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Called to the Ministry [Paperback]

By Edmund P. Clowney (Author) & Clowney (Author)
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Item description for Called to the Ministry by Edmund P. Clowney & Clowney...

A consideration of the Lord's calling of every Christian, and an examination of what the New Testament says about a call to the gospel ministry.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: P & R Publishing
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.36" Width: 5.17" Height: 0.28"
Weight:   0.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1992
Publisher   P & R Publishing
ISBN  0875521444  
ISBN13  9780875521442  

Availability  0 units.

More About Edmund P. Clowney & Clowney

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The late Edmund Clowney was Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he served for over thirty years, sixteen of those as president. He authored several books, including The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament.

Edmund P. Clowney currently resides in the state of Virginia.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Pastoral Counseling

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > Career

Reviews - What do customers think about Called to the Ministry?

A Useful Primer  Nov 10, 2005
In attempting to find divine revelation to bolster support for the greatest vocation in the world, clear guidance from other sources is greatly appreciated. Dr. Clowney has done the church another great service in Called to Ministry. A true, Christian calling must come from God himself. On one hand the Lord calls every Christian and on a more narrow level he calls ministers to the gospel. A Christian should never seek the ministry--he should not presume God's call to ministry--if he has not been called by God as a Christian. Clowney notes, "Don't seek the ministry to save your soul...A man cannot earn his salvation by preaching that salvation cannot be earned" (5; a parenthetical citations are from the book). Furthermore, all Christians are to be servants of God in the broadest sense. As a Christian exercises his gifts in the context of the Church, he will--if he is called to ministry--have those gifts confirmed by the corporate body of Christ.

We are called by name by God. Speaking of old testament priests and drawing upon Numbers 6:27 ("So shall they put my name upon them; and I will bless them.") Clowney asks the reader if he indeed has God name upon him (4). At its most basic level Clowney applies this to the ministry of the New Covenant where God writes his name on our hearts. Aside from a few quasi-sentimental Our names, so argues Clowney, have meaning on the heavenly level. We are known by our God-given names. We live in terms of those names. We are known to others by those names.

Not only are we called by name, we are called by name to God's service. God does not give his people a detailed outline of his future dealings with them, but he does give them guidelines, which is all they need to know. Deuteronomy 29:29 states "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." Rather than giving us the future explained, God has arranged his ministers to perform like those in an orchestra. Having been given their instructions, they are to implement his work.

The goal of this implementation--this obedience--is the salvation of souls within the Kingdom of God. While we are called from darkness and set as lights in the darkness (20), our light should progressively shine as to drive away the darkness, just as Christ's light shone (John 1:5). A kingdom-oriented approach provides the necessary balance to work towards the redemption of all creation while at the same time avoiding entanglements in "culture wars."

Overall this book served its primary purpose--priming future pastors for ministry. It is not a stand alone book. It must be supplemented with other, more substantial works. It is short and can be read in one sitting. I found mine for about $2. I don't recommend paying above five dollars for it.
Balanced and Biblical - Most Helpful Book I've Found On This  Dec 28, 2003
I've read a number of books on this subject in an attempt to discern my own calling. This is the most balanced and biblical I've found yet. It must be read slowly and contemplatively to glean the fruit from it, but it's a short read (~90 pages) so this is no problem time-wise. I highly recommend this book as the single best book I've found in helping anyone concerned about the possibility of a calling on their life.
Dated Presentation, Hard To Follow  Jan 28, 2002
I purchased this title hoping to find a book to give to young men contemplating God's call to pastoral ministry. I was disappointed in what I found. The author does not present clear lines of thought, and tends to ramble in places where a brief summary would be more in order. The book is clearly dated with an overly "clerical" tone that would be unfamiliar to a person considering ministry. The use of the King James Version for Scriptural references would also be a distraction for younger readers.

Still, there are some good points scattered throughout the book that make it worth the reading for an older minister working with ministerial candidates. For the candidates themselves, however, an easier-to-read, more modern presentation would be much more useful. My search for a small book providing a helpful summary for God's call to ministry continues.

A vital book  Jul 1, 2000
This book is essential for anyone who is even considering entering the ministry. Clowney asserts that the call of God is both distinctive and clear, dispelling the idea so common today that a calling is some emotional feeling: that a person might be called into some unknown service of the Lord, but one cannot be sure. Clowney devalues such an argument. He also describes the calling to the ministry as personal - we bear God's name and He calls us by our own in love - and as an occupation of service. Clowney approaches the whole subject by an entirely different route than most writers in today's church do. He does not write from sentiment or idealism, but rather portrays things as they are, as they are described in the scriptures. This is a book that everyone who is currently in the ministry or is considering entering it should read. The person who does will be given an enlightenment and direction that few other books today offer.
Required reading for those considering public ministry!!  Jan 23, 1998
This is without question the best book other than the Bible that I have read on the subject of the call to the ministry. It is biblically based and well written. This book is required reading for all ministers in the Enlightened Word Ministries,Inc. of which I am founder and president. However, I have three concerns that I feel need to be considered prior to and during the reading of this outstanding book.

First, it is unfortunate that the author believes that " called to preach the Word with authority" " not share with the apostles in the inspiration that first delivered Christ's Gospel...." (p. 45). Without question, the anointing provides the same inspiration operating through the Holy Spirit (burden lifting, yoke removing, yoke destroying power of God) today that it did two thousand years ago (cf. Isaiah 10:27; Romans 1:16).

Second, it is disappointing to see that the author misinterpreted Paul's statement in Acts 20:22 and views ministers as "slaves to Jesus Christ" (p. 62). Paul used the Greek word "dedemai" meaning to be impelled in mind or compelled to do something. Paul was compelled by his spirit and moved by compassion to minister to the saints in Jerusalem. In fact, he was prepared to give his life for this opportunity (cf. Acts 20:24). Although not referenced by the author, caution must be exercised in attempting to apply scriptures such as Ephesians 6:5-6 to the saints of God. For example, in these verses, Paul was attempting to encourage the servants of members within the church at Ephesus to obey and serve their masters as if they were actually "...servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart..." (Ephesians 6:5,6). Therefore, he was not talking to those of us who are free spiritually and beyond the realm of physical slavery. Thus, these verses do not support the idea of Christians as servants of Christ. Further, if we simply concur with Jesus' view of us in John 15:15 ("Henceforth, I call you not servants...but I have called you friends...."), we will know that we are not His servants but rather His friends. Finally, in John 15:13, Jesus stated that "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends," as Paul was willing to do (cf. Acts 20:24) and as Jesus did. Therefore, undoubtedly, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we must accept His Gospel and view ourselves as He views us - as His friends, and not as His servants nor as His slaves. In Romans 6:22, Paul does encourage the church's servanthood (Greek - "douloo" to subjugate one's will) to God. However, we must not confuse this subjugation with forced slavery and bondage ("For it is God which worketh in you both to will (to desire to) and to do of his good pleasure")(Philippians 2:13). It is essential to know that we are the heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), as well as God's workmanship (Greek - "poiema" that which is produced such as a poem) created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Ephesians 2:10). Therefore, we are to be followers of God (Greek - "mimetes" imitators or that designed to reproduce the style of the creator) as dear children (Ephesians 5:1). Without question, the Bible teaches that God produces within us the desire to please Him through imitating His system of operation on earth (cf. Matthew 6:10;33), bearing much fruit (making disciples) (cf. Matthew 28:18; John 15:8,16) through the ministry of reconciliation (cf. II Corinthians 5:18), and perfecting His sheep (Greek - "probaton" those who move forward) who make up the church (cf. Ephesians 4:12; Hebrews 6:1). God does not call us to His ministry to make us "slaves" (forced to do something against our will), but rather to be obedient servants of His good pleasure (cf. John 7:17) as modeled by Jesus Christ (cf. John 5:30; 6:38).

The final disagreement I have with this book is found on page 65 where the author calls for "spiritual maturity." The fact is that spiritual maturity is the product of spiritual rebirth, but Christian maturity occurs through the renewing of the mind in the word of God (cf. Romans 12:2). We possess spiritual maturity upon salvation, but we must develop our souls (mind, will, emotions) by enduring tribulations in life (cf. Romans 5:4; I Corinthians 15:58), and increasing our intimacy with the Word of God (cf. Proverbs 3:6; Romans 10:17). This will result in our becoming closer to God (cf. James 4:8) and to the image of His son Jesus Christ (within our soul realm and in our lifestyle)(cf. II Corthians 3:18) .

With regard to relative evaluation, I consider my areas of criticism rather minor in contrast to the overall quality of this book. I would have rated this book a 9 except for the issues I have discussed. The only book on this subject that I would rate higher is my Interlinear Bible, it receives a 10 hands down.

Overall, I highly recommend "Called to the Ministry" as reading it will validate many of the experiences of those who have been chosen by God to publically proclaim His Gospel. For those contemplating a public ministry of preaching and/or teaching, this book will enlighten the eyes of their understanding (imigination). Ultimately, reading this book will either elicit joy in the divinely called or critically challenge the uncertain who require additional guidance.


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