Quotable: Richard Baxter on Celebrity Christian Leaders

“Consider, I beseech you, brethren, what baits there are in the work of the ministry, to entice a man to selfishness, even in the highest works of piety. The fame of a godly man is as great a snare as the fame of a learned man. But woe to him who takes up the fame of godliness instead of godliness! ‘Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.’ When the times were all for learning and empty formalities, the temptation of the proud did lie that way. But now, when, through the unspeakable mercy of God, the most lively practical preaching is in credit, the temptation of the proud is to pretend to be zealous preachers and godly men. Oh, what a fine thing it is to have people crowding to hear us, and affected with what we say, and yielding up their judgments and affections! What a taking thing it is to be cried up as the ablest and godliest man in the country, to be famed through the land for the highest spiritual excellencies! Alas! brethren, a little grace combined with such inducements, will serve to make you join yourselves with the forwardest, in promoting the cause of Christ in the world. Nay, pride may do it without special grace.”

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, 146.

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