Committing the Truth to Faithful Men
The most recent PRTS installation/convocation speech (see the previous post) reminds us that there is a long history of our seminary professors giving profitable and inspiring messages on these occasions (commencements also). Many of these speeches and sermons were later published in the Standard Bearer, where they often remain, only long forgotten.
Recently a large number of these addresses were uploaded to the PRTS's website, under Resources (writings and media), so that you can more readily find them and benefit from them. We encourage you to browse through the pages and find one that interests you and read it. And then find another one and read that one. Perhaps you can use one to encourage a young man considering the ministry.
For our purposes in this post, we reference a speech Prof. R. Decker (emeritus) gave for the 1987 seminary convocation. His title was "Committing the Truth to Faithful Men" and was based on 2 Timothy 2:2, " "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (which is also the text on our building's cornerstone)
Here are a few paragraphs from that printed message:
To whom must the truth be committed? The text answers: "faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." These are faithful men. They are men full of faith. Men who are therefore trustworthy and reliable. Faithful men are men upon whom the churches can depend. They are men whom the churches believe to be men of faith and men who possess the ability to teach others. They are men upon whom the church can depend to do the work of the ministry faithfully.
Certain essential spiritual gifts characterize this kind of man. These are gifts from God apart from which a man cannot be considered to be faithful. The first of these is spirituality or genuine piety.
A faithful man is a child of God. It is true there are hypocrites in the ministry, and God even uses false prophets such as Balaam to bless His people. Two things, however, may be said about this. These never last. Sooner or later but inevitably they are exposed and leave or are put out of the ministry. These are not the rule but the exceptions to the rule. Ministers must be spiritual, pious, godly men. They must be men saved by grace through faith, God's gift. Men in whose hearts burns the love of God in Jesus Christ, men who love God and God's people, His church and cause. Ministers must be men who have, as one writer put it, "a fascination with the Bible." They must be men who live exemplary Christian lives. A faithful man must possess the gift of humility. There is no room for pride in the ministry! Pride, the Bible says, goes before a fall. That is true also in the ministry! Self-seeking pride, selfishness, the seeking of the praise of men, all these are abominable sins among God's people, and especially among ministers. If one wants the praise of men, honor, fame, he must not seek the ministry of the gospel. Faithful men are humble men. As the apostles, they are slaves of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, of His church. They know the truth of what J.J. Van Oosterzee said: "The flock does not exist for the pastor, but the pastor for the flock." Faithful men give their lives in the service of Gods church! Thus faithful men are men of prayer. They know that all they have and are is of God. They know that they cannot preach one sermon or perform one pastoral task apart from God's grace! They pray without ceasing for God's grace and Holy Spirit to enable them to be faithful men who are able to teach others.