The following is taken from the introduction to David F. Wells book Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover its Moral Vision [Eerdmans, 1998]. Wells is also the author of No Place for Truth and God in the Wasteland. I give your this excerpt here because it goes far in explaining why abuse victims (sexual, domestic, and spiritual) are being treated so cruelly today when they seek help from their churches. The fact is, they are a threat to the “success” of the corporate machine that calls itself the church (but is not):
Here are some excellent truths about fake repentance. These words are from a pastor of old named Thomas Watson in England:
COUNTERFEITS of Repentance (from Thomas Watson’s The Doctrine of Repentance, Puritan Paperbacks series)
To discover what true repentance is, I shall first show what it is not. There are several counterfeits of repentance, which might occasion that saying of Augustine that “repentance damns many”. He meant a false repentance; a person may delude himself with counterfeit repentance:
1Ti 1:5-7 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (6) Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, (7) desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
1Ti 1:18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,
Many times in the church we hear people talking about “calling.” In regard to a pastor, people want to know “when did you know that the Lord was calling you to be a pastor?” I have been asked that question many times (though not so much now as in my earlier years). It is certainly understandable that people wonder about it.
But what I specifically wanted to talk about in this article is a caution. Namely, this:
Just because someone is a pastor does not mean the Lord has called them.