Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recoiling at the Thought

Quoting from Dr. Glenn E. Heubel's paper "A Forgotten Paradigm: The Theology of the Cross":

No theologian of the cross expects outward success to be a necessary fruit of his faithful labors in the Word. He knows very well that the outward results may well have been just the opposite. He knows that the Spirit works faith when and where He wills in those who hear the Gospel" (Augsburg Confession, Article V). The humble theologian of the cross knows how foolish it is to compare one ministry of the Word with [another], as if the results depended upon the preachers (2 Cor. 10:12), and he recoils at the thought of being regarded as faithful simply because he has impressive stats. In fact, outward success may cause a faithful pastor to do a soul searching evaluation of his ministry! He may well ask himself such questions as: Am I watering down or compromising the Word in order to be liked? Am I calling all people to repentance or am I preaching a cheap grace? Am I dealing with the specific sins of my people or am I dealing with the world's sin or only with sin in general? Am I preaching the whole counsel of God's Word or am I evading difficult doctrines which may cause me problems? Am I holding high the cross of Jesus Christ or am I "caressing the devil"? Outward success is unusual for those who preach the cross of Christ.

photo credit: jdbradley

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