A Most Dangerous Profession

A Most Dangerous Profession

by Eric C. Sorenson


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Every Christian is assailed by the gales of temptation, but those in professional ministry face fiercer storms than the rest. As C. H. Spurgeon warned, contrary to what is often assumed, "our dangers are more numerous and more insidious than those of ordinary Christians." This perspective was shared by the unified voice of the historic church, leading some patristic church fathers to initially flee the call to ministry. The same dangers were repeatedly identified in the writings of the early English pastoral theologians as they sought to mentor their proteges in successful ministry. A Most Dangerous Profession surfaces these gems so often overlooked in historic Christian literature, and ends with their practical advice on how to overcome. As both a pastoral and spiritual theology, A Most Dangerous Profession is bound to add an important voice to the ongoing dialog about pastoral self-care.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608995271
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 01/13/2011
Pages: 132
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Eric Sorenson is Dean and Professor of Pastoral Theology and Ministry at Pacific Islands Evangelical Seminary in Guam. He is a graduate of Fuller and Princeton Theological Seminaries and has over twenty years of pastoral experience. He and his wife, Karyn, have four children.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

Part 1 Three Early Church Fathers

Chapter 1 Gregory of Nazianzus 7

Chapter 2 John Chrysostom 16

Chapter 3 Gregory I 25

Part 2 Some English Pastoral Theologians

Chapter 4 A Thousand Years Later 37

Chapter 5 George Herbert 46

Chapter 6 Richard Baxter 51

Chapter 7 Gilbert Burnet 65

Chapter 8 George Bull 77

Chapter 9 William Paley 83

Part 3 Looking for Solutions

Chapter 10 Remedies from the Pastoral Theologians 93

Chapter 11 Retirement 100

Chapter 12 Self-Knowledge 103

Chapter 13 Study 107

Conclusion 110

Bibliography 119

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Eric Sorenson has done an important piece of work in retrieval—making available for us the pastoral wisdom of the ecumenical and historical church. He reinforces work done by others on Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom, and Gregory the Great. His recovery of the pastoral theology and practice in the English church in the centuries following the Reformation is both timely and refreshing. We owe the author our gratitude for his digging in the good soil of ministry past, and for his handing it on to us."

—Andrew Purves

Professor of Reformed Theology

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

"Assembling an array of pastoral voices, drawn primarily from the Church Fathers and the English Reformation, Eric Sorenson explores with great skill the 'dangerous' work of ministry. He reminds us again of the high and hazardous call to ministry which demands attention not only to the normal stresses of a high-demand job but to the special dangers of pastoral ministry and the need to develop those habits of spiritual health that will sustain pastors over the long haul. This is a book that is partly history, as Dr. Sorenson tells the stories of various pastors in their social contexts, partly theology, as he discusses the trials and temptations of ministry, and partly practical, as he seeks to make this material accessible and useful to contemporary pastors in his call to retreat (retirement), self-knowledge, and study. In the end, what Dr. Sorenson has produced is the very thing he has been writing about, namely, a manual for pastoral ministry in the twenty-first century."

—Richard Peace

Robert Boyd Munger Professor of Evangelism and Spiritual Formation

Fuller Theological Seminary

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