Pastoral Ministry According to Paul
What is the ultimate purpose of pastoral ministry? What emphases and priorities should take precedence? In the day-to-day emphasis on various pastoral roles and pragmatic concerns, what can sometimes get lost is the theological foundation for understanding pastoral ministry. James...
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What is the ultimate purpose of pastoral ministry? What emphases and priorities should take precedence? In the day-to-day emphasis on various pastoral roles and pragmatic concerns, what can sometimes get lost is the theological foundation for understanding pastoral ministry. James Thompson is a New Testament scholar with a concern for relating biblical studies to practical ministry. Here he does a careful study of several of Paul's epistles in order to see what Paul's vision and purpose were for his own ministry. He finds that Paul's aim was an ethical transformation of the communities (not just individuals) with which he worked, so that they would live lives worthy of the gospel until Christ's return. Using this as a framework, Thompson offers suggestions for practical application to contemporary ministry.
"Without a trace of academic disdain for the hands-on, how-to skills of the practice of Christian ministry, Thompson proposes to bridge the gap that often separates biblical theology and pastoral skills. As a respected New Testament scholar, he stands within the biblical message and asks how it can be implemented in a modern pastoral context. He does not deal in generalities, but in-depth studies of 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, Romans, and the Corinthian letters keep the study focused on the concrete grittiness of both text and contemporary situation."--M. Eugene Boring, I. Wylie and Elizabeth M. Briscoe Professor of New Testament Emeritus, Brite Divinity School"The contemporary marketplace of pastoral ministry is long on practical directives, short on biblical and theological wisdom and purpose. Urging that, for Paul, ministry is partnership with God concerned with transforming faith communities, James Thompson both models how to read Paul theologically and with pastoral sensitivity and reconfigures the motivations, aims, and measures of pastoral ministry today. The result is a vision of ministerial formation and congregational shaping that challenges and inspires."--Joel B. Green, professor of New Testament interpretation, Asbury Theological Seminary"In his splendid new book, James Thompson, convinced that Paul's letters are pastoral instruments, examines them exegetically in order to discover Paul's pastoral theology. He discovers a stress on community formation as Paul's pastoral goal--the minister participating with God's transforming purpose, which includes a new ethical vision. Thompson's focus on the community is a welcome balance to contemporary emphasis on individual self-realization, and the attention drawn to the congregation's participation in pastoral care, reciprocity being the key concept, is to be applauded. The book is an important contribution to Pauline studies as well as pastoral theology."--Abraham J. Malherbe, Buckingham Professor Emeritus of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School"We are in the midst of a profound and comprehensive reconstruction of the foundations for pastoral theology. Pastoral Ministry according to Paul makes a valuable contribution to this work. By examining the major Pauline letters with concerns for pastoral tasks in mind, Thompson invites us to see Paul as both pastor and theologian and, as such, one who provides a model for ministry that is both provocative and instructive."--Andrew Purves, Hugh Thomson Kerr Professor of Pastoral Theology, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
James W. Thompson is Professor of New Testament and the Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. He is also an editor for "Restoration Quarterly".