Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Who am I and What do I do? Pastoral Theology

Who am I and what do I do? Important questions for the Pastor, and Daniel L. Akin and R. Scott Pace have done a wonderful job answering those questions. And in doing so, they may just have added a new field of study for Seminary students, or those who feel called to the pastorate: Pastoral Theology. The results of their work are found in an engaging and readable book: Pastoral Theology: Theological Foundations for WHO a Pastor IS and WHAT He DOES (B&H Academic, 2017)
                If you’ve ever struggled through a book on systematic theology, and wondered ‘Why?”, you’ll appreciate this book. No, it doesn’t cover everything in great deal, because it’s intended to answer questions that pertain to pastors, it’s a guide to the road to being a successful pastor. What makes a Pastor a good pastor? Of course, that varies some depending on the personality of the individual but there are certain constants. New pastors struggle to find their identity, and often get bogged down in making friendships, figuring out who the power players (official or unofficial) are in the church, add probably have to deal with the politics that happen in any group as leaders fight for their particular ministry. All that can make it difficult to stay true to the theological basis of being a pastor.  
                The book is divided into 3 sections, each with a particular emphasis. Part 1 deals with the Trinitarian Foundation, part 2 focuses on doctrine, and the 3rd part address some practical issues.
                As I started reading this book, it wasn’t long before I was thinking about a sermon series based on Part I. The 3 persons of God. The authors address theology, Christology and Pneumatology. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Yes, these chapters are geared towards pastors, with discussions of God's character, Christ as God's champion, and the Spirit as God's Companion. But at the same time, if the Trinity is important to an understanding of my role as pastor, the congregation should also be taught about the three persons. Most pastors talk about the Father and the Son, but, and I’m guilty, many pastors neglect the Spirit. The Spirit is often hard to understand—so  He is often forgotten in the life of the church.
                Part II addresses Doctrine, again with three C’s : God's Compassion, His Community and his Commission; so we are introduced to a basic study to the theology of man, of the church, and of mission.  What is the pastor’s role in each of these areas? Yes, they are definitely all important, but sometimes the Pastor is called to take an active role and sometimes he is called to teach the church it’s role.
                But it’s not all book learning. Part III addresses how to put some of these things into practice. How does the minister deal with God's congregation? What is important in the preparation to Communicate God's Word through preaching? What is God's covenant, and how does it apply to families? Especially the family of the Pastor? How do we make sure that our families aren’t being neglected because the congregation is needy, and the demands of the ministry are so great?
                Everything in this book is grounded in scripture, and the appropriate passages are included in the text, so there is no reason to doubt what is being said. Have a doubt? Turn to your Bible and check the reference.
                This should be required reading for Seminary students, and those called to the pastorate. Members of Pastoral Search Committees should read this book, and carefully question candidates based on some of the things put forth on these pages.  Many thanks to the authors for doing such a thorough job of defining the role of Pastor in such an understandable and scripturally grounded way.

                   I received a copy of this book for review.  B&H Academic provided the book in exchange for my review. I was not required to post a positive review

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