After the normal greetings and sharing of news, Farel (like all good preachers do) got straight to the point. He asked Calvin to stay at Geneva and help with the work of the church and the reform of this community. He politely declined Farel’s offer, pointing out he was headed to Strasbourg for his studies. But Farel (like all good preachers do) kept pressing the point.
I recently heard that in our little denomination of a hundred congregations, over 10% of our pulpits do not have preachers. As the president of our denomination’s seminary, it makes me ask, “Where are the men willing to be preachers?” Especially when I know of many other needs for church planting and mission work.
It’s not that we do not strive to call and and encourage men to consider pastoral ministry. We do. But perhaps I’m being a bit too “gentle” in my approach. Maybe I need to “pull a Farel” on some of the young men I speak to. Recall that story?
In the mid 1530’s John Calvin had to flee Paris because of an outbreak of persecution in France against the Protestants. His name had been associated with certain teachings that the parliament in Paris would not tolerate. The persecutions were so severe that the Catholics in power had devised a new way to torture the Protestants, who later became known as the Huguenots. Instead of simply burning them at the stake, they created a hoist that lowered and lifted its victims in and out of the fire so that those being persecuted would slowly roast to death.