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“The weight of Ministerial responsibilities renders the work apparently more fitting to the shoulders of angels than of men.” [1] –Augustine

The work is daunting, the reward minimal, and the weight eternal.  The Pastor’s only hope is to have an awe of God, a rock-solid sense of His calling, and the empowerment of the His Holy Spirit.  Previous posts have emphasized the practices of Pastoral Ministry and Leadership.  This post features quotes from the field of Pastoral Theology—the Pastor’s relationship with God and ministry on His behalf.

Perhaps the practical too often supersedes the relational.  The machinery of ministry encroaches at the expense of divine intimacy.  The attempts to work for God are done in one’s own strength.  The anecdote for all that ails is a fresh view of God.  Allow these quotes to pierce your soul and awaken your thirst for Christ.  Minister in the days ahead out of an overflow of gratitude and a renewed filling of the Holy Spirit.


“Seduced by the lure of modernity (‘whatever is latest is best’), we find ourselves awash on the sea of pragmatism (‘whatever works is right’), indifference, and theological vacuity. The results are all about us: Church rolls stuffed with so-called ‘inactive members’ no one has seen or heard from in years, trendy sermons which lack both biblical depth and spiritual power, a generation of young people uninstructed in the rudiments of the faith, fractious controversies which sap our strength and strain our fellowship, shallow worship services geared more to the applause of men than the praise of God, a slackening interest in evangelism and missions, all amidst a hurried activism steeped in this-worldly priorities.” –Timothy George in Theologians of the Baptist Tradition

“In our postmodern culture which is TV dominated, image sensitive, and morally vacuous, personality is everything and character is increasingly irrelevant.” –David Wells in No Place for Truth

“It is a palpable error of some ministers, who make such a disproportion between their preaching and their living; who study hard to preach exactly, and study little or not at all to live exactly.” – Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor

 “Leave me as I am; for the one who enables me to endure the fire will also enable me to remain on the pyre without moving, even without the sense of security that you get from the nails.” –Polycarp’s Prayer cited in The Apostolic Fathers

“Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow.” – Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor

“Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy Scriptures ever have the preeminence. Let Scripture be first and most in your hearts and hands and other books be used as subservient to it.” – Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor

 “The loss of center in Christian education is arguably due to a serious default of pastoral leadership; when the teaching elder does not teach, the effect is felt throughout the entire Christian congregation.” –Thomas Oden in Pastoral Theology

“To live among such excellent helps as our libraries afford, to have so many silent wise companions whenever we please.” – Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor

 “Every generation brings forth a company of Stalwart Champions who assume that they alone are the true custodians of truth, and who by a blustering manner and a swaggering rhetoric induce the undiscerning to accept them as special agents of heaven.” –Charles Jefferson in The Minister as Shepherd

“Lay siege to your sins, and starve them out by keeping away the food and fuel which is their maintenance and life.” – Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor

“Let no man think to kill sin with few, easy, or gentle strokes. He who hath once smitten a serpent, if he follow not on his blow until it be slain, may repent that ever he began the quarrel. And so he who undertakes to deal with sin, and pursues it not constantly to the death.” – Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor

“I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.” – Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor

“Alas! can we think that the reformation is wrought, when we cast out a few ceremonies, and changed some vestures, and gestures, and forms! Oh no, sirs’! it is the converting and saving of souls that is our business. That is the chiefest part of reformation, that doth most good, and tendeth most to the salvation of the people.” – Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor

“Protestants now recognize that the Reformation itself had deeply pastoral roots. The concern was not for the reformation of doctrine and the church as such, but for the care of people in their lives before God, with the realization that thinking wrongly about God leads us to live wrongly.” –Andrew Purves in Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition

“Be no respector of persons in reproving a man who is in fault, for riches can have no power with the Lord, nor does the Lord give more honor to dignities, nor has beauty any advantage, but there is equality of all these things with Him.” –Translated from the Syriac The Didascalia Apostolorum

 “The power of example remains one of the most potent influences in men’s lives and is of crucial significance for the work of the pastor.” –Derek Tidball in Skillful Shepherds

Referring to Titus 2:13 and 3:6 – “The theology of mission intimated here is a rich one and parallels the teachings in the acknowledged Paulines: God is the initiator of mission and Jesus Christ is the agent of his redemptive plan. There is a historical and a future perspective in the message of the gospel; we proclaim the saving work of Christ as a historical event and hold up Christ’s future appearing and the promise of eternal life as the hope of every believer.” –Chiao Ek Ho in Entrusted with the Gospel edited by Wilder and Köstenberger


[1] Augustine, Onus Angelicis Humeris Formidandum

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