A Call to Pastoral Courage

This quote is taken from the first point of “Courage in the Ministry,” an address delivered to the students at Union Seminary by William G. T. Shedd in the late nineteenth century. The heart of the message is that, as we labor, we labor in service to the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all authority in Heaven and on earth has been given. Read and take courage!

Why should you, and why should all ministers of the gospel, be intrepid, fearless, resolute and bold? In the first place, because you serve the Son of God, the Almighty Redeemer, “by whom were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.” All this immense power is behind you, if you are really meek and lowly disciples and ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that this power is that of a living Person seated on an eternal throne. It is not the power of nature, but the power of God. It is not the energy of unconscious material laws and forces, but something infinitely mightier than they, even the intelligent and holy will of their Author and Controller. You are going forth to declare a message that has been given to you by him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, and to whom as their commissioned Mediator, the eternal Trinity have promised in solemn covenant that “His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” Zech 9:10 . . .

Now, constantly call to mind this Almighty power and Trinitarian promise, and be full of courage respecting the success of your errand in this world. The omnipotence of Jesus Christ needs to be remembered, in a world and an age when the power of man and of nature is greatly exaggerated and vaunted . . .

All power in Heaven and on earth is in his hands, in order to the progress of the gospel and the triumph of his kingdom; and he will use it when and where and how he pleases. He who called Lazarus from the grave, and will call all the dead from their graves, is mightier than nature, and is mighty to save, traveling in the greatness of his strength. And if you are meek and lowly before him; if you walk humbly by his side, and desire nothing but to make him honored and obeyed and adored here on earth; your work and message will be enforced by all of his omnipotence, and this will make you the boldest and most courageous of men.

William G. T. Shedd, “Courage in the Ministry,” in Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy, 1893, reprinted by Solid Ground Christian Books, 24-27.


About Eric Smith

Sinner saved by the grace of Jesus, husband of Candace, father of Coleman and Crockett, West Tennessean, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
This entry was posted in Church History, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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