Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Is It Enough to Just Speak the Truth?

On the day of his first public service at St. Mary Woolnoth, John Newton explained to his hearers the truths that would inform his gospel ministry. They are evangelical and gospel-centered as to be expected with on like Newton. One thing, however, that I believe sets Newton apart as an exemplary example for us to follow. He believed that just speaking truth was not the whole of his duty:

But the cause of truth itself may be discredited by improper management; and, therefore, the Scripture which furnishes us with subject-matter for our ministry, and teaches us what we are to say, is equally explicit as to temper and spirit in which we are to speak. Though I had the knowledge of all mysteries, and the tongue of an angel to declare them, I could hope for little acceptance or usefulness, unless I was to speak “in love”.

I believe Newton is correct. Just speaking truthfully—even eloquently--about the great mysteries of our faith is not sufficient. Certainly the Lord is powerful and convert sinners using even the weakest means. But the apostolic method of preaching/pastoring/leading/living is to speak the truth in love. Both are necessary.

“Loving” people without speaking truth is a sham. At the same time, speaking truth without loving people is a mockery of Christ our example.

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