Monday, 19 May 2008

Philipp Jakob Spener (1635-1705)

From his work, Pia Desideria (Pious Desires)
To the faithful church leaders and pastors of the whole Evangelical Christian church:

May the Father of light and Giver of all good things grant you, my Fathers and Brethren, beloved and esteemed in Christ Jesus, our chief shepherd,

Enlightened eyes of understanding to discern what is the hope of our calling, what are the riches of God’s glorious inheritance for his saints, and how boundless is God’s strength in us who believe that his mighty power is effectual;

Diligence and zeal to be of good cheer and to strengthen others who may grow faint;

Strength and courage (with the weapons of our calling, which are not fleshly but mighty for God) to destroy the strongholds and frustrate the assaults on, and all the defenses which are raised against, the knowledge of God, to take all reason captive in obedience to Christ, and to be ready to punish all disobedience when the obedience of believers is fulfilled;

Blessing and success to observe with joy that the Word that goes forth from God’s mouth, as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, shall not return to God empty but shall accomplish that which he purposes and prosper in the thing for which he sent it, and to behold how the earth, cultivated through your ministry, produces the first blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear;

Complete pleasure in the knowledge that through your ministry the name of God is hallowed, his kingdom extended, and his will is done, and that the salvation of many souls, the peace of your own consciences, and ultimately your eternal glory are achieved to the honor of his holy name. . . .

Let us, all of us together, now do diligently what we have been appointed to do, namely, to feed the flock which God has bought with his own blood and therefore at a very great price. . . . Let us remember the rigorous reckoning which faces us at the hands of him who will call us to account for the souls which have in any way been neglected. Let us remember that in the last judgment we shall not be asked how learned we were and whether we displayed our learning before the world. . . .

Instead, we shall be asked how faithfully and with how childlike a heart we sought to further the kingdom of God; with how pure and godly a teaching and how worthy an example we tried to edify our hearers amid the scorn of the world, denial of self, taking up the cross, and imitation of our Savior; with what zeal we opposed not only error but also wickedness of life; or with what constancy and cheerfulness we endured the persecution or adversity thrust upon us by the manifestly godless world or by false brethren, and amid such suffering praised God. Let us therefore be diligent in investigating ever more deeply our own shortcomings and those of the rest of the church in order that we may learn to know our sicknesses, and then with a fervent invocation of God for the light of his Spirit let us also search for and ponder over the remedies.

h/t 2 worlds Collide


Warren said...

Good quote. I suspect that Philipp used the word evangelical much differently than how it tends to be used today.

John K said...

If only all leaders and pastors, in all denominations, would take this to heart today.