Monday, May 18, 2009

Bridges on the Minister's Avoidance of Worldliness

In Charles Bridges’ (1794-1869) classic work on The Christian Ministry (Banner of Truth, 2006 [1830]) he lists the minister’s conformity to the world as one cause for inefficiency in ministry. He quotes from "Cecil’s Remains":

I fell into a mistake, when a young man…in thinking that I could talk to men of the world on their own ground, and could thus win them over to mine. I was fond of painting, and so I talked with them on that subject. This pleased them: but I did not consider, that I gave them consequence to their pursuits, which did not belong to them; whereas I ought to have endeavored to raise them above these, that they might engage in a higher. I did not see this at the time, but now I see it to have been a great error (p. 118, n. 3).

What a contrast from what most of us hear today! We are encouraged to relate to the cultural pursuits that capture our people. For the word "painting" above we could insert:

Finances, etc.

Bridges will have none of that. "Would the Levitical high-priests have descended from their sacred elevation of immediate intercourse with God, to participate in the frivolities even of decorous worldliness? And why should we, under a more spiritual dispensation, be less separate, or our standard less heavenly?" (p. 118).


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