/ Nathan Eshelman

Yelling from the Sidelines

There are ministers that are in the trenches: preaching, teaching, discipling, counseling, and serving Jesus in the church. And there are those who want to be called ministers, but merely criticize from the sidelines, while always yelling:

"Reformation! Reformation!"

I've been a member of a confessionally reformed church since I was 21 years old, and have been a Calvinist since I was converted at 17; and one of the most dangerous thing I've seen in the church are those who loudly proclaim "Reformation!" yet refuse to get their hands dirty in a church that is less pure than they can tolerate.

Reformation normally comes slowly and reformation is lasting when men are willing to be in the trenches with those who also have dirty hands.

In 2009, when I was installed in my first pastoral charge, a former minister of that congregation said to me, "You will have many people coming to your church. The ones that tell you that they are the 'most reformed and want to help' are the ones that will cause the most trouble."

Surely some will shout, "Reformation! Reformation!" and they have no idea what reformation looks like other than from the sidelines. I am reminded of the words of Thomas Boston in a sermon he preached in 1708, "Those who had most of the Spirit of God, were of the most peaceable temper, most tender of the peace of the church, most careful to preserve it where it was entire, and most careful to restore it where it was lost." He would go on to say, "Men that are irritated by a church, vain-glorious and with conceit, esteeming themselves better than others, are dangerous men, and fit wedges to cleave the church of Christ asunder."

Shouting from the sidelines is not the way of the Reformed, and surely it will not lead to reformation.

Nathan Eshelman

Nathan Eshelman

Pastor in Orlando, studied at Puritan Reformed Theological & Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminaries. One of the chambermen on the podcast The Jerusalem Chamber. Married to Lydia with 5 children.

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