Skip to comments.The Books and Authors That Have Most Influenced Pastors
Posted on 06/16/2005 8:01:41 AM PDT by sionnsar
The Barna Group, one of the pre-eminent polling firms--particularly on religious matters--has now released a new survey on The Books and Authors That Have Most Influenced Pastors. This is of great interest to me because of the authors mentioned as well as the types of books that were cited. I can't say I am surprised that The Purpose-Driven Life was cited by so many pastors, as it has been perhaps the top-selling religious book of the past year. But I am saddened by this:
When the books designated as the most helpful were categorized, there were three types of books that pastors found to be most profitable. A majority of pastors (54%) listed at least one book regarding discipleship or personal spiritual growth. Books about church growth, congregational health or ministry dynamics were the next most prolific, listed by 23% of pastors. Leadership books were equally valued, identified by 22%. No other category was cited by at least 10% of the sample.Note that theology, prayer and preaching combined totalled less than "leadership" and the category including "church growth." Unfortunately there can be a great deal that is unedifying about "leadership" and "church growth"--and if a pastor or rector has neglected his theological studies, he may not be able to detect this. Dr. J.I. Packer wrote this about the role of theologians:
Less influential types of books included those about theology (9%), evangelism and outreach (6%), pastoring (6%), and prayer (5%). Books regarding charismatic perspectives (5%), trends and cultural conditions (4%), and preaching (3%) also generated noteworthy interest.
What use are such people? Is there a particular job that we should look to them to do for us? Yes, there is. By the lake in a resort I know stands a building grandly labelled "Environmental Control Center." It is the sewage plant, there to ensure that nothing fouls the water; its staff is comprised of water engineers and sewage specialists. Think of theologians as the church's sewage specialists. Their role is to detect and eliminate intellectual pollution, and to ensure, as far as man can, that God's life-giving truth flows pure and unpoisoned into Christian hearts. Their calling obliges them to act as the church's water engineers, seeking by their preaching, teaching and biblical exposition to make the flow of truth strong and steady; but it is particularly as disposers of spiritual sewage that I want to portray them. They are to test the water and filter out anything they find that confuses minds, corrupts judgments, and distorts the way that Christians view their own lives. If they see Christians astray, they must haul them back on track; if they see them dithering, they must give them certaintyl if they find them confused, they must straighten them out.Do you see why this Barna survey makes me uneasy? If pastors and rectors do not study their theology, if they do not know their Bible, their doctrine--how will they be able to stop theological sewage from reaching their own hearts, to say nothing of the hearts of their parishioners?
--from Hot Tub Religion by Dr. Packer, pages 12-13
Oh no, not again. Who did you guys bash before there was a "Purpose Driven Life", and, what did you do with all that free time?
I attend an AOG church, and I can only say that this is no great surprise. AOG sermons that I've experienced are pretty light on theology and much heavier on the manifestation of the Spirit. Of course, one's greatest strength is usually directly related to his greatest weakness.
My church went through that book, and I can't imagine what the beef is. Saddleback and Pastor Warren have done an amazing job focusing on new seekers, but the book is great for more mature Christians as well.
the three books that had been most helpful to them as a ministry leader during the past three years
To me, the phrasing of this question would obviously lead to the kind of current, practical-management sort of books that the respondents mentioned.
"Ministry leader" isn't even on the same page as "Pastor," to my mind. The youth group coordinator is a "ministry leader"; so is the refugee ministry chairman, and the mission-trips organizer. Not the pastor.
AMEN!!!Or, Joel Osteen's book! Or, Trinity Broadcasting Network! Or, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar.......
Oh I agree. I have seen many people's lives touched by that book (my own included), and as I've attended Saddleback, it's set me free from a lot of the "religious" false doctrines that I see so many people on here with.
But if you listen to some people on here, they'd try to convince you that Rick Warren is a false prophet, Saddleback is the den of iniquity, and the PDL is from satan.
Just so you're ready...
Well, some seem to feel that any church that has a lot of people showing up to it must not be telling people the truth about what despicable sinners they are. I've run into the headstrong hyper-Calvinist folks before, and it can certainly be unpleasant.
You seem irrationally upset. The article did not offer any criticism of "Purpose-Driven Life." The author simply observed that he was discouraged at the lack of theological study by pastors. (I don't think the survey supports that concern, as I observed in post #5.)
And Sionnsar didn't comment at all. He posted an article from a source of interest to Traditional Anglicans.
That was the criticism I was referring to.
I see your point - I suppose it's a judgment call, what exactly constitutes "theological study." I have no opinion on PDL, but I find the heat of the controversy interesting, so I read a thread on occasion.
Welcome to FR.
It has almost always ranked next to the Bible for the last 50-75 years as the book most helpful to Christian leaders other than the Bible.
Been lurking a considerable while. I finally decided to fish instead of cut-bait--if that's the proper metaphor.
Daily thread on Oswald Chambers.
I think the survey's "last three years" qualifier had the respondents thinking about books that were new to them in the last three years, even if an older book (or the Bible) was their greatest continuing influence.
The Me culture is evident in these percentages. Looks like more books focused on ME (individuals), rather than the community.
Careful what you fish for ... you might catch it :-).
Could be. I still think the question skewed the results this way.
At any rate, the books of the Bible should top that list.
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