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Called to the Ministry Paperback – June 1, 1976

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edmund Clowney was an influential pastor, theologian, and educator, both in church settings and several leading seminaries. The author of acclaimed works such as The Unfolding Mystery, Dr. Clowney completed How Jesus Transforms the Ten Commandments shortly before his death in 2005.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 90 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing (June 1, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875521444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875521442
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian Douglas on June 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is essential for anyone who is even considering entering the ministry. Clowney asserts that the call of God is both distinctive and clear, dispelling the idea so common today that a calling is some emotional feeling: that a person might be called into some unknown service of the Lord, but one cannot be sure. Clowney devalues such an argument. He also describes the calling to the ministry as personal - we bear God's name and He calls us by our own in love - and as an occupation of service. Clowney approaches the whole subject by an entirely different route than most writers in today's church do. He does not write from sentiment or idealism, but rather portrays things as they are, as they are described in the scriptures. This is a book that everyone who is currently in the ministry or is considering entering it should read. The person who does will be given an enlightenment and direction that few other books today offer.
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By nshorb on March 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Too many Christians are asserting that God's calling is an emotional experience or a really strong hunch, a subjective claim that can't be refuted by a fellow Christian. Furthermore, many young people feel the need to figure out exactly what God wants them to do before they act, and they drive themselves into a paralyzed depression in the process. A calling is neither of these.

Clowney takes the mystery out of the idea. What you're gifted in, you're called for, and what you're called for, you're gifted in. Start serving and fellowshipping where you are, and seize the opportunities that come. I greatly appreciated his straight-forward and Biblical approach to the idea of a calling.

I am a 25 year-old who has been considering a call to full-time ministry in recent years. I've been fed a lot of crap about what a "calling" is and how one senses it, none of which has been helpful, but has rather served to confuse and complicate matters. This book is the most helpful, valuable, and sensible piece of guidance I've been given.

It is not an easy read to say the least. Clowney's style is convoluted at times and tough to get through. I ended up reading each chapter twice in a row in order to comprehend and retain everything he was saying.

But the truths he conveys are worth the work, and it's a worthwhile and necessary endeavor before devoting your life to something as crazy as full time ministry.
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Format: Paperback
In attempting to find divine revelation to bolster support for the greatest vocation in the world, clear guidance from other sources is greatly appreciated. Dr. Clowney has done the church another great service in Called to Ministry. A true, Christian calling must come from God himself. On one hand the Lord calls every Christian and on a more narrow level he calls ministers to the gospel. A Christian should never seek the ministry--he should not presume God's call to ministry--if he has not been called by God as a Christian. Clowney notes, "Don't seek the ministry to save your soul...A man cannot earn his salvation by preaching that salvation cannot be earned" (5; a parenthetical citations are from the book). Furthermore, all Christians are to be servants of God in the broadest sense. As a Christian exercises his gifts in the context of the Church, he will--if he is called to ministry--have those gifts confirmed by the corporate body of Christ.

We are called by name by God. Speaking of old testament priests and drawing upon Numbers 6:27 ("So shall they put my name upon them; and I will bless them.") Clowney asks the reader if he indeed has God name upon him (4). At its most basic level Clowney applies this to the ministry of the New Covenant where God writes his name on our hearts. Aside from a few quasi-sentimental Our names, so argues Clowney, have meaning on the heavenly level. We are known by our God-given names. We live in terms of those names. We are known to others by those names.

Not only are we called by name, we are called by name to God's service. God does not give his people a detailed outline of his future dealings with them, but he does give them guidelines, which is all they need to know.
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Format: Paperback
I've heard there's an unwritten rule that at one time or another, nearly every Christian man asks the question, "Am I called to the ministry?" Some guys see what their pastors do on Sundays and think it looks easy (pastors reading this, you can laugh now), but others just feel this compulsion to preach the Word of God and see people grow in their faith.

But whether we're asking legitimately or not, we should seek out the answer--what does it mean to be called to the ministry, and how do I know if I am? One of the best resources I've found for this question is Edmund Clowney's Called to the Ministry. In 90 pages, Clowney examines the call--but not simply the call to ministry, but the call from which it precedes.

Clowney argues that before we start asking questions about a call to ministry, we must first understand our fundamental calling as Christians. Whether or not there's a desire for a particular expression of Christian ministry, we have to recognize that it's not separate from our identity in Christ.

"There is no call to the ministry that is not first a call to Christ," he writes. "You dare not lift your hands to place God's name in blessing on his people until you have first clasped them in penitent petition for his saving grace. Until you have done that the issue you face is not really your call to the ministry. It is your call to Christ" (p. 5).

While it might seem obvious that someone desiring to be a pastor ought to be a Christian, it's certainly not always the case. One only has to look at the example of Simon the Magician in Acts 8:9-25, who is said to have believed and been baptized, but when he sees the Holy Spirit given by the laying on of hands, he offered money for the ability to do the same.
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