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The Christian Ministry

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One of the best and most comprehensive books ever written on the work of the ministry.


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One of the best and most comprehensive books ever written on the work of the ministry.

30 review for The Christian Ministry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter Jones

    I am always convicted by this book. Bridges hits on pride, worldliness, and laziness to varying degrees. Last time I was convicted about my study habits. This time is was about my fear of men and want of affection for Christ and His people. His section on preaching plainly with clear application was also helpful. The book will not appeal to all. But there is little doubt that most ministers can find some gold that will strengthen them in their labors. Read previously in 2010. Here is my review f I am always convicted by this book. Bridges hits on pride, worldliness, and laziness to varying degrees. Last time I was convicted about my study habits. This time is was about my fear of men and want of affection for Christ and His people. His section on preaching plainly with clear application was also helpful. The book will not appeal to all. But there is little doubt that most ministers can find some gold that will strengthen them in their labors. Read previously in 2010. Here is my review from then: There were several sections of this book I found particularly convicting. Bridges does not mention much about liturgy or the Sacraments. So if you are looking for that this not your book. But that is where I have done a lot of reading. So it was not that necessary for me. But he does bring up things like laziness, hypocrisy, want of zeal and failure in family life. The chapter on "Preparation for the Christian Ministry" especially the section on study habits was like a knife in my soul. How many ministers squander hours on useless labors? Bridges is strong where many younger pastors are weak. I needed this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges is simply one of the most powerful books I've ever read. Virtually every page was helpful. Bridges' book is a theological and practical expose' on what it means to be a Christian pastor and preacher. It is significant that a book this old (1849) is still incredibly relevant. There are five parts to the book - let me give a quick run-down of each. I. In part one, Bridges covers the origin, institution, dignity, use, necessity, trials, difficulties, comfort The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges is simply one of the most powerful books I've ever read. Virtually every page was helpful. Bridges' book is a theological and practical expose' on what it means to be a Christian pastor and preacher. It is significant that a book this old (1849) is still incredibly relevant. There are five parts to the book - let me give a quick run-down of each. I. In part one, Bridges covers the origin, institution, dignity, use, necessity, trials, difficulties, comforts, encouragements, and qualifications of the Christian ministry, along with four steps of preparation for the ministry: habits of general study, special study of the Scriptures, habits of special prayer, and employment in the cure of souls. II-III. Parts two and three deal with five general reasons and ten personal reasons why ministers are often ineffective. The general reasons include: 1. the withholding of divine influence 2. the enmity of the natural heart of man 3. the power of Satan 4. local hindrances 5. and the lack of a Divine call to ministry The personal reasons (i.e. causes of ministerial inefficiency connected with our personal character) are: 1. want of entire devotedness of heart 2. conformity to the world 3. the fear of man 4. the want of Christian self-denial 5. the Spirit of covetousness 6. neglect of retirement (time alone with God) 7. the influence of spiritual pride 8. the absence or defect of personal religion 9. the defect of family relgion; and the want of connection of the Minister's family with his work 10. lack of faith I can scarcely describe how heart-searching these chapters were. When I was working through these some months back, I felt very deep apprehension and fear over my personal accountability to God for the souls in my charge. I needed (still need) to feel that and Bridges pressed it into my heart like probably no author ever has. Those of you who know me best will readily see how much work yet needs to be done in my life regard to these ten things. Pray for me. IV. Part four of the book details the public work of the Christian Ministry. Much space is given to the task of preaching, including the institution and importance of preaching, and preparation for the pulpit. The last sections of the book I actually read were those detailing the Scriptural mode of preaching the Law and the Scriptural mode of preaching the Gopsel. I suppose I put these off, because I didn't think I would agree with Bridges on his view of the Law, but I actually benefited immensely. I just underlined and underlined and underlined. It is so rich. Then there are also chapters on the mode of preaching (addressing both topical and expository preaching and extempore and written sermons) and the "Spirit of Scriptural preaching" (broken down into seven qualities: boldness, wisdom, plainness, fervency, diligence, singleness, and love). V. Finally, part five deals with the Pastoral Work of the Christian Ministry, addressing first, the nature and importance of the pastoral work, and second how to treat specific cases in pastoral work (i.e. the infidel, the ignorant and careless, the self-righteous, the false professor, natural and spiritual convictions, the young Christian, the backslider, the unestablished Christian, and the confirmed and consistent Christian.) This was an especially helpful section, giving much encouragement to me in the midst of some challenging pastoral responsibilities, and also supplying much insight in how to apply the Word to specific kinds of people. It is impossible for me to do justice to the helpfulness of this book. I really know of nothing else quite like it, except maybe Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students. But I think this is even better than that - because of its focus not just on preaching, but on pastoral work. Bridges is eloquent and full of the Gospel. Like Spurgeon said of Bunyan, he just bleeds Bible - prick him anywhere and his blood is bibline. He was also very well-read in the Patristics, the Reformers, and the Puritans, and quotes from their works often. There are lots of gems scattered throughout that it would be almost impossible for anyone to find elsewhere, unless they pursued a PhD in church history. Perhaps the best thing I can say is that the book has weight - gravity. It is a serious book, but serious in a joy-giving and helpful sort of way. If you are a pastor or elder (or want to be), I highly recommend that you read it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nathan White

    It feels very strange and out of place to give a Banner of Truth book 3 stars. But I did so because I think there are much better books on the subject. (And also because the reading is a bit laborious, especially with the myriad of footnotes, half of which don't directly relate to the point at hand). Overall, Bridges' historical context is evident in his approach to this subject. By and large, this is a book on piety. While I found much of this emphasis on piety challenging and constructive, esp It feels very strange and out of place to give a Banner of Truth book 3 stars. But I did so because I think there are much better books on the subject. (And also because the reading is a bit laborious, especially with the myriad of footnotes, half of which don't directly relate to the point at hand). Overall, Bridges' historical context is evident in his approach to this subject. By and large, this is a book on piety. While I found much of this emphasis on piety challenging and constructive, especially given the secularism of our day, he often goes too far. Perhaps the best way to say it would be that this is a just a larger version of Richard Baxter's 'Reformed Pastor', which does not represent a doctrinally-reformed approach to Christian ministry. Nevertheless, the section on 'the scriptural mode of preaching the law...and the gospel' is phenomenal and one of the best I've ever read on the subject. This is worth the price of the book and I will be returning to it again and again and again.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark Donald

    Read with our pastoral interns. Rich reflections on:- 1. View of Christian Ministry 2. Causes of a lack of success in ministry 3. Personal character for ministry 4. Preaching 5. Shepherding Highly recommended!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pete Williamson

    going through this again with a fellow pastor in town. there are few books on pastoral ministry that are as provocative and soul-searching as this.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    This classic is simply unparalleled for the minister of the gospel. Although written in 1830, Bridges counsel is timeless! Outstanding!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Hawkins

    To my surprise, this was thoroughly disappointing! Old, famous books, especially from this 1600-1800’s are usually gems. I can’t think of a book that is this famous (in ministry circles) that I’ve read that has been this disappointing. But honestly, I can’t give this more than 3 stars. The biggest flaw of the book is how he just goes on and on and on, without much substance, with long, usually unhelpful quotes, with boring, bullet-point type argumentation and style, and without (to my surprise) m To my surprise, this was thoroughly disappointing! Old, famous books, especially from this 1600-1800’s are usually gems. I can’t think of a book that is this famous (in ministry circles) that I’ve read that has been this disappointing. But honestly, I can’t give this more than 3 stars. The biggest flaw of the book is how he just goes on and on and on, without much substance, with long, usually unhelpful quotes, with boring, bullet-point type argumentation and style, and without (to my surprise) many really helpful insights. It is 410 pages, so of course there’s some helpful nuggets in here. But overall, it was a drag to read. It could’ve and should’ve been 150 pages max, and then it would’ve been overall helpful. But it wasn’t, and so I can’t recommend it. I will, though, consult it for my underlined portions in the future.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Scott Petty

    A true slog to read. Verbose with an overabundance of quotations. Written by an Anglican pastor with too much space devoted to defense of the doctrines and practices of the 'Establishment' church (e.g. infant baptism). It is not that there is nothing to be gleaned from this book but that what little is there is not worth the time and effort. A true slog to read. Verbose with an overabundance of quotations. Written by an Anglican pastor with too much space devoted to defense of the doctrines and practices of the 'Establishment' church (e.g. infant baptism). It is not that there is nothing to be gleaned from this book but that what little is there is not worth the time and effort.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ben Lacey

    One of the best books I have ever read on the pastoral ministry. Every pastor—or anyone who desires to pastor—will be encouraged, convicted, and blessed by this book. Though first published in 1830, its content is timeless and full of pastoral wisdom—and will prove as an unfailing friend and guide in the daunting task of shepherding. I am a better Christian, man, and pastor because of Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dane Jöhannsson

    The best book on pastoral ministry by far. This book stands guard as a watchman over the entrance to the ministry. If you are thinking about becoming a pastor, you must read this book. Current pastors would do well to read this once a year.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter Bringe

    This book was written in 1830 and it can be a little on the wordy side, yet it is filled with much practical and encouraging content. Bridges does not only bring his own understanding of Scripture and his experiences, but also the combined wisdom of many other pastors of the past through generous quotations from their works. He discuses the nature of pastoral ministry (including the preparation for it), causes of failure (external and internal to the pastor), the work of preaching, and the work This book was written in 1830 and it can be a little on the wordy side, yet it is filled with much practical and encouraging content. Bridges does not only bring his own understanding of Scripture and his experiences, but also the combined wisdom of many other pastors of the past through generous quotations from their works. He discuses the nature of pastoral ministry (including the preparation for it), causes of failure (external and internal to the pastor), the work of preaching, and the work of personal pastoral care. "Faith also supports us under the trials of our Ministerial warfare with the clear view of the faithfulness of the covenant, and the stability of the church. And indeed, as all the promises are made to faith, or to the grace springing from it, this is the only spring of Christian courage, and Christian hope. Unbelief looks as the difficulty. Faith regards the promise. Unbelief therefore makes our work a service of bondage. Faith realizes it as a "labor of love." Unbelief drags on in sullen despondency. Faith makes the patience, with which it is content to wait for success, "the patience of hope." As every difficulty (as we have hinted,) is the fruit of unbelief; so will they all ultimately be overcome by the perseverance of faith. To gain therefore an active and powerful spring of renewed exertion, we must strike our roots deeper into the soil of faith." (p. 179)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    An outstanding book on pastoral ministry. It not only provides insight into the ministry but also ask questions that are as relevant today as the day it was written. Very thankful for this gift from a pastor friend.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Boettcher

    Dated language and examples, but there is a reason this book is a classic. Should be read by every pastor or aspiring pastor.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Larry Gales

    A very convicting book in regards to the Christian Ministry, and the Christian Minister. Very, very good! A book that is worth reading on a yearly basis.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Josh Miller

    I have yet to read a more comprehensive book on the totality of Christian ministry than this book. In my opinion, if you have a college training young men for the ministry and this is not required reading, you are doing them a disservice. This book is that good. Over the past years, I have read and heard others recommend this book. Finally, I acquired the book in 2020 and decided to put it on my reading list for 2021. There is only one problem with this book. Now that I have finished it, I need t I have yet to read a more comprehensive book on the totality of Christian ministry than this book. In my opinion, if you have a college training young men for the ministry and this is not required reading, you are doing them a disservice. This book is that good. Over the past years, I have read and heard others recommend this book. Finally, I acquired the book in 2020 and decided to put it on my reading list for 2021. There is only one problem with this book. Now that I have finished it, I need to immediately reread it again to allow its contents to sink in deeply into my heart & mind! This book is nearly 200 years old. However, the contents are as applicable to the ministry today as ever before. I normally will include a myriad of quotes from a book when giving a review. However, there were so many sentences, paragraphs, and sections that I underlined and commented on, I wouldn't know what specific content to share. Also, I have never seen a book so full of footnotes. And when I say footnotes, allow me to clarify - meaningful footnotes! I found myself again and again underlining content in the footnotes. It is apparent that the author culled his content from many who had gone before him. And here we are nearly 200 years later being blessed by his work. If you are considering ministry, in ministry, or retired from ministry you should read this book. Put it on your list and read it soon. You, like me, will find yourself challenged, convicted, and encouraged by having done so.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joel Zartman

    I think one of the big drawbacks about this excellent work is that it assumes quite a bit of familiarity with the ministry. But all that means is that it is not an introductory work. I do think it is an excellent work, and one that is written by an expert for those who are experienced and seeking to improve. I do wonder if at my own level of experience this was the place to begin. I am experienced with preaching, and what Bridges has to say about that bears out my evaluation of his work. Of cours I think one of the big drawbacks about this excellent work is that it assumes quite a bit of familiarity with the ministry. But all that means is that it is not an introductory work. I do think it is an excellent work, and one that is written by an expert for those who are experienced and seeking to improve. I do wonder if at my own level of experience this was the place to begin. I am experienced with preaching, and what Bridges has to say about that bears out my evaluation of his work. Of course, we need introductory books as well as books that move beyond introduction. And, in a way, there is an advantage to reading something advanced early on: you can be made aware of things that are coming . Having read the book, having put it down and thought that it is not an introductory book, I then reflect that so many of the resources one is exposed to are. Which is why the Banner of Truth does what it does, and I’m grateful for the good binding and keeping in print of a very sensible book that will bear much more than just one reading.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sam Knecht

    Dense but clear, this tome asks the right questions about ministry and confidently answers them with Scripture. Preaching, visitation, study, and prayer are just some of the topics covered in relation to the grand goal. From the book's final page: "...The attractions of the cross must be unfolded, and its heavenly glory made intelligible..." What a resounding endorsement and motivation of the minister's work. Investing a year of reflection on these 383 rich pages will yield dividends for the Lord Dense but clear, this tome asks the right questions about ministry and confidently answers them with Scripture. Preaching, visitation, study, and prayer are just some of the topics covered in relation to the grand goal. From the book's final page: "...The attractions of the cross must be unfolded, and its heavenly glory made intelligible..." What a resounding endorsement and motivation of the minister's work. Investing a year of reflection on these 383 rich pages will yield dividends for the Lord's gifts to His church (pastors), not to mention their sheep (members). May the Lord use His servants to unfold the attractions of the cross and make its heavenly glory intelligible.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zack

    There is a reason that this is a classic. Drawing from the deep wells of Baxter, Quesnel, Massillon, Owen, Philip & Matthew Henry, Mather, and Scripture, Bridges has gifted Christ’s Church (and her pastors) with a masterpiece of pastoral literature. Though the style is heavy for 21st century ears, this book ought to be required reading for any man pursuing the ministry. I docked my rating by one star due to his strong words against any form of government other than prelacy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Mueller

    This is a MUST read for all men considering pastoral ministry. The church is the divine means through which God seeks to regenerate the world, and he employs certain ministers to accomplish that task. As such, the call of ministry is no menial task. This book will enhance your love for the Christian ministry and it will simultaneously remind you of your insufficiencies in the most apparent ways.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joonas Laajanen

    If most Pastors had read this before entering the ministry, they would've either found another calling or by God's grace prepared with more seriousness for this truly most challenging and honorable service. Sometimes Bridges goes too far with his pietism, making the standard higher than what is possible, but mostly he is right on target. A classic. If most Pastors had read this before entering the ministry, they would've either found another calling or by God's grace prepared with more seriousness for this truly most challenging and honorable service. Sometimes Bridges goes too far with his pietism, making the standard higher than what is possible, but mostly he is right on target. A classic.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sean Carney

    This should be the standard book for anyone aspiring to be a pastor. Bridges explains the Ministry's origins and purposes then gives detailed, pastoral advice on how to shepherd God's people. Keep in mind that it was written in the 1800s so the language can be a lot to navigate. One thing is for certain- it is worth navigating. This should be the standard book for anyone aspiring to be a pastor. Bridges explains the Ministry's origins and purposes then gives detailed, pastoral advice on how to shepherd God's people. Keep in mind that it was written in the 1800s so the language can be a lot to navigate. One thing is for certain- it is worth navigating.

  22. 5 out of 5

    John

    Semi-heavy language, but once you read a couple chapters you get used to it and it's not near as noticeable. This is definitely on the Mount Rushmore of books on pastoral ministry along with stuff like Spurgeon's 'Lectures to My Students', and Piper's 'Brothers, We Are Not Professionals.' Semi-heavy language, but once you read a couple chapters you get used to it and it's not near as noticeable. This is definitely on the Mount Rushmore of books on pastoral ministry along with stuff like Spurgeon's 'Lectures to My Students', and Piper's 'Brothers, We Are Not Professionals.'

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Abraham

    Quite possibly the best book I read in 2018.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Taylor DeSoto

    The best book on pastoral ministry hands down.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Carter

    I can't imagine a more deeply thoughtful book on pastoral ministry ever being written today. I can't imagine a more deeply thoughtful book on pastoral ministry ever being written today.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Homesley

    Superb

  27. 5 out of 5

    David

    Verbose, repetitive, and dense, with a few noteworthy statements. Generally not worth the time and effort. There are more modern, more succinct texts available.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dan Mason

    When asked why he hasn't written a book on Pastoral Ministry, Mark Dever replied, "Charles Bridges has already written 'The Christian Ministry'. I don't have anything to add." When asked why he hasn't written a book on Pastoral Ministry, Mark Dever replied, "Charles Bridges has already written 'The Christian Ministry'. I don't have anything to add."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    The first couple chapters of Bridges work are extremely good. I covered some early highlights here: https://medium.com/@joshcrouse3/revis... The first couple chapters of Bridges work are extremely good. I covered some early highlights here: https://medium.com/@joshcrouse3/revis...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Brophy

    One of the best books on ministry I've read. One of the best books on ministry I've read.

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