Pastoral courage

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As promised, a first snippet from Thomas Foxcroft, who advises us as to the correct and necessary balance and relationship between public and private ministerial responsibility. He gives this specific counsel:
Private inspection or pastoral visitation is of necessity to the same purpose as the public administrations. Hence we have ministers described in Song of Solomon 3:3 as watchmen who go about the city; and it is observable what follows: They "found me," says the spouse. They found her, not she them, plainly intimating that the ministers of the gospel must diligently seek out and look up the wandering and the straying, and maintain a watchful inspection over their flocks, even as the Good Shepherd looks after His sheep, going about and taking particular notice of all. The husbandman walks about in his garden and fields to observe the growth and decay of things, and makes all needful and suitable applications. So ministers must arm themselves with a becoming courage and resolution, and shake off that false modesty, that tame and vicious dread of offending men, which too often wretchedly prevails to the entire omission or sorry performance of this necessary and important duty; and apply themselves with all fidelity and holy boldness hereunto. But they must take heed to manage all with utmost prudent caution and discretion, careful not to use the instruments of a foolish shepherd, but in all points to concert such measures and improve such means as are best adapted to answer the end, so that their work may succeed.

Thomas Foxcroft, The Gospel Ministry (Grand Rapids, MI: Soli Deo Gloria, 2008), 40-41.
Posted January 8, 2013 @ 3:19 AM by Jeremy Walker

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