Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Review: The Pastor's Justification by Jared C Wilson

Those in church leadership know that ministry can be brutal. You got to deal with people's junk, be there for your family even when you are tired from a long day of doing God's work, and somehow keep growing in your walk with Christ. Many times in ministry, some pastors feel they are justifying themselves because they are doing a work of a higher calling. Some would even substitute their "quiet time" for studying for sermons.

Jared C Wilson delivers probably the most important book for pastors called, The Pastor's Justification, where he writes to pastors to realize their justification is not based on how much sacrifice they put in church work, but on the sacrifice of Jesus. Wilson writes:

The justification for the sin-prone pastor-by which I mean simply the pastor-is the same as it is for every sinner. There is no justification 2.0 for ministers of the gospel. There is only the gospel itself-the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Fusing this reality-the reality of eternal life-to the ordinary life of pastoral ministry is what this book is about.

Wilson takes this book into two parts. The first part deals with the pastor's heart. The main focus is on 1 Peter 5:1-11 as it relates to the elders of the church. The first chapter is on the free pastor where Jared writes that the pastor is free to grow in their walk with Christ while shepherding the flock of God, which is the church. Next is the holy pastor where you do not neglect your personal holiness followed by the humble pastor where we kill pride in us because ministry can produce pride if we are not too careful. Then Wilson goes on to a pastor being confident and cast our anxieties on Jesus while not being confident in our abilities. The Watchful Pastor is about watching out for things in the church such as gossip, divisions, and even believers who are falling away. The final chapter on the Pastor's Heart is on the justified pastor where Wilson writes to pastors that Christ alone justifies, not our work for him.

The second part of the book takes the five solas of the Reformation and apply them to pastoral ministry. Wilson admonishes pastors that the Bible is authoritative to them as much as the newly converted saint. He also gives reasons why expository preaching is the best way to go with proclaiming God's word in corporate worship. Wilson talks about grace that we need to not only rest in the grace of God but be men of grace in our churches. A pastor must also be resting his salvation in Christ alone through faith alone while submitting himself to Jesus as King knowing that all glory belongs to God alone.

Jared C Wilson delivers another great gospel-centered gem. Granted this book is geared toward those in ministry, but this is an important book for the entire church. Why is that? I think some church have put pastors on such a high pedestal that they forgot that pastors are sinners who are saved by grace just as they are. Whether you have been in ministry or just starting out in the work of the church, you need to read this book.

Thanks Crossway for letting me review this book.

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