Friday, 3 December 2010

The Reformed Pastor

The next essay I have to write is a review of Richard Baxter's The Reformed Pastor.  So in this last week I set about reading it.  It actually filled me with a sense of grief, as I thought about how negligent I have been in praying for the congregation (and adherents) that I serve and how aimless so much of my visiting has been.  While there are elements of this book that might not easily transfer to our time (for example his systematic visiting is hindered in our age by the fact that so many homes are empty during the day) this is well worth a read by anyone who wants to take the pastoral ministry seriously.  I am of a growing opinion that reading books from outside of our own time helps us examine things more objectively (we find it easier to see what prejudices their age may have left them with and they in turn are free from some of the biases and weaknesses of our time).

Baxter's section of pride was immensely insightful but too long to post here.  However I am keen to give the following exerts:
We must study as hard how to live well, as how to preach well.
Oh, therefore, see that you feel a tender love of your people in your breasts, and let them perceive it in your speeches, and see it in your conduct.  Let them see that you spend, and are spent, for their sakes; and that all you do is for them, and not for any private ends of your own.
Our whole work must be carried on under a deep sense of our own insufficiency, and of our entire dependence on Christ.


Andrew said...

This is a tremendous book Paul, and I've likewise been deeply challenged by it. I really appreciated reading The Trellis and the Vine (Matthias Press) and there fresh insights on how Baxter's section on catechesis can be applied today.

Thanks again for all you share here.

To whom it may concern said...

Thanks Andrew

I'll get the Treillis and the Vine, it should be useful for the essay. A freind of mine, John Wonnacott, really enjoyed it.