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Pastoral Book Reviews - The Character of a Pastor According to God’s Heart Considered

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A sermon on the nature of a pastor.

Pastoral Book Reviews – The Character of a Pastor According to God’s Heart Considered
Reviewed by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon

The Character of a Pastor According to God’s Heart Considered
by John Shaw
Soli Deo Gloria Publications, Morgan, PA: 1992, reprinted in 1998.
35 Pages, Paperback.

This short booklet is a sermon which was preached by John Shaw, A.M., pastor of a church in Bridgewater, MA. He preached it for the ordination service of Rev. Moses Taft, August 25, 1752 in Brain-Tree South Parish. It is based on the text of Jeremiah 3:15, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart that will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”

Why publish a single sermon? This sermon was published in Shaw’s day since it held such invaluable truths concerning the text, and it was beginning it be a common practice to frown upon the minister, even in their contemporary churches. Today it is ever more so. The pastor is not the most respectable person in the society, rather, the movie star is – he who epitomizes fantasy and fiction.

Here Shaw opens up the text and carefully lays out the character of the pastor. First, he explains the qualifications of ministers, and goes on for some time about the need for qualified men since many are often involved in some sort of scandal or sin. Second he explains the duties of the pastor. Also included in this booklet is Mr. Taft’s confession of faith which takes up a hearty 10 pages.

Overall this is a very helpful look at the text, and an encouragement to men who desire the office. It is refreshing to see his emphasis on the principles of the pastor as well as the duty of sound and responsible preaching. It would take the average reader 45 minutes to read this booklet. I would recommend it to all pastors, or those desiring the office, as an excellent help in assessing their own character, and whether they believe they are qualified for the ministry. If you already a pastor, I would still encourage you to read this since it is acts as a confirmation and encouragement to those who have been truly called to the office.

Some Quotes:

“It is an indisputable maxim, an everlasting truth, that the life of the minister is the life of his ministry, and the sins of the teachers are the teachers of sins.”

“Gospel ministers are an order of men necessary to the well-being of the church of Christ through all ages and times.”

“In a word, ministers according to God’s heart preach Jesus Christ.”

“If they are not men of knowledge and understanding themselves, it would be impossible to discharge that part of their office which lies in teaching and instructing the people.”

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