Saturday, 2 November 2013

Encouragement for today's pastors: Help from the Puritans (Joel Beeke and Terry Slachter)

I have just finished reading this book, having seen a very positive review in ET by Robert Strivens. It has not disappointed.

The authors cover six areas - piety, sovereignty, clarity, creativity and community, dignity and eternity - and weave a biblical and theological coat of many colours for the discouraged pastor.

The threads they use are drawn from the Puritans but there is nothing musty about the finished product. The nature of the encouragement is not at all superficial but profound.

Who would benefit from reading this?

The ministerial student would gain an enriching and enriched sense of his calling and expectations. Colleges should buy every student a copy.

The young minister, perhaps unduly discouraged or elated in the early years of ministry.

The minister of middle years who may be discouraged, or self-satisfied, or losing his zeal.

The older minister who needs his vision of his calling renewed, or comfort after a long haul where he has seen little fruit.

The minister who has seen much visible success and needs to see that fruit in the light of eternity.

In short, every minister would benefit from reading this book. It is not a book of encouragement of the conventional sort which can promote self-pity. There is here as much biblically grounded (and ultimately gracious) rebuke for pride or complacency or falsely grounded encouragement as there is real strengthening of faith and hope. The book is not cynical about true fruitfulness in ministry but puts it all in eternal perspective.

Want to give a minister a good present this Christmas?

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