From the Editor. Hopefully by the time this issue is published we will be on the downside of the terrible death toll inflicted by the novel coronavirus. Disasters large and small cause us to reflect on the reasons why. Are the higher coronavirus death tolls in certain countries due to those populations being more sinful than others? I had to answer this question after 9/11 almost twenty years ago. My answer in “Repentance in the Time of Plague” is based on the sermon I preached from Luke 13.
Our main article this month is Alan Strange’s “Loving the Flock When It Seems That They Do Not Love You.” As a seminary trainer of pastors he gives sage advice on the nature and practice of pastoral love and care. His decade in the ministry gives weight to his advice on how an imperfect pastor can learn to love an imperfect congregation.
This month two books on pastoral ministry will be useful in applying the advice of Alan Strange. Allen Tomlinson presents a review article “Sage Advice for the New Pastor,” based on a new book by Charles Wingard, Help for the New Pastor: Practical Advice for Your First Year of Ministry. Pastor Wingard’s three and a half decades of pastoral ministry, as well as his teaching practical theology to seminary students make him well qualified to write such a book. It is unique in its focus on the first year of pastoral ministry, a time when some of the greatest trials and worst mistakes take place.
Readers may have noticed that Charles Wingard has been reviewing books on practical theology regularly in OS. So, it is special to have his first book on that subject reviewed along with an older book (2008) that he reviews, Kent Philpott’s How to Care for Your Pastor: A Guide for Small Churches. This is another fine book with a special focus: smaller churches.
David Noe and Joseph Tipton give us part 4 of “Chrysostom’s Commentary on Galatians.” This new translation offers a fascinating insight into the intellectual and spiritual mindset of ancient church history.
Hospital chaplain Gordon Cook reviews a book offering a theological critique of the philosophical presuppositions of modern healthcare. During a worldwide pandemic those assumptions not only become evident but also may become more susceptible to change.
T. David Gordon reviews The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread, by Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall, in his review article, “How False Beliefs Spread.” Gordon categorizes this book as among what he calls “stupid studies,” not because the study itself is stupid, but because it deals with the sociology of knowledge, showing how easily misled by false information and cultural assumptions people are, and always have been. The sociology of knowledge is the study of the relationship between human thinking and the cultural assumptions that often reinforce misinformation. Peter Berger is one of the best known sociologists, and he is the pioneer of the modern discipline of the sociology of knowledge. This is a very important discipline for pastors to be aware of as they seek a comprehensive understanding of the culture in which they minister. So, don’t miss the footnote in Gordon’s review that provides further reading in this field.
The poem this month, “Scattered Feathers,” was inspired by the present plague.
Blessings in the Lamb,
FROM THE ARCHIVES “PASTORAL MINISTRY”
Ordained Servant exists to help encourage, inform, and equip church officers for faithful, effective, and God-glorifying ministry in the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its primary audience is ministers, elders, and deacons of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, as well as interested officers from other Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Through high-quality editorials, articles, and book reviews, we will endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic, confessional Presbyterianism.