As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.1 Peter 4:10-11 esv
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a white coat ceremony at a medical school. This is a ceremony for incoming students as they receive their first “white coat”; a symbol that they are entering their training as medical professionals.
At the end of the program, the incoming students, decked out in their new white coats, stood together and took the Hippocratic Oath. They do this at the beginning because the expectation is that the students will uphold the same ethics and behaviors as those who have achieved the status of a Medical Doctor. (They will take the oath again when they graduate)
Watching my daughter take this oath deeply moved me. First, because my baby girl has reached a height few achieve. (I was overcome with emotional daddy pride!) But it also occurred to me that she was taking an oath not all that unlike my ordination vows. Nicole was following her call.
So over the last couple of weeks I kept returning to this parallel of oaths and vows. I believe it was the LORD prompting me to review what underpins His call on me to ministry.
My ordination vows are, with the exception of one question, identical for the elders and deacons that serve in our church (there is a separate minister question, an elder question, and a deacon question depending on who is being ordained and installed).
So I thought I would review these questions with you. Why? Because I want to challenge you to ask if you can an affirm these questions as they are pretty straight forward and underpin much of what we are all supposed to believe and do as Christians.
So here they are. Can you say “I do” to these?
Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him Lord of all and Head of the church, and through him believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the church universal, and God’s Word to you?
Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church (examples of which are the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed) as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture leads us to believe and do, and will you be instructed and led by those confessions as you lead the people of God?
Will you fulfill your ministry in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture, and continually be guided by our confessions?
Will you be governed by our church’s polity (form of government), and will you abide by its discipline?
Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry, working with them subject to the ordering of God’s Word and Spirit?
Will you in your own life seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, love your neighbors, and work for the reconciliation of the world?
Do you promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church?
Will you pray for and seek to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love?
In your ministry, will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?