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Sacrament of Ordination 

I. Definition
         Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the clergy are ordained to celebrate the various church services.

         Some Protestants assert that Christ did not distinguish anyone in His church, suggesting that all members are equal and there is no need for designating specific individuals as ministers.


This viewpoint is fundamentally flawed for several reasons:
       1. Christ selected special individuals as Apostles, dedicating an entire night to prayer before choosing them. "And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples: and of them, He chose twelve, whom also He named Apostles." (Luke 6:12, 13)

2. He endowed them with unique privileges not granted to others, for example, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 18:18)

3. Before His ascension, He promised to be with them "even unto the end of the world," a promise that is understood to extend to their successors as well. (Matt. 28:20)

4. Upon Judas's departure from the Apostles, they convened, engaged in discussion and prayer, and selected a successor to fill the vacancy. (Acts 1:15-26) This action underscores the necessity of having designated individuals for God's service.

5. The Bible, especially the Acts of the Apostles, demonstrates that clergy had specific duties that laypeople could not assume, and each clergy category had distinct responsibilities. For example, Philip, as a deacon, lacked the authority to lay hands for the bestowal of the Holy Ghost, necessitating the sending of Peter and John from Jerusalem to Samaria. (Acts 8:17)

6. The Bible outlines specific criteria for selecting bishops and deacons. (1 Tim. 3; Tit. 1)

7. It also prescribes specific ordination procedures for the clergy, such as the laying on of hands. (1 Tim. 4:14)

8. Historical records unanimously affirm the presence of designated ministers in the church from the first century, with churches maintaining lists of their bishops from inception.


II. Institution of the Sacrament

       1. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself instituted this sacrament by appointing the twelve Apostles and the seventy disciples and sending them into the world before His ascension. (Matt. 28:19,20)

       2. St. Paul indicates that Christ appointed various roles within the church, including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. (Eph. 4:11)

III. The Visible Sign
The sacrament involves two visible signs:
      1. The laying on of hands, performed for bishops (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6), priests (1 Tim. 5:22), and deacons (Acts 6:6).
      2. The prayers of consecration. (Acts 6:6; 14:23)

IV. The Invisible Grace
       Ordained ministers receive a divine gift suited to their service, imparted by the Holy Spirit, who alone enables them to fulfill their duties. (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6)

V. Degrees of Holy Orders
      The Bible recognizes three degrees: bishops, priests, and deacons, each with specific roles and responsibilities.

VI. Ordination of the Clergy
      1. A bishop is consecrated by at least three bishops, as a single bishop alone cannot perform the consecration.
      2. Priests and deacons are ordained by the laying on of hands of a single bishop.
      3. Ordination for the same degree cannot be repeated if it was previously performed legitimately.


VII. Obligations of the Clergy
      1. Candidates for holy orders must be certain of their divine calling, blameless to serve as role models, and well-versed in scripture and church doctrine.
      2. After ordination, clergy are to serve not for monetary gain but as devoted shepherds responsible for their flock, ready to make sacrifices for their well-being.

Rev. Marcus Daoud

Tinsae Zagubae Printing Press

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