Book Review: The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry (Jared C. Wilson)

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This book review was very special for me. I am in the middle of beginning the process of actually putting my call to ministry into action. I pursued a degree in Audio Production in college, only to pretty much abandon my drive for a studio job to get in the thick of pursuing pastoral ministry.

Needless to say, when I had the opportunity to review this book via Crossway, I was very excited to get into the wisdom of Jared C. Wilson. If you aren’t familiar with Wilson’s style of writing and teaching, he brilliantly balances wit, personal conviction, and application as a seat for the gospel to sit upon. He is at times hilarious, and other times he makes you want to curl in a ball and cry at how lousy you are (all done out of grace). Without question, the Lord has certainly blessed him with an ability to be an edifying pastor to pastors and laymen alike.

Oftentimes, books written by pastors for pastors can be tough to read. If the gospel isn’t made the central point, such books can sound demeaning or self-glorifying, or can offer church leaders empty promises of success if they stick to a system or guidelines. In The Pastor’s Justification, you are not getting a book that sketches out the steps to excel in ministry. This is no “keys to success” model. Jared C. Wilson isn’t interested in helping us grow our church numbers, but helping us glorify God and enjoying Him forever, both in our lives and through our ministries. This book is a map to the treasure box; not the treasure of church attendance, giving, or happiness, but Christ alone (solus Christus).

As someone who is yet to enter into the pastorate, The Pastor’s Justification has given me a gospel-centered perspective to making the ministry about Christ, not me. Instead of inflating my confidence, it has taught me what it means to have true pastoral confidence—a confidence only Christ can work out. The book addresses various issues such as church membership, church discipline, hospital visits, taking vacation time, and a whole host of other topics that men like me especially need to hear before entering the ministry. But more than that, this book clearly provides the Biblical basis and understanding for these things. The book is split into two parts: Part One expositionally breaks down 1 Peter 5:1–11, and Part Two is a closer look at the Five Solas of the Reformation.

Lord willing, if I step into the pastorate one day, I am thankful to know that men like Jared Wilson have been passionate and honest enough to share such rich insight through their works. The Pastor’s Justification is a book I absolutely recommended to anyone in ministry, anyone not yet in ministry, anyone who is a Christian, and anyone who is not a Christian. How does this book serve non-Christians, especially when the intended audience is pastors? Wilson does nothing more in this book than share the gospel message, a message each of us need more than we know. We’re not getting steps for success, we’re getting the awe of Jesus Christ, and that’s what matters in life and in ministry.

Thank you Jared, and Crossway, for providing such an honest, practical look at how to do ministry with Christ in the pulpit. This book has made me less confident in myself and more confident in my Savior. Exactly what I needed.

Stars: 5.0/5.0

Note: I was provided a copy of this book via Crossway in exchange for my honest review.

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