Book Review: The Ministry

Charles J. Brown (2006). The Ministry: Addresses to Students of divinity. Banner Of Truth. You can purchase the book here.

This book by Charles J. Brown contains his addresses to his students of divinity in different periods. Reading the book, though it is not one of the best books on pastoral ministry available today, yet speaks of the indispensable prerequisite for a successful pastoral ministry, godliness.

Chapter 1 begins with the vital connection between godliness and the Christian ministry. Without making godliness the efficient ground of the ministry, he emphasizes that the Holy Spirit is the strength and the Scripture is the instrument of the ministry. Chapter 2 on Public Prayer, he dealt with the evil of prolonged prayer that might weary souls that leads to the end of devotions, and the beauty of short public prayers, mingled with Scriptures and prepared by a long private prayer on the minister’s knees before God. Chapter 3 focuses on the centrality of preaching and its power that (again) rests on the godliness of the preacher sustained by the grace of God. In Chapter 4, he provides the elements of the pulpit power, that it must be direct, scriptureful (he coined this word which means clothed with Scriptural language), lively, and bathed in prayer, followed by an appendix on practical recommendations on doing the ministry (preparation, visitation, and communion-table addresses).

He ends the book with a sermon from Genesis 3:24 that demonstrates what he proposed and shared throughout the book. He shows God displayed His not only His solemn judgment but also His mercy when the Bible says, “So He drove out the man…”

Ian Murray is right that Brown would remind the church that there is such a thing as preaching with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. Oh! May the LORD send more men who have been arrested by His undying love.

Here are my favorite quotes from the book:

“Christ can give… men of doctrinal earnestness, catholic spirit, tender hearts, and abiding prayerfulness. Such messengers, touched with a ‘live coal from off the altar, have ever been the means of resurrection and revival within the churches. And only then can the church be the means of awakening the world that sleeps.” [xiii]

"The life of the minister is the life of the ministry. It is to be deeply regretted that a low level of spiritual vitality greatly hinders the impact of even the most gifted ministries. Paul's words to Timothy, 'Take heed unto thyself', continue to apply to all ministers of the gospel." ~ Ian H. Murray, in his Biographical Introduction
"The better a man by grace is, the better he shall do his work." [16]
"...conversion to God lies necessarily at the bottom of it [the power of the pulpit]— that he who will be a servant of Christ officially must be His servant first personally— that he who would be an ambassador to negotiate peace between God and His rebel subjects must himself have ceased to be of their number." [64]
"Oh, take heed lest thus you should turn your backs, at one and the same time, on the ministry and on heaven. God gives you no liberty to remain strangers to His grace, to continue without His Christ even for another day. To perish is a crime; to be without the Savior is a crime." [17]

“…an unlettered (poorly educated) peasant, with the love of Christ burning in his heart, were fitter for the ministry than the most learned of men ‘dead in trespasses and sins!” [11]

"How fearful to have been driven out from the earthly to the toils and trials of the wilderness, and to miss the gracious design too, miss the better country, miss Christ, and awake int he second death!" [110]
" shall avail you nothing for the work of the ministry, if you have not learned to preach. Two things are indispensable to make a minister— first, that he be a Christian; second, that he be a Preacher." [62]

To God be the glory!

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

12 thoughts on “Book Review: The Ministry

          1. Wow thank you! It will start at 6 PM tonight to Sunday; the topic is on being a Pilgrim in this world and I’ll be preaching 2 of the 4 message. The first would be 1 Peter 1:3-8 on the Gospel as foundation for our view of suffering and 1 Peter 3:1-7 with Marriages in a Crazy Age. Thank you so much for your prayers Jeff!

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