Review: “Pastoral Theology, Volume 1: The Man of God: His Calling and Godly Life”

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Albert N. Martin, Pastoral Theology, Volume 1: The Man of God: His Calling and Godly Life. Montville, NJ: Trinity Pulpit Press, 2018. $42.95, clothbound.

More than a century ago James Stalker warned:

I believe the question, what is to be the type and the tone of the ministry in any generation, is decided in the theological seminaries. What the students are there, the ministers of the country will be by-and-by. . . The state of feeling in a theological seminary ought to be such, that any man living a life inconsistent with his future profession should feel thoroughly uncomfortable, and have the conviction driven in upon his conscience every day, that the ministry is no place for him (Yale Preaching Lectures, 1891).

If theological students are to live consistently with their calling to the pastoral office, both in seminary and after, then the nature of that call and the character of the minister must weigh upon them heavily. The full gravity of that weight can be obtained only by a careful study of the scriptures, a life of prayer, the examples of men devoted to the pastoral office, and the reading of books that uphold the best of the Reformed pastoral tradition. Which is why, after its 2018 publication, I immediately made Albert N. Martin’s The Man of God: His Calling and Godly Life (the first of a projected three volumes in pastoral theology), required reading for my first year students.

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