Thursday, November 17, 2011

"An Earnest Ministry" Book Review

I would compare John Angell James' "An Earnest Ministry" with Richard Baxter's "Reformed Pastor."  It is a strong call to ministers to be earnest in their ministry.  To be earnest as Mr. James uses it is to be decidedly fixed upon your purpose, to have a resolute will, and to persevere in actions.  Like "The Reformed Pastor" the reader will receive a charge of adrenaline in its words that should motivate the pastor to greater depth of ministry.  Through two chapters he discusses the nature of earnestness giving us various reasons why this topic is essential.  The sole pursuit of the minister is to pursue the lost mans soul and plead for its salvation.  This one pursuit then allows for lesser pursuits to be more fully accomplished.  In modern times, we must have a goal firmly established in our minds and to let nothing distract us from it. 

I found "An Earnest Ministry" to be a passionate plea of a by-gone era.  That is not a criticism, opening its pages allowed me to look into the past at the affections of a great minister and how ministry was viewed through his eyes.  Pastors need good role models and I found Mr. James to be a great one.  Like our modern day blogs and facebook pages where we "like" anothers post or article, Mr. James included whole sections of sermons and writings from his contemporaries that illustrated his point.  While this was interesting and helped to fulfill his point, at times it was laborious to read those sermons.  Why?  Because they written over 150 years ago.  The language is powerful and full, unlike todays modern day writing.  I will have to admit there were times when I got a little bored.  But, that may just be me, because I got bored with Baxter's work at times also. 

My favorite quote of the book:  This is earnestness in preaching: when it is evident to the hearer that the preacher feels the truths he discusses; when it is manifest to all that he believes what he says, in affirming that his hearers are sinking into perdition and that he is to persuade them to forsake their evil courses:  when his sermons are full of close, pointed, personal addresses; when, in short, through whole discourse, he is seen moving onward from the understanding to a closer and closer approximation to the heart in the conclusion, and the hearer feels at length his hand seizing him with a mysterious and resistless power, and bearing him away almost whether he will or no, to Christ, salvation and heaven. 

Every Pastor should read this book as it is another fine tool for his ministerial arsenal.  This book was given to me free of charge from Banner of Truth Publishers in return for my honest and unbiased review.

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