In this session, Pastor Spurgeon concludes the lecture, The Call to the Ministry, with the following observation from his personal experience as the head of Pastors College:
“I do not set myself up to judge whether a man shall enter the ministry or not, but my examination merely aims at answering the question whether this institution shall help him, or leave him to his own resources…My heart has always leaned to the kindest side, but duty to the churches has compelled me to judge with sever discrimination. After hearing what the candidate has had to say, having read his testimonials and seen his replies to question, when I have felt convinced that the Lord had not called him, I have been obliged to tell him so.
“Young brethren apply who earnestly desire to enter the ministry, but it is painfully apparent that their main motive is an ambitious desire to shine among men. These men are from a common point of view to be commended for aspiring, but then the pulpit is never to be the ladder by which ambition is to climb.
“Men who since conversion have betrayed great feebleness of mind and are readily led to embrace strange doctrines or to fall into evil company and gross sin, I never can find it in my heart to encourage to enter the ministry, let their professions be what they may. Let them, if truly penitent, keep in the rear ranks. Unstable as water they will not excel. So, too those who cannot endure hardness, but are for the kid-gloved order, I refer elsewhere. We want soldiers, not fops, earnest laborers, not genteel loiterers.
“I have met ten, twenty, a hundred brethren, who have pleaded that they were sure, quite sure that they were called to the ministry because they had failed in everything else. My answer generally is, “Yes, I see, you have failed in everything else, and therefore you think the Lord has specially endowed you for his service; but I fear you have forgotten that the ministry needs the very best of men; and not those who cannot do anything else.
“We have occasionally had applications at which, perhaps, you would be amazed, from men who are evidently fluent enough, and who answer all our questions very well, except those upon their doctrinal views…I mention it because it illustrates our conviction that men are not called into ministry who have no knowledge and no definite belief. When a young fellow say that they have not made up their minds upon theology, they ought to go back to the Sunday-school until they have. For a man to come shuffling into a college, pretending that he holds his mind open to any form of truth, and that he is eminently receptive, but has not settled in his mind such things as whether God has an election of grace, or whether he loves his people to the end, seems to me to be a perfect monstrosity.”
Here ends, lecture #2.
4 thoughts on “Lecture #2: The Call to the Ministry (Last Session)”
How I enjoy hearing the thoughts of our early men of God. I am sure you have enjoyed these as well. May God bless you in your studies and desire to serve Him in 2014
Thanks so much for reading and commenting on the blog in 2013. Thanks also for your prayers and support. May you have a blessed 2014 as well.
Spurgeon’s clear warning to seminary students and those considering entering the ministry should be seriously considered by today’s ministerial candidates, especially in light of the fact that 60% of seminary and Bible school graduates leave the ministry within five years of taking their first church job (please see my post “The bad news/good news about what’s happening the church” at http://wp.me/p1fMZH-qD).
This is very shocking. Thanks for sharing and commenting. It is indeed true as Spurgeon elsewhere said that as much as you can keep away from the pulpit if you are not called.