Monday, September 20, 2010

Impatience in Ministry

While the form of the advice comes from a pagan, the substance of the advice is thoroughly biblical. Because we have a perfect Word from God, we know exactly what direction we must go. Our goal in the Church’s ministry must be the same as Paul’s—to present every man complete in Christ (Col. 1:28). Because our worship is to glorify God, and not to please ourselves, we must never rest content until we worship Him the way the twenty-four elders do. We must never rest until the Church returns to the doctrine of Christ’s efficacious death for the sins of His people, and the appropriation of that salvation by faith alone. We make haste because we still fall short of the perfection required by God’s Word. Even in times of relative purity, the Church needs constantly to reform itself according to the Word. How much more in times of corruption!

But because that same perfect Word also tells us to reject perfectionism, we must be patient as we labor toward this end. Impatience in the ministry is a sign of a revolutionary temperament, as opposed to reformational commitment. The revolutionary temperament is essentially impatient. The Christian Church is called to disciple the nations over the course of centuries, not to be social engineers for the next three weeks, maybe four. Our message is the cross of Christ, not a systematic and doctrinal bundle of plastic explosives. Our approach must be patient, organic, biblical, and inductive, and never ideological, abstract, and deductive. When a revolutionary mind gets hold of an abstract ideological system (and it does not much matter whether he calls it Marxism or Calvinism) and conducts all “reforms” in terms of deductions made from his abstraction in the sky, he has become what Hoffer pointedly called the “true believer.” The “truth” represented by the cause no longer matters, the cause does. And people just get in the way.
Douglas Wilson, Mother Kirk , pg. 81-82.

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