There Are Only Two Pastoral Problems

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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
“There are actually only two pastoral problems you will ever encounter. The first is this: persuading those who are under the dominion of sin that they are under the dominion of sin. That’s the task of evangelism. And [second], persuading those who are no longer under the dominion of sin that they are no longer under the dominion of sin because they are Christ's."
- - Sinclair Ferguson

I've read somewhere that Ferguson is re-stating something he read in Owen. Does anyone know where I might find this in Owen's works?
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Rich:

It looks as if this is lifted from Owen's "Treatise of the Dominion of Sin and Grace." The portion below (from the conclusion of Chapter 2) does not reference a pastoral issue, but the description is similar:

"Wherefore, there are two things hard and difficult in this case:—
1. To convince those in whom sin evidently hath the dominion that such indeed is their state and condition. They will with their utmost endeavour keep off the conviction hereof. Some justify themselves, some excuse themselves, and some will make no inquiry into this matter. It is a rare thing, especially of late, to have any brought under this conviction by the preaching of the word, though it be the case of multitudes that attend unto it.
2. To satisfy some that sin hath not the dominion over them, notwithstanding its restless acting itself in them and warring against their souls; yet unless this can be done, it is impossible they should enjoy solid peace and comfort in this life. And the concernment of the best of believers, whilst they are in this world, doth lie herein; for as they grow in light, spirituality, experience, freedom of mind and humility, the more they love to know of the deceit, activity, and power of the remainders of sin. And although it works not at all, at least not sensibly, in them, towards those sins wherein it reigneth and rageth in others, yet they are able to discern its more subtile, inward, and spiritual actings in the mind and heart, to the weakening of grace, the obstructing of its effectual operations in holy duties, with many indispositions unto stability in the life of God; which fills them with trouble."

Source: https://ccel.org/ccel/o/owen/sin_grace/cache/sin_grace.pdf
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
What about pastors persuading people who are under the dominion of sin that they are not under the dominion of sin...?
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
I always thought one of a Pastor’s main problems were flower arrangements, selected by the flower committee, being so large that they ended up covering the Pastor’s face completely.;)
 

kainos01

Puritan Board Senior
Pastors who gloss over sin and do not confront those living in it... encouraging them they can “live their best life now”. Not sure why that’s so difficult to grasp.... but laugh away.
In this context, such are not biblical pastors, but frauds. The subject here is reserved for those who rightly apprehend the pastoral ministry: preaching the gospel of grace to sinners and the grace of the gospel to saints.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Pastors who gloss over sin and do not confront those living in it... encouraging them they can “live their best life now”. Not sure why that’s so difficult to grasp.... but laugh away.
I wasn't making fun of you. I was confused.

The point that Sinclair Ferguson was to note the two principal challenges that Pastors face. By that, in summarizing Owen's point, the implication was with respect to faithful Pastors trying to convince hearers of what the Scriptures teach.

It appears you interpreted " There are actually only two pastoral problems you will ever encounter. " as saying: "There are only two problems you'll ever encounter with Pastors."

Certainly we have problems today with pastors who don't even realize that people are dead in their sins and trespasses but that's not the point that Sinclair was making in the quote.
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
I wasn't making fun of you. I was confused.

The point that Sinclair Ferguson was to note the two principal challenges that Pastors face. By that, in summarizing Owen's point, the implication was with respect to faithful Pastors trying to convince hearers of what the Scriptures teach.

It appears you interpreted " There are actually only two pastoral problems you will ever encounter. " as saying: "There are only two problems you'll ever encounter with Pastors."

Certainly we have problems today with pastors who don't even realize that people are dead in their sins and trespasses but that's not the point that Sinclair was making in the quote.
That makes sense. I misread. Thanks.
 
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