Following up on an earlier post in which I talked about things I wish I had known or done when I was early on in my pastoral ministry, here I want to touch on some counsel for pastors.
(1) Being fuzzy about the Bible, truth, and life is not a virtue. Fuzziness is usually done to avoid offense or to gain favor or to avoid the loss of money or to promote oneself. Most who are fuzzy are trying to impress others with their brilliance. You’ll know what I mean when you walk away from someone and say, “Wow, that was deep. But I have no idea what he meant!” Or again, many are intentionally fuzzy to make it appear they are generous and inclusive, when in fact they are cruel and damning.
Again, when it comes to the clear truth of the Bible, people are not helped when you remain tentative or vague. Spin is sin. I’m not advocating an angry or arrogant dogmatism, but rather a compassionate clarity.
In a recent blog post, Justin Taylor pointed to C.S. Lewis’s last interview. It was on May 7, 1963, six months before he died. Sherwood Wirt (1911-2001) asked for his writing advice: “How would you suggest a young Christian writer go about developing a style?” Lewis responded:
"The way for a person to develop a style is (a) to know exactly what he wants to say, and (b) to be sure he is saying exactly that. The reader, we must remember, does not start by knowing what we mean. If our words are ambiguous, our meaning will escape him" (C. S. Lewis, “Cross-Examination,” in C.S. Lewis: Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces, ed. Lesley Walmsley [London: HarperCollins, 2000], 555).
This is one of the reasons Lewis is still read today. Agree or disagree with what he’s saying, you don’t have to wonder what he thinks. This blessed clarity and precision is a gift we can emulate.
(2) Never underestimate the degree to which y