11 October 2010

They Never Avoid a Thousand Criticisms

John Calvin on the realities of pastoral ministry:
None are more exposed to slanders and insults than godly teachers. This comes not only from the difficulty of their duties, which are so great that sometimes they sink under them, or stagger or halt or take a false step, so that wicked men find many occasions of finding fault with them; but added to that, even when they do all their duties correctly and commit not even the smallest error, they never avoid a thousand criticisms. . . .

[T]he more sincerely any pastor strives to further Christ's kingdom, the more he is loaded with spite, the more fierce do the attacks upon him become. And not only so, but as soon as any charge is made against ministers of the Word, it is believed as surely and firmly as if it had been already proved. This happens not only because a higher standard of integrity is required from them, but because Satan makes most people, in fact nearly everyone, over credulous so that without investigation, they eagerly condemn their pastors whose good name they ought to be defending.
--commenting on 1 Timothy 5:19

Dad wisely reflected today on the need for a culture of grace. Surely one manifestation of a culture of grace is happily thinking the best of people and only with great reluctance detecting the bad, rather than suspiciously thinking the worst of people and only with great reluctance detecting the good. Especially when our pastors are in view.


Pete Scribner said...

Indeed, we ought to be gracious toward those whom God has appointed to be our shepherds.

At the same time, I am reminded of these words regarding pastors from R.C. Sproul in The Holiness of God:

"All preachers are vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy. In fact, the more faithful preachers are to the Word of God in their preaching, the more liable they are to the charge of hypocrisy. Why? Because the more faithful people are to the Word of God, the higher the message is that they will preach. The higher the message, the further they will be from obeying it themselves."

May those of us who are pastors heed this reminder, and be leaders in admitting our great need of grace.

heavenslight said...

Wow, thanks Dane...thats a very encouraging and insightful quote. Helps put things in perspective! Shaan