Posts Tagged ‘Pastoral theology’
So, let me urge you, if you have not already done so (and even if you have), to get to grips (perhaps, again) with Spurgeon’s Lectures to my Students. To open the pages is to walk into a family gathering, and to listen to a spiritual father among his labouring sons, an older pastor among his younger brothers. It will not be long, I hope, before you are made to feel thoroughly at home, and – listening in to that rich voice from a warm and full heart – start to obtain a blessing.
Brian Croft is part of a denomination that has undergone significant changes, often at congregational level, over recent years. He offers some thoughts on how a pastor might choose his battles:
Pastors who walk into existing churches are quickly burdened by needed changes to improve the church. Where the challenge is for most of us is when and how those changes need to be brought. If you are wondering how to choose those battles wisely, first receive this most excellent counsel I received as I entered my first Senior Pastor position at a church clearly needing change and revitalization, “Preach the Word, sacrifically love those people, and do not change anything for a while.”
Three particular counsels follow.
Wilhelmus à Brakel on the man of God at Ref21:
He must have the heart of a preacher; that is, he must stand in awe of the God in whose Name he preaches, and with love seek the welfare of the souls to whom he preaches. He must know himself to be entirely undone in himself and have a lively impression of his own inability, so that he will not trust too much in having studied properly. He ought to pray much beforehand, not so much to get through the sermon, but for a sanctified heart, for a continual sense of the presence of God, for suitable expressions, and for a blessing upon his preaching to the conversion, comfort, and edification of souls. His concern ought not to be whether the congregation will be pleased with him and will praise the sermon, but his motive must rather be a love for the welfare of the congregation.
The Way of the Preacher
John A. Kern
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.
For all pastoral theology reviews . . .
For those who may be interested, and who don’t snigger at what might charitably be called “late adopters,” this blog now has a Facebook page (see sidebar also). If you have a moment, please hit the like button on the sidebar or the page to follow the blog.
Also, I have continued to chip away on the pastoral theology page, and I have half a shelf of new books to work on, so please do check out the list of reviews from time to time.
Speaking of books, The Brokenhearted Evangelist is due to be published in a few days (the whisper is that it should be on the shelf either on 10th or 20th of this month). RHB have it available on their website for $11 at the moment. Might I encourage you to bag a copy at some point? More news will follow when I have it.
Mike Riccardi does a good job of herding the elephants, providing a useful chronological outline of the events and discussion before, during and after Elephant Room 2. This may yet prove to be a defining moment in the New Calvinist movement, as men are obliged to walk in the right direction or the wrong one (whether by plain approval or by fudging the issue). If you still care about the nitty-gritty of the process, as opposed to the principle, it’s worth looking at. What is slightly interesting is the re-emergence of the word ‘trajectory.’ A couple of years ago, when invited to comment on certain big players, other big players backed off and endorsed – if not quite the man and his ministry in its entirety – at the very least the “trajectory” they were on, which at the time might have been considered fairly positive. What is noticeable by its absence in some is a refusal to track the current trajectory of some men and say that it is either absolutely unacceptable or that it bodes much ill. It would be tragic to see men who have earned a reputation for the defence of the faith in recent years go down as the men who failed to draw the lines when the lines needed to be drawn.
UPDATE: Messrs Carson and Keller have provided a lengthy, interesting but largely inconclusive overview of issues they believe to be related to this debate here. I appreciate the information, and they have certainly demonstrated their erudition, but I am left a little confused about what they are trying to achieve. It is a substantially boneless piece, providing no definition, drawing no lines, reaching no conclusions. It is disappointing to see men who have a platform of unusual influence, and from whom a robust declaration of what matters and why it matters might have been expected, appearing to fudge the opportunity. I hope that more will be forthcoming upon further reflection, and that there will be some acknowledgements of failure and disappointment as well as some pontifications about dichotomies and tensions.
Finally, I thought that some might be interested to know of a recent introductory series on the church of God which I completed in the church here in Crawley. You can view the whole series here or check out individual sermons as follows:
- The nature of the church
- The identity of the church (1)
- The identity of the church (2)
- The identity of the church (3)
- The purpose of the church
- The calling of the church (1) Principle and pattern
- The calling of the church (2) Pursuit and process
- The worship of the church (1) Its object and spirituality
- The worship of the church (2) Its boundaries and liberties
- The government of the church
- The mark of the church
- The bond of the church
- The privilege of the church
- The discipline of the church (1)
- The discipline of the church (2)
- The rule of the church
- The delight of the church
- The gathering of the church (1)
- The gathering of the church (2)
- The vigour of the church
- The mission of the church
- The destiny of the church
Greetings, sports fans!
As some of you will be aware, over recent months I have been working up a list of pastoral theologies with the intention of providing a helpful resource for pastors, prospective pastors, interested non-pastors, and so on and so forth. So far there are nearly ninety titles briefly reviewed, with about ten more to come in the not-too-distant future, and perhaps others to follow.
Anyway, as promised when I reached the end of the initial survey, herewith a competition! Unfortunately, I was not able to get all the prizes I wanted (some of which are in the process of reprinting), but it means that I might be able to run another competition in the next few months. We wait with slightly bated breath (only slightly, though, because it might take a while and I should wish no reader to feel faint in the interim)!
So, the requirements and rules are straightforward, and as follows. To enter the competition:
- Please subscribe to this blog either by using the RSS feed (or the big green icon in the sidebar) or by using the “Follow” function (WordPress users will find it in the top bar, others will see a grey button in the bottom right of the screen). Current subscribers can obviously skip this item.
- Once you have subscribed, please go to the pastoral theology page and leave a comment (taking care to include your email when submitting the comment – you do not need to leave it in the body of the comment). While a cheery greeting will suffice, you may find it more profitable to leave a longer comment (for reasons which will become clear). For example, a brief note stating which volume you particularly commend, or which volume sounds most attractive and/or useful to you, your pastor, or pastors generally would be ideal.
- The competition closes on Saturday 31st December 2011. Subscriptions must be made and comments must be completed by close of play on that date, but I shall repost this invitation two or three times before then.
Once all that is done and dusted the fun begins.
I shall print off all the competition comments and tape them to a wall (or window). My sons will then shoot two sucker guns at the wall of comments, each with a sucker dart tipped with some colourful substance (my wife does not know about this yet, and I urge you to enter only to enhance the possibility of the darts hitting paper rather than anything else). The two comments which are struck will receive the two prizes (either colour-coded or in order of striking). If I remember to do so, and for the fun of it, photographic evidence will be obtained of the process if not the result.
The first prize will be a set of three pastoral theology volumes: Charles H. Spurgeon’s An All-Round Ministry, Robert L. Dabney’s Evangelical Eloquence, and James M. Garretson’s Princeton and Preaching.
The second prize will be a set of George Smeaton’s Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement and The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement.
I will contact the winners by email in the first week of the new year, and send the books with all possible despatch. Winners are free to use the prizes for themselves or to pass them on to the deserving pastor or other friend of their choice.
So, crack on with the competition, and may the best comment be struck with a sucker dart!
PS: Following a slow start, it strikes me that the Christmas holidays may not be the best time for a competition. If that proves to be the case, I might relaunch this with a new closing date in the new year. All entiries up to that point will be rolled over.