Friday, June 15, 2007

Interview with Joel Beeke

Martin Downes posts the first part of an interview with Joel Beeke. Here is an excerpt:
How should a minister keep his own heart, mind, and will from theological error?
  1. Keep yourself deeply immersed in the Scriptures, and pray daily to be willing to surrender all to their inerrant truth.
  2. Surround yourself with sound, godly colleagues and lay people who love you sufficiently to be honest with you, so that iron will sharpen iron.
  3. Read the best, sound, scriptural, classic books, especially those by the Reformers and Puritans, that address your mind with clarity, convict your conscience with poignancy, bend your wills with conviction, and move your feet with passion.
  4. Meditate on those truths preached that do your people the most good; in every case, you will discover that they are biblical truths.
  5. Develop the hide of a rhinoceros so that you won’t be tossed about with every criticism and wind of doctrine while maintaining the heart of a child, so that you will be a tender undershepherd to the needy.
Calvin said that ministers have two voices. One is for the sheep and the other for warding off the wolves. How have you struck the right balance in this regard in your pulpit ministry?
  1. Pray daily for biblical balance in all areas of ministry.
  2. Love your sheep. Love has a way of balancing out our often imbalanced personalities. Those in error can receive much more from a minister who obviously loves them than from one who comes across as combative.
  3. Be patient with your sheep. Be willing to teach them the same truth repeatedly, just as the Lord has done with you (cf. Phil. 3:1; 2 Peter 3:1–2).
  4. Let your “voice for the sheep“ always receive the primary accent of your ministry. Truth must ultimately be positive in nature to win the day with a congregation. Many ministers have focused too much on polemical and apologetical theology, often setting up and beating upon straw men in their congregation to the detriment of the flock. Polemics and apologetics must have the proper place of a minor accent in the ministry, so that no error is left unexposed. But the minister must expose error wisely, forthrightly, humbly, compellingly, not by lording it over the sheep (2 Tim. 4:1–2; 1 Pet. 5:2–3).