Joe Thorn tagged me, with the following rules:
1) Grab the book closest to you.
2) Open to page 123; go down to the fourth sentence.
3) Post the text of the following three sentences.
4) Name the author and book title.
5) Tag three people to do the same.

I’ll pass on step 5. Sitting at my desk piled with various books both behind and in front of me (and some in the floor around me!), it’s a toss up on which is closest. So, to connect with the purpose of this blog, I reached for the closest one expressly on pastoral ministry, Charles Bridges’ classic, The Christian Ministry. Sure enough Bridges delivers with a powerful statement on the disastrous effect of the fear of man on pastors.

“Thus a minister under this deteriorating influence [the fear of man] chiefly deals in general truths devoid of particular application- more in what is pleasing than what is direct and useful. Many other subjects may be equally necessary, or indeed more important; but these are more conciliating. There is thus a continual conflict between conscience and the world- ‘I ought to speak for conscience sake; but I dare not speak for fear of the world.’ The offensive truth must be smoothed, disguised,
intermixed, until it is attenuated into an insipid, pointless, and inoperative statement.”

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