I’m keen on Puritan and Reformed works in pastoral theology. At their best, they never separate three indissolubly linked areas of ministerial life: personal piety, preaching, and pastoral care. Albert N. Martin’s three volume work is a notable contribution to this great tradition.
Since volume one appeared in 2018, I have made volume one, The Man of God: His Calling and Godly Life, a required text in my first-year Pastoral Ministry course, and have found helpful lecture materials in volume two, The Man of God: His Preaching and Teaching Labors (links to both reviews in Reformed Faith & Practice provided). Martin’s knowledge and use of classic texts in pastoral theology is extensive. I tell students that were they to write down the texts he cites and quotes, they would have a comprehensive reading list suitable for a lifetime of study.
A strength of these volumes is the author’s patience. Before proceeding to offer practical counsel, he first explores his understanding of the biblical basis for the various responsibilities of the pastor. Only after the scriptural foundation is laid does he move on to practical application. It should go without saying that readers need not be persuaded at every point that the author has interpreted the text correctly to value this approach; it is commendable, and the way pastoral theology should be done. Volume three, The Man of God: His Shepherding, Evangelizing, and Counseling Labors concludes Martin’s studies on the shepherding office with three units: church government, corporate worship, and evangelism and counseling.