The Pastor’s Book

Every once in a while a book comes across your desk that is invaluable to the ministry. It’s a book that you want to keep within an arm’s reach for ready reference. The Pastor’s Book: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Pastoral Ministry is one of those rare gems for ministry execution.The Pastor's Book

There are, of course, countless volumes that have been written concerning how to execute the role of pastor. Most give the same advice with a somewhat altered vocabulary, but if you view the table of contents, you’ll find a repetition. In a way The Pastor’s Book might succumb to that, but it’s the meat of this book that is so valuable. The subtitle of this volume is spot on. It is Comprehensive and, most importantly, Practical.

I have just begun my pastoral ministry (a little over a year ago and well past the time that I received my AARP card). Before I was called to the position, I read virtually everything that looked helpful. Most of the material was useful, but it was more theory and instruction that practical advice. I wish I had this book before I began, but I’m sure glad it’s readily available now.

Longtime pastor R. Kent Hughes is the author with Douglas Sean O’Donnell as the contributing editor. Together they have compiled the most informative volume for the pastorate that I have seen. One endorsement stated “The Pastor’s Book should be on the shelf of every young preacher …” Well, that’s certainly true, however, we should amend the word “young” to “new” and should also add that it should be on every pastor’s shelf.

Hughes breaks down the pastoral ministry into three parts: Christian Gatherings, Parts of the Worship Service and Ministerial Duties. The areas covered are typical, however, the practical worth is atypical. For every area addressed there is a wealth of samples, examples and practical application – something a new pastor (and likely an experienced one) will find invaluable. Hughes does not intend that his way is the best way but rather presents thoughts and ideas that may be applicable for your own congregation.

This is probably not a book you will sit down and read from cover to cover – it’s 592 pages including index – but it should be the first book you reach for when information and advice is required.

Crossway has done an exquisite job in packaging this volume. It is hardback with a linen-like cover and even includes a ribbon marker for immediate reference. The binding is solid and should endure a long ministry haul.

Pastors and pastors-to-be, this book should be required reading. It should be a textbook on the ministry of the pastorate.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Crossway for a fair and honest review.

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Tough Questions about God and His Actions in the Old Testament

I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch of the facts to say that most Christians have a better working knowledge of the New Testament as opposed to the Old Testament. Believers just naturally gravitate to the New Testament with its message of love and grace and mercy. And just as naturally they shy away from the Old Testament with its message of judgment and war. It’s not often that someone recommends to a new believer to begin reading in the minor prophets.Tough Questions about God

In Tough Questions, Dr. Walter C. Kaiser’s latest volume, he sets out to alleviate that disparity and demonstrate to believers how the two sections of Scripture are really complimentary. Kaiser is a longtime Old Testament scholar and president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has produced a vast arena of writing on the Old Testament.

Kaiser digs into the messy part of the Old Testament with ten questions investigating the premise of whether or not God contradicts his character by his actions. He tackles supposed contradictions such as mercy vs. wrath, truth vs. deception, and evolution vs. creation. Each chapter concludes with a summary of the main points – Conclusion – and Questions for Discussion. These are beneficial, thought-provoking, but “heavy.”

The take on Tough Questions is this: It is probably not a book for spiritual (and linguistic) lightweights. Kaiser examines a multitude of technical and linguistic points of the Hebrew language. So much so that the more Hebrew one knows the more appreciative one would be of the discussion and the resulting conclusions. On the other hand it would certainly be beneficial for any believer to read this volume. At least one could ingest some knowledge and understanding of God’s overall working in the Old Testament.

If your curiosity has ever been stirred by the question The God Who Rules Satan or the God Who battles Satan? Then you will find this volume worthwhile.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Kregel Publications for a fair and honest review.