Archive for the ‘faithful pastors’ Category

Faithful pastors encourage the timid

November 24, 2012

Beware of any church or ministry that does not have time for the timid. If church leaders are interested only in goig for the able, the elite, the storm troopers as it were, then we have lost one of the great strands of New Testament Christianity.

David Jackman, The Authentic Church, Christian Focus, 1998, p.165

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he is the Redeemer’s enemy who through the good works which he does covets being loved by the Church instead of Him

April 26, 2010

(The ‘ruler’ could be translated ‘pastor’)

Meanwhile it is also necessary for the ruler to keep wary watch, lest the lust of pleasing men assail him; lest, when he studiously penetrates the things that are within, and providently supplies the things that are without, he seek to be beloved of those that are under him more than truth; lest, while, supported by his good deeds, he seems not to belong to the world, self-love estrange him from his Maker. For he is the Redeemer’s enemy who through the good works which he does covets being loved by the Church instead of Him; since a servant whom the bridegroom has sent with gifts to the bride is guilty of treacherous thought if he desires to please the eyes of the bride. And in truth this self-love, when it has got possession of a ruler’s mind, sometimes carries it away inordinately to softness, but sometimes to roughness. For from love of himself the ruler’s mind is inclined to softness, because, when he observes those that are under him sinning, he does not presume to reprove them, lest their affection for himself should grow dull; nay sometimes he smooths down with flatteries the offence of his subordinates which he ought to have rebuked. Hence it is well said through the prophet, Woe unto them that sew cushions under every elbow, and make pillows under the head of every stature to catch souls (Ezek. xiii. 18); inasmuch as to put cushions under every elbow is to cherish with bland flatteries souls that are falling from their uprightness and reclining themselves in this world’s enjoyment. For it is as though the elbow of a recumbent person rested on a cushion and his head on pillows, when the hardness of reproof is withdrawn from one who sins, and when the softness of favour is offered to him, that he may lie softly in error, while no roughness of contradiction troubles him.

Gregory the Great

source

Christian saw a picture of a very grave person hang up against the wall; and this was the fashion of it: it had eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, the law of truth was written upon his lips, the world was behind his back; he stood as if he pleaded with men, and a crown of gold didst hang over his head

December 8, 2009

Christian saw a picture of a very grave person hang up against the wall; and this was the fashion of it: it had eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, the law of truth was written upon his lips, the world was behind his back; he stood as if he pleaded with men, and a crown of gold didst hang over his head.

John Bunyan’s picture of a true and faithful pastor, quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.276

The ‘crown of gold’ stands for perseverance.

divers Nonconformists pitying the dying and distressed People, that had none to call the impenitent to Repentance, nor to help them to prepare for another World, resolved that no obedience to the Laws of any mortal Men whatsoever could justify them for neglecting of Men’s Souls and Bodies in such extremities

December 8, 2009

…divers Nonconformists pitying the dying and distressed People, that had none to call the impenitent to Repentance, nor to help them to prepare for another World, resolved that no obedience to the Laws of any mortal Men whatsoever could justify them for neglecting of Men’s Souls and Bodies in such extremities.

Richard Baxter, describing how those ministers ejected from their minsitries in 1662 returned to their flocks during the plague of 1665. The ministers who had taken up the vacant posts had abandoned their flocks to seek refuge from the plague.

Quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.246

People will never set their faces decidedly towards heaven and live like pilgrims until they really feel that they are in danger of hell

October 21, 2009

Now I believe the likeliest way to cure and mend…defective… religion is to bring forward more prominently the old scriptural truth about the sinfulness of sin. People will never set their faces decidedly towards heaven and live like pilgrims until they really feel that they are in danger of hell. Let us all try to revive the old teaching about sin in nurseries, in schools, in training colleges, in universities. Let us not forget that “the law is good if we use it lawfully” and that “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (1 Tim. 1:8; Rom. 3:20; 7:7). Let us bring the law to the front and press it on men’s attention. Let us expound and beat out the Ten Commandments and show the length and breadth and depth and height of their requirements. This is the way of our Lord in the sermon on the mount. We cannot do better than follow His plan. We may depend upon it, men will never come to Jesus and stay with Jesus and live for Jesus unless they really know why they are to come and what is their need. Those whom the Spirit draws to Jesus are those whom the Spirit has convinced of sin. Without thorough conviction of sin, men may seem to come to Jesus and follow Him for a season; but they will soon fall away and return to the world.

J.C.Ryle, Holiness, ch.1, ‘Sin’

The plain exhibition of the doctrines of the Gospel was exceedingly offensive to many of (Henry Martyn’s) hearers

October 9, 2009

The plain exhibition of the doctrines of the Gospel was exceedingly offensive to many of (Henry Martyn’s) hearers. Nor did the ferment thus excited subside quickly, as it often does, into pity or contempt. He had the pain very shortly after, of being personally attacked from the pulpit by some of his brethren, whose zeal hurried them into the violation, not only of an express canon of the Church, but of the yet higher law of Christian charity, and led them to make an intemperate attack upon him and upon many of the truths of the Gospel. Even when he was himself present at Church, Mr. ______ spoke with sufficient plainness of him and of his doctrines, calling them inconsistent, extravagant and absurd; drawing a vast variety of false inferences from them, and thence arguing against them — declaring, for instance, that to affirm repentance to be the gift of God— and to teach that nature is wholly corrupt, was to drive men to despair — that to suppose the righteousness of Christ sufficient to justify, is to make it unnecessary to have any of our own. Though compelled to listen to this downright heresy; to hear himself described as knowing neither what he said, nor whereof he affirmed — and as speaking only to gratify self-sufficiency, pride, and uncharitableness, — “I rejoiced,” said this meek and holy man thus unjustly aspersed, “to receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper afterwards — as the solemnities of that blessed ordinance sweetly tended to soothe any asperity of mind; and I think that I administered the cup to ______ and _______, with sincere good-will.”

The Life and Letters of Henry Martyn, John Sargent, Banner, 1985, p.154-155

In all companies where he did come he would freely reprove any sin, and misbehaviour which appeared in any person, especially swearers, filthy talkers, and Popish praters

September 26, 2009

(Sampson spoke thus of his friend John Bradford): Neither was he only such a practiser of repentance in himself, but a continual provoker of others thereunto, not only in public preaching, but also in private conference and company. For in all companies where he did come he would freely reprove any sin, and misbehaviour which appeared in any person, especially swearers, filthy talkers, and Popish praters. Such never departed out of his company unreproved. And this he did with such a Divine grace and Christian majesty, that ever he stopped the mouths of the gainsayers. For he spoke with power and yet so sweetly, that they might see their evil to be evil and hurtful unto them, and understand that it was good indeed to the which he laboured to draw them in God.

J.C.Ryle, Five English Reformers, Banner, 1994, p.126

The life to come is more sweet, and the death to come is more bitter

September 26, 2009

(On John Hooper’s last night before martyrdom under Bloody Mary) Sir Anthony Kingston, whom he had once offended by rebuking his sins, came to see him, and entreated him, with much affection and many tears, to consult his safety and recant. ” Consider,” he said, ” that life is sweet, and death is bitter. Life hereafter may do good.” To this the noble soldier of Christ returned the ever memorable answer :  “The life to come is more sweet, and the death to come is more bitter.” Seeing him immovable, Kingston left him with bitter tears, telling him, ” I thank God that ever I knew you, seeing God did appoint you to call me to be His child. By your good instruction, when I was before a fornicator and adulterer, God hath taught me to detest and forsake the same.” Hooper afterwards said that this interview had drawn from him more tears than he had shed throughout the seventeen months of his imprisonment.

J.C. Ryle, Five English Reformers, Banner of Truth, 1994, p.55