Thursday, February 28, 2008

Owen on Heb 13:17

I am once more teaching my class on pastoral ministry. Early on we examine Hebrews 13:17 because I am convinced that the oversight of souls, as mentioned in this verse, is the heart of pastoral ministry. I also have the students read John Owen’s commentary on this verse and I commend it to you. All seven pages are worthwhile. Here is one key quote from Owen’s commentary:

“And the apostle compriseth herein the whole duty of the pastoral office … ‘The work and design of these rulers [pastors] is solely to take care of your souls,- by all means to preserve them from evil, sin, backsliding; to instruct them and feed them; to promote their faith and obedience; that they may be led safely to eternal rest. For this end is their office appointed and herein do they labour continually.”

2 comments:

Dana Olson said...

Dr. Ray,
So amazing, especially in light of Willow Creek's recent "Reality." In case you've missed it in the literal whirlwind of the past three weeks, 9 Marks Jonathan blogged through it. I doubt they've read Owen on the subject. But then, I hadn't read this either, so thank you for it.

Jeff said...

Nice quote. I wonder what type of change we would see in churches if more pastors took on this type of thinking. Study in preparation for preaching and teaching might take a higher priority than it does. The difficulty seems to be the cultural perception and expectation of a pastor's role in the church. For instance, my friend is a pastor and heard him recently say that he knows he needs to spend more time studying and preparing. He desires it. But the majority of his time is taken up with administrative duties. So sometimes it isn't a matter of a wrong "philosophy" or view of pastoral ministry but it is more of a practical issue. I certainly think that the perception of church members can change, but it usually takes time. And I confess that I often look at those situations with impatience.

Speaking of pastoral ministry, I just finished Piper's book The Supremacy of God in Preaching. Excellent. Seriously...one of the best books I have read recently. Not only practical but also worshipful.