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Monday, February 6, 2017

A Word to Ministers of the Gospel

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

For ministers of the Gospel, teaching others continues until maturity is reached and maturity is required to make new converts. This is not about feelings or emotions. Teaching and discipleship appeal to the mind and to the will.

Karl Hinrich Rengetorf wrote:
“The whole teaching of Jesus is with the view to the ordering of life with reference to God and one’s neighbor (Mt 22:37ff and par 1 of 19:16ff). Thus his teaching constantly appeals to the will, calling for the practical decision either for the will of God or against it.”
While the teaching or instructing appeals to the will and is to lead to understanding, the  understanding is not as a prerequisite to faith. We are to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not rely on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:4, 5).

This is not blind obedience. Once the will has yielded to the Gospel, attention is given to a growing understanding of the principles of Gospel living (John 15:8, 14, 15; Matt 13: 16–18 ff; Eph 1: 15–23; 4:11–18).

I think that there is a good application here. The Greek teachers gained their status and authority through superior logic and rhetoric. This is how they built up a following of students (disciples). They appealed to the mind.

In proclaiming the Gospel, the first step is to bring the human will into wholehearted submission to the authority of God. Then comes understanding of what our Lord has revealed in the Scriptures. Then follows obedience.

How can we say that we are being fully obedient, if we do not evangelize, baptize and teach? How can we say we are obedient if we fail to make disciples who also make disciples?

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?" (Romans 10:14)

Related reading: Teaching: An Instrument of DisciplingThe Central Command and Christ's Authority

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