I like to do book reviews. I find that I often desire to review a book chapter by chapter – even though practicality doesn’t allow for that. What a joy to find myself in discussion of a possible joint-venture with the Hippopotamus about a chapter by chapter review of Richard Baxter’s the Reformed Pastor! I have quoted his post of “the players” and our goals below. (You’ll find that Garry is a much more polished speaker and writer than I – he assumes that the reason for that is my coffee consumption). Here is his introduction followed be a couple comments of my own:
A little while back, a friend and I discussed the possibility of reading through The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter, and live blogging our discussion. There are several reasons behind this, first is for basic accountability. The Puritans are hard for me to get through. It’s the equivalent of ministerial key-lime pie. We live in a day and age where our syntax is much more stream-lined. The Puritans believed in unwrapping every point carefully (and sometimes ponderously). We may consider that to be a disadvantage, but we forget that there are truths that demand slow careful examination. Since the Puritans don’t pull many punches, it is almost like operating on yourself without anesthesia, in slow motion. Let me hasten to add though that the pages seem to ring with a savage bitter-sweetness. They don’t make any excuses as to their own failures, or even propensity to fail. Everything that is touched by the hands of man is hopeless corrupted, including ministry. Yet, hope constantly shines forth as God is quite capable of glorifying Himself through anything, including the shoddy efforts of fallible man. It is difficult for me to approach such writing with anticipation. It is good to have a brother-in-Christ who will be nudging me along.
I’m also looking forward to simply interacting with my friend on these issues. Mark, who posts on Grace Dependent is an old acquaintance, who has turned into a good friend over the last few years. I look at him with a combination of jealousy and pity—jealousy that his beard is better than mine, and pity for his coffee addiction. It has been an incredible encouragement for me to hear how God has been shaping him, and continuing to do so. While his thinking is consistently Christ-centered, it is usually 45 degrees to mine so it will be invaluable for me to interact with a godly brother on the same subject who approaches things differently.
I hope you all enjoy this experiment. See what convicts pastors. Chime in with a thought. Grab some popcorn. It is all good.
One of the main reasons why I would like to review the Reformed Pastor is that I spend a lot of time reading and reviewing “newer” authors. There is something to be said about a work that has stood the test of time – such as Baxter’s work. I agree with Garry that the accountability will be great, our interaction beneficial to not only each other but our respective congregations, and our posts will give great insight into the way we think and pastor.
Having said that, I’m off to figure out if Garry meant I’m mentally off-balanced by his comment of my thinking being 45 degrees off his own. I pray you’ll enjoy the upcoming series!