Baxter on the Nature and Motive of Personal Oversight for Pastors

Puritan pastor Richard Baxter gives pastors five keys to personal oversight and eight keys as to why personal oversight should be given in his classic text The Reformed Pastor:

The Nature of Oversight

  1. Take heed to see that the work of saving grace be thoroughly wrought in your own souls.
  2. Take heed to keep your graces active, and that you preach to yourself the sermons you study, before you preach them to others.
  3. Take heed so you don’t unsay with your life what you say with your mouth.
  4. Take heed so you don’t commit the sins you preach against.
  5. Take heed so you don’t lack biblical qualifications of an elder.

The Motives of Oversight

  1. Take heed to yourselves, for heaven is there to win or lose, and souls will be happy or miserable for eternity.
  2. Take heed to yourselves, for you have a depraved nature, and sinful inclinations just as others do.
  3. Take heed to yourselves, because the tempter will supply more temptations than he does to others.
  4. Take heed to yourselves, because many eyes will fall upon you, and there will be many to observe your falls.
  5. Take heed to yourselves, because your sins are more severe than other men’s.
  6. Take heed to yourselves, because such a calling as ours require greater grace than other men’s.
  7. Take heed to yourselves, for the honor of your Lord and Master, and of his holy truth and ways, lies more on you than on other men.
  8. Take heed to yourselves, for the success of all your work depends on it.
– Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2001), pp. 53-86.
Life Theology

More Links on Rob Bell

Simply searching for and reading all the material that has been written about this in the past week about Rob Bell and his new book, Love Wins, could be a full-time job. Unfortunately, the pay would be awful.

I didn’t get paid to read all of this, but still enjoyed it thoroughly. For your enjoyment and benefit, here are some more links to blogs and articles about Bell:

  • The Tenth Leper, a seminary student in Dallas, has somehow obtained an advance-reader copy of the book and will be reviewing it in a series of posts.
  • Christianity Today puts Rob Bell in context.
  • Trevin Wax writes about Rob Bell and the Judgmentless “Gospel”
  • Justin Taylor has a follow-up post on some questions J.I. Packer asks to those who believe that once in hell, God ultimately will restore all people.
  • Jarrod McKenna explores the battle between Bell and the Neo-Calvinists.

And finally, drum roll please…

  • A sermon from Bell entitled “Love Wins.”  I have not listened to this message yet, but hope to before the weekend is over.  Perhaps it gives us insight into what the book is about.  (To save to your computer, right click and click on “save link as”.)

Read the links I posted on Wednesday.


Boy Burned By Masked Men: Is Hell Too Good for Them?

I just read a story on about an Iraqi boy who was doused with gasoline and burned by masked men in Baghdad.

The story just crushes my heart. If you look at the article, the boy was smiling–very cute and joyful. Now, he has a crushed face, no lips, no friends, and no hope of ever overcoming this trial unless he comes to know Jesus. All I could do when I stared at his picture was say, “Oh no, oh no, oh no.” It sickens me that human beings can do something like this to other human beings. The harsh reality of life is that some people love sin more than doing good (John 3:19), so things like this happen all over the world, every minute of the day.

On WordPress, a blogging site, there was a post yesterday about this news story entitled, “Hell is Too Good for People Like This.” The post read:

“A happy intelligent 5-year old boy in Iraq is playing in the park, then is randomly seized by fellow Iraqis, doused in gasoline, and set ablaze while his attackers flee. He survives, but what kind of life can he lead? What kind of twisted, evil people do this to a child?”

Though I understand the point the author tried to make (mainly by the blog title), I realize that this man is not a follower of Christ who can look at the sin of the world from a biblical lens. If I had a conversation with this blogger and he said to me, “Hell is too good for people like this.” I would respond:

“We all deserve to go to hell. Hell is perfectly fit for people like this. People like you and me are perfectly fit for hell.”

That is a hard statement to swallow, isn’t it? “People like you and me are perfectly fit for hell.” Most people, even Christians, wouldn’t like to hear that. Hell wasn’t mean for us, but we are fit for hell. We think that at our core, we are essentially good. Romans 3:10 says, “None is righteous, no not one.” J.I. Packer said it best, “Modern men and women are convinced that, despite all their little peccadilloes–drinking, gambling, reckless driving, sexual laxity, black and white lies, sharp practice in trading, dirty reading, and what have you–they are at heart thoroughly good folks” (Knowing God, 130). You see, people think that what they do in their gross, infected, sinful lives is generally okay as long as they are fine with it. God doesn’t see it that way, however.

I hate when people compartmentalize their sin. They say that burning a child is worse than sleeping with your girlfriend. One has greater earthly consequences than the other, yes. But to God, who is infinitely and completely perfect and holy, all sin looks disgusting. His standard is perfection and we have all fallen short (Rom. 3:23). I’ve never met a person who has said they have never sinned. But, almost everyone I have ever met thinks their sins are not bad enough to send them to hell. If you aren’t perfect, then you are defiled. We all aren’t perfect, so we are all defiled.

“What kind of evil, twisted people do this to a child?” The answer is potentially anyone who is not born of the Spirit of God.

So, pray for Youssif, the young boy, in Iraq, that the Holy Spirit would draw him to God and his anger and irritability caused by these men would be exchanged for delight of the Lord. But also pray for Nitsav, the WordPress blogger, that he would be convicted of his own wretchedness and depravity and be turned to Jesus for forgiveness, redemption, salvation, and freedom. Pray that Nitsav would know that hell wasn’t meant for you and me, but we all deserve to go there. And we all will, unless we trust in the Lord Jesus by faith and confess to him our sinfulness.