The Ideal Ministry 7/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

7. The Ideal Ministry: Flexibility of Thought

An Ideal ministry must not only be positive in its gospel, it must be flexible in its thought. It must be capable of preparing a new theology for the old faith. It must learn how to express the old reality in terms of the new age. It must speak the word of God in the language of the time. It must not be “stupidly good.”

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The Ideal Ministry 4/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

4. The Ideal Ministry: MISSIONARY

“The ideal ministry must be missionary. It must be in the apostolic succession. Here again it is the organ of the Church. The Church is nothing if not apostolic. But apostolic in the true sense of the word – missionary and evangelical. We are gaining clearer views of what the Apostles really were. They were not Bishops. They were missionaries. evangelists on the great scale. They were not organisers, administrators, hierarchs. They were heralds, preachers. They were not there to regulate enthusiasm, but rather to rouse and spread it.

They were firebrands much more than fire brigades. They stirred the spirit, they did not quench it. The ideal ministry must be missionary at home or abroad. It must have the propagandist passion, the contagious secret, the universal dream, the pity, the love, the power of faith, the pity for mankind.

But I will not dwell on that here. We are all convinced, of the missionary nature of the Church and ministry.

The Ideal Ministry 3/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

3. The Ideal Ministry: PRIESTLY

“We must go further and say that the ideal ministry must be a priestly ministry. That would follow from the nature of the Church whose organ the ministry is. One chief function of the Church in the world is the sacerdotal. Conceive it truly and this is as real as the Church’s missionary function. If the Church confesses it, it confesses not its own sin only but the sin of the world. It carries that sin to the presence of God.

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The Ideal Ministry 2/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

2. The Ideal Ministry: MINISTRY

“The ideal ministry must be an office in a Church quite as much as a vocation in an individual. That is to say, if we have a Church. If we have no Church, nothing which essentially distinguishes our Christian gatherings from any religious company, humane fraternity, or social group, the question falls to the ground. But then so will Christianity. The question of ministry is the crucial question of the Church. The greatest division among Churches, between Catholic and non-Catholic, turns on the position of ministry.

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The Ideal Ministry 1/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth, I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

  1. The Ideal Ministry: GOSPEL CENTRALITY

“An ideal ministry is one which is ideal to the Gospel not to humanity. The ministry is not the minister of the human ideal, but of the Gospel ideal in the New Testament. The ideal minister is first a servant of the Word, then to people. It is the Gospel revelation that sets up the ideal; it is not the needs, aspirations, or possibilities of human nature.

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The Depleted Self – how narcissism is linked to bureaucracy

I am currently continuing my reading on the writings of former Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary Donald Capps.  I hope to write a more detailed review of the book ‘The Depleted Self – sin in a narcissistic age’, but want to write something here that struck me about his one of his comments on psychotherapeutic literature relating to narcissism.  

71evB0k1zILFirstly, narcissism is far more than mere obsessional “self-love”, following Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection, leading to his own suicide.  Capps very helpfully takes the reader through a maze of discovery drawing on contemporary theories, and critiques the Church for failing to distinguish between the old cultural value of guilt and the contemporary ones of shame, a cause itself of anxiety.  Theologians and Churches have rather denounced “narcissistic behaviour” and being locked into a “guilt” framework have thus focused on moralistic remedies that address superficial behaviours, and not underlying ontological causes and conditions.

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Three Pastoral Models of Pastoral Care (3/3)

Donald Capps very helpfully outlines models and schemata for effective pastoral action, that I think are very helpful for getting pastor’s to think about the what and why of what they do in a community over which they exercise pastoral oversight.  This post is the third of three that will develop this scheme to show how pastoral care is multi-layered and complex, requiring self-understanding, and avoiding the over-simplification of a one-dimensional approach that can be seen in self-promoting and self-serving distortions of ministry.

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In Pastoral Care and Hermeneutics (a book I discovered by reading Anthony Thiselton’s A Lifetime in the Church and University), Capps first provides six Diagnostic Types for pastoral care approaches (pg. 61-65) and then, what concerned the first two posts, he locates them on three axes, with each axis viewed as a model of theological diagnosis (pg. 65-66).  He uses the content analysis of published sermons in six well known preachers, showing that each preacher had a characteristic approach that was common to most if not all the their published sermons.

Now following on from the Contextual, Experiential and Revisionist models of the previous post, Capps now draws these threads together (pg. 72-78) in three characteristic models or modes of pastoral ministry (See Figure A below – A Conceptual Schema for Interpreting Pastoral Actions), that he draws from the work of Alastair Campbell in his Rediscovering Pastoral Care:

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