The Unstarched Pastor

I received Covenant Seminary’s quarterly magazine yesterday, appropriately titled, Covenant. In an article on pastoral ministry, the author quoted Charles Spurgeon, who told his ministerial students in the 19th century:

That is the article I am deprecating, that dreadful ministerial starch. If you have indulged in it, I would earnestly advise you to “go and wash in the Jordan seven times,” and get it out of you, every particle of it. I am persuaded that one reason why our working men so universally keep clear of ministers is because they abhor their artificial and unmanly ways. If they saw us in the pulpit and out of it, acting like real men, and speaking naturally, like honest men, they would come around us… We must have humanity along with our divinity if we would win the masses. Everybody can see through affectations, and people are not likely  to be taken in by them. Fling away your stilts, brethren, and walk on your feet; doff your ecclesiasticism, and array yourself in truth.

In other words, guys, we must be real—real sinners with a real Savior. So let’s stop acting like our lives, marriages and homes are models of heavenly perfection. Let’s be as we are, as Paul said, the chief of sinners for the churches we serve, so that we may be examples of God’s mercy for those who are to believe. People will want us to be a substitute Jesus, putting us on a pedestal just a little lower than Christ. Don’t let it happen! Jump off for your life, and for theirs. For the good of the gospel, let’s be unstarched pastors, for the only one worth the title of Savior is Jesus. 

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