Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Place of Suffering

As we consider pastoral ministry (as well as what it means to follow Christ in general) in our setting of American evangelicalism one element which is woefully absent from our discussion is suffering. Suffering is as conspicuously absent from the discussion in our churches as it is obviously present in the New Testament. If we are truly going to shepherd souls we must speak to them about suffering. In my first year of teaching New Testament survey I read each NT book ahead of the lecture in order to note the themes I would point out. One thing that surprised me was that suffering showed up prominently in every book- every book! How is it then that it is so little addressed? Of course one reason is that too often our sermons are not derived from scripture. Much more could be said about this but let me point out a recent article in World Magazine written by G E Veith entitled, "Praying for Persecution".
Pastors would also do well to read the article on suffering in Pastoral ministry by Scott Hafemann, A Call to Pastoral Suffering: The Need for Recovering Paul's Model of Ministry in 2 Corinthians.
Faithful shepherds must prepare their people for reality.

6 comments:

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Joseph Gould said...

Welcome to the world of blogging! I look forward to challenging blogs from the Puritan in Tennessee. :)

the Marshall's said...

This should be a great resource and encouragement. My wife has plunged us into the world of blogging and we have found it to be a great way to communicate with others. So, thanks for the efforts, I will try to check in often and I will point others who might be interested in your direction. Needless to say, oversight is no small task, may the Lord grant us all great grace in our efforts to be obedient. Thanks again.

Ray Van Neste said...

Thanks William! I'm glad to learn of your blog and look forward to keeping updated that way.

Barry Wallace said...

Hi, Ray. William sent me the link to your blog. I'm thankful to see it, for several reasons. First, from a personal standpoint, I'm thankful for the relationships you've built with so many young pastors, including William, and how greatly my own life's been affected by that. My debt of gratitude is immeasurable.

I'm also thankful to know that you can in this way continue to encourage and exhort pastors. I believe this forum will be a blessing and a benefit to pastors that you both already know, as well as to many you've never met.

Finally, I appreciate the topic you've chosen to begin with. How the church needs to hear the so-called hard truths clearly proclaimed. There's simply no other way to "make disciples". I've enjoyed reading these first posts, and look forward to keeping up with your blog. God bless you!

Ray Van Neste said...

Thanks Barry. You are an encouragement, and it is great to hear fo good thigns there in MO.