Jared C. Wilson. The Pastor’s Justification. Crossway: Wheaton, IL., 2013.
How should one think of pastoral ministry? Where does a pastor find his motivation and identity? What is the most appropriate way to minister to those under us? Looking around modern evangelical cultural today, one finds many answers derived from pragmatic business principles, best leadership practices, and psychological techniques, rather than the Bible or theology. Jared C. Wilson (pastor of Middletown Spring Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont) gives a timely corrective to this tendency in his latest book The Pastor’s Justification. Written for those in pastoral ministry, or for those considering pastoral ministry, Wilson provides a gospel-centered vision for pastoral ministry which unites the reality of the gospel with everyday pastoral ministry (19).
Learn more here.
The book is structured in two parts. The first section (23-116) examines 1 Peter 5:1-11 and considers the pastor’s heart. The second section (117-178) looks at the five Solas of the Reformation and the pastor’s glory/worth. Wilson poignantly shows how 1 Peter urges the minister to the live out the identity of the “free” (23-29), “holy” (41-57), “humble” (59-76), “confident” (77-88), “watchful” (89-105), and “justified” (107-114) pastor. He gives a plethora of examples and reflective questions to help a person consider whether he has strayed into pragmatism and left behind biblical fidelity. Building on this, Wilson demonstrates how Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria are surprising relevant in the everyday life of the pastor (117-178). The reader is challenged in many ways: to pastor out of the riches gained from the Reformation; to forsake empty pragmatism and shepherd the people God has given him; to walk by faith even when speedy results are absent; to pursue “gospel-centeredness/wakefulness” even when most clamor for ‘how-to sermons;’ to minister for the glory of God even when the glory of the world entices our fickle hearts.
Overall, I found the book very helpful and encouraging. A ‘gospel-centered’ ministry approach may not win the accolades of the world, but it does remain faithful to the biblical witness: a pastor’s justification is not in his performance, but in the finished work of the cross. The glory of the gospel far outshines any glory we might achieve here on this earth, and this is what we and our people need to hear.
Learn more about The Pastor’s Justification and purchase at Amazon or Crossway.
This is a guest post from Tom Schmidt. Tom is married to Rachel and attended Wheaton College Graduate School (MA in Biblical Exegesis and MA in Historical and Systematic Theology). He currently is being trained to plant a church in the Chicago suburbs with the church he attends (Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles IL.). His blog and additional writings can be found here: www.ttschmidt.com.