EFCA One – Training Track: “Reformation of the Pastoral Office: Practices of the Reformers, Lessons for Today”

Greg Strand – February 20, 2013 1 Comment

One of the important resources provided at the EFCA One Conference is training tracks. Over the past decade plus, I have provided opportunities for those on the front-lines of ministry to be taught, trained and equipped by those who are on the front-lines of research and writing for the purpose of serving the church. For example, in the past we have addressed the Psalms, Revelation, The Johannine Epistles, The New Testament Use of the Old led by those who have written commentaries on these topics. We have also addressed systematic theology, church history and other important issues related to the church. These times of training allow us to be the beneficiaries in three 90 minutes sessions of what scholars have spent years researching and writing.  We are blessed indeed.

This year we will focus on the topic of church history.

“Reformation of the Pastoral Office: Practices of the Reformers, Lessons for Today”
Dr. Scott Manetsch
Professor of Church History, TEDS
EFCA One schedule

In this teaching/training track, I will consider ways in which the Protestant reformers departed from medieval Catholic understandings of priesthood, and fashioned a vision of ministry focused on preaching, pastoral care/discipline, and visitation/education.

We are excited to have Scott Manetsch with us. Scott serves as Professor of Church History at TEDS, and has been teaching at our EFCA seminary since 2000. Scott will be focusing on the fruit of his most recent work, Calvin’s Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536-1609, Oxford Studies in Historical Theology (New York: Oxford, 2013).

In a brief review, Carl Trueman, “In the company of pastors: why you should buy Scott Manetsch’s new book”, gives Scott’s book an exemplary review. Trueman states that this is a book that is both scholarly and pastoral: “a scholarly book which really ought to be read by pastors.” This really breaks the mold of most works: either they are scholarly, or they are popular. There are not many books written today that cross that divide. Scott has done it!

Why will it be useful to pastors?

The Reformation fundamentally changed the nature, tasks and power of the pastoral office, primarily by placing the Word at the centre, theologically and thereby  practically, of church life. Further, this dramatic change itself brought challenges which themselves required furthered changes and refinements in the understanding and practice of pastoral ministry.

In the chapter on the ministry of the Word, the emphasis Calvin placed on clarity of the preached Word is always important to remember:

The pulpit is not the place to shoe off learning; it is the place to use that learning as the hidden foundation for preaching sermons which make the Bible’s message clearer, not more opaque and inaccessible. Oratorical skills are useful but only in so far as necessary for giving the message clarity and power, not for drawing attention to the preacher.

Finally, concludes Trueman,

This is a quite superb book.  It is not only outstanding as a well-written piece of original historical research.  It is also most informative concerning the reasons why Reformed and Presbyterian churches came to think about the ministry in the ways they do.  Buy it — though, if you are a pastor, probably best not to tell your wife how much it cost.

Good news! You will be able to heed Trueman’s advice and buy this book. In conjunction with our Conference and this specific training track with Scott, Oxford is offering a deeply discounted price for this book. Purchase this excellent book, but wait to do so until we can offer it at this discounted price. (Thanks to Scott for asking; thanks to Oxford for granting.)

It would be great if you were able to join us for the excellent training track with Scott Manetsch!

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

One response to EFCA One – Training Track: “Reformation of the Pastoral Office: Practices of the Reformers, Lessons for Today”

  1. Good..thanks….really helps me in knowing what is available…

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