In earlier days this was different. One who consults older versions of our Church Order will discover that Art. 2 also mentions the office of doctor,
 teacher. In those older versions Art. 18 speaks of the task of the doctors or professors of theology. From this it is clear that by these doctors or teachers — for that is the basic meaning of the word "doctors" — the professors of theology were meant.
Where does this idea come from? It originates with John Calvin who understood the expression "pastors and teachers" in Eph. 4:11 as referring to two different offices, that of the minister of the Word ("pastors") and that of the doctors ("teachers") who, in Calvin's opinion, had a task towards the whole church in teaching and instructing men with a view to the ministry. Although Calvin later on changed his concept somewhat, his idea of the office of doctor as a special position and task remained and also influenced the thinking of the Reformed Churches.
Theodorus Beza, Calvin's successor in Geneva, was of the same opinion. He wrote in a commentary on Eph. 4:11 that he would rather follow Ambrose, who also considered the office of doctor to be a separate and special office. It is the task of the doctors, Beza wrote, faithfully to explain the Word of God and as it were to conduct an ecclesiastical school to the end that the pure doctrine of confession as well as the true explanations (of the Scriptures) be retained in the church.
In his confession of faith he wrote about the difference between pastors and doctors. The first point of difference, he stated, consists in this that the doctors must simply explain the Scriptures to understand their true meaning, and specifically that they teach the catechumens, that is, those who are still to be taught the principles of the Christian religion, but the pastors go much further, for by means of their sermons, they apply the doctrine to the needs of the church, for teaching, for admonishing, for comforting, and for exhorting in public as well as in private, according to need; they also offer the public prayers. Briefly, they watch day and night over their flock and feed it publicly and privately with the Word of God.
Nowadays this distinction is generally considered to be a wrong conclusion from Eph. 4:11. Without going into a detailed exegesis of this text, we remark that the apostle does not repeat the word "some" before "teachers," a fact which strongly supports the understanding of "pastors and teachers" as mentioning two aspects of just one office, that of the minister of the Word. It would therefore be just as incorrect to refer to the minister of the Word almost exclusively as the "teacher" as it is to call him almost exclusively the "pastor." There is no more beautiful title than that of minister, that is "servant" of the Word.We recognize three offices: that of the minister of the Word, of the elder, and of the deacon. In due time we shall say more about these three offices. Here they are just mentioned.