast expressed between the testing of Deacons and that of Bishops except on the supposition that there was some distinct difference in the two cases; and the most natural and probable supposition seems to be that a Deacon had to go through some kind of probation, whereas a Bishop was elected and appointed forthwith. Such was the view taken by Luther and others of Paul's intention in these words.4

That a Deacon should undergo probation, from which a Bishop was exempt, evidently arises from the fact that no Bishops were chosen who had not already abundantly proved their character in the eyes of all the world, whereas younger and less known persons were often appointed as Deacons. Hence, even at Ephesus no condition is made by Paul that the Deacon must not be "a novice": on the other hand, he evidently contemplated the possibility that neophytes might be chosen as Deacons.

Thus, in examining the difference in respect of the tests imposed on the Elders and the Deacons, we have incidentally found the reason why a difference exists in the condition as to length of Christian experience, in the two cases.

As to the condition that the Deacon must be grave (σεμνός), while the Bishop must be temperate, sober-minded, orderly (νηφάλιος, σώφρων, κόσμιος), these seem to be mere varieties of expression. The Greek word σεμνός; is defined very well by the other three adjectives. In respect of those purely moral qualities we observed in the preceding Section that considerable difference of language (but little of real meaning) existed in the conditions for selection of a Bishop in Titus, from those which are mentioned in 1 Timothy.

A much more important variation is found in the very first remark made about the Bishop, that "if a man seeketh after the office of a Bishop, he desireth an honourable work." Nothing exactly similar is said in respect of a Deacon. We inferred that Paul emphatically expressed his approval of candidature for the position of a Presbyter or Bishop. Did he, then, not desire to encourage Christians to seek after the office of Deacon? The question suggests at once the answer. He encourages people to do so at the end of his regulations, but expresses himself in a different way:" they that have served well as Deacons gain to themselves a. good standing, and great boldness in the Faith." This corresponds to the encouragement given to Bishops; and the variation is suited to the difference of duties. There can hardly be a doubt, and, so far as I have observed, no one expresses any doubt, that Paul's words imply that a good Deacon would have an improved chance of being elected to the office of Bishop, because he becomes better known and more valued for the qualities that he possesses. This does not imply that the Diaconate was a lower and the Bishopric a higher grade in a fixed order of ministry. But it is clear that the duties and the position of a Deacon were humbler in character than those of a Bishop. But in actual life, and especially under the Roman Empire, where the idea of gradation of service and of promoting from lower to higher office in a fixed order was familiar to all, there was a strong and inevitable tendency to make the Diaconate a stage preliminary to the Bishopric, though there was no such implication in Paul's words. The idea of gradation came in and governed the common practice in the Church; but the Pauline freedom was not lost for many centuries, and occasional examples occurred in which Bishops were appointed who had not gone through the lower grade.

There is also a difference of language in regard to another condition. The Bishop must be "apt to teach" (διδακτικός): this was an important side of his duty, and his qualifications for it must be evident before his appointment. That the Deacon should have proved himself apt to teach is not required; but this does not mean that teaching was outside of his sphere of duty. All Christians should be teachers (as Paul held in unison with the spirit of the entire Church); and a fortiori a Deacon should teach. But it is not required that he should have shown special aptitude (as it is in the case of a Bishop): it is required only that he should have the fundamental quality of true faith and knowledge, " holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience." He may have this mystery hidden deep in his heart, and lack the power of setting it in words before others; but he must have the mystery in his heart. In his life as a Deacon he will acquire experience in making it known to others, and thus "gain to himself great boldness in the Faith which is in Jesus Christ."

This last consideration places it beyond doubt that the Deaconship was understood by Paul as a good preparation for the office of Bishop, though not as a necessary preliminary stage in the progress towards it.

There remain two other points of difference in the qualifications of Deacons and Presbyters, which are noteworthy as throwing some light on the duties of the two offices. The Bishop must be given to hospitality: no such qualification is required for the Deacon. It has been often pointed out that the Bishop was the representative of the congregation both in its relations with other congregations and in its relations with the pagan world generally and the State. Hospitality was a duty incumbent on Bishops beyond others, though of course it was a duty for all Christians. The Bishops, however, were responsible for this, and specially charged with the entertainment of delegates from and the communication by letter with other congregations. It would be difficult for a Bishop to exercise this hospitality without a certain command of money; and hence various consequences spring from it, which need not here be discussed. As the representative of the congregation in its relations with the pagan world, the city authorities and the Imperial government, it would be specially needful that the Bishop should "have good testimony from them that are without."5

The Deacon had no special need for this qualification. He was not responsible for hospitality, except in the same way as all Christians were. He did not represent the congregation in the eyes of the outer world.

On the other hand, the Deacon must not be "doubletongued" (δίλογος). Nothing similar is said in regard to the Bishops. It might be suggested that this was implied in the other moral qualities with which he must be endowed. But stress is laid on it in the case of the Deacon (who, as we saw, is required to have a similarly high character); and therefore, it must have been a quality peculiarly needed in his case, i.e., he must in his duties have been under strong temptation to become "double-tongued." The word implied a person who spoke sometimes in one fashion, sometimes in another, who would say one thing to one person and another thing to another. Now there can be no doubt that the work of Deacons was more closely connected with the indoor and family life of members of the congregation than the work of Presbyters. The Deacons had more intimate duties in the administration of charity and help where it was needed. They had to find out the needs of individuals, to go about among the members of the congregation, and to converse and to sympathize with them. There was great temptation to say too much to one person or in one family, and thus to be betrayed into inconsistency and self-contradiction in speaking to another. Nothing is easier than for a person to slip into the fault of double-tonguedness, when he is trying to accommodate himself to various families in one congregation. Sound sense and perfect straightforwardness are the safeguard; and those qualities were not useless in a Deacon.

The minute examination of the conditions prescribed in the selection of Deacons affords a strong presumption that the First Epistle to Timothy is a real letter written in the stress of practical administration by an administrator familiar with the situation. The conditions are so detailed and minute, and the variations from the conditions prescribed for the Bishops are so slight and yet so suitable, that one cannot imagine how a writer who was (according to the now fashionable view) piecing together scraps of letters written by Paul and adding parts to connect these scraps after a fashion, could produce such a result. From a process like that there could never come forth a letter which reflects so accurately the facts of practical life. Equally impossible is it to suppose that a writer of the second century, whose object was to use the authority of Paul's name against a current heresy, could work in so much minute positive regulation into his polemic, which was in intention negative.

XVI. DEACONESSES.

In the middle of the regulations about Deacons there is interposed a short statement about women: "After the same fashion women must be grave, not scandal-mongers, temperate, faithful in all things." Then the discussion of Deacons proceeds. ·

From the situation of this sentence, and from the introductory word" in like manner" (ὡσαύτως), it seems beyond question that this sentence refers not to Christian women in general, but to the class of women who were selected for congregational work, i.e., Deaconesses. The word Diakonos is understood generically of both sexes, without actually using the official title Diaknissa: this was facilitated by the fact that the Deaconesses were sometimes called by the same form in Greek διάκονοι (and Paul himself speaks in that way, Rom. xvi. 1).

As to the qualifications of women-officials in the Church, the reasons are obvious. Their work was in the home life of the congregation. They had to mix with the Christian families, and to be intimately acquainted with domestic circumstances. There is appropriateness in the provision that they must be specially free from any tendency to talk in one house about the affairs of another: that tendency is almost inseparable from the spreading of slander (μὴ διάβολοι); the analogy to the provision about Deacons (μὴ δίλογοι) is evident, and the reason is similar. That they should be characterized by self-command and by trustworthiness in every respect is obvious.

It has been thought by Luther and others (e.g., Von Soden) that the women who are here meant are the wives of Deacons. There can, however, be little, if any, doubt, that the reference is to all women officially selected for congregational work. But the question is an open one, whether the wives of Deacons may not have been chosen by preference as Deaconesses. The question has been raised in reference to some Lycaonian Christian inscriptions of the fourth century; but the evidence was found insufficient to justify any positive conclusion.6 Some of the inscriptions suggest the thought that the wives of Deaconesses and Presbyters may perhaps have borne the title of their husbands. There was among the Pagans a tendency, and even in some cults a positive custom, that the wife of a priest was officially a priestess; and it is quite likely that among the Christians some tendency to appoint husband and wife as Deacon and Deaconess prevailed.

XVII. WERE THE OFFICIALS A CLERICAL ORDER?

Dr. Plummer, in his excellent work on the Pastoral Epistles, regards it as one of the four or five fundamental inferences from which his investigation starts, that in this and the other Pastoral Epistles there is implied a distinction already clear and recognized between an order of clergy and the ordinary members of the congregation, the laity.7

It may be questioned whether this does not introduce a later thought and a later classification. Probably we have in the Pastorals only an older form of thought and organization, which developed later into this distinction.

It is quite evident that there existed in Paul's mind, and in the actual facts of the situation in the early Churches, a distinction, strong and well marked, between officials and the ordinary members of the congregation. But it does not seem to the present writer so clear as it does to Dr. Plummer that this distinction was exactly similar to what is understood in modern times as the distinction between clergy and laity. The official was one of the ordinary congregation selected for a special purpose, in order that he might devote himself continuously to a certain series of duties; but it does not appear that those duties lay outside of the sphere of any ordinary Christian. On the contrary, it appears rather that those duties were incumbent on all Christians, although in the circumstances of life. it was difficult or impossible for most people to give continuous or sufficient attention to them. The duties had to be performed in order that the congregation might preserve its unity and be an organic body; but all members of the congregation were equally eligible as officials according to their: fitness. At any moment any member might be selected by the voice and consent of his fellows for official position and honour; and such general consent and opinion was apparently regarded as the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Any such spontaneous yet solemn act of choice would have been naturally and reverently expressed in the words of the Decree issued by the Apostolic Congress in Jerusalem (Acts xv. 28): "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us."

Does this amount to the distinction between the clergy and the laity, as it is now understood ~ Certainly, it shows an essential difference from the distinction as it is understood in the Roman Church. The Bishop is to Paul an ordinary good Christian householder, ruling his family well. It is not to be understood that he must have a family; but that certainly was no disqualification (as it is in the modern Roman Church); and one cannot but feel that Paul, having regard to actual facts in a congregation and to human nature, had acquired the conviction that it was a positive recommendation in a candidate for office, that he had shown himself a judicious head of a family. The number of those who could lead the divine life devoted to God and sacrificing the family relationship (1 Cor. vii. 7 ff.) was too small to keep the congregational organization in good working order. Those exceptional persons would display their special: fitness, when they arose; but these recommendations are intended to guide choice among the ordinary Church members, and take no account of exceptional cases, which will impose themselves by their own power and the power of the Spirit.

No preparation or special training is prescribed either for Bishops or Deacons. The nearest approach to a period of training is the probation (whatever that was) which was prescribed in the selection of Deacons. When an order of clergy comes into existence, a period and system of training, instruction and preparation becomes practically a necessity. Every Christian was potentially a priest, though circumstances might deny him the opportunity of developing his position and training to its proper consummation. With such a view it seems inconsistent to draw any deep or essential distinction between priest and layman after the modern fashion (if I rightly understand that fashion).

Was the office of Deacon or of Bishop understood by Paul as one that could be laid down at will? Could the Bishop sink back into the position of an ordinary member of the congregation? It is certain that the office was permanent and not for a stated period. It was not on the level of the magistracies in the Hellenic cities, to which one was elected for a year or even less. It was on the grade of certain offices, chiefly or entirely hieratic, in the cities of Asia, which were held for life (διὰβίου). The individual was chosen on account of his fitness, and his fitness was practically a permanent and inalienable characteristic. There is in these regulations no question of or opening for ·relapse from the higher position.

Whether degradation in case of proved unfitness was possible is not stated: Paul's intention is to guard against the need of degradation by care in selection: he is not formulating a code of laws to meet all possible emergencies, but giving advice as to the best way of performing the urgent and unavoidable duty of selecting Bishops and Deacons.

That the office carried with it higher rank in the congregation, is evident throughout. Office is a worthy object of desire. Christians should aim at office, and are encouraged to be candidates for office. There is no reason to think that the number of officials was fixed, so that choice was needed only when a vacancy occurred. On the contrary, the clear assumption throughout is that no one is chosen, unless he possesses the qualifications entirely and without drawback. There is no question of filling up a vacancy by choosing the best available person, even though he has not all the qualifications. The Christian ideal is different. Every one who is fully worthy is chosen. It is not a case where a crown is awarded only to the single best competitor: all who deserve it win it.. The position of Bishop or of Deacon is honourable; but it means a life of continuous, self-sacrificing work,: not of mere outward honour and display.

The question, therefore, whether the officials in the Pauline Churches formed a clerical order as distinguished from the laity becomes a question of definition. What is meant by the terms clergy and laity? As those terms are now commonly understood, there was no such distinction in the early congregations. But there was a clear distinction between officials and ordinary members. The officials had proved to general opinion their right to be officials, i.e., to do habitually all that a Christian should do, and to be trusted with the management of the business and corporate life of the whole body; and that business was mainly, but not entirely, religious and charitable, didactic and hospitable; the officer was the servant of the servants of God.

If the definition of a clerical order is simply that the members have been marked out by the" laying on of hands," and if all other characteristics and conditions are regarded as unimportant, then there was a clerical order in the early Pauline Churches; but it was a very different institution from the clergy in the modern Churches.

The meaning of the Bishop's and Deacon's qualification, that he must be "no lover of money," or "not greedy of filthy lucre," has perhaps some bearing on this question. The general understanding seems to be that this indicates simply superiority to bribery. This is, no doubt, included in the connotation of the two terms; and that common Oriental failing was at least as dangerous and as necessary to guard against in the Eastern Church as it would be in the West. But one may well doubt whether that was the chief thought in Paul's mind. The second term, which is used about both Bishops and Deacons, means rather "not gaining money by dishonourable means," and really points to the idea that an official must not be engaged in any disgraceful or low-class trade. The thought is specially a Roman one; in Rome certain trades which were reckoned dishonourable, such as that of an auctioneer, constituted a disqualification legally for public office. Paul, having in the first place used the more general term, " not a lover of money" (ἀφιλάργυρος), afterwards employed the more definite expression (μὴ αἰσχροκερδής).

This raises the further question whether the Bishop, on election to office, abandoned his trade, and devoted himself wholly to official duties. That is a question which has been elsewhere treated; but there seems every probability that in some cases, at least, he continued (just as Paul himself did) to exercise his occupation.

XVIII. SLAVES IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

The attitude of Paul towards slavery is a difficult subject. Here his opinions were a compromise between two different forces, or a mean between two extremes. On the one hand, there shall be in the perfect Church no distinction of slave and free; all are free, all are on an equal footing in the religion of Christ. " There can be no distinction of nationality nor of sex ' there can be neither bond nor free; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."8 On the other hand, the established social system must not be hastily altered. After all, such a matter as this, which is part of an evanescent and transitional state, should not be regarded as if it were an absolute end in itself. The slave can live a life as truly Christian as the freeman can; and it is infinitely more important for him to live his own life well than to seek for emancipation in the present world. Paul's whole teaching on the subject is an expansion of the Saviour's principle:" Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."

The development of the Church, the conquest of the world for Christ: that was the present and instant duty. For that every Christian must work: having wrought out his own salvation, he must work out the salvation of others. To seek to revolutionize the existing system of Roman society could not conduce to that end, but might on the contrary seriously imperil it, and indefinitely postpone it.

Moreover, for a slave to make emancipation and freedom his first aim was a false system of action. To seek to get one's rights is not so important as to learn and to perform one's duties: the former is a narrower and a more selfish aim ~ the latter is as wide as the universe. The world in which the Christian has to live is evil: his life must always be encompassed with evils: it is of little or no importance to diminish those evils by one. Let him seek the kingdom of God, and the evils will be eliminated as that kingdom is realized on earth. He that loses his life shall gain it: he that sacrifices his freedom for the moment shall gain it in the long run.

Hence is explained the tone of Paul's counsel to Timothy. Not a word is said about the wrongs of slavery, or the right of man to be free. The omission is undoubtedly disappointing at first sight, and the advice given is apt to appear rather temporizing, as if Paul were making terms with evil. Yet, when one takes a dispassionate view of the whole situation, one recognizes that the spread of Christianity produced gradually a higher atmosphere 1of thought, in which slavery cannot live. The more fully Christianity is realized in any society, the more thoroughly will slavery be destroyed. It is not yet destroyed anywhere in all its forms; but its worst forms have been eradicated in the most Christian lands, and lessened over the whole world. The duty of seeking to establish equality of opportunities and rights is more generally recognized and admitted than it was in farmer ages. " 'Tis something: nay, 'tis much." Above all, it is now fully recognized that the Church should be the champion of freedom; and it is expected that teachers in the Church should preach freedom and discountenance slavery in every form. The platform on which human society moves and thinks is now on a higher and nobler level.

Moreover, the historical student, as he surveys the life of the Roman period, must: recognize that, if Christian teaching had made the establishment of the kingdom of God its secondary and remoter aim, and had begun by emphasizing the right of every man to be free, slavery would now be as universal as it was then, and there would be no Christianity. The religion which postponed the kingdom of God to the freedom of man would have lost -its vitality and sunk to the level of other religions; and its history would merely have added one more episode to the story of human degeneration.

Not merely was such an aim as the abolition of slavery in the Empire impossible of realization at the time; not merely would the striving after it have sacrificed purposes that were even more noble and more immediately pressing: it could not have been brought about without fighting; and the Christian teaching is against the pursuit of any object which is attainable only through war, especially civil war. It may be questioned by the observer of history whether any of the steps in national progress that have been gained at the cost of war have not been bought at too dear a price: certainly, the price has always to be paid in the long run, and it is heavy; and in the process of payment the value of the step in progress is seriously diminished. In many cases the student of past history must feel that the progress might have been more rapid, more beneficial, and less costly, if it had been sought by peaceful means and not by war.

Paul advises Timothy to teach that the Christian slave of a pagan master should honour, obey and respect his master. It would bring discredit on the Church, and cause ill-feeling against the Church in the society of the Roman Empire, if Christian slaves were found to be discontented or disobedient. The slave must cheerfully sacrifice his freedom, reconcile himself to his lot, and do the work that is ordered; the Name and the Teaching will thus be saved from discredit and vilification.

The next part of the advice causes even more difficulty to our modern view. Timothy is not directed to preach that a Christian master should discountenance slavery, or should even set free a slave who is a Christian. One may at first be disposed to think that Mohammed's teaching was better, because Mohammed laid down the principle that a slave who embraces Islam gains his freedom from a Moslem master. But Paul only advises that the Christian slave of a Christian master should serve all the more gladly, because he is doing service and giving help to a Christian; and strongly discourages the slave from showing any insolence, or presuming on the fact that master and slave meet together in the same assembly for common worship. lt is an opinion too widely spread to be altogether without justification, that mission training of converts in modern times has often tended to produce this temper in them; and the impression has been distinctly prejudicial to the cause of missions.

We must, however, bear in mind that, practically, Mohammed gave to the slavery of non-Moslems a religious sanction by enacting that slaves were only set free, if they adopted the religion of Islam. Mohammedanism has been a power that strengthened the hold of slavery on society by formally limiting the right of freedom. The Christian teaching always emphasizes the duties, and discourages the seeking after rights. Cheerful service, renunciation, self-sacrifice, form the lesson that it drives home into the minds of men. All else is secondary. That is primary, for it realizes the kingdom of God. The Christian must trust to the future.

There is, of course, no question as to any discrepancy between the teaching of this Epistle about slavery and the teaching of Paul elsewhere. The passages quoted from Colossians and Galatians express the consummation of the perfect Church. But in Ephesians vi. 5-9 the same practical advice as in 1 Timothy is given in even more emphatic terms. Again, in Philemon Paul sends a fugitive slave home to his master with an apology for his misconduct. He does indeed hint very delicately that the slave might gracefully be set free, but he does not suggest that freedom is his right, or that Philemon should set Onesimus free as a matter of duty. Rather, he puts as a personal favour to himself his hope that Philemon will receive the run-away kindly. The "rights of man" are not a Pauline idea; he urges only the duties of man.

The explanation of Paul's teaching about slavery, then, is that he is wholly out of sympathy with the modern principle that it is our duty to God to resist tyranny by any and every means and at all times. According to Paul our duty to God is to hasten the realization of the Kingdom of God. If resistance to tyranny conduces to that end, then the resistance is right. If submission to tyranny is more conducive, then we should submit. It is a question of means to an end; but the common modern mistake is to treat the means as an end in itself. The teaching of the early Church did not make that mistake; if it had, the consequences would have been fatal to the progress of the world.

W. M. RAMSAY.

 

 

1) μὴ πάροινον with its results, and ἀφιλάργυρον. One cannot draw much distinction between those epithets, and the different epithets applied to the Deacons: instead of ἀφιλάργυος, μὴ αἰσχροκερδεῖς is said of the deacons in I Timothy and of the Bishops in Titus. The phrase about wine-drinking is a. little more emphatic in the case of Deacons, μὴ οἴνῳ πολλῷ προσέχοντας. · On the sense of. the other pair of epithets, see next Section.

2) δοκιμαζέσθωσαν.

3) Dass eine solche Prfung hinaichtlich der Bischōfe angeatellt wrde versteht sich allerdings von selbst.

4) Even, if there was not a. probation in the sense of making the person under consideration do the work of the office on trial for some time, there was at least a. probation in the sense of some much more rigorous and practical trial than was imposed on one who was being considered as a possible Bishop.

5) In the preceding Section it was an omission not to lay stress on this aspect of the matter: what is there said is, I think, true in itself, but not complete.

6) See Luke the Physician, and other Studies: the last paper on the "Lycaonian Church in the Fourth Century."

7) P. 111. "Three things come out very clearly from this passage, confirming what has been found in the New Testament. (1) There is a clear distinction made between clergy and laity. (2) This distinction is not a temporary arrangement, but is the basis of a permanent organization. (3) A person who has been duly promoted to the ranks of the clergy as a presbyter or bishop holds that position for life. Unless he is guilty of some serious offence, to depose him is no light sin."

8) Gal. iii. 28; Col. iii. 11.