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The Reformed Pastor

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  1,660 ratings  ·  67 reviews
One of the best known classics on the work of the Christian ministry.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 1st 1981 by Banner of Truth (first published 1656)
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Mere Christianity by C.S. LewisSimply Revelation by T.R. EstepDesiring God by John PiperChosen By God by R.C. SproulKnowing God by J.I. Packer
Theology Top 15
16th out of 145 books — 130 voters
There Is No Gray in Moral Failure by Yves JohnsonThe Reformed Pastor by Richard BaxterWhat's Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective ... by Martha Char LoveOutside The Wire by Yves JohnsonReflections of Mamie by Rosemary "Mamie" Adkins
For Ministers
2nd out of 39 books — 24 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,801)
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Ian Hodge
Richard Baxter's time as a pastor proved very fruitful. IN this book he has advice for his fellow-pastors, shepherds of the flock. But this is no soft-treading nice reflection on pastoral theology. It is a challenge to every pastor to live the life that is preached from the pulpit or else face neglect, even ridicule, for a hypocrisy.

While this is an excellent book as far as it goes, it does not give the total story of Baxter's success, which had much to do with his practical application of the S
Joe Cassada
This is one of those books that every pastor must have in his library - and not only in his library, he must have it bouncing around in his heart and lingering in the back of his mind. In this book Baxter shows what is the bone and marrow of effective pastoral ministry. He exposes frauds, denounces sin, and exhorts to greater works for the Saviour. If you can read this book, O man of God, and not be humbled, convicted, and motivated, then you have a stony heart.

This book should be required readi
I bought this book over a year ago on a whim without knowing anything about the book or writer. Heck it only cost a quarter. I did not touch the book for a year.

I read the book because of it seemed like many people were referencing Baxter. Before I read it I learned that Spurgeon had his wife read it to him EVERY SUNDAY and supposedly he cried everytime because he felt he had fallen so far short. Whether this story is true or not is unsure even though there are many quotes from Spurgeon praisin
Matt Pitts
Baxter's style is plain, vivid, and vigorous. When it comes to the puritans I have attempted to read a little of Owen and Sibbes, but now I wish I had started with Baxter. (I've read Bunyan too, but he seems to be in a class by himself!) Baxter is not at all hard to understand or hard to follow, nor is he boring or tedious. He is full of life and zealous for the truth to be not merely known but lived. No doubt some of his zeal was due to the fact that he was never far from death because of his p ...more
This book has great things to say about pastoral self care, pastoral vocation and the priority of catachesis. I do think Baxter is a little dour and I would question how some of his methodology would translate, but I am wowed by the sacredness in which he views his vocation and the attentiveness he had towards his flock.
Jul 23, 2011 Jimmy added it
First published in 1656, Richard Baxter’s “The Reformed Pastor� remains a classic even today. The reasons why it is still read is because the truths that Baxter communicates is still relevant today. I will highlight some of these points here.
The book has much to say about the pastor’s duties. Due to the nature of the book, Baxter also addresses regularly the laziness of the minister. I enjoyed how the book tells us the duties of the pastor (and what’s required of that duty) and also co
My mentor/ordination supervisor "assigned" this for me to read and we discussed it at length.

In typical puritan fashion, Baxter is "wordy". His intent is good- to make clear the need for those called to ministry to spiritual alive, healthy, and passionate for seeing God's work of rebirth happening in the people of a given parish. He makes this point abundantly clear, but repeats that same idea over and over. This book could be 1/3 the size it is.

But at the time, Baxter was revolutionary in calli
Jon Cardwell
Jun 07, 2013 Jon Cardwell rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all gospel ministers
Shelves: christian
I rated this work on the merits of its practical application alone.

Baxter's view of the atonement was such that John Owen wouldn't even speak with him, let alone take communion with him or have fellowship with him.

Nevertheless, the practical work of pastoral ministry make this work a treasure for anyone who is engaged in church planting, pastoral work on the mission field or daily pastoral duties as a settled pastor in a local community. This work was read and cherished by such men as Charles Sp
M.J. Perry
Jan 18, 2013 M.J. Perry rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People interested in Reformed/Puritain Theology or Theological History
Recommended to M.J. by: Robert Kelly (academic advisor)
I needed to read a this book to do research for a paper. I ended up reading the whole book. Yes, it is typically puritan in that it is quite wordy. Unless you have a real interest in this type of work it would be boring. However, his sincere concern to serve Christ by caring for those individuals in his care and aiding them in being faithful shines through. It's not a fast read although it's an easy read. It's not fast because it's not the kind of book that you can sit down and read in one fell ...more
Aug 07, 2008 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Pastors
Shelves: christian, ministry
This series of lecture to English pastors is extremely convicting for all pastors because he continually confronts the easiness of preaching against sin while living in the same sin. The result of this, he says, is to cut the throat of your sermon. Much of the book is concerned with being a shepherd with integrity who takes great pains to shepherd and teach the flock. Baxter had a great passion for unity among the universal church and exhorts pastors to model Christ’s love toward other churches, ...more
Jash Comstock
A wonderful shepherding book, by a shepherd for shepherds. Baxter is warm in style, convicting at times but full of heartfelt emotion. By "reformed pastor" Baxter is speaking of a pastor reformed from sin, not necessarily reflecting reformed theology. He deals less with doctrinal theorems and more with spiritual disciplines. A must read for any current or aspiring pastor.
'The Reformed Pastor' is Baxter's desire to reform the pastorate of his day by having them examine themselves first and their duties second, both by the Scriptures.

This Christian classic, originally written in 1665, was updated by William Brown in 1829, (this edition). The language is still somewhat archaic, but is certainly readable, and far better than the original.

If you are or feel called to the pastorate, this book will challenge you to examine yourself, and also the Christian duties that
We have been discussing this with another couple and have gleaned many things from it, although I think the general consensus is that he is a little heavy-handed. However, in this day and age, an emphasis on 'redeeming the time' is much-needed. Overall, it has been profitable, but not a 'gulp and swallow whole' book.

In many things he might have been talking about the people here when he spoke of their ignorance, dullness, and lack of comprehension. Not everything applied, but the importance of a
Read how Richard Baxter practiced Biblical counseling (which he referred to as personal catechizing or personal conference), hundreds of years before Jay Adams wrote "Competent To Counsel." In his discussion of the benefits of personal work (page 172 and following), Baxter said that: "It is but the more diligent and effectual management of the ministerial work. It is not a new invention, but simply the restoration of the ancient ministerial work." Through this individual work, the minister will ...more
Michael Oldham
Jun 08, 2007 Michael Oldham rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All those in pastoral minstry/training
This is an extremely refreshing book on the call and work of pastor in the local church. "Refreshing" is an interesting word to use since the book was written a few hundred years ago by a Puritan pastor, but it is very much needed in relevent for today's pastoral leadership. The Puritans had a way of discipling and preaching that disregards the 'fluff' found in most churches today. For example, he discusses how he would visit each of the members of his church and challenge them on their doctrina ...more
Baxter's book seems to me to be a must-read for a pastor, and perhaps a must-read for anyone under a pastor's care. His care for his flock and the seriousness with which he treated his duty is extremely instructive.
What a stern rebuke to those ministers of the gospel, who take lightly their profession. Baxter encourages all pastors to take their calling seriously and the fate of all those outside of Christ. Not only the salvation of men's souls but the building up of the church in the knowledge of Christ and his Word in conducting regular personal catechizing. This is certainly a timely book, especially today; and should be read by pastors and laymen alike.
Generations with Vision
The Reformed Pastor is one of those essential books within Christian history. Every young pastor should read Baxter to their young men and every seminary should have this as a key textbook. A must read for every church leader. Very helpful in ministry life within the church.
Josh Miller
The earnestness by which the author penned this book is apparent from the outset. It is obvious he takes his calling as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ as a very serious endeavor. I encourage anyone in the ministry to read this book. Such application and practical truth written in a very plain manner by this Puritan writer. Also - you can find this book free for the Kindle with it being in the public domain.
A classic, for sure, maybe almost a must-read for pastors or potential pastors. It sheds light on some ideals of its time (17th century) for pastors. Baxter emphasizes the role of teaching catechism, and that pastors should visit every family in their parish each year to ensure they know their doctrine.
There's more to it than that, and overall, it's a very challenging book.
This book was a call to true pastoral ministry, the likes of which is usually delegated (sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for not) to others besides the minister(s) of a congregation. Whether or not you like all of Baxter's conclusions or exhortations, he makes a strong case and should be prayerfully considered by all who are vocational ministers. Highly recommended.
Daniel Wilson
Baxter makes a plea full of passion and force for all pastors out there. Reformed here means not in theology but rather in matters of the heart. He urges true compassion and love be the purest motivations for the work of a pastor. An older book with some denser sections, nevertheless the power and plea in the author's voice is still felt.
Scott Oakland
This is a must-read for the pastor and someone who believes they are called or desire the office of Elder/pastor. In fact, it should be an annual read. Baxter convicts the reader of the sheer magnitude of the work and inherent laziness that may creep in to the pastor's life. A masterpiece from one of the greats.
Baxter wrote with an urgency for the souls of his flock. His greater point was for all shepherds to not only care for their flock, but to heed the urgency of their own soul. Despite being written hundreds of years ago, The Reformed Pastor is practical,convicting and a well I'll surely return to again.
Chris Comis
Pretty good. I would quibble a bit with some of his proposed methods for pastoral care. But this may only be because of different time and place. The one quote I always throw out there is, "It's better to be at war in the Church, than at peace in the world."
Tolivar Wills
Though some of Baxter's application of shepherding is a tad extreme, his understanding of the biblical mandate to shepherd the flock of God is dead on! More pastors need to write descriptions of how they put into practice this biblical mandate for the next generation.
Steven Wedgeworth
Definitely not for everyone. Wordy and exhausting, Baxter had me questioning my own salvation a time or two. Still, this one is a classic, and we moderns need to be reminded about the primacy of honest self-examination in the life of a religious leader.
Aaron Cummings
A must read for any Christian in a position of authority. The wisdom contained here is deep and broad. His application is to pastors in particular--and how powerfully he writes!--yet any father, teacher, or boss would do well to heed his advice.
If you want to be a pastor, you need to read this helpful book. It's the kind of book that a pastor needs to read once a year. Make sure that you get an unabridged version, otherwise you'll be reading a version with all the salty bits taken out.
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  • Lectures to My Students
  • The Death of Death in the Death of Christ
  • The Bruised Reed
  • Biblical Eldership
  • Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry
  • Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today
  • Preaching and Preachers
  • A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life
  • Nine Marks of a Healthy Church
  • Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices
  • The Doctrine of Repentance (Puritan Paperbacks)
  • The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination
  • Lectures on Calvinism
  • Systematic Theology
  • The Religious Affections
  • The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
  • Redemption Accomplished and Applied
  • The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians
Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.

Richard Baxter was an English Puritan church leader, poet, hymn-writer, theologian, and controversialist. Dean Stanley called him "the chief of English Protestant Schoolmen". After some false starts, he made his reputation by his ministry at Kidderminster, and at around the same time began a long and prolific car
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