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Lutherandom Musings: Dear Visiting Retired Pastor...

I want to be very careful in how I go about making this point today.

After all, those behind the pulpit are there by God's sovereignty and they speak standing on the authority of His Word, and so I don't want to be disrespectful or even un-Biblical in my criticism here (1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17).

Yes, I'm afraid criticism -- constructive criticism -- is warranted in this case though.

I just want to take a moment to issue a heartfelt plea to the "Visiting Retired Pastor" who might be coming to your local church soon (or back to ours) as we enter the summer months and find our usual shepherd taking a brief and well-deserved vacation with his family.

First, a couple of quotes from Martin Luther on the qualities of a good preacher.

A good preacher should have these properties and virtues; first, to teach systematically; secondly, he should have a ready wit; thirdly, he should be eloquent; fourthly, he should have a good voice; fifthly, a good memory; sixthly, he should know where to make an end; seventhly, he should be sure of his doctrine; eighthly, he should venture and engage body and blood, wealth and honour, in the word; ninthly, he should suffer himself to be mocked and jeered of every one.

He should not be silent or mumble but should testify without being frightened or bashful. He should speak out candidly without regarding or sparing anyone, let it strike whomever or whatever it will. It is a great hindrance to a preacher if he looks around and worries about what people like or do not like to hear, or what might make him unpopular or bring harm or danger upon him. As he stands high on a mountain in a public place and looks around freely, so he should also speak freely and fear no one, though he sees many kinds of people and faces. He should not hold a leaf in front of his mouth.

*- Martin Luther

We are hungry for God's Word on Sunday morning -- please give it to us!

I know you're "retired" and I know you're only visiting our church for a single Sunday service and likely don't know any of us (or our routine), but we trust that you do know the Word of God better than we do, and that you will take full advantage of the enormous privilege and responsibility that the Lord has given you to care for His sheep; to care for us in our shepherd's absence.

Needless to say, it's not good when the laymen have a sneaking suspicion that you're "winging it" the whole time despite your experience and despite the fact that it's an important date on the Christian calendar.

Trust me, we're willing to cut you some slack for sure, but it breaks our heart to no end to see a man of God of your level of experience and stature treat the pulpit and the Sunday morning sermon as though it were Improv Hour.


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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