Another thing which I agree totally with ML-J is his belief that a minister cannot be created – he can only be called.
We have an idea today that we can take anyone and through a selection process and by sending them to seminary you can train a person to be a minister. No. A minister of the gospel is never created – he is called. There are too many ministers in charge of churches who are not called. They are believers – faithful believers, who are doing their best in ministry, but often the struggles they encounter are not because ministry is tough, but because they are doing something which they are not fundamentally called to – but that they passed through a selection process, went to seminary and are then deemed qualified to lead a church.
Again, quoting from Philip Eveson’s article:
Lloyd-Jones considered it a fallacy that any educational institution could produce a preacher. He believed that preachers and pastors were born but that did not mean they needed no helps. In order to become effective preachers and pastors he saw the importance of a place where those gifts could be developed….Lloyd-Jones was emphatic that ‘no college, or any other institution, could ever produce preachers and pastors’. To think that they could, he said, ‘has been another of the fallacies of the past hundred years’. What is needed is that future ministers are ‘helped in the development of the gifts they have in order that they may become effective preachers and pastors’.
ML-J himself, in his great book Preaching and Preachers said:
“But we must go on to something yet deeper [to answer the question of whether I am called to preaching]; there should also be a sense of constraint. This is surely the most crucial test. It means that you have the feeling that you can do nothing else. It was Mr Spurgeon, I believe, who used to say to young men—‘If you can do anything else do it. If you can stay out of the ministry, stay out of the ministry.’ I would certainly say that without any hesitation whatsoever. I would say that the only man who is called to preach is the man who cannot do anything else, in the sense that he is not satisfied with anything else. This call to preach is so put upon him, and such pressure comes to beat upon him that he says, ‘I can do nothing else, I must preach.’”
“The man who is called by God is a man who realizes what he is called to do, and he so realizes the awfulness of the task that he shrinks from it. Nothing but this overwhelming sense of being called, and of compulsion, should ever lead anyone to preach.”
Are we such people – unable to be constrained to preach and teach the word of God – thatw e really are unable to do anything else.