The author of this book is the FIEC training director. This title is part of a series reproducing seminar teaching given at the FIEC ‘Hub’ conference. It is aimed at those in gospel ministry or church leaders pastoring such men. It intends to help these men progress in godliness and that such progress can and needs to be made.
The teaching follows the concern that many seek to grow in knowledge and competence more than in godliness. In an age which often puts pragmatism above principle, this is sadly true. Moreover, misapplied teaching on grace can lead to neglect of personal growth in sanctification. To paraphrase, the underlying conviction is that the essence of the Christian life is to fight for godliness in a way that does not replace grace.
The emphasis is progress in the five attributes of 1 Timothy 4:12 — speech, conduct, faith, love and purity. In each section, five questions are posed concerning behaviour and progress in that particular area of spiritual life. It suggests reviewing the answers with others to whom the reader is accountable. The questions themselves are helpful, though there is the obvious danger of a one-size-fits-all approach.
Many good points are raised. Is love to God and man why we enter the ministry? It should be. Reynolds also says, ‘We cannot possibly contemplate growth in our trustworthiness towards others apart from the consistency of a walk with Christ and, ultimately, the nature of our faith in him’ (p.69).
Progress in competence is also considered. Preachers are gifted by God, but need to cultivate and nurture these gifts.
The book is helpful and realistic; it is also short and readable, although it repays study rather than speedy reading.