A preacher can preach on a sin he hasn’t experienced
because he doesn’t have to eat
the swill to preach
A preacher can preach on a sin he hasn’t experienced
because he doesn’t have to eat
the swill to preach
Parson to Person
is not unusual for adults to tire easily over the apparent,
bottomless, curiosity of a small child. From such questions as “Where
do the white clouds go at night,” to “How does this work,” to
endless interrogatives of “Why,” the pressing need for
information to bring order, understanding, and meaning to life itself
persists, and that is so good! It is a shame that much of that is
stiffled in mature adulthood (after all, one does not want to appear
to be ignorant). Ultimately, it is a loss that bears its own
irrevocable reward in time and eternity. Think about it!
I relate here an old story of an ambitious preacher’s nightmare. A young minister whose zeal far outstripped his wisdom came face to face with his religious motivation one fateful night. In his dream, he met and had a conversation with the Lord. He earnestly besought the Lord to make him a popular, widely accepted preacher. To his dismay, the Lord simply asked, “Why?” Somewhat befuddled, he went on to say that he wanted to be respected as a wise, holy man among his peers. Again, the Lord retorted, “Why?” The preacher quickly searched for an answer to the unexpected question. He stated that he wanted to build a large, megachurch with multiple staff, and magnificent choirs. Once more, the Lord asked “Why?” It was then that he awakened with profound thoughts to settle, all relating to the piercing question “Why.” All of God’s people, and especially ministers of the gospel would do well to identify with the ambitious preacher. Spiritual realities are often far removed from fleshly religion, no matter how noble the intent may be.
Truly, to be legitimately added to the church of the Lord Jesus, in covenant relationship with Him is a deep, personal, spiritual state to be nourished through the sustainment and constraints of the Word. Failure in this discipleship will find one sinking into the perpetual status quo of spiritual infancy in which the flesh delights in the external talking points of religion, as Paul told Timothy. “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” On the other hand, realizing He must increase, but I must decrease subjugates any religious pomp of man to the well grounded status of belonging to Him. It is He who gives the increase, and except He build the house, labor is in vain, and the degree of glory one might receive from the plaudits of men is the degree of robbery perpetrated upon His work. I do not reference or laud spiritual lethargy, but commitment without reservation to the King of glory. Jesus underscored this principle in His kingdom parables, saying: “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” Luke 17:10
September 8, 2015 Dose of Reality by Joseph Harris Number 322
Comments on Current Events in Government, Religion, Culture, and the Family, from a Conservative Biblical Perspective
All material in Dose of Reality (including writings and quotes from Brother Ritechus N. Dignation) is original, unless otherwise indicated. Original material may be republished and quoted without prior permission, but only verbatim and with Joseph Harris andwww.josephharrismagic.com/rnd included for credit.
PASTOR, PASTORS, POPES, AND DEACONS
Much that is made in history over strict orthodoxy in the church both in practice and in names seems to be falling by the wayside in the modern dumbing down of churches through what seems to be endless expansion of definition of terms. I reference primarily the term “pastor.” Are you ready to think with me? Please do!
An illustration of the subject matter at hand is the recent abandonment of the office of Pope by the head of the Catholic Church. According to them, he is the vicar of Christ, successor, of the apostle Peter. That title designates a single authoritative individual succeeding the previous one at death. . . . until now. So, the Pope decided for whatever reason, he did not want to be Pope any longer. A new one must be elected, but the former one is still alive and so designated as that successor. Now there are two living popes. Confusing? Rather! But this is an illustration. On the other hand, what is going on in the Lord’s churches?
A New Testament church has two divinely created offices: pastor and deacon. God calls men into the gospel ministry qualifying them to be the pastor of one of His churches. Churches select men (deacons) to serve them in various capacities as they have need. This has been the biblical and time honored status for the past two thousand years, but things appear to be changing in many churches.
Nowadays, some churches, large or small, have weakened the meaning and exclusiveness of “pastor” by designating others not having a life calling of God to that office as a youth pastor, a seniors’ pastor, a worship pastor (song leader), perhaps a nursery pastor, as well as a senior pastor who usually is the God-called minister and spiritual leader, but not always senior in age. The stripping or expanding of the strict definition of a church pastor to include most any and everything surely lends much deterioration to the meaning and respect of the office and office holder. This usually emanates from a desire to exceed Bible elevation of those who serve in various ministries of the church or else from a desire to lessen the exclusiveness of the God-called leader or both, and it is not good (strange as it seems, this practice makes some unseasoned pastors feel important). Soon every Sunday School Teacher will be known as a “Class Pastor” which leaves only the folks in the pews. Surely they will become known as “Pew Pastors.” If a title must be bestowed on those who serve the church who are not the God-called, spiritual leader, then what is wrong with “deacon?” It is a good, biblical word and it literally means “servant.” It would be so much more fitting and honorable to them who are not called of God into a separate life of spiritual leadership as is a God-called pastor, but are so selected by the church that they serve which may define the description and duration of their duties. But then, what is the real purpose in any action such as this multi-pastor title in the first place? Doubtless, every extra-scriptural action consistently yields increased, undesirable, and possibly unscriptural results. Chalk this writer up as a voice of old-school Baptists.
“He had the finest voice of any public man of his time.”
October 07, 1857 – Charles Haddon Spurgeon, in his 23rd year, preached to 23,654 persons by turnstile count, the all-time attendance record, “the greatest crowd ever addressed by a Gospel preacher,” (to that time), in the central transept of the cyclopean Crystal Palace, a building so large that it was “apparently unenclosed for vastness.” The occasion was a fast-day service. Another interesting incident in connection with this…meeting was Spurgeon’s private afternoon acoustical test in the empty building. He lifted his golden voice and cried, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” A workman in a high gallery heard the voice, was smitten with conviction, put down his tools, went home, and after a season of spiritual struggle, found peace and life by beholding the Lamb of God. Spurgeon must have possessed an extraordinary vocal ability during his ministry in London. One historian says, “He had the finest voice of any public man of his time.” We know that George Whitefield also addressed huge crowds in America. “Benjamin Franklin measured the area reached by his voice and declared, ‘I computed that he might well be heard by more than 30,000.’” Spurgeon was called to the New Park Street Church on April 19, 1854. Within a year’s time, it was necessary to secure a larger building. In less than 3 years they had grown by 425%! In Feb. 1855 Exeter Hall was secured, and then they moved on Oct. 19, 1856 to the Royal Surrey Gardens with its three tiers of Galleries that seated 12,000. For three years they averaged over 10,000. That golden voice was silenced in death on Jan. 31, 1892.
A 29-year-old attorney, Charles Finney saw so many Scripture references in Blackstone’s Law Commentaries that he bought a Bible.
On October 10, 1821, he decided to head into the woods near his home, saying:
“I will give my heart to God, or I never will come down from there.”
After several hours, he returned to his office, later writing:
“The Holy Spirit…seemed to go through me, body and soul…Indeed it seemed to come in waves of liquid love, for I could not express it in any other way.”
The next morning, at his law office, a church deacon suing a fellow-church member asked Finney about his case. Finney replied:
“I have a retainer from the Lord Jesus Christ to plead his cause, and cannot plead yours.”
Finney began preaching, presenting the Gospel with a convincing lawyer’s argument and praying in common, colloquial language.
He began the tradition of an ‘altar call’ in his 1830 revival in Rochester, New York:
“I had found, that with the higher classes especially, the greatest obstacle to be overcome was their fear of being known as anxious inquirers. They were too proud…
Something was needed, to make the impression on them that they were expected at once to give up their hearts;
something that would call them to act, and act as publicly before the world, as they had in their sins;
something that would commit them publicly to the service of Christ…
I had called them simply to stand up in the public congregations…to bring them out from among the mass of the ungodly, to a public renunciation of their sinful ways, and a public committal of themselves to God.”
Finney’s revival preaching paved the way for evangelists Dwight L. Moody, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham.
Charles Finney’s 1835 Revival Lectures inspired George Williams to found the YMCA-Young Men’s Christian Association-in 1844.
He inspired William and Catherine Booth to found what would be called The Salvation Army in 1865.
Charles Finney formed the Benevolent Empire, a network of volunteer organizations to aid poor and aged with healthcare and social needs, which in 1834 had a budget rivaling the Federal Government.
Finney organized the Broadway Tabernacle in New York in 1831.
While Charles Finney was president of Oberlin College, 1851-1866, it was a station on the Underground Railroad smuggling slaves to freedom.
Under his leadership, Oberlin College granted the first college degree in the United States to a black woman, Mary Jane Patterson.
Charles Finney died AUGUST 16, 1875.
Concerning the Kingdom of God, he wrote
“Every member must work or quit. No honorary members.”
Charles Finney wrote:
“The time has come for Christians to vote for honest men, and take consistent ground in politics or the Lord will curse them…
Politics are a part of a religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to their country as a part of their duty to God.”
Charles Finney concluded:
“God will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics.”
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.
The importance of a godly wife
Only eternity can reward the wives of the great preachers of the past such as the godly wife of Benjamin Keach, who at 28 years of age, was called to pastor the Baptist church at Horsleydown London in 1668. This holy lady, who had borne him five children in ten years, died in 1670, and Keach wrote a poem in her memory entitled “A Pillar Set Up.” In this poem he gave her a very great and noble character, commending her for her zeal for the truth, sincerity in religion, uncommon love to the saints, and her content in whatsoever condition of life God was pleased to bring her to. He particularly observes, how great an help, and comfort, she was to him in his suffering for the cause of Christ, visiting, and taking all possible care of him while in prison, instead of tempting him to use any means for delivery out of his troubles, encouraging him to go on, and counting it an honor done them both, in that they were called to suffer for the sake of Christ. He also said that some acknowledged that their conversion to God was thro’ the conversation that they had with her.” Two years after her death, he married a widow of extraordinary piety with whom he lived thirty-two years. Susanna Partridge bore him five daughters, the youngest of whom married Thomas Crosby, a renowned Baptist historian. After the death of Keach, she lived with her daughter and son-in-law, and Crosby wrote of her, “She lived with me…the last twenty years of her life. I must say, that she walked before God in truth, and with a perfect heart, and did that which was good in His sight. She lived in peace, without spot and blameless.” Many godly wives saw their husbands pilloried, imprisoned, and treated roughly, and the encouragement of these women provided the strength that kept them strong. Keach died July 18, 1704. Joseph Stennett preached from, “I know whom I have believed.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From this Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 294-95.
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He followed his father
The name “Stennett” for many years was associated with “Baptist preacher” in England, for Samuel Stennett’s “great-grandfather Edward, his grandfather Joseph, and his father…whose name was also Joseph, were well known Baptist ministers and citizens in that day.” Also his brother Joseph Stennett, and his son, Joseph, were also Baptist ministers.” Samuel however was the most famous of this preaching family. Born in Exeter, he became proficient in the Greek, Latin, and Oriental languages. He fell under conviction as a young man and was baptized by his father which began an association with the Baptist church in Little Wild Street that would last for over fifty years. On June 30, 1747 the church called him to assist his father and ten years later he assumed the pastorate and was ordained on June 1, 1758, which was led by the famed theologian, John Gill. On entering the pastorate, he said to his congregation, “I tremble at the thought.” For forty-seven years Stennett served the church and was an outstanding leader for religious liberty. Numerical growth was experienced and the church buildings rebuilt. Stennett wrote several volumes, but more importantly, several of his hymns have survived the test of time one of which is, “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand.” Another is Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned.” These hymns of adoration and anticipation have lasted for more than two hundred years. The death of Mrs. Stennett was a great blow to the man of God. His sermons were especially remembered during that time for their blessing. He said to his son, “Christ is to me the Chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely.” On Aug. 25, 1795, at 68 years, he passed into glory and his body was buried in Bunhills Fields among the Baptist dissenters.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson/, p. 225.
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