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The Pastor and the Modern World: Reformed Ministry and Secular Culture

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It’s a high calling to serve the people of God, and a hard one in today’s world. Pastors need wisdom, encouragement, and guidance to serve people living in the context of secularism. In The Pastor and the Modern World, they get exactly that. Three seasoned pastor-scholars―William Edgar, R. Kent Hughes, and Alfred Poirier―come to the aid of today’s pastor, bringing their experience to bear on cultural engagement, the craft of preaching, and the care of souls. How has secularism infiltrated culture and the arts, and what is a Christian response to it? How does a pastor prayerfully construct a message that moves the hearts of his congregants? What can we learn from Gregory of Nazianzus about being a “physician of souls”? These questions are answered, with many more, in a volume that’s sure to encourage pastors to take up their call with fresh enthusiasm and Spirit-led vigilance.



The Pastor and the Modern World: Reformed Ministry and Secular Culture is a rare gem.Three faithful pastor-scholars, each one writing from his own perspective, offer us instruction and inspiration for fruitful ministry. Here we gain insight into our cultural moment, wisdom for our weekly preaching, and humility from our distant history. I feel privileged to recommend this captivating book.”

Ray Ortlund, Pastor to Pastors, Immanuel Church, Nashville

“In these lectures, seasoned pastor-theologians equip us to proclaim the epoch-transcending gospel of Christ into a cultural milieu that imagines that it has outgrown such good news. Dr. Edgar insightfully profiles that secular milieu by engaging trends in philosophy, social sciences, and the arts. Dr. Hughes invites us into his pastoral study, showing us how to hear (humbly) and herald (boldly!) God’s good message, which stirs affections and transforms hearts. Dr. Poirier challenges us to become men so overwhelmed by our calling to be spiritual physicians that we cast ourselves, in desperation, on the Savior who came to heal sin-sick folk like us.Together, these fathers in the faith—and the forefathers whose wisdom they refresh to our ears—summon us to strenuous faithfulness as stewards of God’s mysteries, men shaped by Christ and his cross, bringing God’s message of astonishing grace, into a milieu in need of the hope that only the Sovereign Creator-Redeemer can give.”

Dennis E. Johnson , Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California

“These three essays by esteemed pastor-theologians give us much food for thought concerning a mind that discerns the secularizing trends of our culture, a heart inflamed with love for God and people, and a life of caring sacrificially for Christ’s flock. A much-needed book abounding with valuable insights for pastors and ministry for a very needy day and a very secular world!”

Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“In 1969, Martyn Lloyd-Jones gave a series of lectures on preaching at WTS in which he answered the question, ‘What is preaching?’ with the now iconic answer: ‘Logic on fire.’ He taught, ‘Light without heat never affected anybody. Heat without light is no good.You must have light and heat.’The Boyer Lectures from William Edgar, Kent Hughes, and Alfred Poirier provide the preacher plenty of light and heat! Edgar’s ‘Are We Really Secular?’ masterfully explores—in the Bible and throughout culture—that question and offers a Scriptural solution to secularization. Hughes’s ‘The Heart of the Pastor and the Pulpit’ offers insights and inspired reflections on preaching Christ from our hearts to the hearts of our people. Poirier’s ‘Gregory of Nazianzus and the Pastor as the Physician of Souls’ looks back in history to Gregory’s struggles and offers lessons learned that will lift our eyes to Christ and encourage us to put our hands to the plow of pastoral ministry. So, sit down. Read through. See the light. Feel the heat. And enjoy!”

Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Senior Vice President of Bible Editorial, Crossway Books

“As Christians, we would never want our society to be more secular, but as Reformed Christians, we need not circle the wagons. Reformed theology has the backbone and biblical moorings for real hope, and resilient joy, in times we would not otherwise choose — even in days such as ours. These Boyer chair lectures are teeming with time-tested gold for the pastoral calling to be wise as serpents with respect to our age, and innocent as doves in caring for Christ’s bride. After all, it will be the ‘physicians of souls’ and catalysts of Christian ‘affections’ who, while overlooked for now, will do more to undermine Satan’s schemes of inculturated unbelief.And one day soon they will be vindicated, and cherished.”

David Mathis, Senior Teacher and Executive Editor,; Pastor, Cities Church, Saint Paul, Minnesota