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The Christian Pastor in Historical Perspective

This course is being offered live online in Fall 2021. In order to support students who are unable to attend the regular class sessions, recordings will be made available on the course Moodle page for 48 hours following each class. In some cases, attendance at other sessions may be required.


This course will be taught as a lecture and research course. The purpose of the course is:

  1. To provide the student with perspectives on how the Christian tradition has understood the role of a pastor;

  2. To acquaint the student with the lives, ministries and spirituality that has sustained those who have come to be regarded as the best exemplars of a Christian pastor;

  3. To familiarize the student with the key themes associated with Christian pastoral ministry.

This course is intended for those who are seriously considering pastoral ministry for themselves, for those who are already engaged in such ministry and want to better understand their calling, as well for those who do not intend to pastor but who want to understand pastors and pastoral ministry.



Lecture 1:  Paul as Pastor (Dr. Sven Soderlund)

Reading: Sven Soderlund, “Paul as Pastor”.

Lecture 2: Augustine of Hippo: The Pastor-Theologian (Dr. Lewis)

Lecture 3: St. John Chrysostom (Dr. Lewis)

Reading: Andrew Purves, Chapter Two on John Chrysostom, Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition, pp. 33-54. St. John Chrysostom, Six Books on the Priesthood.

Lecture 4: Gregory the Great (Dr. Lewis)
Reading: Andrew Purves, Chapter Three on Gregory the Great, Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition, pp. 55-75. Gregory the Great, On Pastoral Care.

Lecture 5: Teresa of Avila: The Abbess as Pastor and Spiritual Counselor (Dr. James Houston)

Lecture 6: John Calvin, Pastor (Dr. Richard Topping, St. Andrew’s Hall) 
Reading: John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, book 4, chapters 1 and 3

Lecture 7: Richard Baxter: English Puritan Pastoral Practice  

Reading: George Herbert, The Country Parson
Reading: The Reformed Pastor

Lecture 8: John Newton: the English Evangelical (Dr. Bruce Hindmarsh)
Reading: John Newton, Miscellaneous Thoughts and Enquiries on an Important Subject (1758) Manuscript transcribed and accessible at: 
Arthur Pollard’s article on John Newton in Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography (1995) available in Regent Library 

Lecture 9: Philip Jakob Spener (Dr. Lewis)
Reading: Spener, Pia Desideria

Lecture 10: Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Dr. Darrell Johnson)

Lecture 11: Joseph Oppenheimer and Bob Munro: a study of two pastoral Evangelists  (Dr. Lewis)
Reading:   Donald M. Lewis, In Darkest London – read one chapter.

Lecture 12: John R.W. Stott: Contemporary Evangelicalism (Dr. Lewis)

Course Reading:

  1. Harold K. Senkbiel, The Care of Souls: Cultivating a Pastor’s Heart (Lexham Press, 2019).

  2. Chrysostom’s Six Books on the Priesthood.

  3. Gregory the Great’s On Pastoral Care (The best translation and the most accessible is the most recent: George Demacopoulos (trans.), St. Gregory the Great: Book of Pastoral Rule, Popular Patristic Texts Series (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2007).  

  4. Martin Bucer, On the True Care of Souls.

  5. Richard Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor.

  6. Philipp Jakob Spener’s Pia Desideria

  7. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students.

  8. John T. McNeill, A History of the Cure of Souls (1971).  

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