The Scriptures advise us to learn from examples of faithful ministers (Heb. 13:7). The Puritans were a group of such ministers whose teaching and living can be particularly encouraging to troubled and discouraged pastors today. They were steadfast in adhering to Scripture as the Word of God, in confessing the great truths of the Reformed faith, and in applying sound doctrine to the problems of life in an age and culture nearly as challenging as our own. In Encouragement for Today’s Pastors, Joel R. Beeke and Terry D. Slachter examine the writings of these pastors of a bygone era consider how they can help struggling pastors today. Here pastors will find a helping hand, reminding them of the importance of cultivating personal piety, resting in God’s sovereignty recovering clarity in their calling, discovering means of support God provided, recognizing the dignity of their office, and taking comfort in grace and glory to come.
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“The prerequisite for zeal in ministry is a heart that is in love with and on fire for the Lord Jesus” (Page 18)
“5. Is my aim in ministry to promote my own reputation or to enrich myself financially?” (Page 22)
“4. Do I do good works or serve even in sacrificial ways so that people will sing my praises?” (Page 21)
“Though it is difficult to define Puritanism, we may outline its main traits and emphases. In 1628 Scottish historian David Calderwood (1575–1650) described Puritanism as a movement characterized by (1) opposition to unbiblical hierarchy in the authority structures of the church; (2) advocacy of the Reformed doctrines of God’s sovereign grace; (3) refusal to conform to any requirement in worship not commanded in Scripture; (4) the cherishing of personal, experiential religion of the heart and not merely outward religiosity; and (5) separation from popular sins with an insistence on walking according to God’s laws in every area of life.” (Page 10)
“We are tempted to use worldly methods to produce visible results, as if God’s work in the soul was nothing more than an assembly line in which the right parts matched with the right process will result in the right product in predictable numbers.” (Pages 38–39)
As the fresh sea breeze, these Puritan mentors refresh our senses as they discuss the office, calling, and blessing of pastoral ministry. This small compendium contains more useful guidance than some whole seminary curriculae. Any pastor seeking wisdom, any pastor needing fuel should turn to these godly and biblical counselors. Their ideas, as well as passion, are needed now more than ever. It is so refreshing to hear from real experts, proven pastors—not the hirelings. Like eavesdropping on a Roundtable of worthies, this conversation is priceless (and not overpriced!). Drink from this well often; it will help your flocks, along with their shepherds. I commend this heartily to all our friends and the next generation of pastors.
—David Hall, pastor, Midway Presbyterian Church of America, Atlanta
Terry D. Slachter is the executive director of Project Philip, a ministry that helps equip local churches to fulfill the great commission through Bible distribution and discipleship materials, and served in parish ministry for over 25 years in the Christian Reformed Church.
Joel R. Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, and editor of the Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth. He has written, coauthored, or edited over 70 books.