I (Shane) am heading to the Desiring God Pastors’ Conference in Minneapolis today. I don’t go to many conferences, I have to admit, but since this one is very close and since I can always use encouragement and instruction in the pastoral ministry, I’m heading there soon (if any of our readers are planning on being there, feel free to drop a note so we can say hello in person!).
On the topic of pastoral ministry, here’s a helpful word from Thomas Brooks that has to do with gospel preaching that strengthens weak Christians. In the context of this quote, Brooks is refuting some teachers and preachers who were saying that each Christian has a “bosom sin” or a “beloved sin” that besets them. His argument (summarized) is that while Christians may commit various sins, they do not love sins nor do they love to sin. Here’s one of his points (note especially the last short paragraph – which, as a pastor, I take to heart!):
“[The opinion that each Christian has a ‘bosom sin’ or ‘beloved sin’] may fill many weak Christians with many needless fears, doubts, and jealousies about their spiritual and eternal conditions. Weak Christians are very apt to reason thus: ‘Surely my conversion is not sound; my spiritual estate is not good; my heart is not right with God; a saving work has never yet passed upon me in power; I fear I have not the root of the matter in me; I fear I have never had a thorough change; I fear I have never yet been effectually called out of darkness into his marvelous light; I fear I have never yet been espoused to Christ; I fear the Spirit of God has never taken up my heart for his habitation; I fear that after all my high profession I shall at last be found a hypocrite; I fear the execution of that dreadful sentence, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed’—because I carry about with me my besetting sins.’
Ministers had need be very wary in their preaching and writing, that they don’t bring forth fuel to feed the fears and doubts of weak Christians, it being a great part of their work to arm weak Christians against their fears and faintings.”
covenant presbyterian church (OPC)