Towards the end of 2014 I spent some time praying, asking God what areas of growth he wanted me to focus on in 2015. Two areas that came up were 1) Preaching and 2) Shepherding. God wanted me to work on my preaching and communication skills and God wanted me to grow in having a heart that reflects his own compassion for his flock. It almost seemed like perfect timing that Kregel asked me to review Shepherding God’s Flock: Biblical Leadership in the New Testament and Beyond.
Shepherding God’s flock is a collection of essays complied by Benjamin Merkle and Tom Schreiner written by leading pastors and scholars on various issues of church leadership. The book focuses on three areas:
- Biblical Theology of Shepherding
- Historical Theology Regarding Shepherding and Ecclesiology
- Modern and Practical Approaches to Shepherding
Leadership and shepherding in the OT and NT is addressed by James Hamilton, Andreas Kostenberger, Benjamin Merkle and Tom Schreiner. Presbyterian, Anglican, Baptist, and Roman Catholic perspectives and polity structures are addressed by Nathan Finn, Jason Duesing, Shawn Wright, Michael Haykin and Gregg Allison. The modern side of shepherding is addressed by Bruce Ware and Andrew Davis.
This book is definitely written from a Baptist perspective, this means that everything in the book is slightly slanted towards and elder led, congregationally ruled ecclesiology and understanding of the elder’s role. Having a “baptistic” ecclesiology, there is much for me to agree with in this volume, though I do have to admit that I am very sympathetic with Presbyterian localized ecclesiology (teaching elders and ruling elders).
I enjoyed this book very much and I actually learned a ton. The book wasn’t as much about the role of a shepherd – but more so a book about biblical church polity. That is okay, its not what I expected but I certainly appreciated it – especially because my time at Fuller Seminary didn’t include much thinking about polity. (We were focused on other aspects of ecclesiology.) Overall this is a fantastic collection of essays. I honestly believe that this will become an indispensable textbook for any class on ecclesiology or church structures. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up using this book as a textbook in the future. It includes everything one would want from a textbook for an eldership/church polity class – it has biblical material, historical-theology material, and practical material.
Note: I received this book courtesy of Kregel Publishers in exchange for an impartial review.