I recently received a question from a young Christian who visited our Web site. While it is not possible for me to personally answer all of the letters we receive, this note did raise a few interesting questions, so I decided to share both his letter and my response. After a brief introduction, he wrote:
"I wanted to get your opinions on some things. I'm currently starting the application process for a degree in Bible at Oklahoma Christian. My question is this: what kind of a minister do you think God looks for? I noticed on one of your articles that you feel many are 'soft' and 'don't take the fight to Satan.' What, then, makes a good minister? Actually, I guess the better term would be evangelist, since that's more where my interests lie, not with just being a pulpit minister. Better yet, what makes a Christian an effective 'warrior'? What can we do to improve? I'm aware of many passages that speak on these things, but I do want your opinions."
It is late at night and I have to leave early in the morning, so please accept a few ramblings from me:
We are to preach the truth in love — all of the truth, even the truth that hurts. We preach the whole counsel of God because that is the only thing that can save the soul. When we preach anything less than the entire truth, we cease offering men the gospel (the good news).
Preaching the truth sometimes means we have to sternly rebuke those we love the most. We rebuke them because we love them, not because we want to hurt them. It is with a lump in the throat and a tear in the eye that we rebuke sin. My comments about "soft" preachers refer to those men (even some friends of mine) who will not rebuke certain sins because it might cost them their job.
I do not look at the lost people of the world as fools — I see them as people who have been deceived by the great deceiver. I know that they need to receive the grace of God, just like I needed it. However, some brethren are so diplomatic in their preaching that they could never cause a sinner to cry out, "What must I do to be saved?"
For over 20 years I have had a small quotation taped to the pulpit where I preach. I am not certain where I first found the quote, but it is one I try to live by: "The apostle Paul: he preached as though he would never preach again; a dying man to dying men."
I hope these thoughts help.
Yours in Christ,
David Padfield is the preacher for the Church of Christ in Zion, Illinois