Still plundering pastoral theology
On we go with pastoral theology texts. There seems little doubt that a significant advantage is obtained by the prospective author in this field by having a surname that begins with the letter M (Bs also give a pretty good leg-up). Why this should be so, finer minds than mine must determine, but sheer weight of numbers seems to support the thesis.
Anyway, the full list to date can be found here or from the sidebar under “Pastoral theology.” Comments and further recommendations are appreciated , and if you could put them on the full page, I will be able to keep track of them more readily. Thanks, too, to Paul Levy at Reformation21 for his backhanded recommendation, and to David Murray for promoting the list.
MacArthur, John, et al. Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry: Shaping Contemporary Ministry With Biblical Mandates. Effectively written by a conglomerate, this is a curious mix. There are some sterling chapters, and others that are wordy and bland. Once or twice I think you could argue about the claim for a precise Biblical mandate for all the assertions and practices made. All told, helpful in parts. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)
MacArthur, John, et al. Rediscovering Expository Preaching: Balancing the Science and Art of Biblical Exposition. The same unevenness as the former volume, but with more focus, and a generally balanced, sane and instructive treatment of what it means to open up and apply the text. Occasionally falls into the same trap as many such volumes of establishing rules that not all are obliged or able to follow, but worthwhile for a comprehensive overview of the issues. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)
McIlvaine, Charles P. Preaching Christ: The Heart of Gospel Ministry. Addressing himself primarily to men setting out in the ministry, this is short and sweet, identifying errors and shortcomings in the preaching of Christ before, in pithy form, exhorting us truly to preach the Lord Jesus as we find him presented in the Scriptures. Good stuff, and a good gift to a young preacher. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)
Marcel, Pierre Ch. The Relevance of Preaching. This from a French gentleman is a fine and stimulating little book. Marcel does an excellent job of maintaining the universal and abiding relevance of the Word of God preached while pleading for the cultivation of those qualities which demonstrate its relevance at any particular point of time and space. Very encouraging and instructive. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)
Marshall, Colin and Payne, Tony. The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything. Considers the relationship – and often the imbalance – between the structures and supports of church life and the conversion and growth in grace of the people who make up the church, pleading for an appropriate focus on the latter. Rightly concerned to prompt Christian maturity that enables disciples to invest in the lives of others, but with a few false dichotomies and self-contradictions and a danger of flattening out Christ’s own structures in the church, especially when the notion of vocation (pastoral or otherwise) is fairly swiftly dismissed. Review. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)
Martin, Albert N. Preaching in the Holy Spirit. If you have heard Al Martin preach at least twice, then – even without knowing the author beforehand – you would be able to identify him after reading the first paragraph of this book, not to mention the rest of it. The material – the substance of two sermons to pastors – addresses the agency and operations of the Holy Spirit, his indispensable necessity, his specific manifestations, and the restrained or diminished measure of his operations, all focusing on the act of preaching. The author brings the fruit of his study, observations and experience to bear on this topic, giving the reader an appetite for the reality he sketches. It is stirring and necessary stuff, and a powerful corrective to dry, dull, predictable sermonising. Preachers should read this. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)
Masters, Peter. Physicians of Souls: The Gospel Ministry. This is really a sustained plea for definite, distinctive, evangelistic preaching, and – as such – has a lot of good counsel. The author has his own distinctive writing style, and his personal convictions come out strongly, as along the way he snipes at several of his bugbears (he takes issue, for example, with the idea of an instantaneous regeneration, preferring the notion of an elongated experience, and advocates certain approaches to preparation and preaching which would leave a man looking and sounding very much like himself). Within its narrow focus, and taking into account the possibility of differing somewhat at certain points, there is much good and stimulating material. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)
Mellor, Mike. Look After Your Voice: Taking Care of the Preacher’s Greatest Asset. A sanctified companion to Cicely Berry’s book above, taking particular note of the distinctive demands of the preacher and the specific principles found in the Word of God. A reasonably helpful volume, but needs to be heeded rather than merely read. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)
Miller, Samuel. An Able and Faithful Ministry. With 2 Timothy 2.2 in mind, Miller takes up the church’s duty to take appropriate measures for the passing on of the ministerial baton. It is very much of its time and place, but his treatment of the text is robust and the principles behind his explanation and applications worthy of careful consideration. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)
Miller, Samuel. The Ruling Elder. Once you allow for the assumptions of the distinction between a ruling and a teaching elder, you can go ahead and glean a lot of useful material from this volume on the whole principle of rule by elder, especially concerning their character and work. Particularly valuable for being so brief and pointed. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)
Mohler, R. Albert, Jr. He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World. Helpfully brings some of the timeless principles of proclamation into the postmodern milieu, dressing it up in the kind of language that floats the boat of today’s zestfully intelligent tyro. A high view of preaching, a clear grasp of the present time, and an earnest concern for what is at stake combine to make this an effective treatment of the need to explain and apply God’s Word. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)
Murphy, Thomas. Pastoral Theology: The Pastor in the Various Duties of His Office. This 19th century Presbyterian divine opens with a most helpful definition of pastoral theology, and then goes on to develop it with regard to a pastor’s private person, his preparation and study, his pulpit labours, his personal parochial work, his wider responsibilities in the church, the progress of the church, the Sunday School, the benevolent work, the session and higher courts of the church (of course, depending on his ecclesiology), and his interdenominational relations. Few other volumes have the scope and depth of this one, as lots of sound, Scriptural sense is brought to bear on the various topics. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)