Friday, January 13, 2012

Wisdom from John Newton

Newton regarded it as of first importance for ministers to understand that grace matures slowly.  Few lessons were repeated more often to fellow ministers than this one.  It comes up repeatedly:

"God works powerfully, but for the most part gently and gradually."

"He does not teach all at once, but by degree."

"A Christian is not of hasty growth, like a mushroom, but rather like the oak, the progress of which is hardly perceptible, but in time becomes a great deep-rooted tree."

....For Newton, God's great patience in His people's slow progress in grace and truth was a lesson that ministers must ever remember.  Preachers are to teach, but they do not control the pace at which grace develops in their hearers.  They cannot give the experience that prepares a Christian for fuller light.  He concluded that it is a dangerous thing to hurry young believers into an acceptance of teaching they are not ready to receive....If pastors do not observe this principle and lack wisdom and gentleness in presenting the truth, they ought not to be surprised at bringing trouble into their churches.

Ian Murray
Pages 101-103

No comments: