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Bede, the Pastor

The Ancient Christian Texts series from IVP is a real treasure, as it provides access to writings of the Patristic era. I have been recently thumbing through the new volume, Commentaries on Genesis 1-3, which contains writings from several men including Bede the Venerable.

In the introduction to Bede’s commentary, the following quote struck me as an appropriate description of a pastor:

Bede was “a scholar on the brink between two worlds, an ancient one he knew only from books but which he still loved dearly, and a modern one, which he frequently criticized, but whose inhabitants, the English, the newest of God’s elect peoples, he also loved dearly.” (xvi) [quoting Joseph F. Kelly, “1996 NAPS Presidential Address on the Brink: Bede,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 5 (1997): 85]

This should be true of all pastors. If we live in only the ancient world we will be merely nostalgic, not very helpful to our people and perhaps irritable with them for not being like the world we really love.  If we live only in the current world we will not have a standard by which to point out the errors of our world and by which to guide our people carefully. May we stand faithfully “on the brink” proclaiming God’s word our people, whom we love dearly.

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