We had the first of our Autumn lectures on Monday. This term we are looking at three men named John and the first of these was John Owen. Aaron Prelock, who is on the pastoral team at St Giles Mission and is currently doing a PhD on Owen, spoke very helpfully on "John the under-rated pastor". Emphasising Owen's largely pastoral role throughout his life, he shared with us his research into the scholastic context behind Owen and spoke of his understanding of habitus or disposition or bent, specifically what that should be in a pastor according to Owen
For Owen it is chiefly that of shepherd which he says, ina defence of congregationalism,
is metaphorical. It is a denomination suited unto his work, denoting the same office and person with a bishop or elder, spoken of absolutely without limitation unto either teaching or ruling. And it seems to be used or applied unto this office, because it is more comprehensive of, and instructive in, all the duties that belong unto it, than any other name whatever; nay, than all of them put together.
Unto the call of any person unto this office of a pastor in the church there are certain qualifications previously required in him, disposing and making him fit for that office. The outward call is an act of the church, as we shall show immediately ; but therein is required an obediential acting of him also who is called.
In more than one place he elucidates the sort of qualifications needed. So for example in one place he says
1. The first and principal duty of a pastor is to feed the flock by diligent preaching of the word.
2. The second duty of a pastor towards his flock is continual fervent prayer for them
This should be accompanied by
(1.) Spiritual wisdom and understanding in the mysteries of the gospel, that they may declare unto the church "all the counsel of God" and "the unsearchable riches of Christ:''We had a good paper and a good discussion. Do join us next time (October 15) when Stan evers will speak on John Berridge - John the eccentric vicar.
(2.) Experience of the power of the truth which they preach in and upon their own souls
(3.) Skill to divide the word aright
(4.) A prudent and diligent consideration of the state of the floch over which any man is set
And, (5.) All these, in the whole discharge of their duty, are to be constantly accompanied with the evidence of zeal for the glory of God and compassion for the souls of men.