Book Review: Shepherding God's Flock

Having become involved in certain areas of leadership in my life, I jumped at the opportunity to read this book, "Shepherding God's Flock" edited by Benjamin Merkle and Thomas Schreiner. This book is a compilation of multiple essays consisting of chapters that examine biblical leadership in the New Testament, historical developments of leadership in the Roman Catholic Church (more on that later), church leadership models across several denominations, and practical considerations for church leadership in our time.

This book is a moderately "academic" read. For example, it goes into in-depth historical developments of leadership in the Catholic Church over several chapters, which is fine for a history book, but somewhat off-topic for a book focused on church leadership. Perhaps I mistakenly expected more practical application as opposed to church history. The history portions are enjoyable and enlightening though they may be out of place.

The first four chapters of this book, which examine church leadership through simple examination of the relevant New Testament texts represents the good "academic" portions of this book. The implicit points of application that arise out of the theological examination of church leadership in these chapters are particularly helpful. For example, in his examination of the Pauline epistles, Thomas Schreiner states, "Orthodox doctrine, Paul insists, leads to love, and hence orthodoxy is immensely practical" (p. 91).

The final chapter caps the book off with multiple practical considerations for forming and "doing" church leadership in this age.

Overall, I would recommend those in church leadership read this book to mainly firm up their doctrine of church leadership. Some of the history is a little irrelevant in my opinion. It is also worth noting that most of the authors represented in this volume are coming from a credobaptistic, elder-led, congregation-ruled perspective.

I received this book for free from Kregel Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review.


Book Review: A Passion For The Fatherless

If you are on the right track, you will get to the right destination. If one attempts orphan-care without sound theology driving their efforts, trouble is bound to happen. "A Passion For The Fatherless" by Daniel Bennett offers a sound theological treatment of orphan-care and adoption and the necessary practical outcomes. The chapters in Part One, which are devoted to the underlying theology of adoption – spiritual and natural – display a solid grasp of the ultimate point of orphan-care: to display the glory of God’s grace. The author exegetes and applies passages in Ephesians 1 particularly well.

I was very pleased with the comprehensive treatment of issues related to orphan care throughout Part Two. From passages on materialism to strong disclaimers about the difficulty of adoption, Daniel Bennett continued to impress this reader with his treatment of multiple issues related to orphan-care. This book is profoundly theological and I cannot stress this point enough. One chapter on decision making and God’s will particularly impressed me, and although it seems odd to find such a book on orphan-care, it fit well. Another chapter offers a brief and compelling look at church governance and how elders can equip their flocks to care for orphans in a thoroughly biblical manner.

Finally, in Part Three, Bennett devotes two chapters (out of twelve!) to a practical method to starting an orphan ministry in a local church. Have I stressed how profoundly theological this book is? Ten out of twelve chapters are devoted to the theological underpinnings of orphan-care. And the final two chapters give a good outline to starting a orphan-care ministry.

Overall, I believe this book is an excellent example of how churches should approach any given “ministry”: deeply engage the underlying theological issues first and then get to work. If a church follows a theologically reinforced strategy to orphan-care, God will certainly be glorified. “A Passion For The Fatherless” is a great place to get started.

I received this book for free from Kregel Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review.