Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Office of a Minister Defined by Jonathan Edwards

"A minister by his office is to be the guide and instructor of his people. To that end he is to study and search the scriptures and to teach the people, not the opinions of men - of other divines or of their ancestors - but the mind of Christ. As he is set to enlighten them, so a part of his duty is to rectify their mistakes, and, if he sees them out of the way of truth or duty, to be a voice behind them saying, 'This is the way, walk ye in it.' (emphasis mine)
Hence, if what he offers to exhibit to them as the mind of Christ be different from their previous apprehensions, unless it be on some point which is established in the Church of God as fundamental, surely they are obliged to hear him. If not, there is an end at once to all the use and benefit of teachers in the church in these respects - as the means of increasing its light and knowledge, and of reclaiming it from mistakes and errors. This would be in effect to establish, not the word of Christ, but the opinion of the last generation in each town and church, as an immutable rule to all future generations to the end of the world."
--Jonathan Edwards, from the Journal on the Communion Controversy,
Dwight, Life of President Edwards, p. 358
Well, let me say two things: 1) May I always by God's unwarranted and inexplicable grace be found to be this kind of minister; and 2) Amen! Please close your bibles and let's be dismissed - here endeth the lesson!

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