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Posts Tagged ‘Holmes on Homes’


A few years ago Christian Education Ministries, the discipleship board of the ARP, sent out free copies of William Still’s The Work of the Pastor.  I’m not sure if this had anything to do with Dr. Sinclair Ferguson having recently joined the ARP as pastor of First Presbyterian in Columbia, SC.  Still was his mentor when Sinclair was a young convert.

I started to read the book, but got distracted (as is often the case) and have recently picked it back up again since I’ve been finishing a number of the books that have been backlogged.  Just clearing the queue.

The first chapter is titled Feeding the Sheep.  Here Still rattles the cages of those people who de-emphasis preaching.  This, he argues, is our most important (but not only) task.  But first he lays out the goal of pastoral ministry, of which our preaching and teaching is a primary means.

“… its ultimate aim is to lead God’s people to offer themselves up to Him in total devotion of worship and service.”

True preaching is not merely information transfer (though this must happen) but life transformation.  We must not stop with what the text says, but what it means and how it is to be applied to life.  And one of the very first applications may be to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

“The pastor called to feed the sheep may find that his first calling is to evangelize the goats! … The pastor is called to feed the sheep, even if the sheep do not want to be fed. … You will certainly not turn goats into sheep by pandering to their goatishness.”

Still advocates preaching the full counsel of God, not just a few isolated gospel facts.  This does not mean you aren’t preaching the gospel (for justification and sanctification) each week.  It means you are to show how the whole of Scripture connects with the gospel.

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Here are my notes from Sinclair Ferguson’s lecture on Legalism in the Marrow Controversy.  As an interesting aside, I’m currently reading Costly Grace which is a modern application of Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship.  Many of the formulations there sound much like the conditional grace which plagued the Pharisees and the Church of Scotland.  That bears more thought.

Legalism

Robert Trail:  men who take a middle way have more kindness toward that extreme toward which they move than that from which they come.

John Simpson has been accused of propogating Arminianism.  He would later teach Arianism.  He was merely warned not to grant too much to natural reason.  The General Assembly had been moving away from free grace and toward legalism.  They were kind to this halfway house to full blown legalism.

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