This much-needed book fully integrates principles of pastoral care, leadership, and theology to restore to ministers a clearly defined pastoral identity. Moving from a critique of inadequate models for ministry -- from community organizer to T. V. evangelist -- Oden develops a more classical model, rich in its references to the past and compatible both with Christian faith and theology through the ages and with current needs.
Reconciling classical tradition with practice, Pastoral Theology will be a standard resource and reference in the field. Oden distills the best ideas of the two millennia of ecumenical Christian thinking concerning what pastors are and do. Pastoral Theology provides the foundational knowledge of the pastoral office requisite to the practice of ministry. It will be of interest to persons preparing for ordination in its review of key issues; at the same time, Pastoral Theology will appeal to all those who have considered entering the ministry, those who want to know more about what clergy do and why, and those ministers who want to review their ongoing work in the light of a systematic reflection on the pastoral gifts and tasks.