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A Strategy for Pastoring in Divided Days

So what would Newton do? How would he preach? How would he influence his society through personal and public correspondence? This was his strategy:

I say little to my hearers of the things wherein they differ, but aim to lead them all to aa growing and more experimental knowledge of the Son of God and life of faith in him. (Bull, 246)

He seldom entered into the great controversies of his day. He just loved people and preached Jesus. When so many around him were talking about threats to the gospel, when the multitude were battling for position and to have their voice heard, when countless ministers had their whole ministries wrapped up in engaging controversy, John Newton stood firm in his resolve to “love men at first sight”. He loved people. He preached. Jesus.

Did it Work?

You tell me.

Thomas Scott. Evangelical pastor who wrote one of the better apologetics of the 18th century.

John Campbell. Firm in his faith, gave much of his resources to evangelical causes to spread the gospel.

William Wilberforce. Known for his tenacious campaign to abolish the English Slave Trade.

John Ryland, Jr. Pastored two of the most prominent Baptist churches in England. Yet remains a little known, humble servant, who slowly plodded along as a faithful pastor of integrity.

Charles Simeon. Stayed at his church for 53 years, maintained his zeal, and was instrumental in founding the church mission society.

There are many other names which we could add to this list. Newton’s resolve to love transformed society. It even was instrumental in upending the abominable slave trade.

Love people of all parties. Preach Jesus to all parties. And just keep doing that humbly and lovingly over and over again. It’s a good strategy and we’d do well to follow it.

This article about pastoring in divided days originally appeared here and is used by permission.