The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Posts Tagged ‘Geoff Thomas

Wrapping up pastoral theology

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Well, here we are.

This is the last batch for the present of the alphabetical run-through of some pastoral theology volumes. It is by no means intended to be exhaustive. Indeed, since I began there are already another two or three volumes in my hands which need to be added (I hope to do so shortly), and countless others that might be considered.

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.

A couple of things to watch out for: I am still planning a competition associated with the list, but need to get a couple of things in place first. Also, conscious of how much else is out there of enduring value in terms of pastoral theology but not formally found under that heading (perhaps hidden away in other collections or under cover of a different theme), I hope to begin a list of ‘pastoralia’ that may be helpful to gospel ministers in understanding their calling and developing their craft.

However, for the time being, I trust that these are useful and that the brief overviews might provide pastors and students for the ministry with some hints and helps toward a filling out and filling up of their work.

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)

Geoff Thomas looks back

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Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 28 August 2010 at 09:50

Posted in Pastoral theology

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“God’s Care for the Widow: Encouragement and Wisdom for those who Grieve”

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I should like to draw your attention to (and, incidentally, to draw to your attention) a new book written by my father, Austin Walker, and published by DayOne.

Over his decades of pastoral ministry, he has cared for several widows, not least among whom were my own Mamgu (my Welsh grandmother), as well as several other ladies in this church and – as opportunity provided – one or two further afield.  Disappointed at the relative absence of modern material equipping the saints to care for widows, he has distilled the material developed during those times into a brief and cheap book (128 pages, £5) of relatively short and accessible chapters, as listed below.  You can also read a sample.

Whether you are a pastor or other Christian seeking to minister to grieving widows, want to prepare for such an eventuality, want a sensitive gift for more or less recently widowed women, or would appreciate this counsel for yourself, here is an outstanding resource, accessible without being shallow, truly sensitive without being mawkishly sentimental, Scriptural both in its substance and its tender application.  I strongly recommend it.

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1  A defender of widows
  • Chapter 2  God relieves the widow
  • Chapter 3  Three funerals and three widows
  • Chapter 4  God’s bottle for your tears
  • Chapter 5  Submitting to God’s wise ways
  • Chapter 6  Joy before the Lord
  • Chapter 7  God’s salvation in Zarephath
  • Chapter 8  Resurrection in Zarephath
  • Chapter 9  The sympathy and indignation of Christ
  • Chapter 10   Resurrection in Nain
  • Chapter 11   The love of Jesus for his mother
  • Chapter 12  Omnipotent compassion
  • Chapter 13   The care of widows
  • Chapter 14  ‘Really widows’
  • Chapter 15   Serving Christ as a widow
  • Chapter 16  Younger widows
  • Chapter 17  Standing fast
  • Chapter 18   A living hope

The official overview states that “this book is written for widows to comfort them in their various troubles.  Throughout the Bible God makes himself known as the one who defends, comforts and provides for the widow.  From the days of Moses and  the prophets, to the time of the Lord Jesus Christ and the early church, widows have been the object of his fatherly care.  Written under the conviction that the church of Christ is responsible for relieving the distress of widows this book seeks to draw out God’s wisdom for the widow.  Naomi, Ruth, the widows of Zarephath and Nain, the Jerusalem widows, and Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ are among those considered.”

Here are some of the endorsements:

James 1:27 is very clear on some of the deeds that need to emanate from a converted heart: a life separated from the corruption of the world and the taking care of orphans and widows. In recent days much has been written about adopting orphans, but little is written specifically for widows and their needs. Here is considerable help and encouragement for widows, as well as important insights for those who minister to them. May Austin Walker’s much-needed and welcome application of the numerous passages on widows have a wide circulation!

Dr Michael A G Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, & Director of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies & Research Professor of Irish Baptist College, Constituent College of Queen’s University Belfast, N. Ireland

This book will help widows. There is nothing better than the counsels to be found here.

Revd Geoff Thomas, Pastor since 1965 of Alfred Place Baptist Church, Aberystwyth, Wales

Does the Bible have much to say by way of precepts and examples concerning God’s special care for and  commitment to the broken hearts and shattered lives of widows? Do the Scriptures address the church regarding its peculiar responsibilities to be sensitive and caring with respect to the peculiar needs of its widows? Are there clear directives to widows themselves regarding how they may best cope with their widowhood and even use that state as a platform for greater service to Christ and to his people? In this Scripture-soaked book, written out of an experienced and caring pastor’s heart, these questions are answered with tenderness and biblical authority. Thank you, Pastor Walker, for giving us a much-needed book.

Albert N. Martin, B. A.; D. D. — former pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Montville New Jersey; Conference Speaker; lecturer in Pastoral Theology

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 3 May 2010 at 19:48

“A Portrait of Paul”

with 17 comments

It seems that the time has come to break cover and shuffle into the foetid pool.  The book mentioned a few days ago is now available in the US for pre-publication orders from Reformation Heritage Books or Westminster Bookstore or Monergism Books or Christian Book Distributors (CBD) or Grace Books International.

Amazon.co.uk and Evangelical Press are now stocking the item.

A Portrait of Paul: Identifying a True Minister of Christ

Rob Ventura & Jeremy Walker

Blurb: What does a true pastor look like, and what constitutes a faithful ministry? How can we identify the life and labors of one called by God to serve in the church of Jesus Christ? To address these questions, Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker examine how the apostle Paul describes his pastoral relation to the people of God in Colossians 1:24–2:5. By discussing these essential attitudes, qualities, and characteristics of a faithful minister of Christ, A Portrait of Paul provides gospel ministers an example of what they should be, and demonstrates for churches the kind of pastors they will seek if they desire men after God’s own heart.

Chapters:

  1. The Joy of Paul’s Ministry
  2. The Focus of Paul’s Ministry
  3. The Hardships of Paul’s Ministry
  4. The Origin of Paul’s Ministry
  5. The Essence of Paul’s Ministry
  6. The Subject of Paul’s Ministry (sample)
  7. The Goal of Paul’s Ministry
  8. The Strength of Paul’s Ministry
  9. The Conflict of Paul’s Ministry
  10. The Warnings of Paul’s Ministry

Endorsements:

John MacArthur: The apostle Paul has always been a hero whom I look to as a model for my ministry. His unrelenting faithfulness in the worst kinds of trials is a remarkable example to every pastor and missionary. In the midst of suffering, hardship, and (in the end) the abandonment of his own friends and fellow workers, Paul remained steadfast, dynamic, and utterly devoted to Christ. This invaluable study of Paul’s life from Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker is a wonderful, powerful, soul-stirring examination of Paul’s self-sacrifice and his unfaltering service to the church. It will both motivate and encourage you, especially if you’re facing trials, opposition, or discouragement in your service for Christ.

Geoff Thomas: For the first two decades of my life as a Christian, I had an abundance of role models who seemed to enflesh for me how a minister of God should live. I realize now that I even took their presence and consistent example for granted. I looked forward to the future under the protection of their mature lives of patience, wisdom, and many kindnesses. The labors of most of those men have come to an end and today I face another situation. There are now numbers of fine younger men in training and starting out on their own ministries. What grace and zeal they have, but there appears to be less role models than the company with which I was favored. What Walker and Ventura have done in this splendid book is to return to the fountainhead of Christianity, to the apostle Paul with the authority the Lord Christ gave to him, his wisdom and compassion, and examine the apostle’s relationship with one congregation, how he advised and exhorted them concerning the demands of discipleship and their relationship with fellow believers. Paul became Christ’s servant and mouthpiece to them and he has left us with a timeless inspired example. He exhorted his readers more than once to be followers of him as he followed God. With a refreshing contemporary style, and with humble submission to the Scripture, these two ministers have given to us a role model for pastoral life. This is a very helpful book and a means of grace to me.

Paul Washer: This work on the Christian ministry is a clarion call to true devotion and piety in the pastorate. The theology is pure and the language is as powerful as it is beautiful. I pray that every pastor and congregant might take up this book and read it. It will hold a place in my library beside Baxter’s Reformed Pastor, Bridges’ Christian Ministry, and Spurgeon’s Lectures. I will refer to it often. It will serve as a great antidote against all that might cause my heart to stray from Christ’s call.

Conrad Mbewe: When I first sensed God’s call to the preaching ministry, I did a study of the life and ministry of the apostle Paul. And, oh, what a study that was! It opened my eyes to the difference between ministry in the New Testament and what is in vogue today. Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker have now brought all those truths that I saw into this one volume. I, therefore, commend this book to all who want to take God’s call to the work of ministry seriously. For, in these pages is the heart and experience of a true minister of the new covenant.

Steven J. Lawson: The greatest need in churches today is for godly men to shepherd the flock of God. To be sure, no church will rise any higher than the level of its spiritual leaders. Like priest, like people. To this end, Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker have done an exceptional job in providing a model for pastoral ministry, drawn from the extraordinary example of the apostle Paul. This book is built upon careful exegesis, proper interpretation, penetrating insight, and challenging application. Herein is profiled the kind of minister every church so desperately needs and what every true minister should desire to become.

Derek W. H. Thomas: In this dual-authored portrait of Paul as a minister of the gospel, Ventura and Walker have captured the very essence of ministry. On every page, we are forced to reflect upon the dimensions of apostolic ministry and urged to comply. Packed with exposition and application of the finest sort, these pages urge gospel-focused, Christ-centered, God-exalting, Spirit-empowered, self-denying ministry. I warmly recommend it.

Carl R. Trueman: This deceptively easy to read book consists of a series of reflection on Col.1:24 to 2:5 by two experienced pastors. In an age where there is much focus on technical aspects of ministry, Ventura and Walker analyse the topic in terms, first, of call and character, and then of the existential urgency with which the great doctrines of the faith are grasped by those called to the pastorate. Intended not just to be read but to be a practical guide in helping churches think through the role of the pastor, each chapter ends with a series of pointed questions, to Christians in general and to pastors in particular, which are designed to focus the minds of all concerned on what the priorities of the pastorate, and of candidates for the pastorate should be. This book is a biblical rebuke to modern trends, a challenge to those who think they may be called to the ministry, and a reality check for all believers everywhere.

Joseph A. Pipa Jr: Ventura’s and Walker’s A Portrait of Paul Identifying a True Minister of Christ makes an unique contribution to the literature on pastoral theology. Rather than approach their subject topically, they unfold Paul’s heart for and practice of ministry through an exposition of Colossians 1:24-2:5.  The authors balance careful and experimental exposition with challenging application–addressing both fellow Christians and pastors.  All serious Christians, as well as pastors, will profit from this book; it is intellectually satisfying, experimentally challenging, and practically stimulating.

Philip H. Towner: As the diverse churches of the world have demonstrated throughout history, there is no better place to turn, when confronted with the complexities of pastoral leadership, than the Scriptures.  Each church in each generation must revisit this resource and view it anew through its particular historical, theological, cultural and political lens. The authors of A Portrait of Paul engage precisely in this task. With Colossians as their main laboratory, they probe the text and engage Paul in a conversation about pastoral ministry—its priorities, foundation, and potential—and a profile of pastoral mission and leadership emerges.  All who read this book will discover an invitation to join this rich conversation and take away numerous fresh perspectives to challenge and shape their thinking.

Sam Waldron: What is A Portrait of Paul Identifying a True Minister of Christ? It is, first, the effort of two young pastors to teach themselves and their churches what it means to be a true minister of Christ. It is, second, an exposition of Colossians 1:24–2:5 which attempts to understand how Paul’s ministry gives them and their churches a paradigm of faithful ministry. It is, third, biblical exposition of Scripture in the best historic and Reformed tradition with careful exegesis, sound doctrine, popular appeal and practical application. As such, it is a very challenging book to read as Rob and Jeremy lay before us, for instance, the selflessness and suffering true ministry requires. It is, however, a good, useful, and profitable book to read. It can, and I hope it will, do much good!

Robert R. Gonzales Jr.: Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker’s A Portrait of Paul is biblically sound, pointedly practical, and sagaciously simple. In addition to an exposition of Colossians 1:24-2:5, they provide the reader with a host of citations from other pertinent texts of Scriptures as well as judicious quotes from past and contemporary authors, all of which help to trace out the contours of Paul’s life and ministry. Each chapter concludes with practical applications directed both to fellow pastors (or aspiring pastors) and also to fellow Christians. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who would seek to imitate Paul as Paul sought to imitate Christ.

Pre-order in the US at RHB or WTS.

Further information to follow as it becomes available.

Derek Thomas & Geoff Thomas

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Two senior Welsh gents chat life and ministry at Reformation21.

‘Uncle Geoff’ I have known since I can remember (my first prominent memory is of him coming to visit our home and neglecting to open the garden gate but simply hitting it running and vaulting over the thing).  My parents were at Aberystwyth and sat under Geoff’s ministry, and he had a significant influence on my father’s plunging more deeply into the doctrines of grace.  Geoff has introduced me as his “spiritual grandson” on at least one occasion.

‘Cousin Derek’ is a relation on my mother’s side, a random cousin of some sort, but I don’t know of what precise nature.  I have only met him to speak with him on one occasion (when he preached at the Banner of Truth Conference [UK] a few years ago).  I can only imagine how grieved he was when an oik like me introduced himself as a blood-relative!

This interview is more of a chinwag between old friends, but something of Geoff’s faithfulness over decades of ministry in one place comes through – the man has preached through all of Scripture with the exception, I think he says, of Numbers, Deuteronomy and Proverbs.  That is a fine testimony to have in the latter part of one’s life.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 2 August 2008 at 08:06

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