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Richard Baxters, The Reformed Pastor published by, The Banner of Truth is just as relevant today as it was in 1651.
September 3, 2015
Richard Baxters, The Reformed Pastor published by, The Banner of Truth is just as relevant today as it was in 1651. It is a timeless classic of Christian writing and should be in every Pastors library and read by every Christian. This book was written to address problems Baxter saw with his contemporaries. He was going to address them with a speech, but fell ill. Instead, he wrote to them, the words recorded in this book. Some Pastors were unbelievers, some were, cold intellectuals with great educations, others were passionate, but not qualified to serve as Pastors, yet still others were just as crass and base as the carnal world they wallowed in. Baxter took them all to task, and not just them, but himself also.
Dont be mistaken. This book is not a polemic, but a call to repent and be a loyal and true servant of God. The work is broken down into three chapters. Chapter one, The oversight of ourselves starts as a check up or a self-diagnostic per se. Baxter effectively brings to light the necessity of a Pastor being truly regenerated. Then, he warns Pastors about pitfalls of bad practices, as well encourages them. Chapter two, The oversight of the flock is just that. Instruction on how to perform the vocation dutifully for the Lords service and mans benefit. If it werent full enough of good applicable information, then comes chapter three, Application. This Chapter is the largest of the book, and encompasess the most direclty applicable information for Pastors. The book in its entirety, convicts, informs, and exhorts.
Some of you might be concerned that this book will be difficult to read due to it being in Modern English. (like the King James) I want to assure you that it was not a difficult read. Baxter put much emphasis on being comprehensible. He encourage the Pastors of the time to employ language and nomenclature that the common man would readily understand. With that in mind, Baxter wrote. This book, at times might slow you down, but not excessively or without easy remedy.
One of the points that grabbed my attention and seemed anachronistic was his preaching against Pastors using their positions as a means to easy and comfortable lives. It brought to mind many of the Television Pastors living in sixteen thousand square foot palatial homes, while owning fleets of private jets. I guess bilking the hurting and needy in the name of God has been around for a long time. That is why it, seemed anachronistic when it actually wasnt.
There is so much in this book to like. I found myself underlining and highlighting entire sections. It is extremely relevant for today, just as I am sure it was for the time in which Baxter wrote. It reminds me of, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, but only for Pastors and from the perspective of a Pastor. That being said, there are theological notions that Baxter held that I do not affirm. He held to a sort of middle way when it came to soteriology. He wasnt Arminian and he wasnt Reformed. While I may not hold to Baxters theological convictions, I did thoroughly enjoy this book and will probably read it again and again over the years to come.
Like Baxter's other works, this one isn't just an overview of Biblical duties, but a powerful call to action. Few writers have a way of conveying a sense of holiness like Baxter does, and if you're not just interested in learning about the Christian life, but rather in being shaken out of stupor, this book will do the trick. Also highly recommended, Baxter's The Godly Home.
I have read this book few years back, I had lent my book to a friend but I will try to compose Richard Baxter statements here which is simple, true, striking, practical and also easy not to even to think about it.
He said that (not in exact words): Can you sleep even if you know that your loved ones friends or neighbor or the person next to you will go to hell not knowing or believing what you knew, and that if you had shared them what you knew & believed about your God, they will be saved?
Isn't it not full of impact kind of thought?
This book is about a character of a minister, it is not about a specific religion but it is about to be the man of God of true calling.
The "reformed" pastor can be a misleading title. But when you look at the lower case spelling of reformed you realize it has nothing to do with theology and everything to do with reforming the man of God. "Pastor" is also a description of what one does more than the title of what one is. This is an excellent book to use in discussing the ministry of anyone who knows what it is to be an "under shepherd".
As a student training for the ministry, this book has shown me new areas of ministry that I have never even thought of, let alone been taught. I am indebted to this book for opening my eyes to so vast a job that still needs to be done.