“The four giant-killers of preachers—money, pride, unbridled ambition, and women—have killed their thousands. By the grace of God, they’ve not slain me.”
So are the words of Albert N. Martin, who, after 46 years of ministry at Trinity Baptist Church in Montville, N.J., recently resigned his pastorate (read past posts citing Albert Martin here and here). If you are not familiar with the ‘Reformed Baptist’ (a moniker he does not like) ministry of Pastor Martin (no relation to yours truly), you should be. His sermons are worth hearing. He’s not as hip as some of the Reformed evangelicals out there, but his pulpit ministry is one most students of Scripture will appreciate. He was ‘Reformed’ long before it was trendy to be so. I had the opportunity to hear Pastor Martin in person here in Minnesota this last Lord’s Day evening, and his preaching has all the life of a young man, yet the wisdom of one now well-seasoned and advanced in years.
In preparation for his transition out of his New Jersey pulpit, Pastor Martin preached a series of nine sermons to his congregation, Parting Words of Counsel to the Members and Friends of Trinity Baptist Church. I commend these to your hearing. In them, Martin admonishes his congregation to hold fast to several particular doctrines or practices that have been important to Martin over the last several decades. The nine sermons are as follows:
- By faith and love, cling tenaciously to the person of Christ, and out of faith and love, obey resolutely the word of Christ.
- Hold fast to your ‘Biblical churchmanship’: hold fast your convictions and practice concerning the unique place of the church in the saving purpose of God, hold fast your convictions and practice the necessity of doctrinal purity and unity in the life of the church, and hold fast to your convictions and practice concerning the maintenance of Biblical standards for membership in the church. (This one is gold–an excellent summary of good Biblical polity.)
- Hold fast to your ‘Biblical churchmanship’: hold fast to your convictions and practice concerning the worship that is acceptable to God in his church; have worship that is ‘God-centered, Bible-dominated, prayer saturated, and spirited animated.’ This sermon stresses the importance of conservative worship and the regulative principle of worship. (You must listen to this one.)
- Hold fast to your ‘Biblical churchmanship’: hold fast to your convictions and practice for the necessity of holding Biblical standards for the recognition of office-bears and implementing biblical directives for the function of those office-bearers, and hold fast your convictions and practice concerning the ministries you are to perform to one another and to the entire church and body of Christ.
- Hold fast to your ‘Biblical churchmanship’: hold fast to your convictions and practice regarding the duty of this church to theChurch universal andto a lost and needy world. (“The best thing I could do for the progress of the gospel with some professing Christians is to put duct tape on their mouth.”)
- Hold fast to your convictions and practice concerning the Lord’s Day Sabbath. Martin provides a thoughtful and compelling treatment of the subject.
- Hold fast to your convictions and practice concerning Biblically ordered, ‘gospel-flavored’ family life (part 1). This particular message more directly addresses marriage.
- Hold fast to your convictions and practice concerning Biblically ordered, ‘gospel-flavored’ family life (part2). This continues the former message, addressing child-rearing and the obedience of children. Both of these are pointed and practical.
- A Farewell Sermon (6 realities at the heart of Martin’s 46 years of labor at Trinity). He talks humbly and frankly about what God has done through him and then asks forgiveness for his sins against his congregation (!). He aptly shows how difficult ministry is, and what a high calling it is, but also stirs a great desire to be a pastor such as he was.