I join with John Angell James in underscoring the following as of the greatest importance. Few posts of mine are issued with a deeper and more profound sense of awe at the weight of what is discussed as is this one. If the stats are true that 1500 ministers leave the ministry per month due to moral failure, discouragement or burn-out, then we MUST read and HEED these words of wisdom! He writes:
I trust our churches will consider piety as the first and most essential qualification in their pastors, for which talents, genius, learning, and eloquence, would and could be no substitutes.
And then James gives this warning: "It will be a dark and evil day when personal godliness shall be considered as secondary to any other quality in those who serve at the altar of God." But I fear that this is exactly what has occurred. Try to discuss among Christian leaders (perhaps even Pastors) their love for God and you may just get a "deer-in-the-headlights" look. Sometimes it seems as though the intimate pursuit of God is just something from bygone days. Well, if that is so, please for Christ's sake let us bring back those days! As it is, it seems abundantly evident that we are living, as James says, in "a dark and evil day."
But still there is something else wanted in addition to natural talent, to academic training, and even to the most fervent evangelical piety, and that is, intense devotedness. This is the one thing, more than any or all other things, that is wanting [lacking] in the modern pulpit, and that has been wanting in most ages of the Christian church.
NO MINISTRY WILL BE REALLY EFFECTIVE, WHATEVER MAY BE ITS INTELLIGENCE, WHICH IS NOT A MINISTRY OF STRONG FAITH, TRUE SPIRITUALITY, AND DEEP EARNESTNESS. (British Quarterly Review)
Here, then is the heart of our problem in the ministry today. It is not effectively any different than it was in James' day (19th C), for the issues remain the same, sin and faithlessness.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6). Evermore let this be the light that shines forth from each of us who names the name of Christ, ESPECIALLY we who are called ministers of the gospel!