(05/07/17) A Church Following the Good Shepherd - Fr. Justin Howard

Here is the Ordination Text Fr. Justin refers to in his message:

The Exhortation and Examination

All are seated except the Ordinand, who stands before the Bishop.

The Bishop addresses the Ordinand as follows

You have heard, during the Church’s discernment of your vocation and in the Holy Scriptures themselves how weighty is this Office to which you are called. I now exhort you, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to be a messenger, watchman, and steward of the Lord. You are to teach, to warn, to feed and to provide for the Lord’s family; and to seek for Christ’s sheep who are in the midst of this fallen world, that they may be saved through Christ forever. 

Remember how great is this treasure committed to your charge. They are the sheep of Christ for whom he shed his blood. The Church and Congregation whom you will serve is his bride, his body. If the Church, or any of her members, is hurt or hindered by your negligence, you must know both the gravity of your fault, and the grievous judgment that will result.

Therefore, consider the purpose of your ministry to the children of God. Work diligently, with your whole heart, to bring those in your care into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of God, and to maturity in Christ, that there be among you neither error in religion nor immorality in life. Finally, equip and lead your congregation to proclaim tirelessly the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Seeing then that the demands of this holy Office are so great, lay aside all worldly distractions and take care to direct all that you do to this purpose: read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the Scriptures, that you may show yourself both dutiful and thankful to the Lord; and frame your conduct, that of your household, and those committed to your care according to the doctrine and discipline of Christ. Know, however, that you cannot accomplish this of yourself; for the will and the ability needed are given by God alone. Therefore, pray earnestly for his Holy Spirit both to enlighten your mind and strengthen your resolve.

And now, that this congregation of Christ’s Church may know your intent in these things, and that your promise may inspire you to your duties; answer plainly these questions, which I, in the Name of God and his Church, now ask you.

Do you believe in your heart, that you are truly called, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and according to the Canons of this Church, to the Order and ministry of the Priesthood?

Answer         I so believe.

Bishop          Do you believe that the Holy Scriptures contain all doctrine required as necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? And are you determined, out of the Scriptures to instruct the people committed to your charge; and to teach nothing as necessary to eternal salvation but that which may be concluded and proved by the Scriptures?

Answer         I believe it, and have so determined, by God’s grace.

Bishop          Will you then give your faithful diligence always so to minister the doctrine, sacraments, and discipline of Christ, as the Lord has commanded and as this Church has received them, according to the Commandments of God, so that you may teach the people committed to your charge with all diligence to keep and observe them?

Answer         I will, by the help of the Lord.

Bishop          Will you be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Body of Christ all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God’s Word; and to use both public and private admonitions and exhortations, to the weak as well as the strong within your charge, as need shall require and occasion shall be given?

Answer         I will, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop          Will you be diligent in prayer, and in the reading of Holy Scripture, and in such study as may further the knowledge of the same, laying aside the study of the world and the flesh?

Answer         I will, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop          Will you be diligent to frame and fashion your own life, and that of your family, according to the doctrine of Christ; and to make both yourself and them, as much as you are able, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ?

Answer         I will, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop          Will you maintain and set forward, as much as you are able, quietness, peace, and love among all Christian people, and especially among those who are or shall be committed to your charge?

Answer         I will, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop          Will you reverently obey your Bishop, and other chief Ministers, who, according to the Canons of the Church, may have charge and authority over you, following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions, and submitting yourself to their godly judgments?

Answer         I will, the Lord being my helper.