Theodore Parker And Adoniram Judson -- By: N. M. Williams

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 026:102 (Apr 1869)
Article: Theodore Parker And Adoniram Judson
Author: N. M. Williams


Theodore Parker And Adoniram Judson

Rev. N. M. Williams

The current of events is giving weighty significance to the question: What kind of a ministry do the wants of men require? In attempting to make some little contribution to the answer, it may be advantageous to adopt the concrete method instead of the abstract. We propose, therefore, to compare Theodore Parker and Adoniram Judson as representatives of opposite types of ministers. Whichever of these types the world needs, churches, colleges, and theological seminaries should endeavor to aid in supplying.

In the selection of Judson as the representative of the one type, it is assumed that there is no substantial difference between a missionary and a minister at home. Both are preachers to men, and both are more or less engaged in the work of the pastor. The selection of the recent preacher of the Music Hall as the representative of the other type, is determined by the consideration that the style of ministers to which Mr. Parker belongs is that to which the “advanced” thought of England and the United States is

strongly tending. If there is any such thing as a “Termination Rock” in the new course of thought, that would seem to be the spot from which in part to form our judgment relative to the desirableness of working the ministry out to it. That body of ministers with which Mr. Parker may be regarded as forming, with others, the extreme left, has its extreme right in the evangelical church itself. It is proper therefore that the comparison should have reference to him, rather than to one who has not been thoroughly ripened off. Let us look at the two men with candor. Let us have no prejudice concerning either. Let us be controlled by fidelity to truth, by liberality toward persons. If we shall indulge in what the friends of either must regard as severity, let it be only the severity of facts. We shall doubtless find something in each that is adapted to our wants in training men for the ministry. In neither shall we find perfection. It is worthy of consideration that they were born in the same community, their native towns almost adjoining, and grouped with the neighboring cities, constituting one of the most thoroughly Christian communities in the world. What these men taught, and with what spirit they taught, are the two points which the general aim of the Article will require us to consider.

What did these men teach? What did they teach concerning the character of men?

“Sin,” says Mr. Parker, “is one of the incidents of our attempt to get command over all our faculties. In learning to read, to write, how children mistake the letters, miscall the sounds, misw...

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