Andrew Fuller Friday: On Bringing Peace to Your Pastor

“Let us, therefore, follow after the things which make for peace.”—Rom. 14:19.

My dear brethren, in complying with your request to address you, on the present occasion, I shall study plainness of speech. I shall not divert your minds with curious speculations, or irrelevant remarks, but endeavour at least to recommend such things as I conceive your circumstances immediately require; and for this purpose I have selected the text as the foundation of a few observations: “Let us, therefore, follow after the things which make for peace.”

There is scarcely any blessing more desirable than peace—true, well-grounded peace. It is so intimately connected with prosperity, that the Hebrew word which is commonly translated “peace” signifies also prosperity. “Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.” The Hebrew word is the same in both instances.

I am requested on the present occasion to give you a word of advice, as respects your deportment to your pastor and to one another. All I shall attempt will be to explain and to enforce the exhortation contained in the text; and if peace be with you, prosperity will follow as a matter of course.

I. Explain the exhortation.—In general, I may observe, we do not wish you to be so fond of peace as to sacrifice truth to preserve it. If your pastor desert those grand essential truths which he has this day confessed, you ought to desert him, or rather to desire that he would leave you.—Nor do we mean that you are to maintain peace at the expense of righteousness—a peace consisting in the neglect of discipline, and the passing over of such evils as ought to be exposed and reproved. It is the glory of a man to pass over an injury done to himself, but not to be pliable in matters which relate to God’s glory. It is lamentable, however, to reflect that in general men are less severe against sin towards God than against an injury done to themselves. The rule of Scripture is this—“First pure, then peaceable.” Let this be your rule.

Some of the observations I have to make will more immediately respect your conduct towards your pastor; and others your conduct towards one another.

First, Endeavour by all means to preserve a good understanding with your pastor. His peace of mind is essential for his happiness and your “edification.”

1. Let your stated attendance on his ministry be constant and candid.—If you are negligent, or late, it will affect his peace of mind. He will think his labours are unacceptable.… And if you should discover any mistakes in his preaching, consider human frailty. Do not talk of them to others, nor among yourselves; but to him, and that with modesty and tenderness.

2. Let the vigilance you exercise over his conduct be characterized by the same tenderness and candour.—Enemies will watch him with a desire for his halting; but do not you. Be not hasty in taking up or falling in with reports to his disadvantage.

3. Let your contributions for his support be distinguished, not only by their liberality, but also by the cheerfulness with which they are given.—Let it be a tribute of love.… Do not imagine that your contributions entitle you to scrutinize and dictate in his family arrangements.… His being a minister does not destroy his privilege as a man. Ministers also have peculiar feelings in reference to such subjects. If one of you were to intermeddle with the domestic arrangements of another, you would be told to mind your own concerns, and not to interfere with his, seeing he does not come to you for what he has. But your minister would feel a delicacy on this point, and a difficulty, which it should be your study to render unnecessary. And, after all, you have no more right to inspect his concerns than he yours.

4. Let your exercise of discipline be prompt, and such as shall preserve him from prejudice.—Always unite with him, that he may not have to endure all the prejudice and odium consequent on strict discipline. In many cases you may relieve him altogether from the painful duty, and thus prevent his ministrations from being rejected. Take as much of this from him as you can, “that the gospel of Christ be not hindered.”

Fuller, A. G. (1988). “A Peaceful Disposition,” Sermon LXXXIII. The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.; Vol. 1, pp. 534–535). Sprinkle Publications.

By |April 26th, 2024|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday, Blog|

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