Godly Practices and Pastoral Theology

 I love these paragraphs from Martin Bucer’s Concerning the True Care of Souls.  It starts with a general maxim Bucer sets forth.

When people are lax about church practices there is to be found weakness in their Christian lives.

This is the principle and general way of strengthening the weak and foolish sheep of Christ.  Therefore, where there are Christians who are not diligent in attending the church of God and the holy assemblies, and show themselves to be somewhat cool in their attitude towards the blessed practices of the church, praises, prayers, general almsgiving, the sacraments, and so on, the most important thing is to make such people joyful and passionate about these godly practices.  For even though one may not yet notice any specially disorderly living, nor any special timidity under the cross or valuing the world too highly and Christ too lowly, these weaknesses will without doubt soon appear and break out as soon as offences and objections come.  These are also generally those who err in their Christian understanding first in one direction and then in another, because they do not really long to have the mind of Christ.

Now, the particular degrees and forms of weaknesses of Christ’s sheep which we will come across are pointed out in the texts which we have quoted.  Those who are disorderly the Apostle tells us to warn and admonish.  Those who are weak in the faith, that is, in their understanding of Christ, are to be lifted up, and not subjected to searching examination of their thoughts and consciences.”

As I’ve mentioned here before, this is an oustanding Reformation resource for pastors and elders: Concerning the True Care of Souls.

shane lems

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