If you don’t have balls, don’t be a minister of the gospel. That is true both literally and figuratively.
Literally, only men are qualified for the pastorate. If that offends you, that is truly your problem. In fact, if that offends you, you are the problem. You should repent.
Figuratively, only men are qualified for the pastorate, men with large balls. If you are a coward, get out of and/or stay away from Christ’s pulpit. Cowards are useless on that ground. Cowards will forever be slaves to the fashionable tyrannies of the time. Cowards won’t be able to condemn specific sin. Cowards won’t be able to challenge that which is popular yet wrong.
All men will be tempted to cowardice. And God in his wisdom and kindness has provided us with useful means meant for fighting off cowardice and fighting for truth and righteousness. One such means that is greatly neglected is history. Ahistorical men are far more vulnerable to the pressures of the present than those men who regularly converse with the wise men of the last 2,000 years.
The ahistorical man reads 1 Corinthians 11 and recognizes that Paul clearly commands all women in all churches of God to cover their heads in the assembly. But nobody thinks that. Nobody does that. So he goes to commentaries to find the creative ways in which modern men have explained Paul to not be saying what Paul is saying. Who is he to go against the creative consensus of all the leading minds of his blip in time? He must be wrong, so he goes along. Or he doesn’t think himself to be wrong. But then to stand on the rightness of this command will require him to stand alone, isolated, apart from a mighty band of brothers. And to do so will most certainly require wearing that oh-so-itchy “divisive” label. Good luck, ahistorical man.
The historically aware man reads the same thing in 1 Corinthians 11. But it isn’t shocking to his system. He understands that most churches throughout the 2,000 years of church history have understood Paul to say precisely what he says in the chapter. He reads it, understands it, and believes it. And when he sees that most of the churches around him hold a different view on the chapter, he isn’t likely to shake in his boots, because he isn’t standing alone. He stands with his mighty band of brothers, most of whom just happen to already be glorified in the presence of his King.
What is a primary hindrance to young men taking advantage of the wisdom available to them in church history?
Certainly pride is always a primary enemy of man. In our pride, we are tempted to wrongly think that just because man in the 21st century has access to vast amounts of information, 21st century man therefore thinks better and puts the information he has to better use. But evolution is wrong. While our technology is preposterously cool, we aren’t smarter theologians. Mr. “I read everything John Piper and Tim Keller write”, do you think Piper and Keller hold a candle to John Calvin, Augustine, and Martin Luther, Athanasius, John Owen, and J.C. Ryle? Really?
Pride has tempted some to think that they’re set with time alone and the Bible. God’s Word is enough, right? Well, yes God’s Word is enough, but God hasn’t designed us to receive it in a vacuum. He intends his people to hear from him while living in the society of faith. He gives us teachers who understand his Word better than we do, that we might grow and mature. Some of these teachers have already been planted in the ground to await the resurrection; but they ought not be ignored by the arrogant.
So, don’t be a minister of the gospel unless you have balls, cajones, huevos. And don’t be an idiot, denying yourself the aid for courage God has provided through the witness of Christian men from the past. Humble yourself and listen to teachers, even dead ones. Receive them as strong companions, willing to stand with you against the errors of your day.