TAKE HEED OF A PRIVATE SPIRIT

A Puritan’s Exhortation to War Together for Church Unity

Afraid of the dark

In 2020, I’ve left Octavius Winslow behind–much good he has done me.

This year’s godly dead-guy reading turns to William Gurnall and his treatise The Christian in Complete Armor.

I’ve read some of this tome in the past. Time to finish the task.

It seems I previously missed this connection he makes between spiritual warfare and church unity:

Be sure you stand in close order amongst your selves; these times give us too many sad examples of such, who first fell from communion with their brethren, and then into the devourers hand; stragglers are soon snapped; you will find you are safest in a body. Take heed of a private spirit; let not only your particular safety, but of the whole army of saints be in your eye and care, especially that company (congregation I mean) in which you march. That soldier who can see an enemy in fight with his brethren, and not help them, he makes it but the more easy for the enemy to slay himself at last. Say not therefore, Am I my brothers keeper? God would not keep him that cared not to keep his brother. Watch over one another, not to play the critics on your brothers failings, and triumph when he halts, but to help him up if he falls, or if possible, to keep him from falling by a timely rescue. … Keep your rank and file.

There’s a word, Christian.

Your enemy hunts you and your army.

You are safest in a body.

Keep your rank and file.

We ARE our brother’s keeper.

Take heed of a private spirit!

 

The Killing Disease Among Men

That’s what Stu Weber in his book The Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart (Multnomah, 1997, 286 pages) calls isolation.

He writes: The tendency toward rock-ribbed, self-sufficient isolation is a killing disease among men. It’s as common as prostate cancer and every bit as destructive to life (p. 225).

Overstatement? I’m not sure. More than one man has shipwrecked on the shores of independence and loneliness. The verdict of Scripture is plain. It is not good for the man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil (Ecc. 4:9). Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another (Prov. 27:17). Every man needs an armor bearer – at least one (1 Sam. 14:1ff).

Men, do you want to ward off this killing disease? There are all sorts of ways to prevent it. May I suggest than one is coming to our annual retreat on Nov. 16 & 17? Dr. Richard Parker will bring substantive, biblically-saturated messages on running the race well to the finish line. We will have opportunity to connect, deepen relationships, and initiate friendships. Scholarship funds are available if a lack of funds stands in your way.

Go to the Recharge website and register today! The price goes up this Monday, please be advised.