Friday, July 24, 2009

The Minister's Greatest Sin

True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts (Mal 2:6-7).

It is acknowledged that we are not particularly proficient at continuing an actual series here at TPC. We trust it is in the interest of other necessary studies, counsel, and prayer.

We have been recently pierced two-fold by Malachi and Charles Hodge, who were not contemporaries, but probably would like each other. Malachi's rebuke of the priests in post-exilic Judah is as incisive and profound as it is simple... the main and singular task of God's priests is to hold forth true instruction that men, seeking it as from the Lord, would turn aside from sin.

Hodge's article, "Suggestions to Theological Students," captures the essence of the exhortation from Malachi:
Let him remember that truth is essential to holiness and salvation; that it has always been repulsive to the majority of men; and, therefore, difficult to maintain and uphold; that the responsibility of thus maintaining and transmitting it, rests mainly with the ministry; and that the fate of many generations may depend on their fidelity...

When we properly appreciate the necessity of truth to piety, the dreadful and long-continued consequences of its neglect, we shall feel that to be indifferent to its interests is one of the greatest sins of which a minister can be guilty; give heed, therefore, to your doctrines; hold fast the form of sound words; contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

- The Princeton Review 5/1 (1833).
The greatest dereliction of duty amongst ministers of Christ is not failing to be entertaining nor to proficiently administer the church's host of programs, it is to approach God's Word with an apathetic or trivial bent. How a host of ministers today have fallen into this great depravity!

May God turn back His ministers to fill their mouths with true instruction that His Church be repaired and His glory known among men. May He illuminate future generations so as to not depend upon the balance of today's ministers, but return to the truth, forsake the idols of their fathers, and forgive the infidelity of our age. May He graciously preserve this servant of Christ so that it would never be said that the word of Christ was too light a thing for him.