[Bemerton]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 38: Morning


Jest not at preachers language, or expression:

How know'st thou, but thy sinnes made him miscarrie?

Then turn thy faults and his into confession:

God sent him, whatsoe're he be: O tarry,

      And love him for his Master: his condition,

      Though it be ill, makes him no ill Physician.

          Do not make fun of the preacher's language or way of explaining. How do you know that it is not your sins that made him fail? [Realize this] then turn your faults and his into confession. God sent him whatever he is; stop [and reconsider your attitude] and love him for His Master. His condition, though it be imperfect, makes him no less a Physician. [A physician who is ill is no ill physician; a preacher who is imperfect as a person is not an imperfect preacher.]

          All occupations deserve the best people with the most complete training in all aspects of their ministering, but this is the ideal. We ask for God to send us the best. We expect a preacher to be knowledgeable in scripture, Bible history and geography, interpretation, scholarship, Greek, Hebrew, (Latin), public speaking, composition, contemporary events used for examples, the needs and interests of the congregation for an acceptable level of communication, and demonstrable faith. We know that one equipped with all of these is rare, and we can find something to criticize in most speakers. [The media is NOT the message.] We, if we seek knowledge and assistance, derive something even from the worst. The wise may learn even from the foolish.

          If you go to church to be restored, use what helps and leave the rest. As you would with all critics, leaders, politicians, theologians, speakers and preachers, you listen and understand as well as you can and learn a little of what you did not know. Use what you understand to be kind to those around you. Not discounting everything, you implement the information that works.

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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