June 23, 2012

Leader or Prophet?

From my brother's bookshelf: "Spiritual Leadership" by J. Oswald Sanders.

Sometimes we come to a fork in the path, and both ways look good and true. For example, a preacher with gifts of leadership faces a decision whether to be a popular leader or an unpopular prophet. A.C. Dixon faced such a dilemma:

Every preacher ought to be primarily a prophet of God who preaches as God bids him, without regard to results. When he becomes conscious of the fact that he is a leader in his own church or denomination, he has reached a crisis in his ministry. He must now choose one of two courses, that of prophet of God or a leader of men. If he seeks to be a prophet and a leader, he is apt to make a failure of both. If he decides to be a prophet only insofar as he can do it without losing his leadership, he becomes a diplomat and ceases to be a prophet at all. If he decides to maintain leadership at all costs, he may easily fall to the level of a politician who pulls the wires in order to gain or to hold a position.

Situations develop in which a leader must choose between a spiritual ministry and a leadership that would prevent the highest exercise of that ministry... Dixon wrote of [Reuben A. Torrey]:

The thousands who have heard Dr. Torrey know the man and his message. He loves the Bible, and believing it to be the infallible Word of God, preaches it with the fervor of red-hot conviction. He never compromises. He has chosen to be a prophet of God rather than a mere leader of men, and that is the secret of his power with God and men.

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