Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gentleness in the Pastorate

John Frame gave a talk some time ago about the need for gentleness in the pastorate.  If you are actively involved in preaching/teaching God's word and you have a passion for truth then I want to encourage you to read this article:

Indeed, there has been among us, I think, some confusion about what to do with gentleness. Certainly the old liberal theologians distorted the concept when they used it in effect to eliminate the wrath and judgment of God from their preaching. God, they said, was so gentle, so kind, that he would never punish anyone for sinning against him. Thus they robbed God of his justice; indeed, they replaced the biblical God with a grandfatherly, lenient, and indulgent god out of their own imaginations. Together with this distortion of God was a distortion of Jesus. The liberal Jesus was a kindly soul who hugged babies and patted lambs on the head, but who had within him not a drop of righteous anger or jealousy for the truth. For the liberal, surely, such a God and such a Christ would not approve of any stern measures to preserve the holiness of his church. In liberal churches formal discipline for doctrinal matters, indeed even for moral transgressions, became a thing of the past. Evangelicals understandably reacted against that misunderstanding of the divine gentleness. They heaped ridicule and scorn upon the "gentle Jesus, meek and mild" of the liberal theologians and set forth Jesus as the risen and ascended Lord of heaven and earth, who would soon return in flaming fire to bring his terrible judgments on the earth. C. S. Lewis's Aslan was, he reminded us, not a tame lion. Christ is a "tiger." And so, we have argued, there is a place for formal discipline in the church. Sometimes pastors must be stern, strong, jealous for the righteousness of God. Many Reformed teachers today, fortified by such teaching as Abraham Kuyper's "life is religion," Van Til's apologetics of antithesis, Jay Adams' nouthetic counseling and the dominion theology of the Christian reconstruction movement, especially emphasize that Christians are not to be wimps. We are not to meekly tolerate the wickedness of our society, but we are to be a true Christian army, putting on the whole armor of God, casting down imaginations, bringing every thought captive to Christ, conquering all human enterprises in the name of King Jesus. So swings the pendulum, from walk-all-over-me liberalism to dominion militancy...(Click here to read the entire article)

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