My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. (Ps. 84:2)
In sum and principle, I recognize only two requirements for a pastor: the doing of his duty in passing on the gospel to those who desire to hear it, and keeping his nose clean (both in fact, given the strength of the Opposition, being stupendous accomplishments)—without serious regard to the variety of stimulations that mere taste tends to convert into the essence of piety or worship, and which he is called upon to control from higher ground.
But a true minister of the gospel must—must—be a man who is in love, and remains in it his whole life long. The holy eros must drive him and be evident to his people, so as to awaken and nourish their own desire (if they have it) for the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness of the one, true God and the passionate hatred of idols which must unapologetically accompany this love. It's not just that this is a "pastoral requirement," but that there is no call to the ministry without it.
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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