Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Reformed Pastor Paperback – July 1, 1974
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
About the Author
Richard Baxter (1615-1691) is chiefly remembered for the transformation his pastoral ministry effected on the town of Kidderminster, Worcestershire, during two periods of pastoral ministry there (interrupted by the English Civil War, in which he served as chaplain to the Parliamentary forces) between 1641 and 1661.
Born in Rowton, Shropshire, Baxter attended Wroxeter Grammar School but most of his study was done through his own private reading. He was ordained by John Thornborough, Bishop of Worcester, in 1638, and after a short time as a school-master in Dudley, became an assistant minister in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, before moving to Kidderminster in 1641. After leaving there in 1661, he preached in London, but was ejected from the Church of England the following year.
When almost fifty, Baxter married Margaret Charlton, one of his converts, who was in her early twenties. In spite of the difference in ages, they had an excellent marriage, and Margaret shared her husband's passion for Christ and the salvation of souls. Baxter suffered much ill-health, and the last twenty-nine years of his life were further 'embittered by repeated prosecutions, fines, imprisonment, and harassing controversies' (Ryle), but there was some respite with the accession of William and Mary in 1689, just two years before his death.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Don’t be mistaken. This book is not a polemic, but a call to repent and be a loyal and true servant of God. The work is broken down into three chapters. Chapter one, “The oversight of ourselves” starts as a check up or a self-diagnostic per se. Baxter effectively brings to light the necessity of a Pastor being truly regenerated. Then, he warns Pastors about pitfalls of bad practices, as well encourages them. Chapter two, “The oversight of the flock” is just that. Instruction on how to perform the vocation dutifully for the Lord’s service and man’s benefit. If it weren’t full enough of good applicable information, then comes chapter three, “Application.” This Chapter is the largest of the book, and encompasess the most direclty applicable information for Pastors. The book in its entirety, convicts, informs, and exhorts.
Some of you might be concerned that this book will be difficult to read due to it being in Modern English. (like the King James) I want to assure you that it was not a difficult read. Baxter put much emphasis on being comprehensible. He encourage the Pastors of the time to employ language and nomenclature that the common man would readily understand. With that in mind, Baxter wrote. This book, at times might slow you down, but not excessively or without easy remedy.
One of the points that grabbed my attention and seemed anachronistic was his preaching against Pastors using their positions as a means to easy and comfortable lives. It brought to mind many of the Television Pastors living in sixteen thousand square foot palatial homes, while owning fleets of private jets. I guess bilking the hurting and needy in the name of God has been around for a long time. That is why it, “seemed” anachronistic when it actually wasn’t.
There is so much in this book to like. I found myself underlining and highlighting entire sections. It is extremely relevant for today, just as I am sure it was for the time in which Baxter wrote. It reminds me of, “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan, but only for Pastors and from the perspective of a Pastor. That being said, there are theological notions that Baxter held that I do not affirm. He held to a sort of middle way when it came to soteriology. He wasn’t Arminian and he wasn’t Reformed. While I may not hold to Baxter’s theological convictions, I did thoroughly enjoy this book and will probably read it again and again over the years to come.
Richard Baxter was famous for two things: being a tremendous pastor to a town in England, and getting constantly into trouble for being so blunt that he would make enemies of his friends. This book is about being a tremendous pastor, and it is very very blunt.
It is an extended lecture he proposed to give to a local ministerial association in 1656. The book uses as its foundation and framework Acts 20:28: "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." The book first deals with pastors "taking heed" to their own spiritual state and life, and then turns its attention to taking heed to all the flock.
As to the topic of taking heed to their own spiritual lives, Baxter starts at the beginning, with making sure the reader is truly a Christian, and progresses through disciplines, qualifications, and indwelling sin. He next emphasizes the reasons why a pastor must be rigorous in his own spiritual life. He expounds reasons such as how many eyes are on the man of God, how difficult the work is, and how the honor of Christ depends on it. He reminds his reader of many practical insights, such as "all that a minister does is a kind of preaching" and to avoid the error of men who "study hard to preach exactly, and study little or not at all to live exactly."
After dealing with the pastor's personal life, he tackles the pastor's responsibility to shepherd his congregation. His most radical recommendation, radical back then and almost unthinkable to American churches today, is for a pastor to personally visit and catechize people (for those unfamiliar with the term, it means to teach a list of several hundred questions and answers of basic theology). Specifically, he says a pastor should catechize each and every family, in the pastor's entire town, each and every year. In Baxter's town that meant 2000 people in 800 families, that he and his associate pastor took two full days every week to go through the whole town every year.
He bluntly states, "If the pastoral office consists of overseeing all the flock, then surely the number of souls under the care of each pastor must not be greater than he is able to take such heed as to here is required." Yea, and I'm sure the pastoral staff of most churches personally know every member of their flock. And yes, I know that we consider Sunday School teachers or small group leaders to be "overseeing the flock"- but how many of those leaders in our churches see themselves as shepherds, have been theologically trained and commissioned as overseers, one-on-one ask them regularly about their spiritual life, and are seen by the members of their class or group as having spiritual responsibility over them?
But it was a radical idea even back then, so much so that Baxter takes dozens of pages to specifically give all the reasons why every pastor should devote himself to this universal visitation and dozens more pages to specifically answer a whole series of objections to the work. In short, he says that he had found that an hour of focused questions concerning a person's spiritual state was often more helpful than years of listening to sermons for their spiritual growth. It's hard to argue with that conclusion, and harder to argue with the marked growth (in both numbers and spiritual maturity) that history shows that his church had under his pastorship.
As to objections to why not do it, he says that they all are variations on the theme of "I'm too lazy or greedy" which he viciously attacks as unworthy of any follower of Christ, let alone a pastor. To laziness, he asks "Are these works to be done with a careless mind, or a lazy hand? O see, then, that this work be done with all your might!"
To greed, he states that if a pastor has too many families in his church for him to visit individually, then he should hire another pastor out of his own salary to help him. He challenges, "What! Do you call yourselves ministers of the gospel, and yet are the souls of men so base in your eyes, that you had rather they eternally perish, than that you and your family should live in a low and poor condition?" Whoa there, Baxter must have never read Your Best Life Now!
The book is chock full with other helpful insights and wry comments, such as "All our teaching must be as plain and simple as possible." "Is it not a pity, then, that our hearts are not as orthodox as our heads?" "It is a contradiction in terms, to be a Christian, and not humble." "We must study how to convince and get within men, and how to bring each truth to the quick." "In the name of God, brethren, labour to awaken your own hearts, before you go to the pulpit, that you may be fit to awaken the hearts of sinners." And my list could go on and on and on. I have already discussed his specific instructions on personal evangelism in another article.
After reading The Reformed Pastor, I have to agree with Spurgeon, Packer, Dever and all the other big kahunas- this is absolutely essential reading for any man called to the ministry, to pin him against the wall and make him take stock of his ministry, his priorities, and his life before God, and to make him deeply consider about how best to "take heed over" himself and all his flock.
The smallness of Baxter's content however, is far exceeded by the substance of his character. It is his character, his pastoral passion for ministry that makes this book the classic it has become. His single-minded devotion to God and his tender, shepherd's heart for his flock have inspired pastors for over 300 years.
This book is not an easy read. The English language has changed substantially over 300 years, and as a result the essence of Baxter's pastoral passion is undoubtedly distorted. Still, this volume IS a classic, and is a must-read for any pastor wanting to refine and/or restore his motivation for ministry.