Thomas Murphy on Brotherly Kindness in Ecclesiastical Assemblies

In honor of the work being done at our federation’s Synod this week , I thought I’d post a little blurb by Thomas Murphy.  Though Murphy has this worded exhortationally, perhaps we can utilize it as a reminder of how we can pray for our brothers who are delegates in London right now:

It is, then, the duty of each member [of Synod/Classis/Etc.] to exercise a spirit of forbearance, of courtesy and of kindness in public deliberations and in all his intercourse with the bretheren.  If each one keeps a watch over his own spirit, an air of Christian friendliness will soon be felt pervading the whole assembly.  Each one, as he has opportunity, should strive to banish angry strifes.  he should pour oil on the troubled waters when from any causes they are aroused.  The evil effects of contention should always be dreaded, and the blessings which flow from brotherly love should be earnestly sought.  “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Every servant of God should learn to endure contradiction, even when it comes in the form of wounds inflicted in the house of friends.  Offenses will come as long as there are so many human infirmities adhering to us, as Christians are only partially sanctified.  It is like men to resent opposition, but it is like Christ to bear it.  In this, as in everything else, it is our blessed privilege to imitate his glorious example  To do so will require self-restraint; but with such an exalted aim, who would not rejoice even in that?

Thomas Murphy, Pastoral Theology: The Pastor in the Various Duties of His Office, 486.  (Order from the publisher here, or from Amazon here.)

A tall order indeed.  While sometimes conflict is necessary in church assemblies – e.g., when the gospel is at stake – my prayer for the brothers is that Christ will richly bless their business and that they will be able to enjoy time spent attending to the business of Christ’s church for the glory of his name!

Hang in there, brothers!  Keep up the great work!