Our Admissions Department has made two new (old) articles about calling available on our Resources page. These articles come from the pens of American Presbyterian Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-98) and English Baptist Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892). Considered together, these long essays counterbalance and complement one another in service to men considering the gospel ministry.
As cited by Pastor Nicolas Alford here, Pastor Al Martin of Trinity Baptist Church (Montville, NJ) once said of these two articles,
Don’t yield your mind to any one man’s counsel on this subject. As you read Spurgeon, don’t accept him as the guru, as fully balanced and the final word. If you do… some of you might not stay the rest of the week… On the other hand, if you take Dabney as the final word [there are] some of you that may feel you ought to move beyond your present sphere of usefulness in the church of Christ and aspire to the pastoral office without sufficient internal and external warrant to do that. So please don’t read Dabney and fall asleep tonight without reading Spurgeon. And if you read Spurgeon, be sure before you come tomorrow morning you read Dabney to balance yourself out…
In fact, Spurgeon and Dabney take different approaches to the question, though they agree at many points. Spurgeon advised men of the necessary inescapability of a genuine call to the ministry with words he heard from a wise counselor of his own.
“Do not enter the ministry if you can help it,” was the deeply sage advice of a divine to one who sought his judgment. If any student in this room could be content to be a newspaper editor, or a grocer, or a farmer, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a senator, or a king, in the name of heaven and earth let him go his way; he is not the man in whom dwells the Spirit of God in its fulness, for a man so filled with God would utterly weary of any pursuit but that for which his inmost soul pants.
On the other hand, Dabney pressed his readers with the necessity incumbent upon every sincere Christian person to consider (and in some sense desire) the gospel ministry.
But the minister can usually do more, caeteris paribus, for this cause than the layman; so that every true Christian on the earth, young and old, male and female, ought to feel, with reference to the work of preaching, that he would be glad to preach if God permitted him.
Taken together, these articles furnish prospective candidates to the gospel ministry with plenty of material to think through, pray over, and apply in self-examination. If you or someone you know is considering gospel ministry, may these essays prove their usefulness.
For more recommended resources, or to schedule a campus tour, contact our Admissions Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or filling out the form at gpts.edu/contact. For more information about our Admissions process, please visit gpts.edu/admissions. To apply today, download the application from gpts.edu/application.