The Wanderer

"As I walked through the wilderness of this world . . ."

Pastoral theology

with 22 comments

What follows is a personal survey of many of the books from my library on pastoral theology. It concentrates on those about which I am substantially positive without feeling the need to avoid a healthy critical spirit. The comments are comments first and foremost on the books, not on men or their ministries, and should be read accordingly, please. I have not generally bothered critiquing or identifying where differences of conviction would have a noticeable impact or impart a certain flavour, as in the spheres of church polity and ecclesiology. I leave it to the reader to wrestle through the implications of different perspectives, and to do for himself the work of accommodating good principles to his own distinctive convictions.

In providing these brief assessments, I am conscious that I am leaving out a vast swathe of material that speaks very much to the same issues. So, I am not surveying books of sermons, which every preacher should use from time to time to be instructed by someone worthy – usually: it is worth checking his credentials! – of being printed (I look across to have John Calvin, William Shedd, John Elias and Thomas Watson catch my eye as if to query their absence). Neither am I surveying biographies of past worthies, which generally abound in sanctifying substance and which often serve to correct and direct the man of God (though I am conscious of Whitefield and M’Cheyne and Carey looking down on me). I am not considering those treatments (often epistolary) of the pastor’s divine craft, though I feel I am neglecting Andrew Fuller’s excellent letters to a young minister, not to mention his ordination sermons, and I am reluctantly overlooking the correspondence between Newton and Ryland. I am skating over those character studies of the mighty men of God in the pages of the New Testament, grieving that Ted Donnelly on Peter: Eyewitness of His Majesty or William Taylor’s treatments of Paul and Peter can find no place, for example, and hearing but not heeding the call of Elijah from the pages of A. W. Pink. I resist the temptation to look over some of the Puritan sermons and disquisitions that have so much to say on these topics, whether it be Traill’s magnificent treatment of soul-winning or Owen’s magisterial reviews of pastoral duty and Christian fellowship. I turn back from turning to the pages of Thornwell’s works or the letters and thoughts of Edward Payson. I am not in the ecclesiology section, where there is so much incidental instruction on the pastoral office and work, not least in relationships between pastors within and among churches. Perhaps centrally, and too often overlooked in pastoral theology, is the great Shepherd of the sheep, the Lord Christ himself. What treasures may be gleaned from Christ’s life and labours, in the pages of such books as William Blaikie’s Glimpses of the Inner Life of our Lord and The Public Ministry of Christ, or Robert Law’s The Emotions of Jesus! But these are treasures that I have left in their chests for this exercise, although I might add some to the list in due course.

And so, on to the books. I welcome comments on the list, and would be particularly interested to know of any other older or newer works of pastoral theology that readers might recommend. Thank you.

Alexander, Eric J. What is Biblical Preaching? A little booklet with plenty of pithy and profound thoughts to ingest. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Alexander, J. W. Thoughts on Preaching. Though at points one wishes for a little more topical arrangement, reading his paragraphs as a sort of series of extended aphorisms quickly persuades of Alexander’s great insight. His terse and pithy declarations provide much food for thought. The letters to young ministers and the longer studies toward the end of the book give opportunity for slower and deeper development of his profitable thoughts. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Angell James, John. An Earnest Ministry: The Want of the Times. Written with the very fervency it recommends, Angell James gives us no place to hide in demanding that if we want others to feel what we preach we must first feel it ourselves, not with an artificial excitement, but with a soul-deep earnestness. Read it before you preach to remind you of how much you need God to help you; read it after you preach to keep you humble; read it between sermons to prompt you in your labours. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Aristotle. The Art of Rhetoric. Old-skool, and why not! Of course, needs to be forced thoroughly through a Scriptural grid, but pushes you towards good questions even if you must go on to find God’s answers. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Armstrong, John H. The Stain That Stays: The Church’s Response to the Sexual Misconduct of Its Leaders. A persuasive argument for the permanent disbarring from the pastoral office of any man guilty of sexual immorality, and in itself a powerful persuasive to purity. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Ascol, Thomas K., ed. Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry. One of the interesting things about these compendia is that you get to see the men considered to be the great and the good in the time, place and circle of the editor and/or publisher. Our contributors here are some of the men you would expect, and they deliver much good material in the form of letters written to a realistically-imagined Timothy in the spirit of a mentor. This focus provides a degree of coherence and a suspected significant degree of editorial oversight prevents the contributors from treading too much on one another’s toes, while the characters and personal styles of the correspondents provides a pleasing variety. A wealth of good advice for young men is here, thought it serves equally as a series of profitable reminders and correctives for those who have been some time in the way. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Azurdia, Arturo G. III. Spirit Empowered Preaching: Involving the Holy Spirit in Your Ministry. I remember an older minister introducing himself to me at a conference, and in the course of his conversation recommending this book as one I must read. I took his advice, and recall being stirred, confirmed and prompted to seek and know more of the Spirit’s work in ministry. A good volume. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Baxter, Richard. The Reformed Pastor. Baxter’s sense of his obligations before God weigh heavily upon him and us in this classic text. Although at times you are almost driven to despair by the felt gravity of the calling and its duties, there is much gold to mine from even the deepest caverns. The sensitive man might wish to keep a complementary volume near at hand to encourage his soul, but anyone with ears to hear will be taught, reproved, corrected, and instructed in righteousness by this treatment of the theme. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Berry, Cicely. Your Voice and How to Use It: The Classic Guide to Speaking With Confidence. The voice director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, with some utterly unnecessary but would-be achingly cool vulgarity, gives helpful counsel on the right use of the voice. Quite technical at points, but something like this would help many of us with such things as pitch, tone, diction, variation, and a host of other pulpit failings that make us hard to hear or listen to. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Bickel, Bruce R. Light and Heat: The Puritan View of the Pulpit. Really two shorter books in one, Bruce Bickel mines Puritan preachers (and some of their successors) for their thoughts on preaching in the first part, weaving it profitably together. The second part is really a comparison of two different kinds of evangelism (Puritanism vs. Finneyism, in essence). There is lots here to stimulate, pointing the reader back beyond the Puritans to Scripture to see whether or not our convictions and the practices that flow from them are what they ought to be. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Blaikie, William Garden. For the Work of the Ministry. Setting out to be brief, complete and practical, Blaikie does a cracking job. One of the old school, in the best sense, treating the nature of the ministry, the call to it, the work of it, the character required in it, with all manner of homiletical and pastoral tips and hints along the way. Not all of its emphases and nuances need to be embraced to find this a real gem. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Bonar, Andrew. The Visitor’s Book of Texts: A Vital Tool for Pastoral Visitation. A very different little book, detailing the various cases which a visiting minister may find when he goes into a home or hospital (or wherever), giving some general counsels for approaching each instance, then highlighting a number of relevant texts, sometimes with thoughts or comments upon particular ones, all intended to help the visitor find appropriate Scriptures and well-directed words for ministering. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Bonar, Horatius. Words to Winners of Souls. An exercise in self-examination of a painful and profitable kind. Bonar deals not only with what we ought to be, but also exposes what we too often have been and remain. He searches the heart, probing and prodding, before pointing us to the remedies for many ministerial sins and the reviving of our hearts and the rejuvenation of our work. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Borgman, Brian. My Heart for Thy Cause: Albert N. Martin’s Theology of Preaching. An odd book, this, essentially consisting of the boiled-down essence of Al Martin’s lectures on preaching filtered through Borgman the redactor. While much of the profit remains of close attention to the Biblical material on preaching and pastoring, joined with telling and apposite quotes from past masters, it seems to me a book that loses too much in translation. There is much here that is profitable, and yet the book as a whole seems unsatisfactory because it is much less than it could have been. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Boston, Thomas. The Art of Manfishing. I think that this was the work of the young Boston intended solely for his own benefit. It therefore has the virtue of unfailing honesty, insofar as any man is honest with himself. There is no show, only a man dealing with his own soul. Boston considers the promise of Christ to make us fishers of men, then looks at the ministerial duty to pursue such a calling, before asking himself how to cultivate such an art. Good stuff. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Bridges, Charles. The Christian Ministry (with An Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency). Bridges was ridiculously young to have so much wisdom and insight when he wrote this. With very little of his own ecclesiology intruding, Bridges gives us an overview of the ministry before considering its inefficiency connected with general causes and with the pastor’s own character (guess which bit hurts the most?). He then moves on to give many corrective helps with regard to public and private or pastoral ministry. Deservedly recognised as a classic in its field. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Broadus, John A. (ed. E. C. Dargan). A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons. As long as you get the right edition (the Dargan one) you are in for a sustained and meaty treat. A treasure-house of homiletical insights, Broadus ranges far and wide to give us a grand and focused overview of the sermon. Worthy of more attention in an age when the productions of the pulpit are so often bland and diffuse. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Brown, Charles. The Ministry. Another oldie but a goodie. Fairly short and sweet, again he deals with godly character (a signal failing of many newer works), an excellent treatment of public prayer, and some delightful thoughts on pulpit ministry. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Brown, John, of Edinburgh (comp.). The Christian Pastor’s Manual. A collection of addresses by various worthies. When looking at more modern collections, it is striking how some of the same topics concerning preaching come up time and again. Has the virtue of addressing the pastoral calling and character as much as the work of preaching. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Bucer, Martin (trans. Peter Beale). Concerning the True Care of Souls. Bucer is one of the sleeping giants in Reformation studies, and this is the fruit of some twenty-five years of pastoral ministry, in which he sets out the nature of the work of a ‘carer of souls’ in the context of his doctrine of the church. The linking of these two is part of the genius of the whole, which abounds in good things. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Carrick, John. The Imperative of Preaching: A Theology of Sacred Rhetoric. Outstanding material here. With illustrations from preachers of renown, Carrick insists that we must both explain and apply the truth, and he bases his case on a study of Biblical indicatives and imperatives, and their relationship one to the other (as well as exclamations and questions). Helpful in thinking about the why and how of sermons, and a real stimulus to preaching (or trying to). (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Carrick, John. The Preaching of Jonathan Edwards. I recently got it not least in the hopes that it would develop some of the seed-thoughts of the earlier volume (above). From what I can see, it is a survey of some noteworthy features from Edwards’ public ministry, and could be very helpful. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Carson, D. A. The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians. A helpful study of what it means for “the cross” to have a central place in Christian leadership. A reminder of the spirit in which our pastoral labours are to be conducted. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Chappell, Bryan. Christ-Centred Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon. This volume sounds some helpful notes, and is worth reading to be reminded of some basic realities in connection with preaching. However, while I know it has had much good press, I found it a little dry and somewhat prescriptive. I think that much of its substance and profitable emphases could be obtained elsewhere without the same constraints being unhelpfully imposed. I may be misreading or misunderstanding it. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Clowney, Edmund P. Called to the Ministry. An excellent and brief treatment of the call to the ministry. Very useful for those wrestling with the question. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Croft, Brian. Test, Train, Affirm & Send Into Ministry. With an easy style and an awareness of modern issues, the author puts the call to ministry right where it belongs, squarely into the context of the local church. Within this framework, the character of the man himself is briefly explored, practical recommendations made, and the ongoing investment of the church in the man under authority is pleaded. Although different churches might wish to adapt what they adopt, this is a solid foundation on which to proceed. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Croft, Brian. Visit the Sick. Again writing to equip men to be genuine shepherds of souls, this book sets out to remind the church and her pastors that the care of the sick is not merely a matter for health professionals, especially in the sphere of the soul’s well-being. Again full of practical advice and the fruit of sometimes painful experience, this book is helpful in rightly setting a pastoral priority. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Croft, Brian & Newton, Phil A. Conduct Gospel-Centered Funerals. Many young pastors arrive at their first wedding or funeral having just realised that they have never really seen this done from their soon-to-be vantage point. Going beyond the mere mechanics of the service, Croft and Newton give wise counsel on how to think about and engage with the various aspects of a funeral that honours Christ and declares his truth even as it recognises the pains and sorrows of lost loved ones. Helpful especially for the uninitiated, but a good prompt even for the seasoned. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Dabney, R. L. Evangelical Eloquence: A Course of Lectures on Preaching (previously, Sacred Rhetoric). Another older gem, Dabney begins with the preacher’s commission before surveying a classic list of those elements which together enable a man gifted by God to compose and deliver his divinely-mandated message in such a way as to accomplish God’s ends, with his blessing. Changes in expectations and appetites in the world at large do not take away the usefulness of these basic Biblical principles. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Dickson, David. The Elder and His Work. Written from a Presbyterian perspective, and so dealing more with ruling elders as distinct from teaching elders, this is nevertheless a very helpful, practical survey of the work of elders/pastors generally. While you might tweak it depending on your ecclesiology, if you have (for want of a better phrase) “non-vocational pastors” there is much here that might help, quite apart from the benefit to the preacher of the gospel. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Eby, David. Power Preaching for Church Growth: The Role of Preaching in Growing Churches. Despite a rather awkward and even misleading title, this is actually about the centrality of preaching in the church, using the book of Acts as something of a template. He is concerned for faithful, lively, productive public ministry, and there is much (including helpful quotations to encourage after each chapter) to stimulate the preacher. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Ellsworth, Wilbur. The Power of Speaking God’s Word: How to Preach Memorable Sermons. Focusing on the concept of “orality,” this is really a plea to preach man-to-man, eyeball-to-eyeball, without the potential barrier of reams of notes or pages of manuscripts to hinder communication. Again, our author has a tendency to make an absolute principle of good advice, but I think he takes us in a very healthy direction. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Eveson, Philip (ed.). The Gospel Ministry: Practical Insights and Application. A helpful treatment of present challenges to gospel ministry. There is some insightful stuff here, prompting us to think through the implications and applications of preaching in our own society and culture. The collection is worth having for the two addresses by Ted Donnelly alone. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Eyres, Lawrence R. The Elders of the Church. A high view of the office of elder permeates this slim volume. With clear language and robust reasoning, the author sets out the divine calling, ecclesiastical recognition, Scriptural qualifications, and practical equipping and appointing of pastors in the church. While his Presbyterianism informs and conditions some elements, the essential thrust can be accepted by all who acknowledge the authority of the Bible, and the distinctive forms can be laid aside where conviction dictates, and the Scripture principles behind them adapted and embraced. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Fairbairn, Patrick. Pastoral Theology: A Treatise on the Office and Duties of the Christian Pastor. With its focus on the preacher, this is another little beauty. Putting the pastorate in the context of the church, Fairbairn then considers the nature of and call to the office before considering how generally and particularly its duties are to be carried out. There are counsels for many of the primary responsibilities of life in the ministry, all from a truly pious and learned tradition. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Foxcroft, Thomas. The Gospel Ministry. This is the sermon that Foxcroft preached at his own ordination. It was so good that the men gathered to ordain him urged him to print it. It is magnificent, and all the more useful for being so brief. A great gift for a new minister, and a great reminder for any older ones. Review. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Garretson, James M. Princeton and Preaching: Archibald Alexander and the Christian Ministry. An excellent survey-summary of the lectures of Alexander, drawing together the material into discrete and orderly sections, and weaving it seamlessly into a joint-address in which Garretson provides something of a framework to communicate the cream of Alexander’s substance. Really helpful. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Grossi, Gabriel. Preaching with Biblical Passion: A Scriptural and Historical Study. This self-published work is a demonstration of itself in itself. Grossi pleads passionately for preaching that is informed by the Scriptural mandates for style and substance. (Find it here)

Gordon, T. David. Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers. Why is it that the average preacher cannot preach? The author suggests that a lack of facility in handling words – reading, writing, speaking – have robbed him of the faculties required to do so. This is a brief, impassioned polemical piece, exposing the problem and suggesting a solution in a way that will do many preachers good to consider. Review. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Hughes, Jack. Expository Preaching with Word Pictures: With Illustrations from the Sermons of Thomas Watson. Drawing on one of the Puritan masters of the craft, this is a plea for the use of the sanctified imagination to enliven our preaching and pasturing. Reminds us how effective analogy and illustration can be to communicate truth that otherwise remains clouded and abstract, and teaches us how to start getting it right. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Kern, John A. The Way of the Preacher. A variable volume, a little wordy, romantic and philosophical at points, without grounding all assertions in Scripture, and therefore being very much of its time. Furthermore, from my reading, Kern is no Calvinist, and a little too dismissive of doctrinal definition. These shortcomings are a shame, because scattered throughout there are chapters of real power and insight, and some superb gems in sentences or phrases. Certainly not the first volume to seek out, but – for someone looking to be provoked outside of the regular realm of things – very stimulating, but to be handled carefully. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Kistler, Don (ed.). Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching. At once focused on preaching and yet strangely disparate at points because of the range of material, this has lots of wise counsel about different species of preaching. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. Preaching and Preachers. A fascinating treatment of the subject, not least because it is written by a man recognised as a great preacher and many remember and/or can revisit some of his sermons to hear the principles in action. Some of the Doctor’s distinctive views come across, and his personality is stamped on every page. Much to learn here from a master of the craft, even though one might not follow him slavishly. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Logan, Samuel T., ed. The Preacher and Preaching: Reviving the Art in the Twentieth Century. Interesting to look back some twenty five years, see the men asked to contribute, and wonder whether those who remain would still be on the list! The topics covered actually derive from a survey of noted preachers who were asked to identify the primary deficiencies of the contemporary Reformed pulpit, which topics were then farmed out to men considered ideally suited to address them. The result is a book that is in some respects diffuse, but has much profitable counsel scattered throughout. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

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)

Murray, David. How Sermons Work. With his customary clarity and precision of style and structure, David Murray provides us with a preacher’s toolbox – not a full pastoral theology per se but rather a practical homiletical help. As a toolbox, it is well stocked with just the kind of instruments and tools that a preacher needs in order to construct a well-ordered, well-balanced, well-directed sermon. But, as Murray would acknowledge, this is not a mechanistic process, and so the apprentice preacher must learn to select and employ his tools wisely and well through diligent practice and in prayerful dependence on the Spirit. As such, anyone who preaches and teaches would do well to take up Murray’s toolbox with a view to learning the use of the tools; the well-practiced preacher might readily survey the collection to see whether he has mislaid or neglected any of the tools of his trade; the sermon-hearer will learn some of what lies behind the hour of ministry he hears in the Sunday services. The proper use of this little book would be of genuine benefit to preachers and their congregations. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Olyott, Stuart. Ministering Like the Master: Three Messages for Today’s Preachers. Stuart’s gift for clarity and ability to make a point serve him well in this little jewel. In terse, tight prose, we are informed that our Lord was not a boring preacher (with instruction on how to emulate him), that he was an evangelistic preacher (with counsel on how to follow him), and that he was more than just a preacher (with his example held before us). Sweet, practical, stimulating. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Olyott, Stuart. Preaching Pure and Simple. Once he has defined what preaching is, Stuart tells us what it needs to make it good: exegetical accuracy, doctrinal substance, clear structure, vivid illustration, pointed application, helpful delivery, and supernatural authority. Whether as a primer for a preacher finding his feet, or a refresher course for a man who needs to strip down his work to the essentials for an evaluation of his labours, this is superb. Highly recommended. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Newton, John. Ministry on my Mind. This booklet is simply a record of what were intended to be the private thoughts of John Newton as he pondered whether or not he was being called to the ministry. Valuable largely because it is so personal – and, it should be noted, potentially tricky for the same reasons, because Newton was not self-consciously establishing a general model for others – this is a wonderful help to a man wrestling with the same issue, and a sobering reminder that many of us do not take what we are already doing with sufficient seriousness. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Piper, John. Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry. Full of familiar Piper themes and phrases (the reader must judge of their usefulness) the substance of this work is genuinely helpful. Brief chapters make it excellent for occasional or sequential meditation as a way of considering whether our pastoral compass is set true, and the range of topics allows Piper to take on a variety of aspects that will either liberate or cripple pastoral ministry. A good refresher. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Piper, John. The Supremacy of God in Preaching. Trinitarian and Edwardsean – that will tick plenty of boxes! The first comes out in a more general review of the goal, ground and gift of preaching, and then the latter begins to advance as we turn more to learn lessons from Edwards as theologian and preacher. A profitable call to the main things, with plenty of practical helps. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Prime, Derek and Begg, Alistair. On Being A Pastor: Understanding Our Calling and Work. Covers familiar ground but with a contemporary feel, surveying the various aspects of pastoral work with a sort of meditative tone at points. My edition, in which Prime and Begg almost engage in a conversation based on a revision of Prime’s own earlier work, provides lots of personal insights – listening in, as it were, while these men chat – but can disrupt the flow a little. Profitable, insightful, although with a bitty feel at points. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Reymond, Robert L. The God-Centered Preacher: Developing a Pulpit Ministry Approved by God. Coming from a slightly different stable to some of the other volumes, this book comes in two parts, the former a survey of eight needs for the modern pulpit, and the latter a selection of ‘approved’ sermons intended to demonstrate the model established in the first part. Fairly technical at points, and interacting with some significant opponents, this Scripture-saturated, theologically acute, historically aware volume has much to offer. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Reynolds, Gregory Edward. The Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures: Preaching in the Electronic Age. Essentially a homiletical work developed out of some post-graduate research (I think), Reynolds sets out not to rehash some of the older classics, but to supplement them taking into account the rise of modern media. The bulk of the book is fairly typical academic hoop-jumping, all good stuff and very interesting, but interacting by obligation with things for the sake of racking up some scholarly points. In the latter portion of the book the pastor-preacher takes over and scores some good hits. Despite it being ten years old (and therefore not taking account of a decade of high-speed development) it covers a lot of ground and brings out some excellent principles. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Ryle, J. C. Simplicity in Preaching. Reminding us that in his collections of essays and addresses Ryle has a wealth of sound advice on preaching, this little booklet is concerned with simplicity, and – modelling its own counsel – gives us a series of pointed counsels as to how to develop it. Many a seminarian who has yet to discern the difference between his classroom disquisitions and his pulpit productions would benefit from this. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Shaw, John. The Character of a Pastor According to God’s Heart Considered. An ordination sermon grounded in Jeremiah 3.15, this is one of those more Puritanical treatments which drives at the heart of the ministry: the character of the minister. Short, simple, searching, will flush the spiritual system out. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Shedd, W. G. T. Homiletics and Pastoral Theology. Boy, how these 19th century gents liked to churn these things out! This one combines a series of lectures on sermon preparation and delivery and a survey of pastoral theology as it has to do with the various spheres of ministerial character and labour. Again, the style is of its time, but the counsels, directions and warnings are always substantial, Scripturally solid, often sweet, sometimes righteously severe, and properly searching. Will cover much of the ground that others cover, but these men have flashes of insight and turns of phrase that can make each individually valuable. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Smith, Steven W. Dying to Preach: Embracing the Cross in the Pulpit. A passionate and persuasive plea to preachers that they must embrace the cross in their pastoral ministry, dying to self so that others might live in imitation of Christ and, following the Lord, Paul. The focus is really on one’s theology of preaching. The author’s vigorous spiritual probing calls us back to self-examination as to whether we preach a crucified Lord in a crucified style. Review. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

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)

Thomas, Geoffrey. Preaching: The Man, the Message, the Method. Geoff can be utterly scintillating, and his credibility as a man who has laboured in one place for over fifty years gives him a solid platform for what he has to say. Sweeping, properly assertive, and full of insights, this again is one of those foundational treatments that it is good to revisit from time to time to recalibrate our efforts and expectations in our work. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Taylor, William M. and Plumer, William S. The Ministry of the Word & Hints and Helps in Pastoral Theology. I bundle these together because my edition is two-books-in-one. I really appreciate Taylor. His primary concern is preaching (although there is some good material on private pastoral ministry), and with a robust style he deals with his topic in a way that utterly exposes carelessness and lukewarmness. Taylor abounds with solid Scriptural sense and a bracing tone presses his advice deep into the soul. Plumer is another favourite, though his style is very different. He has a slightly broader scope than Taylor, taking up a variety of more circumstantial topics (such as religious excitements, revivals, visiting the sick, whether to become a foreign missionary, and so on) and is pithier, covering his ground more quickly. In typical style, he also provides a chapter of sayings for ministers, showing some of the gleanings of his own studies. Apart, these would be formidable; together, we are in the presence of Boanerges! (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk (Taylor/Plumer) / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Tyng, Stephen H. The Christian Pastor: The Office and Duty of the Gospel Minister. A very devotional little treatment, breathing a heavenly atmosphere and explicitly taken up with the preacher as a gospel minister. Much to say about the Christlike character of the man of God, and the Christlike way in which he goes about his duty, all borne of long pastoral experience and plainly the product of careful, prayerful consideration. One of those volumes that will do as much if not more to engage the heart for the work as it does to instruct the mind in it. Such always do my soul good, even if I am told little new. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Ventura, Rob and Walker, Jeremy. A Portrait of Paul. This book attempts to provide a portrait of the apostle as pastor and preacher grounded in his dealings with the Colossian church. It considers some of the elements of the apostle’s character and endeavours in a way intended to help the pastor-preacher, those who hear him and are served by him, and those seeking a faithful undershepherd for their souls. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Wells, John D. The Pastor in the Sick Room: Ministering the Gospel to Those on the Brink of Eternity. Really a plea not to neglect those on the borders of the world to come from a sense of despair at their prospects, together with a desire to ensure that flawed sentiments and feeble convictions do not breed false expectations and hopes in the minister or those to whom he ministers. In our society, death is sometimes considered a little further off, or held at arm’s length, but this is full of useful counsel for the moments when it presses near. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

White, James R. Pulpit Crimes: The Criminal Handling of God’s Word. White’s blending of quite highbrow or technical language with more earthy or popular phrases can take getting used to (e.g. a chapter on “Felonious Eisegesis” followed by one called “Cross Dressing,” a sort of cross-dressing in itself!). In a bracing style that can sometimes feel a little aggressive and self-confident, White comes close at times to absolutism and oversimplification, but it is the fruit of his deeply-held convictions and concerns. He has a righteously high view of the pulpit and of preaching, and begins by establishing these Scripturally. Then he brings his charges against modern mishandlers of the Word, considering each one in turn. I appreciate many of his concerns, and hope that he will be well heeded. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Witmer, Timothy Z. The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church. This is, of necessity, substantially an inward-looking book, concerned most directly with the care of the flock of God. It is a bold call for bold shepherding of a close, personal and specific nature, with much good counsel as to how to accomplish the task, and as such is warmly commended. The principles that our author sets out are clearly and Biblically delineated, but the assumed standards (the present norm) and the designated targets (the shepherd’s aims) in their outworking reveal the tragically, cripplingly low level of churchmanship that is practiced in the West today (this is not an inherent criticism of the author; I do not know his own practice). Some of his systems and recommendations can appear a little mechanical. The problem is undeniable, the principles are excellent, but the practice could do with a course of steroids. (Westminster / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Monergism)

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 18 July 2011 at 16:39

22 Responses

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  1. [...] church valuable service by his ongoing collection and summarizing of pastoral theology resources here. He’s up to the letter D. Stay tuned as he works his way through the [...]

  2. Have you come across ‘Peter: Eyewitness to His majesty’ by Edward Donnelly. It is genuinely masterful, and a must for today’s Pastor.

    David Evans

    Tuesday 23 August 2011 at 14:58

    • Thanks for the comment, and I entirely agree. I have reviewed Pastor Donnelly’s book here. Despite it not fitting formally into this category it has some splendid pastoral theology in it (in fact, it is hidden in the blurb above as an example of a book that should make it into this kind of list). I am hoping that, once I have finished this page, I might begin another of assorted pastoralia where books like Ted’s, with all their wisdom, together with some of the other things mentioned in passing above, might find a place as recommended pastoral reading. Again, thanks for dropping by, and thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts. Any other suggestions are welcome.

      Jeremy Walker

      Tuesday 23 August 2011 at 16:44

  3. [...] recently discovered The Wanderer which has an excellent review of books on pastoral [...]

    Weekly Web Watch

    Saturday 27 August 2011 at 07:07

  4. I’m a-leaving a comment here. May the suckers be aimed good and true! This is a really helpful list. And if I not only owned, but had also read, all these books, I would surely be a better pastor.

    Jonathan Hunt

    Monday 19 December 2011 at 14:42

  5. Love your alliterative post titles.

    Strike me with the sucker dart!

    Jeff C.

    Tuesday 20 December 2011 at 16:49

  6. Greetings from the provinces Jeremy (cheery greeting, check). I really appreciate the Taylor/Plumer combo. My former fellow-pastor gave a copy of it to me at my ordination and it has been a frequent Sabbath afternoon read for me ever since. Ichabod Spencer’s volumes are also very useful and in many ways, unique, abounding in stimulating thoughts; helping to think about how evangelistic preaching can be shaped most effectively to deal with the hindrances and barriers to the Gospel we may find in our congregants and friends.

    Aim well my wee friends!

    Paul Wallace

    Wednesday 21 December 2011 at 09:09

  7. Well, I’m not a pastor, but I certainly have some pastor relatives and friends who could use good books! Just remind the boys to look at where they are aiming before they fire and encourage the princess to steer clear of the room while target practice is underway! Should I include a picture of Tia to make my target larger?

    Pri Densel

    Wednesday 21 December 2011 at 15:03

  8. Dear Jeremy,

    thank you for this opportunity to have the chance to win The second prize a set of George Smeaton’s Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement and The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement.
    Just a note to say why I would Like to win such a set:

    1) I have not won many competitions before, in fact I can’t think of one that I have won :(

    2) I believe that these books will be the subject of a wonderful reading group that I go to at London Theological Seminary

    http://www.ltslondon.org/joc/study-days.php

    3) So that I may be edified in the Lord’s Service.

    I have written such a long post in the vain attempt that it may be a bigger target than Paul Wallace’s , Jonathan Hunt’s , or any other such competition, this may violate the rules and therefore I accept that you may disregard this post and I will not win, :)

    in the meantime may the God of all grace bless you and all of your readers.

    Robert

    Robert Goodgame

    Wednesday 21 December 2011 at 22:51

  9. Dear Jeremy,

    Well, I am not stationed in an Antarctic Research Facility, but probably as near to one as any entry in this competition will get!

    I am a pastor in Auckland, New Zealand.

    I have been following your blog since reading “A Portrait of Paul” earlier this year, which I found to be one of my top 5 2011 reads. Thank you for the solid, biblical, challenge.

    I am trusting your sons have excellent aim and therefore I do not need to wax eloquent here.

    However, with all seriousness. I am all too familiar with my own inadequacies for the grave task in fulfilling the call to pastoral ministry. I sense a momentary need for God’s sustaining grace in Christ and am very thankful for the men who have gone before me from whom I can learn much in reading their books.

    Blessings in Christ,

    Joe Fleener (joe AT howickbaptist DOT org DOT nz)

    jfleener5

    Thursday 22 December 2011 at 20:37

  10. Would love to get the books. I am a pastor of a smaller congregation with a lot of older folks, especially widows who carry around a lot of pain. So the books about shepherding hurting people are ones that catch my eye most. I will look into some of the ones I haven’t read before. Thanks for posting.

    Kent

    Friday 23 December 2011 at 02:58

  11. One question I have is what was pastors’ view of ministry in years past. It seems like today I read a lot about numbers and size and how to get more people and make more impact and be “missional”. Were pre-20th century pastors so hung up on these issues as well? What would be a good book or resource to research this?

    Thanks for your blog

    Leigh

    http://www.bethlehemchapel.org​​

    Anonymous

    Monday 26 December 2011 at 20:48

    • Hello, Leigh. Thanks for a great question. There are a couple of books that I have heard of and am hoping to obtain in due course that might help to answer this question: Pastoral Care in Historical Perspective by William Clebsch and Charles Jaekle and A History of Pastoral Care in America: From Salvation to Self-Realizatio​n by E. Brooks Holifield. As I say, I have not read these, and I don’t know if they are merely academic or have any spiritual insight and substance to them, but they might have some helpful material. Beyond that, I am not sure what to advise as to specific further reading and research on the topic.

      However, for what it is worth in the light of my survey above, I think that the general tendency of some of the older works was to focus on faithfulness to God and to the souls of men, with a readiness to leave the consequences with God. The best of the older works above by no means avoid the issue of seeking the conversion of sinners and seeking the growth of the kingdom, but there was far less emphasis on apparent and immediate fruitfulness: it was enough that a steward be found faithful. Neither am I suggesting that these men were careless of fruit, but they were not interested in numbers for their own sake, and many seem fearful of any possibility of manipulation or management for the sake of short-term but only seeming gains at the expense of a genuine experience of divine mercy and sustained growth in grace.

      So I don’t think that pastors used to be so hung up on this. Perhaps they had less opportunity to compare their statistics with one another and were spared something of the competitive and commercialised thinking so characteristic of our own age. Of course, it is not the case that every modern pastoral theology has an unhealthy emphasis on numbers, size and “missional” impact, neither are a consideration of those things in their place necessarily wrong; nevertheless, I think that there is a great and unbalanced emphasis on some of those things, and that such an emphasis is often far from healthy.

      I hope that this is a little helpful, and am sorry that I cannot offer more. I should be interested to know if other readers might offer Leigh and me some advice on where to turn for better answers to this question.

      Jeremy Walker

      Friday 30 December 2011 at 20:27

  12. quite a list…and no doubt a great deal of time in preparing it…many thanks…

    I have a few of these, but not most…good starting point in moving forward…

    Mike Davenport

    Wednesday 28 December 2011 at 14:47

  13. [...] The Wanderer takes us into his library and gives us a survey of his books on pastoral theology [...]

    (Daily) Weekly Web Watch No.5

    Friday 30 December 2011 at 06:14

  14. Recently discovered this great site and looking forward to benefitting in the coming months

    John Brand

    Friday 30 December 2011 at 08:16

  15. Dear Jeremy

    Good to have found your blog. A great resource. I have found that when asking ministers about books on pastoral theology you have polarised recommendations. Either it is all puritan based or it is all modern writers – it is good to see a balance.

    AS far as the competion is concerned I would be very interested in the first prize as I was given the second place a few years ago.

    Every blessing in our Saviours Name

    Tom

    tom yates

    Friday 30 December 2011 at 14:38

  16. Hello, I recently subscribe to your posts on Facebook and I nos have just subscribed to your blog. I am a recently ordained pastor (las november) and I realize that I need a lot of instruction. In our church we share the pastoral responsability between 4 pastors, because all of us have a full time jobe. Church is not able to have a full time pastor yet. I hope I can win this competition to share with my co-elders here in Costa Rica, Central America !.
    In His service.

    Alexander

    elcaminoangosto

    Friday 30 December 2011 at 15:56

  17. Just subscribed via RSS feed. Richard Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor is my favorite.

    Paul

    Friday 30 December 2011 at 22:11

  18. Jeremy,

    I’ve been following the blog for a number of months now, and have greatly appreciated the wisdom in your words. I have been considering what God’s will for me might be in regards to the ministry. I don’t really need more reading material yet, as I have quite a stack to work through already, but they will be read (eventually) and passed around.

    Thank you!
    Andrew Hofmaier

    Andrew Hofmaier

    Sunday 1 January 2012 at 03:18

  19. [...] can see his list here. You can see some of my reviews of pastoral theology here, and will see that I need to get to some of Kevin’s recommendations. Rate this:Share [...]

  20. […] from Jeremy Walker’s (Crawley, West Sussex) survey of books on pastoral theology at his The Wanderer […]


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