My Book Review of Eugene Peterson’s “The Pastor”

Throughout most of my writings on this blog, I am fairly successful at dodging controversary.  Yet, when I agreed to write a review of Eugene Peterson’s memoirs entitled, The Pastor, for The Gospel Coalition, I knew the potential backlash that might come from a “less than favorable review” of a book from arguably one of the world’s most beloved and well-known pastors.  Especially, in regard to his reflections on pastoral ministry.  Nevertheless, I felt my review was a balanced treatment of the book that highlighted both helpful lessons as well as concerns that were met with mixed emotions from others.  I encourage you to read my review and weigh in on whether I was fair to Peterson and his approach to pastoral ministry, especially if you have read this book or others written by him, that are not entitled The Message.

Feel free to leave comments here or on the Book Review page if you have any to contribute.

Posted in Book Recommendation, The Pastor's Soul
3 comments on “My Book Review of Eugene Peterson’s “The Pastor”
  1. Jay Beerley says:

    I’ve found his spiritual theology books to be quite fascinating. Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places was a great read. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in all the books, but he mastery of language is fantastic.
    Concerning your review, I thought it to be very fair. Why do people feel like you must agree or disagree with entire works? Why is a critique of a work viewed as a critique of a man? This blogosphere culture really is grating on my nerves.

  2. Brian,

    Thanks for the review of Peterson’s book. I’ve read a couple of his books. One, an old one, “A Long Obedience In the Same Direction” was on the Psalms of Ascent. I found it immensely helpful at the time. However, there are a couple of his books I’ve simply found his theology to be either sloppy or mushy or foggy; I’m not sure which. And I won’t even get started on his paraphrase of Scripture, “The Message.” I really wish he would have left well-enough alone on that count. I think that one paraphrase has done more harm in the way people think they can interpret Scripture (i.e., any ol’ way I choose to, as long as it makes sense to me and helps me feel better about myself) than just about any other book.

    Once again, I thank you for your posts. As a senior-solo pastor of a small EFC in Rochester, MN, I find them to be a great encouragement.

  3. Jay Beerley says:

    Kevin,
    One thought concerning The Message: aren’t sermons paraphrases of Scripture meanings? In no way am I saying that it should be used as the basis for Bible study, but the testimony of it being birthed in him trying to help his congregation read and know the Word is quite good. Just saying I think the overly critical nature of comments from conservatives toward The Message might be a little much. It was genuinely birthed from a pastor’s heart.
    Just saying. Blessings on your ministry there in Minnesota.

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