Jonathan Edwards on The Pastor Stirring-up Affections
April 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
I am reading Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affections this week and I was struck with how Edward’s described the work of pastor’s, namely to stir-up holy affections in their people through the Word of God. This is an explanation of Gospel-Centered preaching at its finest:
And the impressing divine things on the hearts and affections of men, is evidently one great and main end for which God has ordained that his word delivered in the holy Scriptures, should be opened, applied, and set home upon men, in preaching. And therefore it does not answer the aim which God had in this institution, merely for men to have good commentaries and expositions on the Scripture, and other good books of divinity; because, although these may tend as well as preaching to give men a good doctrinal or speculative understanding of the things of the word of God, yet they have not an equal tendency to impress them on men’s hearts and affections. God hath appointed a particular and lively application of his word to men in the preaching of it, as a fit means to affect sinners with the importance of the things of religion, and their own misery, and necessity of a remedy, and the glory and sufficiency of a remedy provided; and to stir up the pure minds of the saints, and quicken their affections, by often bringing the great things of religion to their remembrance, and setting them before them in their proper colors, though they know them, and have been fully instructed in them already, 2 Pet. 1:12, 13. And particularly, to promote those two affections in them, which are spoken of in the text, love and joy: “Christ gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; that the body of Christ might be edified in love,” The apostle in instructing and counseling Timothy concerning the work of the ministry, informs him that the great end of that word which a minister is to preach, is love or charity, 1 Tim. 3, 4, 5. And another affection which God has appointed preaching as a means to promote in the saints, is joy; and therefore ministers are called “helpers of their joy,” 2 Cor. 1:24.
Look particularly at 2 Pet. 1:12-13, here Peter says that he intends to always remind his readers of things that they already know. Peter inspires, motivates, encourages, and always reminds his people with something that they already know, namely, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Pastor’s job is to remind his people of what has always been true. No new fads. No new methods. Just the Gospel.