06 October 2009

The "Heinous Crime" of Anyone Who Teaches Anything [from Richard Baxter]

shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight,not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (1Peter 5.2-3)
I'm becoming more aware of my self-concern.

It's grievous to consider how much my work and happiness are governed by my reputation. Indeed, the pool of Narcissus is not far from this very confession.

The words of Puritan Richard Baxter moved me further down the road of repentance this morning. My prayer is that they will do the same for you and that we will all be more self-forgetful, Christ-exalting workers, regardless of our vocation.

A couple of quotes:
"[pride] maketh men, both in studying and preaching to seek themselves, and deny God, when they should seek God’s glory, and deny themselves. When they should inquire, What shall I say, and how shall I say it, to please God best, and do most good? It makes them ask, What shall I say, and how shall I deliver it, to be thought a learned able preacher, and to be applauded by all that hear me? When the sermon is done, pride goeth home with them, and maketh them more eager to know whether they were applauded, than whether they did prevail for the saving of souls.
Yea, so far doth this cursed vice prevail, that in great congregations, which have need of the help of many preachers, we can scarcely, in many places, get two of equality to live together in love and quietness, and unanimously to carry on the work of God. But unless one of them be quite below the other in parts, and content to be so esteemed, or unless, he be a curate to the other, and ruled by him, they are contending for precedency, and envying each other’s interest, and walking in strangeness and jealousy towards one another, to the shame of their profession, and the great wrong of their people."
Additional Resources:
A brutal collection of quotes from Chapter 3 of "The Reformed Pastor" in .pdf


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