The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Some superb stuff supporting shepherds’ sincere strivings

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As I mentioned previously, the Ss are in danger of being over-represented in pastoral theology authors (come on, authors beginning with other letters!). So, in addition to last time, where we introduced the letter (is this starting to sound a little bit like a surreal episode of Sesame Street?), here is a bevy of Ss to keep you occupied for a while.

The full list to date continues to be available 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.

By the way, keep your eyes open for a competition which I hope to have in place shortly after completion of the list.

Spencer, Ichabod. A Pastor’s Sketches (2 vols). I suppose you could call these volumes an exercise in pastoral casuistry. They are really vignettes of pastoral interaction, covering a wide range of circumstances and character. One of their particular advantages is that – for young men who may have little experience of dealing with seeking souls, tortured consciences, arrogant hearts, or troubled lives – these give us an experiential head start until we have had some experience of our own. These books abound with practical pastoral wisdom for dealing with men and women in various stages of spiritual agitation and concern. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Spring, Gardiner. The Attraction of the Cross. “Nothing will interest you like the cross. Nothing can do for you what the cross has done.” So says Spring, having surveyed the narrative of the cross, and he then sets out to demonstrate his point by giving counsels concerning the cross of Christ. A feast of good things, a treasury stored with healthy and helpful thoughts concerning those matters which stand at the heart of faith. Somewhere between pastoral theology and pastoral practice, this book teaches the man and instructs the minister simultaneously. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Spring, Gardiner. The Power of the Pulpit: Thoughts Addressed to Christian Ministers and Those Who Hear Them. Distinctive not least because it is pastoral theology for the pulpit and the pew. After developing at length the principle of a powerful pulpit, Spring then ranges fairly far and wide over some typical topics of pastoral theology, as well as taking up some of the responsibilities of hearers of God’s Word. Spring always flows with sound advice and his words clearly gush from an ardent heart. I like him. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Spurgeon, Charles. An All-Round Ministry. Some of Spurgeon’s presidential addresses to his Pastors’ College Conference, these were the times when he sought to put an edge on the blade. These words stir the soul, engage the heart, humble the mind, and draw out the strength. For all Spurgeon’s personal and cultural distinctives of style, the man knew how to deal with the heart, and his love for Christ, for his church, and for the lost simply overflows in these sparkling pages. Read it often. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Spurgeon, Charles. Counsel for Christian Workers. A series of more generic addresses to those engaged in various spheres of distinctly Christian labour, these have much to encourage and direct the time and energy of labouring saints. We might wish we had more workers of finer temper, but this will both exhort us to be such ourselves and help us to forge those we have into more effective tools for the Master’s work. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Spurgeon, Charles. Eccentric Preachers. Instructive, hilarious, cathartic. If nothing else, this will release a man to be unashamedly himself, to be whatever God has made him, and to serve God accordingly. The man who reads it and decides to behave eccentrically is not being eccentric but foolish; I should hope that no-one of sense would fall into this trap. Given that many effective ministers do not necessarily fit a mould, I think that this is more helpful in enabling us to get on with our work than many might assume. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Spurgeon, Charles. Spurgeon’s Sermon Notes. I cannot say that I have ever actually used this for a sermon, though it is nice to have as an emergency (that said, I have more often than not cribbed something from Spurgeon’s printed sermons, so I am not claiming to be entirely independent!). Good for a crisis, so long as a man has learned to preach as his own what he necessarily borrows from another. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Spurgeon, Charles. Lectures to My Students. A beauty! Spurgeon goes places that others do not with a wit and insight that others lack. A wealth of counsels on countless topics, all breathing an atmosphere of true devotion to Christ and his people. I think this is a splendid book. Be aware, though, that in common with some of the other books of great men on such topics, they sometimes make assumptions that hold good only for men of similar gift, or give counsel that works best if you have their capacities and abilities and must be adapted for others. He does not often fall into the trap of laying down rules that we are not obliged to follow, but we must remember that Spurgeon is Spurgeon, and that he might wisely do what for us would be a mistake. For all that, make it a regular companion. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Spurgeon, Charles. The Soul Winner. Reveals the beating heart of Spurgeon the evangelist. I love this book and only wish I could show more benefit from it in practice and enjoy it by experience. I honestly think that Spurgeon can see what too many others have lost sight of, and he calls us to cultivate the character and the capabilities that will make us winners of souls, and then go out with earnest endeavour to accomplish our God-given ends. When our public and private labours are in danger of becoming tepid or aimless or meandering or merely academic, this will invigorate our souls. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Stewart, James S. Heralds of God. A curious book this, containing many good counsels but not grounding them to great degree in the Word of God. Many entirely right and healthy convictions come across masked in the language of philosophy or sociology. The tone is quite conversational and the whole is fairly urbane and cultured. By all means worthy of a read, and contains much to stimulate, but feels like it relies more on the light of nature than of revelation, and so lacks the cutting edge for which one looks in books of this kind. See also here. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Stalker, James. The Preacher and His Models. Taking his cue from the Old Testament prophets (including a fascinating treatment of false prophets) and the New Testament apostles, Stalker reviews the material under eight headings in which the character of a true preacher is set forth (sometimes by contrast). Stimulating, demanding and engaging, this book presses the Scriptural models into the soul of the modern minister. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Still, William. The Work of the Pastor. A shorter volume, but abounding in wit and sense. Willy Still was one of Sinclair Ferguson’s mentors, and this book focuses on the preaching and teaching of the Word as the pastor’s main concern and most effective tool. There are some very invigorating counsels here, delivered without punches being pulled, and with a minimum of fuss and extravagance. Good stuff! (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Stott, John. Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today. Some excellent counsel here from our Anglican friend, with lots of sound advice grounded in principle and long practice. One need not agree with every assumption or argument to find much to appreciate. Particularly engaging is his wrestling with the challenges of preaching in today’s world (it would be disappointing, given the title, if this were not so!). He helpfully identifies many of the problems, even if we might fine-tune some of his solutions. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Stott, John. The Preacher’s Portrait. To say that this is not much more than a series of word studies would be both to speak truth and to undersell the book terribly. Stott examines the language used of preachers and preaching in the New Testament to develop a composite portrait of the labours of the man of God. Handled with insight and conviction, these studies give a healthy roundedness to our notions of being a preacher of God’s Word. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 22 September 2011 at 09:05

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  1. […] Some superb stuff supporting shepherds’ sincere strivings « The Wanderer […]


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