Concerning the True Care of Souls, Martin Bucer
This post is not a review of this book, I will, Lord willing, provide a review when I have completed it. I thought I would finish it yesterday but didn't quite "get er done." I thought I would share some initial thoughts on what I have read.
First, let me say I think as well-meaning as Bucer was; he attempted to stretch biblical principles too far. He not only sought to give guidance to the church but to give principles that would develop a "Christian society." Bucer certainly wrote for the glory of the Lord and to better the local church of his day. In 1538 he believed the church was in a deplorable state and that God's precious sheep were scattered.
Bucer tried to instill biblical principles on the community of Strasbourg but the city government refused to heed them. However he did have some influence on pastors because in Hesse (Germany) a church was established based on his ideals, ideas, and principles from what he called "his little book. Not to mention John Calvin worked with Bucer from 1538-1541 when Calvin was in Strasbourg. Calvin introduced several principles to the city.
Having said this I do not think you can legislate righteousness. I don't think you can "Christianize" a city or state. First, only the indwelling Holy Spirit within a believer can make the necessary changes which come from the implementation of these biblical principles. Lost men cannot implement them. Second, even doing the right things from wrong motives is an abomination to God.
God has never told us to overhaul society, build a Christian Utopia, or politicize Christianity. Dobson, Falwell, and even D. James Kennedy have been very visible lessons for us that we cannot moralize the majority. God has set out to build His Church in what we call the church age. The principles, guidelines, and directives for the church will not work in a society that is carnal. The flesh cannot please God no matter how we attempt to regulate or legislate it.
Having said that, let me say, I still think every man who considers himself to be a leader, Elder, or desires to perform the function of pastor needs to read this book. I do not give it a 100% endorsement and there are some areas that need to be discarded as you would the sharp bones within a good piece of fish. For example, there are some things Bucer states and advocates in the chapter entitled "How the hurt and wounded sheep are to be healed" that are not practical nor necessary biblical.
I have enjoyed reading this book. It has opened my eyes to the pastoral ministry in areas that I never considered or have been taught. Pastoring or shepherding the precious lambs and sheep of God is a unique, glorious, serious, humbling, and demanding responsibility that few men should undertake. It is so sad and tragic that there are so many false shepherds and wolves in sheep's clothing in the pulpit today.
More to follow...