Evidences of a Call to Ministry

By Charlie Wingard · April 30, 2019 · 0 Comments
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Every Christian denomination would do well to heed the prudent advice of AME  bishop Daniel Payne (1811-1893):   “Whenever a young man comes forward, and tells us that he is called to the ministry, let us examine him rigidly, according to our excellent discipline and the requisitions of God’s word. It is not enough that he tells us God has called him; let him show the evidences of his call.” Daniel A. Payne In Thabiti M. Anyabwile, The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007), 82.

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Francis J. Grimké on Gospel Preaching

By Charlie Wingard · April 26, 2019 · 0 Comments
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“If we are not going to preach the gospel, and teach the Word of God faithfully we have no business in the ministry. And the sooner we get out of it, the better.” – Francis J. Grimké in Thabiti M. Anyabwile, The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors (Crossway: 2007), 121.

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The Minister’s Best Time and Talents

By Charlie Wingard · April 25, 2019 · 0 Comments
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Charles Bridges reminds ministers that “it is indeed a ’neglect of the gift of God that is in us,’  to trifle in the study or in the pulpit. God will bless our endeavors – not our idleness. Our Master, and our people for our Master’s sake, have a just claim to our best time and talents, our most matured thoughts, and most careful study.” – Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (1830; Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1991), 194.

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Henry Martyn (1781-1812)

By Charlie Wingard · February 18, 2019 · 0 Comments
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Today is the anniversary of the birth of pioneer missionary Henry Martyn. Reading Christian biographies is a devotional practice I find valuable, and especially ones about ministers and missionaries. One missionary who deeply impresses me is Henry Martyn. Henry Martyn was born on February 18, 1781 in Truro, England. As a young man he excelled in classical and mathematical studies. The tender concern of a believing sister, the pain of his father’s death, and the godly counsel of a Cambridge mathematic’s instructor compelled him to read the New Testament. During his personal study of the scriptures, Martyn came to a living faith in Jesus Christ and was soundly converted. While at St. John’s College in Cambridge, Martyn sat under the…

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Booknote: “Discovering the Joy of a Clear Conscience” by Christopher Ash

By Charlie Wingard · January 8, 2019 · 0 Comments
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Paul took “pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man” (Acts 20:16). So should we. Christians must prize and protect a biblically informed conscience. Heed our conscience, and we shall honor God and faithfully serve our fellow man. Resist conscience, and we wreck not only our lives, but also harm others, leaving a trail of brokenness, heartache, and misery. Given the stakes, it is tragic that conscience is a word that has largely slipped from our vocabulary. That’s why I am grateful for Christopher Ash. In Discovering the Joy of a Clear Conscience he proves himself a skilled physician of the soul. Aiming straight to the heart, he asks: “If you die today and have some time…

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Booknote: “The Preacher’s Catechism” by Lewis Allen

By Charlie Wingard · January 5, 2019 · 0 Comments
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Many years ago someone pointed out to me that one of the principal values of a catechism is to teach us to ask the right questions. Since the 17th century, the Westminster Shorter Catechism has taught believers to ask the right questions about the Bible, the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, man’s duty to God, the way of salvation, and the means of grace (the preaching of the word, sacraments, and prayer). Employing the Westminster Shorter Catechism as his model, Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism helps ministers ask the right questions about life and ministry. The book’s 43 brief chapters, each in question and answer format, are divided into four sections: The Glory of God and the Greatness of Preaching…

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Booknote: My Year in Books (2018)

By Charlie Wingard · December 31, 2018 · 3 Comments
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When I finish a book, I add it to my annual “books read” list. My 2018 list is at the end of this post. I don’t have a detailed reading plan – I select books based on interest and recommendations. I also use commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and systematic theologies as I prepare two weekly sermons and one Bible lecture. Since I seldom read these cover-to-cover, I don’t include them in the list. 2018 was spent in Romans, Exodus, 1 Timothy, and a December morning and evening series in Isaiah. What follows are some of  my 2018 reading highlights. Several of my comments come from booknotes I wrote earlier in the year. Every year, I read a few substantial volumes in…

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Tips for RTS Students: Keep Your Heart Open

By Charlie Wingard · December 6, 2018 · 0 Comments
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One sure way to cripple your ministry is to speak to your congregation harshly, either in or out of the pulpit. Don’t confuse harshness with boldness. One can speak softly and gently and still be bold. To be bold, according to Merriam-Webster, is to be “fearless before danger” – a virtue when communicating biblical truth. But the voice of the bold may be calm, the words measured, and the tone devoid of the harshness that pushes people away. William Plumer reminds us that Harshness is not fidelity. There are hardly any maxims more false or mischievous than these: “There is no good done unless opposition is aroused,” [or] ’”One’s fidelity may be tested by the enmity he awakens against himself…

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Eyeglasses, Reading, and Thanksgiving

By Charlie Wingard · November 17, 2018 · 0 Comments
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My day begins with putting on my eyeglasses; it’s the very first thing I do. Most of the time,  I do it without thinking. But occasionally, when I pick up my eyeglasses, I remember that I am holding one of God’s most precious gifts to me. Eyeglasses are a relatively recent development of the human story. David Landes writes that the invention of spectacles more than doubled the working life of skilled craftsmen, especially those who did fine jobs: scribes (crucial before the invention of printing) and readers, instrument and toolmakers, close weavers, metalworkers. The problem is biological: because the crystalline lens of the human eye hardens around the age of forty, it produces a condition similar to farsightedness (actually…

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