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The Christian Ministry

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One of the best and most comprehensive books ever written on the work of the ministry.


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One of the best and most comprehensive books ever written on the work of the ministry.

30 review for The Christian Ministry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Peter Jones

    I am always convicted by this book. Bridges hits on pride, worldliness, and laziness to varying degrees. Last time I was convicted about my study habits. This time is was about my fear of men and want of affection for Christ and His people. His section on preaching plainly with clear application was also helpful. The book will not appeal to all. But there is little doubt that most ministers can find some gold that will strengthen them in their labors. Read previously in 2010. Here is my review f I am always convicted by this book. Bridges hits on pride, worldliness, and laziness to varying degrees. Last time I was convicted about my study habits. This time is was about my fear of men and want of affection for Christ and His people. His section on preaching plainly with clear application was also helpful. The book will not appeal to all. But there is little doubt that most ministers can find some gold that will strengthen them in their labors. Read previously in 2010. Here is my review from then: There were several sections of this book I found particularly convicting. Bridges does not mention much about liturgy or the Sacraments. So if you are looking for that this not your book. But that is where I have done a lot of reading. So it was not that necessary for me. But he does bring up things like laziness, hypocrisy, want of zeal and failure in family life. The chapter on "Preparation for the Christian Ministry" especially the section on study habits was like a knife in my soul. How many ministers squander hours on useless labors? Bridges is strong where many younger pastors are weak. I needed this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges is simply one of the most powerful books I've ever read. Virtually every page was helpful. Bridges' book is a theological and practical expose' on what it means to be a Christian pastor and preacher. It is significant that a book this old (1849) is still incredibly relevant. There are five parts to the book - let me give a quick run-down of each. I. In part one, Bridges covers the origin, institution, dignity, use, necessity, trials, difficulties, comfort The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges is simply one of the most powerful books I've ever read. Virtually every page was helpful. Bridges' book is a theological and practical expose' on what it means to be a Christian pastor and preacher. It is significant that a book this old (1849) is still incredibly relevant. There are five parts to the book - let me give a quick run-down of each. I. In part one, Bridges covers the origin, institution, dignity, use, necessity, trials, difficulties, comforts, encouragements, and qualifications of the Christian ministry, along with four steps of preparation for the ministry: habits of general study, special study of the Scriptures, habits of special prayer, and employment in the cure of souls. II-III. Parts two and three deal with five general reasons and ten personal reasons why ministers are often ineffective. The general reasons include: 1. the withholding of divine influence 2. the enmity of the natural heart of man 3. the power of Satan 4. local hindrances 5. and the lack of a Divine call to ministry The personal reasons (i.e. causes of ministerial inefficiency connected with our personal character) are: 1. want of entire devotedness of heart 2. conformity to the world 3. the fear of man 4. the want of Christian self-denial 5. the Spirit of covetousness 6. neglect of retirement (time alone with God) 7. the influence of spiritual pride 8. the absence or defect of personal religion 9. the defect of family relgion; and the want of connection of the Minister's family with his work 10. lack of faith I can scarcely describe how heart-searching these chapters were. When I was working through these some months back, I felt very deep apprehension and fear over my personal accountability to God for the souls in my charge. I needed (still need) to feel that and Bridges pressed it into my heart like probably no author ever has. Those of you who know me best will readily see how much work yet needs to be done in my life regard to these ten things. Pray for me. IV. Part four of the book details the public work of the Christian Ministry. Much space is given to the task of preaching, including the institution and importance of preaching, and preparation for the pulpit. The last sections of the book I actually read were those detailing the Scriptural mode of preaching the Law and the Scriptural mode of preaching the Gopsel. I suppose I put these off, because I didn't think I would agree with Bridges on his view of the Law, but I actually benefited immensely. I just underlined and underlined and underlined. It is so rich. Then there are also chapters on the mode of preaching (addressing both topical and expository preaching and extempore and written sermons) and the "Spirit of Scriptural preaching" (broken down into seven qualities: boldness, wisdom, plainness, fervency, diligence, singleness, and love). V. Finally, part five deals with the Pastoral Work of the Christian Ministry, addressing first, the nature and importance of the pastoral work, and second how to treat specific cases in pastoral work (i.e. the infidel, the ignorant and careless, the self-righteous, the false professor, natural and spiritual convictions, the young Christian, the backslider, the unestablished Christian, and the confirmed and consistent Christian.) This was an especially helpful section, giving much encouragement to me in the midst of some challenging pastoral responsibilities, and also supplying much insight in how to apply the Word to specific kinds of people. It is impossible for me to do justice to the helpfulness of this book. I really know of nothing else quite like it, except maybe Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students. But I think this is even better than that - because of its focus not just on preaching, but on pastoral work. Bridges is eloquent and full of the Gospel. Like Spurgeon said of Bunyan, he just bleeds Bible - prick him anywhere and his blood is bibline. He was also very well-read in the Patristics, the Reformers, and the Puritans, and quotes from their works often. There are lots of gems scattered throughout that it would be almost impossible for anyone to find elsewhere, unless they pursued a PhD in church history. Perhaps the best thing I can say is that the book has weight - gravity. It is a serious book, but serious in a joy-giving and helpful sort of way. If you are a pastor or elder (or want to be), I highly recommend that you read it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nathan White

    It feels very strange and out of place to give a Banner of Truth book 3 stars. But I did so because I think there are much better books on the subject. (And also because the reading is a bit laborious, especially with the myriad of footnotes, half of which don't directly relate to the point at hand). Overall, Bridges' historical context is evident in his approach to this subject. By and large, this is a book on piety. While I found much of this emphasis on piety challenging and constructive, esp It feels very strange and out of place to give a Banner of Truth book 3 stars. But I did so because I think there are much better books on the subject. (And also because the reading is a bit laborious, especially with the myriad of footnotes, half of which don't directly relate to the point at hand). Overall, Bridges' historical context is evident in his approach to this subject. By and large, this is a book on piety. While I found much of this emphasis on piety challenging and constructive, especially given the secularism of our day, he often goes too far. Perhaps the best way to say it would be that this is a just a larger version of Richard Baxter's 'Reformed Pastor', which does not represent a doctrinally-reformed approach to Christian ministry. Nevertheless, the section on 'the scriptural mode of preaching the law...and the gospel' is phenomenal and one of the best I've ever read on the subject. This is worth the price of the book and I will be returning to it again and again and again.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mark Donald

    Read with our pastoral interns. Rich reflections on:- 1. View of Christian Ministry 2. Causes of a lack of success in ministry 3. Personal character for ministry 4. Preaching 5. Shepherding Highly recommended!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pete Williamson

    going through this again with a fellow pastor in town. there are few books on pastoral ministry that are as provocative and soul-searching as this.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jerry

    This classic is simply unparalleled for the minister of the gospel. Although written in 1830, Bridges counsel is timeless! Outstanding!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ben Lacey

    One of the best books I have ever read on the pastoral ministry. Every pastor—or anyone who desires to pastor—will be encouraged, convicted, and blessed by this book. Though first published in 1830, its content is timeless and full of pastoral wisdom—and will prove as an unfailing friend and guide in the daunting task of shepherding. I am a better Christian, man, and pastor because of Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dane Jöhannsson

    The best book on pastoral ministry by far. This book stands guard as a watchman over the entrance to the ministry. If you are thinking about becoming a pastor, you must read this book. Current pastors would do well to read this once a year.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter Bringe

    This book was written in 1830 and it can be a little on the wordy side, yet it is filled with much practical and encouraging content. Bridges does not only bring his own understanding of Scripture and his experiences, but also the combined wisdom of many other pastors of the past through generous quotations from their works. He discuses the nature of pastoral ministry (including the preparation for it), causes of failure (external and internal to the pastor), the work of preaching, and the work This book was written in 1830 and it can be a little on the wordy side, yet it is filled with much practical and encouraging content. Bridges does not only bring his own understanding of Scripture and his experiences, but also the combined wisdom of many other pastors of the past through generous quotations from their works. He discuses the nature of pastoral ministry (including the preparation for it), causes of failure (external and internal to the pastor), the work of preaching, and the work of personal pastoral care. "Faith also supports us under the trials of our Ministerial warfare with the clear view of the faithfulness of the covenant, and the stability of the church. And indeed, as all the promises are made to faith, or to the grace springing from it, this is the only spring of Christian courage, and Christian hope. Unbelief looks as the difficulty. Faith regards the promise. Unbelief therefore makes our work a service of bondage. Faith realizes it as a "labor of love." Unbelief drags on in sullen despondency. Faith makes the patience, with which it is content to wait for success, "the patience of hope." As every difficulty (as we have hinted,) is the fruit of unbelief; so will they all ultimately be overcome by the perseverance of faith. To gain therefore an active and powerful spring of renewed exertion, we must strike our roots deeper into the soil of faith." (p. 179)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    An outstanding book on pastoral ministry. It not only provides insight into the ministry but also ask questions that are as relevant today as the day it was written. Very thankful for this gift from a pastor friend.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Boettcher

    Dated language and examples, but there is a reason this book is a classic. Should be read by every pastor or aspiring pastor.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Larry Gales

    A very convicting book in regards to the Christian Ministry, and the Christian Minister. Very, very good! A book that is worth reading on a yearly basis.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joel Zartman

    I think one of the big drawbacks about this excellent work is that it assumes quite a bit of familiarity with the ministry. But all that means is that it is not an introductory work. I do think it is an excellent work, and one that is written by an expert for those who are experienced and seeking to improve. I do wonder if at my own level of experience this was the place to begin. I am experienced with preaching, and what Bridges has to say about that bears out my evaluation of his work. Of cours I think one of the big drawbacks about this excellent work is that it assumes quite a bit of familiarity with the ministry. But all that means is that it is not an introductory work. I do think it is an excellent work, and one that is written by an expert for those who are experienced and seeking to improve. I do wonder if at my own level of experience this was the place to begin. I am experienced with preaching, and what Bridges has to say about that bears out my evaluation of his work. Of course, we need introductory books as well as books that move beyond introduction. And, in a way, there is an advantage to reading something advanced early on: you can be made aware of things that are coming . Having read the book, having put it down and thought that it is not an introductory book, I then reflect that so many of the resources one is exposed to are. Which is why the Banner of Truth does what it does, and I’m grateful for the good binding and keeping in print of a very sensible book that will bear much more than just one reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sam Knecht

    Dense but clear, this tome asks the right questions about ministry and confidently answers them with Scripture. Preaching, visitation, study, and prayer are just some of the topics covered in relation to the grand goal. From the book's final page: "...The attractions of the cross must be unfolded, and its heavenly glory made intelligible..." What a resounding endorsement and motivation of the minister's work. Investing a year of reflection on these 383 rich pages will yield dividends for the Lord Dense but clear, this tome asks the right questions about ministry and confidently answers them with Scripture. Preaching, visitation, study, and prayer are just some of the topics covered in relation to the grand goal. From the book's final page: "...The attractions of the cross must be unfolded, and its heavenly glory made intelligible..." What a resounding endorsement and motivation of the minister's work. Investing a year of reflection on these 383 rich pages will yield dividends for the Lord's gifts to His church (pastors), not to mention their sheep (members). May the Lord use His servants to unfold the attractions of the cross and make its heavenly glory intelligible.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Zack

    There is a reason that this is a classic. Drawing from the deep wells of Baxter, Quesnel, Massillon, Owen, Philip & Matthew Henry, Mather, and Scripture, Bridges has gifted Christ’s Church (and her pastors) with a masterpiece of pastoral literature. Though the style is heavy for 21st century ears, this book ought to be required reading for any man pursuing the ministry. I docked my rating by one star due to his strong words against any form of government other than prelacy. There is a reason that this is a classic. Drawing from the deep wells of Baxter, Quesnel, Massillon, Owen, Philip & Matthew Henry, Mather, and Scripture, Bridges has gifted Christ’s Church (and her pastors) with a masterpiece of pastoral literature. Though the style is heavy for 21st century ears, this book ought to be required reading for any man pursuing the ministry. I docked my rating by one star due to his strong words against any form of government other than prelacy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Mueller

    This is a MUST read for all men considering pastoral ministry. The church is the divine means through which God seeks to regenerate the world, and he employs certain ministers to accomplish that task. As such, the call of ministry is no menial task. This book will enhance your love for the Christian ministry and it will simultaneously remind you of your insufficiencies in the most apparent ways.

  17. 5 out of 5

    John

    Semi-heavy language, but once you read a couple chapters you get used to it and it's not near as noticeable. This is definitely on the Mount Rushmore of books on pastoral ministry along with stuff like Spurgeon's 'Lectures to My Students', and Piper's 'Brothers, We Are Not Professionals.'

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michael Abraham

    Quite possibly the best book I read in 2018.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Taylor DeSoto

    The best book on pastoral ministry hands down.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Carter

    I can't imagine a more deeply thoughtful book on pastoral ministry ever being written today.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Homesley

    Superb

  22. 4 out of 5

    David

    Verbose, repetitive, and dense, with a few noteworthy statements. Generally not worth the time and effort. There are more modern, more succinct texts available.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dan Mason

    When asked why he hasn't written a book on Pastoral Ministry, Mark Dever replied, "Charles Bridges has already written 'The Christian Ministry'. I don't have anything to add."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    The first couple chapters of Bridges work are extremely good. I covered some early highlights here: https://medium.com/@joshcrouse3/revis... The first couple chapters of Bridges work are extremely good. I covered some early highlights here: https://medium.com/@joshcrouse3/revis...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cory McArtor

    I would highly recommend this book for anyone in pastoral ministry or considering it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This book was exceedingly lengthy, and it would be best used in the future as a source for supplemental education on a particular section. Written by Charles Bridges (Church of England) in the 1800’s, many of the topics are surprisingly appropriate for today’s church. His massive book is divided into four major sections. The first section discusses the qualifications of ministry, with four steps for the preparation for Christian ministry: developing a habit of general study of the Scriptures, spe This book was exceedingly lengthy, and it would be best used in the future as a source for supplemental education on a particular section. Written by Charles Bridges (Church of England) in the 1800’s, many of the topics are surprisingly appropriate for today’s church. His massive book is divided into four major sections. The first section discusses the qualifications of ministry, with four steps for the preparation for Christian ministry: developing a habit of general study of the Scriptures, specific study, special prayer habits, and what he calls the “cure” for souls (evangelism). Sections two and three deal with reasons for the ineffectiveness of ministers. The first offers six general reasons, and the second offers ten personal reasons. I found the second section (connected to personal character) to be the most helpful in our conversation of the book because of the personal applications I was able to draw. Section four dealt largely with questions concerning the balance of law and grace in the Christian ministry. This was where the writing, again, showed antiquity, but a parallel was easily drawn to modern issues that face the church today, such as: homosexuality, couples living together before marriage, and abortion.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Fluegge

    Any book about Christian ministry written by someone from the Church of England is going to be faulty at least in part because of the author's ecclesiology. On top of that, portions of the book contain a great deal of contemporary material that eludes the modern reader. Finally this kindle edition is lacking in quality; the table of contents only covers half the book and the last 20% of the text is inexplicably in bold font. This book gets marked down for the above shortcomings, but it is nonethe Any book about Christian ministry written by someone from the Church of England is going to be faulty at least in part because of the author's ecclesiology. On top of that, portions of the book contain a great deal of contemporary material that eludes the modern reader. Finally this kindle edition is lacking in quality; the table of contents only covers half the book and the last 20% of the text is inexplicably in bold font. This book gets marked down for the above shortcomings, but it is nonetheless a quality book for those in church leadership. I was specifically challenged in the areas of preaching, intercessory prayer, and personal interaction with the members of the church. You will likely skim through a few portions that are not pertinent to you, but the rest you will find richly encouraging as you seek to grow in the leadership of God's people.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nathanael

    This was a great, convicting book concerning pastoral ministry. I highly recommend it to every Christian pastor. If your time allows, this would be a good book to read through once a year, though, it took me well over a year to finally finish it! It is definitely not one of those bed time reading books (though, I did read it late at night, on multiple occasions :-/ ) Bridges does a great job evaluating the various aspects of our spiritual lives where we, as Christian ministers of the Gospel fall This was a great, convicting book concerning pastoral ministry. I highly recommend it to every Christian pastor. If your time allows, this would be a good book to read through once a year, though, it took me well over a year to finally finish it! It is definitely not one of those bed time reading books (though, I did read it late at night, on multiple occasions :-/ ) Bridges does a great job evaluating the various aspects of our spiritual lives where we, as Christian ministers of the Gospel fall short, and as a result lead inefficient ministries. He constantly points the reader to the Word of God and does a great job focusing on all the ministry we are called too once we step down from the pulpit.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Knowlton Murphy

    Excellent. In our day, character is often not examined as closely as it ought to be. Bridges speaks wisdom into this situation from almost two hundred years ago. Thoroughly biblical. He shows the beauty and nobility of the ministry, addresses its challenges, encourages and confronts ministers in a way that spurs you towards God, makes you trust and love Him more, and in a way that makes you long to be a faithful servant of God and His Bride. I am not completely convinced by his view of the Law, Excellent. In our day, character is often not examined as closely as it ought to be. Bridges speaks wisdom into this situation from almost two hundred years ago. Thoroughly biblical. He shows the beauty and nobility of the ministry, addresses its challenges, encourages and confronts ministers in a way that spurs you towards God, makes you trust and love Him more, and in a way that makes you long to be a faithful servant of God and His Bride. I am not completely convinced by his view of the Law, but he wrote in a context in which antinomianism was rampant, so perhaps this is understandable. In all, worth your time, whether you are in the ministry, considering it, or if you desire to know what good leadership should look like in your local church.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jon Pentecost

    Astonishingly good book that gets better on re-reading. Bridges provides a master class in pastoral ministry. At some times, his view of the office of pastor can feel overwhelming. Part of that is because he lived in a context where there was only one pastor/elder per church. But a big part of that is because of his own acute awareness of the immense privilege and responsibility of shepherding some of the sheep who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Who is sufficient for such things? No man, on his Astonishingly good book that gets better on re-reading. Bridges provides a master class in pastoral ministry. At some times, his view of the office of pastor can feel overwhelming. Part of that is because he lived in a context where there was only one pastor/elder per church. But a big part of that is because of his own acute awareness of the immense privilege and responsibility of shepherding some of the sheep who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Who is sufficient for such things? No man, on his own strength. Must-read for any man considering pastoral ministry.

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