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Ministry, Preaching and the Issue of Authority



The Foolishness of Preaching : Proclaiming the Gospel Against the Wisdom of the World

Other Books By: Robert Farrar Capon

Amazon reader review: Capon urges those of us who preach to keep our focus on what is most important, namely Jesus Christ. It's not about keeping the rules nor about holding the right doctrine. It's about being held in love by the God who made us and wants to save us by grace through Christ. If you only read one book on preaching this year, it needs to be this one.






A Tale of three Kings: A Study in Brokenness

Other Books By: Gene Edwards

Amazon reader review: This book is must reading for every church leader. It is a study of the use and misuse of authority. In it, Edwards examines the lives of King Saul who demanded allegiance and held onto power at all cost; the life of King David who would not pursue power or hold onto it by force even when faced with rebellion; and David's son, Absalom, the man who would become king by leading a rebellion.

The book was written especially to address the problem of submission and authority in the modern church. An underlying theme of this magnificent tale is that one cannot know for certain who are anointed by God and who are not; whom God has blessed and whom He as not. True leaders often make mistakes and pretenders to the crown can often look Godly; therefore, we should be very careful about passing judgment on our leaders.


These three simple stories convey more meaning and impact than a scholarly tome on authority. Edwards follows the example set by Jesus by telling simple stories to convey deep theological truths. His insight that leadership, even Godly leadership, is inherently flawed because God works through flawed people is excellent. Also worthy of note is the insight not to rush to judgment when condemning authority. The message needs to be heard in our impatient culture. Edwards notes that men who thought they were doing the will of God murdered both Jesus and Stephen.


There are two significant weaknesses in this book.. First, the story is incomplete. It ends with David retreating from Jerusalem with Absalom holding power. Edwards fails to tell us that the story really ends with David doing battle with the rebels and Absaloms subsequent death. David did fight for his throne. Second, we live in an age where everyone believes they have the inherent right to question authority. Edwards does not address the need to teach on authority and submission as contrasted with demanding it. Boomers and Xers often have no idea of submission. Even many who were born before World War II do not understand the biblical concept of authority; like Korah who rebelled against Moses, they hold to a democratic model of authority. If we do not each our people the biblical concepts of authority and submission, how will they learn?

This book is a sobering reminder that all church polity is ultimately congregational. Leaders cannot demand the allegiance of their people. If my people choose not to follow my leadership by withdrawing their attendance, offerings and service, I will fail as a leader. I was especially helped by Edwards observation that all kings have their critics. Leaders are flawed vessels of God's anointing. Rebels may promise the world, but they can only deliver it with the cooperation of the people. If the people grow tired, wither the rebels dream may fail, or a dictatorship must be established.



The Wounded Healer / Ministry of Spirituality (3 in 1 set)

Other Books By: Henri J.M. Nouwen

The Wounded Healer is a hope-filled and profoundly simple book that speaks directly to those men and women who want to be of service in their church or community, but have found the traditional ways often threatening and ineffective. In this book, Henri Nouwen combines creative case studies of ministry with stories from diverse cultures and religious traditions in preparing a new model for ministry. Weaving keen cultural analysis with his psychological and religious insights, Nouwen has come up with a balanced and creative theology of service that begins with the realization of fundamental wounded ness in human nature. Emphasizing that which is in humanity common to both minister and believer, this wounded ness can serve as a source of strength and healing when counseling others. Nouwen proceeds to develop his approach to ministry with an analysis of sufferings -- a suffering world, a suffering generation, a suffering person, and a suffering minister. It is his contention that ministers are called to recognize the sufferings of their time in their own hearts and make that recognition the starting point of their service. For Nouwen, ministers must be willing to go beyond their professional role and leave themselves open as fellow human beings with the same wounds and suffering -- in the image of Christ. In other words, we heal from our own wounds. Filled with examples from everyday experience, The Wounded Healer is a thoughtful and insightful guide that will be welcomed by anyone engaged in the service of others.




The On-High Calling

Other Books By: T. Austin Sparks

No description.











The Day of the Saints: Equipping Believers for Their Revolutionary Role in Ministry

Other Books By: Dr. Bill Hamon

Many Christians are looking for "the Day of the Lord" but before that day comes the Lord is preparing His Bride for His Divine purposes in the earth. All creation longs for that day - The Day of the Saints. This day is on God's prophetic timetable and is the day when the Saints will fulfill all the Scriptures regarding Christ's glorious church. The Day of the Saints is written with a sense of urgency and a surge of passion about God's great plans for His end-time people. With prophetic clarity, author Bill Hamon, fits together the Biblical directives and the spiritual power that will prepare and propel the saints of God into the world. The saints of God are called to take the message of the Kingdom into the marketplaces of the world and Dr. Hamon shows how all of history has been moving towards this magnificent end.





Growing Strong Churches: 19 Keys to a Healthy, Growing Church

Other Books By: Bill Scheiller

No description. Note: I haven't read this book and don't know if there is anything 'anti-gay' in this book or not. I have left it on the list because those in ministry would tend to read this kind of book and should be less fazed by any 'anti-gay' bias they may run into - if there is any.







The Changing Face of the Priesthood: A Reflection on the Priest's Crisis of Soul

Other Books By: Donald B. Cozzens

The Changing Face of the Priesthood is a remarkable survey of the state of American Catholic clergy today. Donald Cozzens, the president-rector of Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Cleveland, combines personal reflection and analysis of empirical data in this brief but wide-ranging book. To explain the shrinking of clerical ranks that has occurred in recent decades, Cozzens tells a familiar story: "As the vision of the [Second Vatican Council] became ever clearer, the cultic, pre-conciliar model of priesthood entered into a creative balance with the servant-leader model. The clear identity, the unquestioned status, the exalted privilege--features that helped priests deal with the sacrifices and crosses inherent to their vocation--began to blur."


With astonishing candor, Cozzens also zeroes in on some of the more provocative issues among clergy; his discussions of celibacy, homosexuality, and sexual abuse of children are particularly insightful. Each of these discussions is driven by the author's fascination with the way that priests since Vatican II have "haltingly acknowledged a need, linked to the very soul of their spirituality, for authentic, human intimacy." This is a smart and loving way of understanding some of the biggest problems of the priesthood. And readers who learn to emulate this book's clear-eyed compassion will gain great advantage in that never-ending process of helping to heal the church.



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