Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 4. Organization and Discipline of the Church” Loc. 13792-14769 (part 1).
§41. Progress in Consolidation.
The post-apostolic period was very important in development of the logicstics of a Christian organization. “The distinction of clergy and laity, and the sacerdotal view of the ministry becomes prominent and fixed; subordinate church offices are multiplied; the episcopate arises; the beginnings of the Roman primacy appear, and the exclusive unity of the Catholic church develops itself in opposition to heretics and schismatics” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13798). The organization finds itself on a path which can lead to sustained multi-generational growth. Schaff emphasizes that in this period the Chruch had no substantional connection with secular government (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13805). He reminds us that organization is ap erfectly normal thing, evident in the Old Testament as well (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13817).
§42. Clergy and Laity.
The idea of a specific priesthood with particular responsibilities is common to Judaism and most other religions. It was not a Christian innovation (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13824). Early Christianity had less of a distinction than did other groups (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13830). There seem to be certain people appointed for teaching, but the priesthood itself was found in Jesus (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13844). Yet, by the time of Ignatius and the Didache there are some who are routinely set apart for what we would recognize as a clerical function (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13850). By the third century these people are normally referred to as “sacerdotes” or priests (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13857). These leaders were appointed by laying on of hands. Schaff finds them quickly divided into three different levels of people: the deacons, the elders, and the overseers. Below these were some less prominent roles (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13863). Gradually the clergy were separated more from their secular lives and businesses. The congregations were intimately involved in this process. They approved or rejected clergy, even bishops (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13883). Laity continued in teaching roles even into the 5th century (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13896).
§43. New Church Officers.
As the Church grew more offices were created, mostly for service to the ordained officials (Schaff 2014, Loc. 13903). Schaff lists and describes several in brief.