Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Roots of Pastoral Ministry

Pastoral Theology by Daniel K. Akin and R. Scott Pace
A Review

The goal of this simply written book is “to assemble a theological framework for the pastorate on the foundation of evangelical theology . . .To demonstrate that pastoral ministry should be approached as a field of practical theology.”  That goal makes the writing unique.  (I wish I had this book in seminary.)  Establishing a purpose, however, does not mean that it is fulfilled in producing the pages.
The authors achieve their goal.  Broad categories of biblical theology, such as Christology, pneumatology, ecclesiology, anthropology, are presented as foundations of pastoral ministry.  Because “ministry that is defined and driven by a theoretical, traditional, or practical basis is ultimately a ministry that is detached from sound theology.”  After establishing the foundation, specific pastoral tasks which grow from those foundations are discussed.
The first foundation block is a pastor’s view of God. “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”  That quote from A. W. Tozer recaps why theology is crucial to practical ministry.  This chapter closes with a most helpful explanation of the Pastor’s call.  Chapters relating how the attributes of the Son and Holy Spirit apply to ministry add the basic biblical precedents for applied pastoral theology.
Chapter 6 on the Church is germane. Particularly helpful is the section on membership. Most pastors struggle with this aspect of ministry.  Akin and Pace have biblical solutions.
The book moves along through each chapter with the theological premise, biblical precepts and pastoral principle pertinent to each subject.  Chapter nine serves as a seminar on expository preaching. 
One immediately noticeable feature which may be a distraction to some readers is the constant use of alliteration.  I’m a word guy so I found it interesting and wondered how long it took to develop the patterns. 
If you are a pastor, will be one, or know someone who is, Pastoral Theology will be a serviceable answer book for many questions.  I’ll keep it handy.