Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thoughts from Baxter

I have had a deeply moving time this morning simply in re-reading the 8 pages of quotes I have gathered from Richard Baxter’s, The Reformed Pastor, in preparation for the discussion today in my Pastoral Ministry class. I cannot recommend this book too highly. Baxter is simply at his best in working out the practical implications of the faith, and especially in regards to pastoral ministry. I hope to post a series of comments, observations and quotes from this book

The overall purpose of the book is the renewing of pastoral ministry. By ‘Reformed’ Baxter meant ‘renewed, revitalized.’ He states at the beginning that a group of pastors had been convicted in their lack of diligently teaching and pastoring their people. Baxter’s book grew out of his prepared address to the meeting of these pastors Dec 4, 1655. The earnestness of the approach to pastoral ministry is convicting and challenging. You find nothing here of merely drawing crowds, promoting programs or career advancement. You find here a man intent on guiding his people to heaven- laboring to teach them publicly and in their homes, pleading with and rebuking them, patiently training them as followers of Christ. This is pastoral ministry. The degree to which this fails to match up with the concerns and time commitments of pastoral ministry today speaks condemnation to our ministry paradigms.

More to come...

Note: I do recommend the edited edition by James Houston. I normally favor getting the 'whole thing', but Baxter is well aided by a good editor.


slmayes said...

I congratulate you on your choice of books for this Pastoral Ministry class. The Reformed Pastor was required reading in a Spiritual Formation class during my seminary days at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham. It was very helpful and challenging. I am glad to see that it is still being used for the same purpose.

Matthew Molesky said...

If those quotes are in electronic format, would you be willing to post the document for download that we might benefit? (I am a bit naive on copyright law here, so maybe you can't do this)

Ray Van Neste said...

Good question. I have often wanted topost such lists of quotes because they are so helpful to me, but, as I understand it, this would violate copyright laws. If anyone knows better, I would be happy to hear it.