Daniel Darling, writing for Leadership, asks Don Carson, “You’ve often said that the Church is three generations from losing the gospel entirely. What advice would you give to pastors and church leaders to ensure that this doesn’t happen?” Here is his answer:
This question is an important one, but very difficult to answer in a few lines.
Read and meditate on the Scriptures constantly, and self-consciously place yourself under Scriptural authority.
Walk with epistemological humility—and that means carefully learning from Christian leaders in the past so we do not tumble into precisely the same mistakes.
Devote yourself to disciplined prayer. A prayerless person is a disaster waiting to happen.
Never stop evangelizing: it is much easier to get sloppy about the gospel if you are not proclaiming it and seeing men and women come to Christ.
Develop close attachments with a handful of trusted people who are experienced and discerning, and make time for edifying fellowship.
If you are a pastor, read widely—commentaries, theology, historical theology, devotional literature, and so forth. A pastor must be a general practitioner. One is far more likely to make mistakes of proportion and judgment where one sees oneself as a kind of specialist.