There is something new in Doestoevsky's insights into the psychology of “the Human Being,” beyond the Church Fathers, or at least that's the case made. If this is true, especially in the light of the complete mental breakdown happening all around us, shouldn't we be redirecting our time and energy toward incorporating this and making it central to our thought and lives?
I hope pastors read this book. But more than that, I hope it finds its way into the hands of examining chaplains and board elders, of district superintendents and seminary principals. They can do much to shape a culture where pastor-readers become more common.
A number of Werntz’s suggested practices—e.g., regular use of corporate and pre-written prayers, and identifying with a classic confession of faith rather than a mission statement—are already common in many, more traditional Protestant churches and in Roman Catholic churches. Indeed, one gets the impression that Werntz’s argument is aimed primarily at nondenominational evangelicals and Baptists.
There is much wisdom contained in English Pastoral for suffering churches. If the last fifty years have shown that innovation and modernization aren’t the solution to our ill-health, they have also made a nostalgic return to yesteryear an impossibility.
Let us not, however, in our haste to condemn Reno for his imprudent practical advice, ignore the truth of the underlying point. Religious believers hold that there is more to existence than this material life.
Elevated figures in church history have a great deal to teach us, but we should not forget that we can also learn from the early, run-of-the-mill Christians who were as ordinary as we are, yet who, as the collective body of Christ, experienced vibrant faith and incredible growth in an inhospitable environment.
During a class I was teaching at our parish last fall, a woman pulled me aside afterwards to ask a question. The woman was...
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