Thursday, June 17, 2010

John Wesley: Momas Don't Let Your Clueless Babies Grow Up to Be Ministers

John Wesley was an opinionated man—really opinionated. It horrified him that clueless men in his day were ministers. In An Address to the Clergy he wrote:
And yet we see and bewail a still greater defect in some that are in the ministry. They want sense, they are defective in understanding, their capacity is low and shallow, their apprehension is muddy and confused; of consequence, they are utterly incapable either of forming a true judgment of things, or of reasoning justly upon anything. O how can these who themselves know nothing aright, impart knowledge to others? how instruct them in all the variety of duty, to God, their neighbour, and themselves? How will they guide them through all the mazes of error, through all the intanglements of sin and temptation? How will they apprize them of the devices of Satan, and guard them against all the wisdom of the world?
He went on to warn parents of clueless boys:
It is easy to perceive, I do not speak this for their sake; (for they are incorrigible;) but for the sake of parents, that they may open their eyes and see, a blockhead can never "do well enough for a Parson." He may do well enough for a tradesman; so well as to gain fifty or an hundred thousand pounds. He may do well enough for a soldier; nay, (if you pay well for it,) for a very well-dressed and well-mounted officer. He may do well enough for a sailor, and may shine on the quarter-deck of a man-of-war. He may do so well, in the capacity of a lawyer or physician, as to ride in his gilt chariot. But O! think not of his being a Minister, unless you would bring a blot upon your family, a scandal upon our Church, and a reproach on the gospel, which he may murder, but cannot teach.
John's view? If you are a blockhead then don't be a minister.

Thanks, John.